Parshat Vayakhel, whose focus is the Mishkan, underscores the importance of Shabbat. Rash immediately comments that the lesson is that the work in the Mishkan does not supercede the Shabbat. Why does Shabbat stand head-and-heel above any other commandment?
Chazal state, “Amar Lo Hakadosh Baruch Hu Limoshe, ‘Matanah Tovah Yesh Li Biveit Ginzi, Vishabbat Shma, Vaani Mivakesh Litnah Leyisrael – Lech Vihodiem,’” “God said to Moshe, ‘I have a great gift, that I have in my storehouse; its name is Shabbat and I wish to give it to Israel – Go and explain it to them.” Why do Chazal underscore this as a Matanah Tovah, a “great” gift – all gifts are great and wonderful!
I heard Harav Noach Oelbaum Shlita explain the words of the great Maharal (Sefer Netzach Yisrael 19) that every person and every Jew asks the famous dilemma stated in Masechet Berachot, “Tzadik Vira Lo, Rasha Vitov Lo” (why do good people suffer, while bad people seem to prosper). This question is tackled by many philosophers. The Maharal has the following response. One can really never know the answer to this dilemma; however, in Olam Haba, this and many other questions will surely be clearly and properly answered. As we live in this world, the question will always continue in our minds.
However, Shabbat is “Me’ein Olam Haba,” a part of the World to Come. When one enjoys and appreciates Shabbat, one realizes that God has a perfect design to this world even if one does not understand it. The end of the prayer in Psalms for Shabbat is “Lehagid Ki Yashar Hashem,” “To tell that God is straight, proper and perfect.”
What an incredible moral this is! What an important lesson this is to enjoy and to be inspired on this incredible, special day of Shabbat Kodesh! How tragic is it to witness people who have not yet learned to realize the holiness of Shabbat, and to become Shomer Shabbat!
It is no wonder why the way one dresses, the way one learns, and conducts himself during this 25-hour period is truly “Me’ein Olam Haba,” and in that world, there are no contradictionsor dilemmas.
Shabbat is the basis of faith in God and the spark-plug of our self-development. By placing Shabbat above the workings of the Mishkan, we can and we should realize total fulfillment. If one takes the letters in the word “Rosh,” head, and replaces each letter with the letter that follows immediately after it, the result is the word “Shabbat.” The head (Rosh) of our faith is Shabbat. Keep it and it will keep you!