The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What Does Shabbos Have To Do With Halacha?

Gil Student, the learned Kalta Litvak of the JBlogosphere, left me bewildered this morning.

He referred to a column by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz (Full Disclosure: My first cousin) called "Elevator Pitch". The gist of the article was that the essence of Shabbos was summarized in a 30 second conversation that Rabbi Horowitz overheard in an elevator.

Speaking to a non-Jewish colleague, an obviously frum woman said:

You know, the nicest thing about being Jewish is our Shabbos. For 25 hours, I get to turn off my cell phone and email. I just enjoy my husband and children, unwind from the week – and try my best to get closer to God.
Reb Gil wrote:

I believe that only two of these three reasons have support from medieval authorities.
Gil went on to state that enjoying one's spouse and family is not a reason supported by medieval sources. He ends by saying:

Be that as it may, I prefer to stick to the reasons for the mitzvos found in the sources.
Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

Honestly, I can't even fathom the point Gil is trying to make. To even raise it in the context of Rabbi Horowitz's article suggests a tin-ear of Biblical proportions.

Rabbi Horowitz's whole point is that in order to battle "Walmart" (Rabbi Horowitz's mashal for the internet) we need to make Shabbos warmer, more peaceful and more attractive to our children. With all due respect, having these kinds of intellectual discussions about reasons for Shabbos is the LAST thing we should be doing.

My advice? Let's gather 'round our table on Friday night and sing a few niggunim. You don't even have to bang the table.

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  • At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank G-d I'm a Chossid! Kalta Fish!

  • At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    my family are litvaks and we sing and joke alot too because you can't explain a tosfos to a 2 year old.

  • At 9:13 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    You can't explain a tosfos to most 16 year olds and keep their attention

  • At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The kalte litvaks, stay home with the family for Yom Tov. One more reason, a Chosid is one who runs out of the house Friday night, to the Tish.

  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    That's why I'm an MO Chassid. I don't get the running out to the Rebbe part either.

  • At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What you really are is confused.

  • At 11:21 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    anon 9:15

    "What you really are is confused"

    Can't argue with that. Who isn't?

  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger Chaim B. said…

    See the Yerushalmi (Shabbos 15:3) that Shabbos is 'lachem', i.e. for personal enjoyment, and not exclusively 'l'Hashem', for contemplating G-d (similar issue found in the Bavli with respect to Yom Tov).

  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger Jewboy said…

    Rav Schach zt'll is rumored to have said that he wished he had sang more niggunim with his son at the Shabbos table rather than learning Rambams. Not sure if he really said it or nor, but either way there's a lesson to be laearned.


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