SPECIAL EDITION 1
Shabbos: 25 Hours in the Beis HaMikdash
On Shabbos a week ago, we experienced a Shabbos that can inspire us to raise our Shabbos experience to new heights. The connection to tefilah will be explained towards the end of this segment.
The N’sivos Shalom zt”l and Rav Shimshon Pincus zt”l both offer a similar insight. When Tish’ah B’Av falls on Shabbos, as it just did last Shabbos, we treat Shabbos, with minor exception, as a regular Shabbos. So much is this the case that we are permitted to eat a full s’udah sh’lishis in abundance, even consisting of meat and wine, just minutes prior to the start of our Tish’ah B’Av observance. One would have thought that at the very least, this last meal just before Tish’ah B’Av, where we normally sit on the ground and eat bread and ashes, should be curtailed. Why does Shabbos so completely override Tish’ah B’Av?
They answer that Shabbos does not override Tish’ah B’Av. On Shabbos, there is no reason to mourn for the Beis HaMikdash because Shabbos IS the Beis HaMikdash! The Beis HaMikdash represented the place in this world that we felt the presence of Hashem to the greatest extent. Likewise, Shabbos is the time when we experience Hashem’s presence to the greatest extent. Shabbos is the day we spend with Hashem. It actually supersedes Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and the three Yamim Tovim in many respects, as we say on Leil Shabbos: “u’veirachto mi’kol ha’yamim v’kidashto mi’kol ha’z’manim” [Maariv Shemoneh Esrei].
Thus, every week we get to spend one day as if we were in the Beis HaMikdash. Rav Pincus offers us some motivational imagery: Imagine that we are in shul on Yom Kippur and we need something to put on the floor during Aleinu when we fall to the floor to bow while the aron ha’kodesh is open. We can’t find anything to place on the floor except a newspaper, so we pull out a couple of pages that don’t contain any Torah on them and lay them on the floor. As we begin to head down at this awesome time, we notice the pages of the paper we are facing contain an article of interest we haven’t read yet. Would anyone dream of reading the article at that moment? Of course not!
On Shabbos, we are also in the Beis HaMikdash. Let us right now not yet discuss the topics of conversation for the entire Shabbos, and not yet even discuss the conversation at the Shabbos table. That would be too much to start with. Let us rather focus on keeping the holy Shabbos table pure from impure and forbidden speech about others. Would anyone dream of speaking lashon ha’ra, r’chilus, hurtful words, and angry words, as examples, in the Beis HaMikdash? Certainly we would not, and certainly we all desire to keep our entire Shabbos free of these types of speech.
Let us begin at the holy Shabbos table. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation just announced a new program of “machsom l’fi” for the Shabbos table. Details, resources, and sign up can be obtained by texting the word “Shabbos” to 313131 or by calling 845-352-3505 (ext. 101) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where is the connection to Tefilah? Here is a beautiful tefilah from the Chofetz Chaim to say prior to the Shabbos meals (many say it daily):
רבונו של עולם, יהי רצון מלפניך א-ל רחום וחנון שתזכני היום ובכל יום לשמור פי ולשוני מלשון הרע ורכילות. ואזהר מלדבר אפילו על איש יחיד, וכל שכן על כלל ישראל, או על חלק מהם, וכל שכן מלהתרעם על מדותיו של הקדוש ברוך הוא. ואזהר מלדבר דברי שקר, חנופה, מחלוקת, כעס, גאוה, אונאת דברים, הלבנת פנים, ליצנות, וכל דיבור אסור. וזכני שלא לדבר כי אם דבר הצריך לעניני גופי ונפשי, ויהיו כל מעשי ודיבורי לשם שמים.
Master of the World, may it be Your will, compassionate and gracious G-d, that You grant me the merit today and every day to guard my mouth and tongue from speaking lashon ha’ra and r’chilus. May I be zealous not to speak ill of an individual, and certainly not of the entire Jewish people or a portion of it; and even more so, may I be zealous not to complain about the ways of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. May I be zealous not to speak words of falsehood, flattery, strife, anger, arrogance, hurt, embarrassment, mockery, and all other forbidden forms of speech. Grant me the merit to speak only that which is necessary for my physical and spiritual well-being, and may all my deeds and words be for the sake of Heaven.
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