Shabbat Chol HaMoed
The morning Torah reading of Shabbos Chol
Ha-moed consists of selected portions from Parshas Ki Sisa. The
conclusion of the kriah summarily addresses the Shalosh Regalim,
and this would seem to be the relevance of the reading to the day.
However, the first six aliyos have nothing to do with Yom Tov;
rather, they deal with Moshe's supplication to Hashem to forgive
the Jews for the Chet Ha-egel and the grand rapprochement between
God and His people. Is there thus any other connection between the
Torah reading and the Moed?
Shabbos Chol Ha-moed (as well as Shabbos which
coincides with Yom Tov) is unique, for the character of the day is not
just that of Shabbos as its own day alongside that of Moed, in which the
two days and their respective themes exist on their own. On the contrary,
when Shabbos and Moed are joined, they fuse to create a new, unparalleled
kedushah and status. Please allow me to explain.
Shabbos is symbolized by its coming to the Jews. We go out to greet the
Shabbos Queen, who is already on her way to us, and we welcome malachim to
our homes on Friday night. Yom Tov is quite the opposite, for it requires
that we ascend to Yerushalayim and enter the realm of the Shechinah.
Rather than God sending his kedusha our way, we must go up to it and greet
Hashem at His place.
Thus, when Shabbos and Yom Tov coincide, we rise and approach God (in the
kedusha of Yom Tov), and He also comes to us (Shabbos). The closeness
between Hashem and the Jew which is precipitated is qualitatively
different than that which is created by the separate kedushos of Shabbos
or Yom Tov on their own. It is, rather, a new closeness, and this
closeness is mirrored precisely by the grand rapprochement between God and
the Jews in Parshas Ki Sisa, when Hashem agrees to forgive His people and
share with them a relationship heretofore unheard of.
It is based on the above that we reserve the public reading of Shir Ha-Shirim
for Shabbos-Pesach and Koheles for Shabbos-Sukkos/Shmini Atzeres, for
these megillos reflect on our relationship with Hashem and provide deep
insight into His avodah as depicted by each Tom Tov. Thus, it is
specifically on these Shabbos/Yom Tov days of special closeness between
Hashem and Bnei Yisroel that we are able to have a greater understanding
of our relationship with Hashem and immerse ourselves in the deeper avodah
message of the Yom Tov.
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