© 2016 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-19/Who exactly rested on the Sabbath?
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
Before we end our study of Genesis Chapter One, let’s ask:
Who, exactly, rested on the Sabbath?
1: The Torah’s Text
“And ELoKiM said let the Earth bring forth creatures, Cattle, creeping things,
And ELoKiM made the animals…cattle…and everything creeping
And ELoKiM saw that is was good,
And ELoKiM created Adam in His Image
And ELoKiM blessed them saying be fruitful and multiply
And ELoKiM said let us make Adam in our form and our image
And EloKiM said behold, I have given you all the grass
And ELoHiM saw everything that He had done and behold, it was Very Good,
And it was evening, and it was morning,
Y om, (Day)
H aShishi, (Sixth) (Genesis 1:31)
VaYechulu (and they ended)
HaShamyim (the Heaves)
And the Earth, VeHaaretz, and all their hosts,
And ELoHiM finished all the work he had done,
And ELoHiM finished on the Seventh Day His work which He had done,
And He abstained on the Seventh Day from all His work which He had done…” (Genesis 2: 1-2)
2: The Seven Steps of the Sabbath
The verse describes the Sabbath in seven steps:
“And ELoKiM saw everything He had made and behold, it was very good.
And there was evening, and there was morning,
The Sixth Day (was over.)
(1) “And the Heavens and the Earth ended and all their hosts
(2) And ELoKiM finished on the Seventh Day all His work which He had done
(3) And He ceased from all His work that He had done
(4) And EloKiM blessed the Seventh Day
(5) And He sanctified it
(6) For in it He has ceased from all the work,
(7) Which ELoKiM had done, to make.”
ELoKiM appears 35 times
As we’ve already learned, ELoKiM’s name appears 32 times in the Six Days.
Now we see His Name appearing 3 more times in relation to the Sabbath, altogether 35 times.
This number, 35, is the source for the classical “35 prototypes of works” that are prohibited on the Sabbath. Since they appear in Genesis, there are potentially prohibited on all Mankind. They are not detailed here, but Moses would count them in details later on to Israel, on Sinai. He tied these prohibitions to the building of the Tabernacle. Moses also added 4 more prototypes of prohibitions to Israel, related to the topic of ‘separation.’ Israel is therefore prohibited by “39 prototypes” altogether. In spirit, though, all Mankind should refrain from work on the Sabbath as a remembrance of Genesis. .
Let’s discuss each step of the Sabbath:
Step 1: “And the Heavens and the Earth ended and all their hosts…”
The verse focuses on the work. It has been accomplished according to a ‘master plan.’ No more work was left over.
The massage here is that each person should feel at the end of the week as if all his work has been completed. One should enter the Sabbath with complete rest of his mind.
Step 2: “And ELoKiM finished on the Seventh Day His work that He has done”
Here the verse focuses on the worker rather than on the work. He would not invent any new work ON THE SABBATH even for the next week.
Step 3: “And He CEASED from all His work that He had done”
ELoKiM did NOT ‘rest’ on the Sabbath. He rather actively ‘ceased’ or refrained from any new or old work. He would have liked to work, but He stopped it, actively. The Hebrew for CEASED, shabath, is the source for the name of the Day.
Step 4: “And ELoKiM blessed the Seventh Day….”
The Sabbath is the source of blessing for the entire following week. When we observe the Sabbath we do not lose a thing. We gain more material and spiritual blessings.
Step 5: “And He sanctified it…”
ELoKiM endowed the Sabbath with holiness. Whoever observes the Sabbath feels it. The Sabbath warmth our heart and makes it ready to accept the Kingdom of YHVH with endless joy.
Step 6: “For in it He has ceased from all the work which ELoKiM had done…”
This line is not a repetition of the above. It refers, according to the Talmud, to the act of Judgment. His Court has ceased its work.
Step 7: “To be made….”
This final step hints that the story of Genesis has not ended with Chapter One.
The Eternal Sabbath has to arrive. Our world should enter it.
But this would take a long journey.
The Shechinah of YHVH should enter our world in full.
But this would take time. It would be up to Adam to reach that goal.
Adam would have to invite Her, attract Her, let Her enter his heart
So that She would meet there, in our heart, Her Groom.
It is only in our heart that this meeting can take place. Since no other creature in Nature is capable to perceive Her.
Hence step 7, “to be made” hints for a goal to be reached by Man. From here on, from the end of Chapter One, human history would evolve around this goal and this story: how the Scechnah would enter our world IN FULL. This would happen gradually, as described in the Torah. She would appear in several steps which we will learn in details:
1. First as a shy, modest Acronym into the Sixth Day ,to consolidate the world with ELoKiM and make Adam
2. Then into the Garden of Eden, seen ‘side by side’ with her Groom, as YHVH ELoKiM
3. Then on Earth, seen first time clearly alone as YHVH by Eve after giving birth to her first child.
4. Then ‘descending’ closer to Mankind on Mt Sinai, to give Mankind the Torah.
5. Then She found her rest in our weekly Sabbat.
6. Then She came closer to Man in the Holy temple, under the Golden Cherubs
7. From there She would enter Man’s heart.
Each of these steps revealed another aspect of Her. We’ll discuss them one by one in due course.
Oh, so much to learn!
3: Who then rested on the Sabbath?
Having read with the utmost attention the verses, we have NOT seen anywhere a hint the “G-d” has rested on the Sabbath. It says, rather, that ELoKiM CEASED His work. He “invented he ceasing of work,” says Rashi.
In contrast, the Fourth of the Ten Commandments of Sinai says:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to sanctify it,
for in six days YHVH made the Heavens and the Earth and
He/she rested on the seventh day….”
Moses says here clearly that ”YHVH has rested on the Sabbath.” How come?
YHVH and ELoKIM consolidated the world
When ELoKiM ‘invited’ YHVH, so to speak, to make Adam “in Our Form and Our Image,” She came in from Her Domain, the Eternal Sabbath, as shown in the above text of Genesis Chapter One. Together, in Oneness, they CONSOLIDATED the world; henceforth it would not falter.
This story is told by the Levite Choir chanting in the Holy Temple on every sixth day of the week:
“YHVH has reigned, He has garbed Himself with grandeur…
YHVH has also consolidated the world firmly,
so that it shall not falter…” (Psalm 93)
In Her domain, on the Eternal Sabbath, the Attribute of MERCY YHVH does not perform any ‘work,’ nor create or judge.
Her Sabbath is a Day of unconditional Love, void of any trial or tribulation. No birth and no death.
For her, like a spoiled bride, entering the Groom’s home and consolidate it is WORK. She is not used to that sort of living. Now she seeks a niche to REST and express her individuality. That niche is our weekly Sabbath.
Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com