Zachor or Shamor by Yitzi Rothschild


When Bnei Yisrael reach Har Sinai, Hashem gives them the Aseret HaDibrot, the top ten rules of the Torah, inscribed on two Luchot. One of the Aseret HaDibrot is the commandment to keep Shabbat. When Bnei Yisrael first receive the Aseret HaDibrot in Parashat Yitro, the Mitzvah of Shabbat is written, “Zachor Et Yom HaShabbat,” “Remember the Shabbat day” (Shemot 20:7). The second time Bnei Yisrael receive the Dibrot, in Parashat VaEtchanan, they are told, “Shamor Et Yom HaShabbat,” “Guard the Shabbat day” (Devarim 5:11). Why are Bnei Yisrael first told to remember Shabbat, and then, in Moshe’s repetition of the Aseret HaDibrot, told to keep the Shabbat?

 The 7th day of creation was the first Shabbat. In Parashat Yitro, Hashem commands Bnei Yisrael to remember that the 7th day of creation was when Hashem rested from the “work” of creating the world, and now they must emulate Him and rest as well. In VaEtchanan, Hashem tells Bnei Yisrael to guard Shabbat. Here, Hashem is addressing a new generation, one that did not leave Mitzrayim. Since the previous generation, unfortunately, sinned often, Hashem wanted to remind the new generation to guard and follow His laws. The old generation just remembered Shabbat, but Hashem told the new generation to take an active role guarding Shabbat. The word “Tashbitu” in the Pasuk, “BaYom HaRishon Tashbitu Se’or MiBateichem,” “On the first day you shall remove (destroy) leaven from your house” (Shemot 12:15), teaches that every Jew must destroy his or her Chametz before the first day of Pesach. However, the root of the word “Tashbitu” is “Shabbat,” which means to separate. What is the connection between Tashbitu and Shabbat, and how does that extend to the principles of Shamor and Zachor?

Rabbi Blackstein once taught that when we abstain from Melachah on Shabbat, we defer to Hashem’s position as “The Boss.” On the other hand, when we desecrate Shabbat, we separate from Hashem because we imply that we are the bosses, not Hashem. Likewise, when we fulfill Tashbitu on Pesach, we are showing deference to “The Boss.” By following the commandment to destroy Chameitz, we are demonstrating our cleavage to Hashem; there is no separation.

The connection between Shamor, Zachor, and Tashbitu is simple. On the one hand, we must “Zachor,” remember the commandments and their source. On the other hand, we must “Shamor,” guard the Mitzvot to demonstrate closeness to Hashem, and not become separate like one who does not fulfill Tashbitu.

That was (not) easy by Yosef Kagedan

Implicit Rebuke by Noam Wieder