Is prayer the heart of Shabbos?

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    • Michal 1 year ago

      “ויקרא is defined by Onkelos[2] as prayer.”

      The difference is it [Tefilla] is a vehicle to express not thoughts but feelings, to express not judgments but needs, to express not service but reaching out”  Harav Yaakov Weinberg, Z”tzal

      When exploring the different commentaries of the use of the word, “Vayikra”, I am suggesting  we therefore can find different aspects and powers inherent and possible in a Tefillah.  I thought it would be worthwhile to identify some of them to hopefully help begin to exploring what a prayer consists of.

      Avraham “Called” out to Hashem by the name of “Eternal”, וַיִּטַּ֥ע אֶ֖שֶׁל בִּבְאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיִּ֨קְרָא־שָׁ֔ם בְּשֵׁ֥ם ה’ אֵ֥ל עוֹלָֽם (Beraishit, 21:33)

      • His acknowledgement of: “Hashem Who in His Might Directs time”. (Ramban)
      • His mechanism to inform the people of His Leadership of the entire world (Ramban)
      • His testimony to the principle of the pre-existence of God (Ramban)
      • His assertion that “All we have and eat belongs to Him”, He Who Spoke and the world came into existence.” (Rashi)
      • He used the occasion to proclaim the eternal nature of G’d, as opposed to any other deities (Sforno)

      In the opening verse of Vayikra, ויקרא[1], Chazal is bursting with comments all sorts of beautiful explanations from this one word in the Torah of “ויקרא”.

      When Hashem “Calls” out to Moshe Rabeinu in the opening pasuk of  Parshas Vayikra,   וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר ה֙’ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר

      • A language of love (Rashi)
      • A language of Kavod, just as the Angels use – וקרא זה אל זה ואמר (Rabeinu Bachya)
      • It includes all time, Past Present and Future
      • When Hashem calls out to a Navi, establishes the truth of three fundamental tenets of Torah and he explains why in detail
        • The belief in the creation of the world out of nothing by The Creator
        • The Giving of The Torah to Am Yisrael.
        • The Belief in the Resurrection of the dead.

      I think that we daven to Hashem we are actually establishing these fundamentals of Hashem  We also establish different aspects of our relationship that are expressed through prayer.

      There is another place, where we use this word related to Shabbos that I think can change how we bring in Shabbos.

      וְקָרָ֨אתָ לַשַּׁבָּ֜ת עֹ֗נֶג לִקְד֤וֹשׁ ה֙ מְכֻבָּ֔ד וְכִבַּדְתּוֹ֙ מֵעֲשׂ֣וֹת דְּרָכֶ֔יךָ מִמְּצ֥וֹא חֶפְצְךָ֖ וְדַבֵּ֥ר דָּבָֽר[3]

      I am suggesting that in order to bring in Shabbos, it requires the enactment of “calling” of prayer, of Love, Honor, through acknowledgement of Hashem as described  in order for us to sanctify Hashem and the rest that follows. Perhaps it is for this reason that when we make Kiddush we acknowledge Hashem and connect it to the redemption from Egypt and “Maaseh Braishees”, and His choosing of us from all the nations; since we need to contemplate the fundamental tenets of Hashem to sanctify Him in Shabbos.  Our clarification of these things I think can be considered a process of prayer.

      Q: What if Shabbos is really only accessed with Tefillah, to use our thoughts to express our feelings , so we can elevate ourselves and change ourselves and we therefore can rise above  a world of angels,  a world of thought, to a world of heart, to express our mutual love?

      Q: What if that is why we begin Shabbos welcoming the angels?

      Q: When the angels call out to Avraham by the Akeida, are they actually sending an influence of “tefillah” so that he can now access “his elevated thought” he initiated at the inception of the Akeida process?

      Q: What if this is what the phrase means סוף מַעֲשה בְּמַחֲשבָה תְּחִלָּה, meaning our job is to daven, using our Machshava,  to lead to our Tefilla (service of the heart)  to influence and infuse  into the week?

      Q: What if we can use the week to refine our thoughts, to express our feelings and needs to Hashem with the ultimate need and expression of heart of Shabbos as the source of all Bracha?

      Q: Does this mean that we must engage in Tefillah to sanctify “Mikadesh” Hashem?

      May we all be Zoche to elevate our Tefillah, with awareness of Hashem as described by Chazal to usher in a Shabbos of the ultimate redemption B’mhaira B’yameinu.

      [1] וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר (Vayikra, 1:1)

      [2] וַיִּטַּ֥ע אֶ֖שֶׁל בִּבְאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיִּ֨קְרָא־שָׁ֔ם בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהֹוָ֖ה אֵ֥ל עוֹלָֽם (Beraishit 21:33) וּנְצֵיב נִצְבָּא (נ”י אִילָנָא) בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע וְצַלִּי תַמָּן בִּשְׁמָא דַיְיָ אֱלָהָא דְעַלְמָא

      [3] Isaiah, 58:13 If you.”refrain from trampling-e the sabbath, From pursuing your affairs on My holy day;

      If you call the sabbath “delight,”Hashem’s holy day “honored”; And if you honor it and go not your ways

      Nor look to your affairs, nor strike bargains—אִם־תָּשִׁ֤יב מִשַּׁבָּת֙ רַגְלֶ֔ךָ עֲשׂ֥וֹת חֲפָצֶ֖יךָ בְּי֣וֹם קָדְשִׁ֑י וְקָרָ֨אתָ לַשַּׁבָּ֜ת עֹ֗נֶג לִקְד֤וֹשׁ יְהוָה֙ מְכֻבָּ֔ד וְכִבַּדְתּוֹ֙ מֵעֲשׂ֣וֹת דְּרָכֶ֔יךָ מִמְּצ֥וֹא חֶפְצְךָ֖ וְדַבֵּ֥ר דָּבָֽר

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