The manifold benefits of keeping Shabbat
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman
SAN DIEGO–“When the Ark would journey, Moshe said, ‘Arise Hashem (G-d) and let your foes be scattered, let those who hate You flee from before You.'” Numbers (10:35)
When we raise the banner of Torah, and follow its ways faithfully, all problems and obstacles become mere details and can easily be solved, as the following true story, told to me by my Rebbi, Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Niman, illustrates:
The Chofetz Chaim (Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagen) once visited a town in Eastern Europe and was surprised and dismayed to find that the Jews of the town all worked on Shabbos.
Just a few years prior, there was almost no Chilul Shabbos (Sabbath violation) in this town. The Chofetz Chaim inquired as to the reason for this disturbing turn around.
The townsfolk explained that there was one large factory that was the major employer for the town. The factory had a furnace that had to be running seven days a week. If it were heated, then cooled down too quickly, the furnace would crack. It would take several days to cool it and reheat it gradually enough not to damage it beyond repair. There was no way it could be shut down one day a week.
The Chofetz Chaim asked for a meeting with the factory owner, who himself was Jewish. The two of them met for over an hour. After the meeting, it was announced that the factory would be closed on Shabbos.
The townspeople were in awe. They asked the Chofetz Chaim, “What did you say to him? What did you suggest they do to solve the problem with shutting down the furnace?”
The Chofetz Chaim replied, “What! Do you think I am an engineer? I have no idea how to operate a furnace. I spoke to him about Shabbos. I spoke about the kedusha (special holiness) of Shabbos. I explained the chashivus (value) of Shabbos. I brought to light the dire consequences of losing Shabbos.”
“Once he understood how important Shabbos is, he figured out the eitzah (method) to deal with the furnace.”
The Chofetz Chaim used to teach that there is no benefit to working on Shabbos. He offered the following parable: A man once decided that he was not getting enough water from his boiler. The boiler had one faucet. He calculated that if he had two faucets instead of one, he would get twice as much water. His wife pointed out his foolishness. Two faucets wouldn’t make for more water in the boiler. It would drain out faster but there wouldn’t be more.
The following article, submitted by Rabbi Zvi Freund, shows this same concept in modern times:
Israeli Supermarkets Decide to Keep Shabbat
Tel Aviv (www.koshertoday.com/ <http://www.koshertoday.com/KT Israel Bureau) Blue Square and Clubmarket Grocery Chains have joined Supersol in the decision not to stay open on Shabbat. Yediot Achronot reports that IDB Holdings chairman Nochi Dankner announced Supersol will close on the Sabbath
and will not sell nonkosher products. Yaakov Ginsburg, CEO of the Clubmarket chain, welcomed the Supersol decision, noting that remaining open on the Sabbath is not cost effective.
“I don’t think supermarket chains need to be open on the Sabbath,” he said. “If we all open on the Sabbath, sales will remain the same, just spread over the entire week. But what will grow will be operating costs that require us to pay higher wages on the Sabbath.”
A man’s allotment is determined by Hashem (G-d). By putting seven faucets on his boiler instead of six, he gains nothing. By resting that seventh faucet he gains the beauty of Shabbos – he gains everything.
Dedicated by Moshe & Yael Abrams in honor of their anniversary.
Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego