This week’s Parsha (Torah portion) is called “Emor”. It encompasses Sefer Vayikrah (Leviticus) verses 21:1 – 24:23).

A significant part of the Parsha deals with God’s commandment to the Jewish people to observe the Jewish Holidays – Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

Interestingly, the “holiday section” begins with an introductory paragraph, commanding the Jewish people to rest on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:1-3). Since the Sabbath comes every week, it is NOT considered a holiday. Why, then, does the Torah introduce the holidays with “the seventh day is a complete day of rest… you shall not do any work”?

Many answers have been given to this question. Here is one that truly makes Shabbat even more inspiring:

Holidays are always very special. Whether it’s baking Matzah, blowing the shofar, building a Sukkah Hut or lighting our Menorah. These times are super exciting – because they only come once a year. We buy special clothes and eat special foods. We prepare special Divrei Torah (bible teachings) to share with our family and friends.

Shabbat comes every week. How exciting can it be? Yet God is telling us that we must approach the Sabbath with the same anticipation and excitement that we have for our special holidays.

Finding inspiration in the more mundane, routine, weekly events may be more challenging – but also more rewarding. To enhance our lives with the feeling that every week we have another holiday to look forward to – that makes life really exciting!

We cherish our Sabbath and enjoy quality time with our families and friends. We eat special Sabbath foods and sing beautiful songs. And learn to appreciate – and sanctify – that which is otherwise ordinary.

Just as the Sabbath represents holiness in time – the Land of Israel – represents holiness in place. We are honored to be among those who celebrate the Sabbath in our beautiful, cherished homeland.

Have a restful, meaningful and inspiring Sabbath.

Shabbat Shalom from Israel!

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