The Continuum

by Rabbi Nussbaum

June 5, 2020
Sivan 13, 5780
Candlelighting Time 8:06 PM

Last week we enjoyed a wonderful encounter with Hashem as we endeavored to delve into the very quintessence of Torah. Many studied Torah the entire night and davened as the sun rose creating an ambience of exhilaration and passion for more Torah. Of course, the challenge is to maintain that level of excitement and fervor throughout the year. S’fas Emes posits that every Shabbos has that illuminating aspect of Torah, therefore we have the opportunity every Shabbos to recoup any loss of involvement in Torah that may have occurred since Shavuos. Indeed, the Talmud teaches us that on Shabbos we merit an ‘extra’ soul which inspires us to reach beyond our present relationship with Hashem and seek a more intense connection.

Our Sages derive this from a word formation stated regarding our welcoming Shabbos. The word is compound alluding that once Shabbos leaves, we no longer have that extra soul that we so enjoyed on Shabbos. He questions that this reference should be mentioned at the end of Shabbos when we lose that extra assistance from Hashem not at the beginning when we are endowed with this supplementary vigor to reach higher levels of proximity to Hashem? His answer is profound and stirring. When we absorb that additional component on Shabbos, it is then that we realize how much we have surrendered to the forces of sin which has led to our capitulation throughout the week. Therefore, we are ardent to pursue and regain that which we have lost coupled with our newfound desire to again evoke those same feelings of yearning to immerse ourselves in the refreshing and enlightening waters of Torah study. This insight is revealed in the dictum that one who revels in Shabbos will merit that his heart’s aspirations will be fulfilled. The upshot is that although we may lose the momentum that we developed on Shavuos, that is just an aberration but not our true essence. Our actual and fundamental core spirit is always present, it needs to be activated and drawn forth, but it is constantly extant awaiting our impulse to energize it. 

This rewarding attitude not only refers to yearning for that which we have perhaps abandoned but it regales us with our former passion and fervor, beckoning us to reignite our previous desire to ascend to spiritual heights that we once had accessed. The summer months are unfortunately a time when we slack off because usually we are on vacation, school is out and in general the beautiful summer weather attracts us to outside activities which can lead to ignoring our other responsibilities. And perhaps especially now when we are besieged with health concerns and worries, even though the virus seems to have somewhat become lessened, danger still lurks. With that added apprehension, we might not be as focused as we should and therefore it is important that we intensify our approach at this time of the year to studying Torah and diligence in observance of mitzvos. 

S’fas Emes concludes that the Torah is referred to as “refreshing our soul” which means that all our needs are included in the Torah. Although we may have difficulty in realizing the power of Torah, nonetheless King David in Tehillim concretized the strength of every word of Torah. It is our duty to grasp this concept and utilize our time and energy productively in order that we may avail ourselves of the wonderful wealth that Torah offers us!


Even though the inauguration of the Mishkan was much less auspicious than that of the first Beis Hamikdash, nonetheless Torah rates it on an equal if not higher level. SFORNO