Copy Right 2022
Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
THE SABBATH OF THE TABERNACLE
The Third Sabbath Meal
The Third Sabbath’s Meal
It is late Saturday afternoon; the sun is almost touching the far horizon,
and the students of the Yeshiva keep sitting around their rabbi,
singing solemnly and passionately in the increasingly dark room,
one or two songs followed by a short Torah word from the rabbi,
then more songs followed by more Torah.
The melodies express sadness, as if departing from someone
you love, the Sabbath Queen, who is about to go back to be covered
during the week.
On the table you see some food, called the Third Meal of the Sabbath.
With that ‘modest’ meal, they celebrate the third aspect of the Sabbath,
namely, the Sabbath of the Mishkan, the Tent of the Meeting;
one above the Sabbath of Genesis and the Sabbath of the Exodus.
The Torah sanctions that aspect of the Sabbath
“YHVH spoke to Moses, saying:
Now you speak to the Children of Israel saying:
However, you must observe my Sabbath
For it is a sign between Me and You, for your generations,
“To know that I am YHVH who makes you holy.
You shall observe the Sabbath for it is holy to you,
Its desecrators shall be put to death,
“For whoever does work on it, that soul should be cut off
from amongst its people. For six days work may be done,
and the seventh day is a day of complete abstinence from work,
it is sacred to YHVH, whoever does work on the Sabbath
shall be put to death” (Exodus 31: 12-15.)
According to Rashi,
that section was told to Moses after the sin of the Golden Calf,
as he came down from Mt. Sinai with the Second set of Tablets,
telling Israel that YHVH had forgiven them,
and that they should build the holy Tabernacle.
That section starts with “however.” Why?
Rashi explains: Seeing that Moses was so eager to build the holy Tabernacle,
YHVH interrupted him and said:
“As much as you desire to do the work of building the Tabernacle,
do not push the Sabbath away from these works,
but let the sabbath override them.”
Hence, with the advent of the Holy Tabernacle,
a new theme is introduced to the Sabbath,
as a day of abstinence from doing desirable, constructive work.
By this we emulate ELKM as He appears in Genesis Chapter One.
There too, ELKM “abstained” on the sabbath
from doing more work, and from creating new items
and from passing more judgment
The novelty here is the new focus on ELKM,
who abstains from work on the Sabbath,
Instead of on the Shechinah of YHVH.
In the previous aspects of the Sabbath,
the Sabbath of Genesis and the Sabbath of the Exodus,
the text focused on the entrance of the Shechinah into our world.
Whereas now, at the building of the Tabernacle (Mishkan)
the Torah resorts back to ELKM.
In fact, the meaning of the Hebrew word Sabbath is
“abstaining” from performing more desirable work.
It relates, therefore, to ELKM rather than to YHVH.
Secondly, there is a parallelism between
building Nature in Six Days to allow YHVH’s entrance,
and building the Tabernacle to allow YHVH’s entrance there
to Dwell under the Cherubs.
The same way ELKM built Nature for YHVH to come and Dwell in it,
we too build a Tabernacle from natural material to host the Shechinah
How many types of works did ELKM abstain from?
In Genesis Chapter One, His Name appears 32 times during the six Days,
and 3 more times in the section of the Sabbath.
Hence, ELKM name appears 35 times in the story of CREATION.
Indicating 35 types of worlds that He “abstained” on the Sabbath.
Moses, at the building of the Tabernacle,
added 4 more types of works, making it a total of 39 prototypes
forbidden on the Sabbath.
Each prototype constitutes a large body of “derivatives”,
making the large body of Sabbath laws in the Talmud.
Since ELKM’s name appears 32 times in the Six Days,
And since 32 is written as Lb, which means “a heart” in Hebrew,
It comes out that ELKM wishes to draw YHVH into
the “heart” of our world, the same way we
are expected to draw YHVH into our hearts.
Who Should Observe these Strict Sabbath Laws?
Since ELKM wrote the Tablets by His Fingers,
and since ELKM spoke the Ten Commandments,
and since ELKM is the One who abstained from work on the Sabbath,
therefore, only those who accept to live under Ethe harsh LKM’s scrutiny,
should abstain from work on the Sabbath.
The Sefat Emeth observes that
for 29 generations the world was ruled under MERCY (YHVH)
whereas from Sinai onwards, Israel is ruled by the JUDGE ELKM
who gave us the Ten Commandments and the entire Torah.
To explain that, let’s go back to Noah.
During the Flood, Noah lived in the Ark which was ruled by YHVH,
as it is said: “And YHVH shut (the door) for him”.
Thus, inside the Ark, MERCY ruled in the open.
a child could play safely on the snake’s pit,
and the wolf did not prey on the lamb.
So, while YHVH ruled the inside of the Ark,
ELKM executed the Flood outside.
And when the Flood was over, Noah did not exit the Ark.
The Raven came back and forth,
the dove returned with an olive branch,
indicating that the Earth was already dry,
Yet Noah and his family stayed in the Ark.
Indeed, why swould he exit YHVH’s protection,
to live again under ELKM?
ELKM Himself told Noah: Go out!
You and your wife, your sons and their wives –
meaning: Start procreating!
Noah finally succumbed to ELKM’s pressure and he did exit,
yet ‘he and his sons’ apart, and ‘the women apart,’
Indicating: We refuse to co-operate and start civilization again.
We don’t wish to see another Flood!
In his frustration,
Noah then built his altar on Mt Moriah,
where he offered a silent burnt offering to YHVH, the first ever,
that “sent” his heart tribulations along with the smoke
to the Heavenly Court above.
As a result of his prayer, YHVH promised him that henceforth
there would be more MERCY in the Heavenly Court,
and also less harsh JUDGMENT.
The Flood, therefore, would not return fast!
As his finished praying,
A rainbow appeared in the sky, iIndicating
the presence of the harsh ELKM’s presence above the rainbow,
and an ameliorated, softer presence of ELKM bellow it.
For 29 generations, says the Sefat Emeth,
humanity lived under more MERCY and less JUDGMENT.
and so does most of humanity still live.
At Sinai, though, ELKM appeared again in full capacity,
saying to Israel the Ten Commandments,
so that Israel would EARN credits by abiding by the Laws
rather than by MERCY.
Earning credits by doing Mitzvot would make Israel a
Holy nation and a kingdom of priests,
eligible to teach and lead Mankind.
But holiness comes with a price.
Israel needs to comply with 613 Mitzvot,
Under ELKM’s harsh scrutiny,
to be called “holy.”
Observing the Sabbath with its large body of work prohibitions,
emulating ELKM, while standing under His harsh scrutiny,
would render Israel as a holy nation.
Noahide, therefore, still have a choice:
Continue living under the Heavenly Court seen by Noah,
ruling the world with more MERCY and lesser JUDGMENT,
Or join Israel by accepting the entire 613 commandments
and live under the harsh scrutiny of ELKM.
So, what do the Yeshiva Boys Chant About,
at the Third sabbath Meal?
As the Sabbath departs, they sing about the entire
journey that the CREATOR underwent from the
Beginning of the world to this day.
They start with the first thought that flashed the CREATOR’S mind
to build a Universe, the PRIMORDIAL WILL,
which then passed “downwards” through
the CREATOR’S Wisdom: Chochma, Bina and Daat.
That Supreme Thought then stirred up the CREATOR’S Attributes,
like YHVH, ELKM, Glory, Kingship and more.
And that “thought” formed the Eternal Sabbath, the creation of Mankind,
the establishing of our Sabbath, the descendance of the Shechinah
into our Sabbath, into the Temple and into our heart.
In short, they chant about everything we know about the Sabbath Queen
which is about to depart and leave us with the mundane life.
Next: What does the Torah tell us in the story
Of the Garden of Eden?