Atoh Echad Veshimcha Echad III

February 20, 2013

Atoh Echad Veshimcha Echad III
Unfortunately there are millions of Jews that do not observe the Shabbat. Why not?
The first answer is because they were not brought up with Shabbat and don’t know about the
commandment and its importance. But what if we go and explain it to them? We show them that
there is a Biblical commandment to guard and celebrate the Shabbat. We will say that one fulfills the
mitzvah by enjoying physical, emotional, and spiritual pleasures and pursuits. We spend time with our
families/friends, attend meaningful prayer services at synagogue, wear our best clothing and enjoy
lavish meals, abstain from all of the pressure filled responsibilities of the week; no cell phones, no
emails, no tweets or texts….. Who wouldn’t want to sign onto this contract? Yet, millions are not
rushing through our doorways to learn about Shabbat! What’s stopping them? What are they thinking?
What can we say to them?
What they might say-
1. I’m a busy person; I cannot close down my life for one day a week
2. I need to work – Saturday is my busiest day.
3. If I don’t keep up with my life for 25 hours a week I will sit there worrying and agitating
just waiting for it end.
What we could answer-
* Whatever your talents/skills are – computers, playing a musical instrument or playing the sport of
your choice, we all agree that there are professionally recommended styles and forms to best learn
how to learn and excel at any of these endeavors. Living life well is also a skill; and the professional
that directs us is none other than G-d. The manual He has prepared for us is the Torah. The Torah
teaches us that Shabbat is the quintessential mitzvah that promotes spiritual growth and tranquility
coupled with family peace and harmony (when done right).
The crux of these ideas is found in phrases of Atoh Echad:
1. Menuchat Ahavah Unedavah – (You give us) a rest of love and generosity.
* Typically people rest when they are tired or lazy, Shabbat rest demonstrates our loving relationship
with G-d because we rest for G-d’s sake and not our own, and we are promised we will receive
immeasurable blessings as a reward.2. Menuchat Emet Veemunah – a rest of truth and faith/trust.
* Typical resting is to refresh and garner physical strength; Shabbat rest is not about physical rest, it is
about ceasing from the daily grind, reconnecting with our Creator and connecting with eternal truth.
3. Menuchat Shalom Veshalvah Hashkeyt Vavaetach – a rest of peace, serenity and
* Typical couch potato resting breeds a lack of productivity and resentment. Shabbat rest inspires more
family time, husband/ wife time, parent/child time. The average Sabbath observant family spends
more time together on Shabbat then the average American family does in an entire week.
Take Home Tip: The Midrash teaches that G-d told Moshe, “I have a great gift; it is literally a piece of
the Next World”; it is called Shabbat. If we celebrate Shabbat with this in mind it will elevate our
Shabbat; and hopefully inspire more Jews to observe Shabbat as well.
Shabbat Shalom,
Orthodox Union Department of Community Services
Frank Buchweitz, National Director
Hannah Farkas, Program Associate
Maya Carni, Administrative Assistant
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, for Tefillah Tips
Prepared by Rabbi Ephraim Epstein—Congregation Sons of Israel, Cherry Hill, NJ
Archived Tefillah Tips and videos may be found at: www.oucommunity.org under The Tefillah
Initiative banner.