© 2013 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-21: Welcome the Sabbath!
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
How should we celebrate the Sabbath?
First we need to welcome Her. After all, ELoKiM, our CREATOR, walks towards Her like a Groom towards His Bride. He longs to see Her in His world. And so should we.
How exactly should we welcome Her? For that, let’s look again on the verses that describe the transition between the Sixth Day to the Seventh:
“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)
Here you see, again, the Acronym YHVH (He was, He is, He will be) in Blue, penetrating the Sixth Day, in red. We live on the Sixth Day of CREATION moving in history towards the next Day, the Sabbath. Without YHVH, the world (including us) would never get there.
What can we learn from the above presentation on how to welcome the Sabbath?
Events on the Sabbath’s eve
We celebrate Her entrance to our Universe
We don’t welcome the Eternal Sabbath, the next CREATION Day. It is a remote Day, far away from us,
billions of years ahead, and we really do not ‘care’ much about it apart from knowing about it. It differs tremendously from our world. It will be a Day full of YHVH’s Warmth and Love, with no judgments and no tribulations, no sins and no punishment. Yet it will be void of births and achievements. It is a Day beyond our conception, beyond even the resurrection of the Dead. It is a Day where the Essence of YHVH reigns in the open and ELoKiM has ceased His work.
But we welcome the entrance of YHVH into our world as seen in the above verses. We welcome our weekly Sabbath as representative of YHVH’s presence in our world.
We do care about YHVH’s entrance into our world since we live under Her Wing. Therefore every world in the text that surrounds Her is important to us. We want Her to stay with us, to shine Her MERCY, COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS and LOVE to us. We welcome Her and asks Her to stay. We cling to Her, and we study her words, the Torah. And on our weekly Sabbath eve we remind ourselves who She is, and where She takes us.
Hence we aspire to draw the Holiness of the Eternal Sabbath into our Sixth Day.
The day begins in the evening
As you know, a Biblical day starts at the evening, as it is says: “And it was evening, and it was morning, Day two…” or Day three, Four etc.
Thus the Sabbath begins immediately after the Sixth day is over; or when it gets really dark (three moderate size stars’ are seen in the sky.)
Our custom, however, is to accept the Sabbath a bit earlier, when the Sun descends just ‘above the tree line.’ At that moment we start the ‘Welcoming of the Sabbath’ service.
This way we draw the Sabbath’s holiness into the sixth day.
We then welcome the Sabbath by chanting seven Psalms in which King David calls on to the nations to join Israel and accept the Kingship of YHVH, the Kingdom of Mercy.
Many of you are familiar with this service as we’ve practiced it on Noahide conventions.
Hence on every sixth day (Friday) late in the afternoon, just before our Sabbath’s enters, we remind ourselves of the events that surround that moment:
1. The end of idolatry in the world
2. The acceptance of the Seven Commandments by all nations
3. The thrill of all creatures seeing YHVH here
4. The encampment of Noahides around the camp of Israel
5. The walk of ELoKiM, the Groom, towards the Bride, the Sabbath
6. The end of evilness
7. The kingship of YHVH in our world (on mighty waters)
We therefore chant:
1. The end of IDOLATRY
“Come, let us walk singing to YHVH; let us call out to the Rock of our salvation. Let’s greet Him with thanksgiving. With praiseful songs let us call out to Him…” (Psalms 98)
“Sing to YHVH a new song, sing to YHVH every one on Earth. Sing to HaShem, bless His Name; announce His salvation daily. Relate His Glory among the nations, among all the peoples, His wonders; that YHVH is great and exceedingly lauded, awesome is He above all ELoKiM. For all the gods of the peoples are idols but YHVH made Heavens…” (Psalms 96)
“When YHVH will reign, the world will rejoice, numerous islands will be glad. Cloud and dense darkness with surround Him; righteousness and justice are His Throne’s foundation…” (Psalms 97)
“When YHVH will reign, nations will tremble; before Him who dwells on cherubs, the Earth will quake. Before YHVH, who is great in Zion, and who is exalted above all the nations…” (Psalms 99)
2: The thrill of all creatures
“The Heavens will be glad, and the Earth will rejoice, the Sea and its fullness will roar, the field will rejoice, and everything in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing with joy, before YHVH for He will have arrived, He will have arrived to judge the Earth. He will judge the Universe with righteousness and the peoples with His truth.” (Psalms 96)
3. The Acceptance of Noahide Seven Commandments
“A psalm of David. Render into YHVH young deer, render to YHVH honor and might. Render into YHVH honor, worthy of His Name. Prostrate yourselves in resplendent holiness.
(1) The voice of YHVH is upon the waters, the El of Glory thunders, YHVH is upon the water.
(2) The voice of YHVH is in power.
(3) The voice of YHVH is in majesty.
(4) The voice of YHVH breaks the cedars; YHVH shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them leap like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like young wild ox.
(5) The voice of YHVH strikes flames of fire.
(6) The voice of YHVH makes the desert tremble, YHVH causes the desert of Kadesh tremble.
(7) The voice of YHVH causes the does to clave, and strips the forest bare. While in His sanctuary He speaks gloriously.
YHVH set at the Flood; YHVH will sit as a KING forever.
YHVH will give strength to His people;
YHVH will bless His people with peace.” (Psalms 29)
Here the Seven Voices which were heard in the Wilderness by all nations are the Seven Noahide Commandments. Israel, however, heard the entire Ten Commandments.
4: The encampment of Noahides around Israel’s camp
Today, if we but heed His call. Do not harden your heart as in the Waters of Meriva (Quarrel) as on the day of trial in the Wilderness, when your ancestors tried me they tested me, though they had seen my deeds. For forty years I was angry with the generation, then I‘ve said, an errant hearted people are they, and they have known my ways. Therefore, I’ve sworn in my wrath that they shall not enter My Land of Rest.” (Psalm 98)
5: Walk my Groom towards your Bride
“Walk, my beloved, towards your BIDE, the countenance of the Sabbath we’ll welcome.
Toward the Sabbath let us go, and we shall go, for SHE is the source of the blessing,
From aforetime SHE has been crowned, last in creation, first in His thoughts.
Walk, my beloved, towards your BIDE, the countenance of the Sabbath’s we’ll welcome…”
6: The End of Evildoers
“A psalm song for the Sabbath Day: It is good to thank YHVH and to sing praise to your Name, O, exalted ONE; to relate your kindness in the dawn and your faith in the nights. Upon ten-string instrument and lyre, with singing and accompanied with by a harp. For you have gladdened me, YHVH, with your deeds, at the work of your Hands I sing glad dongs. How great are your deeds, YHVH, exceedingly profound are your thoughts. A brutish man cannot know, nor can a fool understand this. When the wicked bloom like grass and the doers of iniquity blossom, it is to destroy them till eternity. But you remain exalted forever, YHVH. For behold, your enemies, YHVH, for behold, your enemies shall perish, dispersed shall be all doers of iniquity. As exalted as ram’s horns shall be my pride. I am anointed with fresh oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my watchful enemies. My ears have heard the doom of the wicked who rise against me. A righteous will flourish like a palm tree, grow tall like a cedar of Lebanon. Planted in the House of YHVH, in the courtyard of our ELoKiM will they blossom. They shall be fruitful even at old age, they shall be full of vigor and fresh they will be. To declare that YHVH is Just, He is my strength, and there is no injustice in Him.” (Psalm 92)
Who is this ‘righteous man’ that King David speaks about? The Rabbis said, “This is Noah!”
7: Kingship of YHVH over mighty waters
“YHVH will have reigned. He will have donned grandeur; YHVH will have donned might and girded Himself, even the World has been consolidated, it shall not falter. Your Throne stands firmly from old, you have existed forever. The rivers have raised, O YHVH, the rivers have raised their voices; the rivers raise their raging waves. More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the Sea, is YHVH mighty on High. Your testimonies are most trustworthy; your House will be resplendent in holiness, YHVH, forever.” (Psalms 93)
This Psalm is also chanted Friday morning, since it belongs to the Sixth Day
As we’ve welcomed the Sabbath, She reigns. What exactly happens? How should EVERY PERSON conducts himself at that moment?