The Duality of Shabbos

For generations, Chassidim who lived in other towns would make the effort to spend a Yom Tov in the presence of their Rebbe.

If that wasn’t feasible, it is told that they came on Shabbos Parashas Pinchas instead. Parashas Pinchas includes the korbanos offered on the Yamim Tovim.

Also in this sedrah we learn the korbanos of Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh.

It is striking that in honor of Shabbos Kodesh — a day that was given as an eternal gift by Hashem to Klal Yisrael — only two male lambs were offered, while on Rosh Chodesh seven lambs were offered, as well as two bulls and a ram. Why should Shabbos have the smallest korban of all the mussafim?

The Daas Zekeinim miBaalei haTosfos quotes a Midrash that relates that Shabbos itself complained about this to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

Hashem’s answer was that this was a fitting korban because everything about the Shabbos comes in pairs.

Its song is dual, as it says (Tehillim 93:1): Mizmor shir l’yom haShabbos, “A psalm [and] a song for the Shabbos day.” Its oneg is dual, as it says (Yeshayah 58: 13-14): “If you proclaim the Shabbos an oneg [a delight], the holy one of Hashem, ‘honored one,’ and if you honor it… then [tisaneig] you will be granted pleasure [oneg] with Hashem…”

In honor of Shabbos, Bnei Yisrael received a double portion of mann, lechem mishneh.

The Midrash continues with a parable of a king who requested his servants to prepare a meal for his son. The king later asked that a meal be prepared for himself as well.

“What should we prepare for you?” the servants asked.

“What did you prepare for my son?” the king asked in return.

“Two types of foods,” the servants answered.

“Prepare the same for me,” the king instructed. “Don’t prepare for me more than what my son is receiving.”

On Shabbos, Hashem gave lechem mishneh to Bnei Yisrael, and therefore He requested that he too, kevayachol, should be offered two lambs.

What does this “double” of everything symbolize?

The meforshim give various explanations about the mitzvah of korbanos.

Ramban teaches that the individual bringing the korban should be imaging that in order to atone for his wrongdoings, what is happening to the animal should really be happening to him. Hashem, in His infinite mercy, allowed this animal to take the place of the person bringing the korban, nefesh tachas nefesh.

Sefarim teach us another approach as well.

Chazal (Chagigah 16a) say that man has some attributes that are comparable to those of the angels, but also some that are akin to those of animals, including eating and drinking. Bringing an animal as a korban symbolizes the subjugation of the animalistic traits to avodas Hashem. For instance, when a Jew eats only for the sake of having strength to serve Hashem, he elevates the act of eating to be part of avodas Hashem.

In general, these two reasons don’t apply to the same types of people.

The person who needs the type of atonement described in the first reason is usually quite far from the lofty level of totally subjugating his inherent animalistic traits.

Yet on Shabbos day, these two reasons come together for the very same people. For unlike the other six days of the week, on Shabbos enjoying food is considered oneg; even if one intended to satiate his materialistic desires, it is still part of avodas Hashem.

This is hinted at in the aforementioned midrash. Shabbos is dual because the oneg is dual: on this sacred day the enjoyment of the physical is a spiritual endeavor. (Adapted from Arugas Habosem.)

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Shabbos is a day of elevation and rectification on many levels.

It is told that on Erev Shabbos, the kitchen help in the home of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a, were so inspired by the holiness in the atmosphere that they would ask each other forgiveness as if it were Erev Yom Kippur.

In listing the descendants of Reuven, the Torah mentions again the fate of Korach, Dasan and Aviram. All three were swallowed into the ground, but there is a notable difference between them: All the children of Dasan and Aviram shared his fate, but the sons of Korach did not die. This teaches us a critical lesson.

Korach was the main protagonist in the rebellion against Moshe Rabbeinu. He had his deeply misguided reasons for trying to mount a challenge to Moshe, and received his just punishment. But only he lost his life; his children remained alive.

Dasan and Aviram on the other hand, joined a fight that wasn’t theirs. Unlike Korach, it wasn’t about disappointment over a position they had been passed over for, or any other personal reasons. They came without any possible justification, solely with a desire to fight with Moshe Rabbeinu. Their sins were so weighty that their children perished with them.

When a disagreement arises between two parties, it is vital that outsiders don’t intervene and fuel the flames.  Often it is their comments — usually disguised in a cloak of compassion — that cause the machlokes to live on and even intensify.

May we merit to draw strength from the loftiness of Shabbos, a day of peace and inspiration, and apply the numerous lessons of this parashah to our personal lives.