Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Worldwide Shabbos Project - Be a Part of It!

I'm always fond of the many people who I have encountered who speak about being prepared to follow a universal set of laws of some sort. They often point out that observing all of the 613 Mitzvot of the Torah is something not everybody needs to do today - though they believe firmly that the Ten Commandments should certainly be universally accepted. Little do they realise that the number 4 on the "Top Ten" is the Mitzvah to keep the Sabbath day holy.

At the beginning of the Jewish year 5774, Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein - Chief Rabbi of South Africa, embarked upon a massive project aimed at uniting all South African Jews in fulfilling this Mitzvah together. It was the Shabbat of Parshat Lech Lecha - a time when Abraham was commanded by G-d to "go to yourself" - become who you really are. Leave the lifestyle of your fathers (who were idol worshipers) and cleave to the ways of the One G-d. Keeping the Sabbath day certainly testifies to the acknowledgement that there is a G-d who created the world in six days and then "rested" on the seventh day - and so too commanded us to, in order to testify to this. It was an immense project that brought tremendous unity to the Jewish people of South Africa.

Already - plans have been set in motion for another unity project. But it seems that the project is set to become global. Let all Jews - wherever they are - keep one Shabbat together. The Parsha will be Parshat Noach (of 5775). While Abraham set out in leaving the idolatrous ways and moving towards serving the one G-d - just one Parsha before - Noah - together with his close family - encased themselves into an Ark. Together with at least 2 of each animal - in order to save the world from extinction - Noah and his family also took themselves out of the floods of materialism in order to secure themselves with the One G-d. So too, we can already begin anticipating our own Arks - a place to take ourselves into, away from the floods of materialism - and shield ourselves in a container filled with peace and kindness - one removed from the rage of worldly activity.

Don't forget - it's Number 4 on the "Top Ten"! The laws of Shabbat are most complex, filling one entire volume of the 6 volumes of Mishna Berura written by the Chafetz Chaim - Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan. If you're getting ready to observe this Shabbat with the entire Jewish world - be certain to start learning all about what it means to observe the Shabbat and how one can do so in the best possible manner. If you feel you need a study partner to get started - contact Reb Eliyahu.

Here's what the Chief Rabbi has in mind! Make certain to visit www.theshabbosproject.com to find out more about how you can keep Shabbat. Don't forget to tell your family, friends and the entire world!

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