Abarbanel on the Parsha

For the week ending 15 July 2023 / 26 Tamuz 5783

Havdalah Introduction (part 3): Farewell, My Beloved

Become a Supporter Library Library

“Hashem, my G-d will illuminate my darkness”

(King David, Tehillim 18:29)

As we continue saying Havdalah, we declare “Hashem, Master of legions, is with us. A fortress is the G-d of Yaakov, Selah.” (Tehillim 46:12) The commentaries explain that when the final salvation happens, the other nations of the world will recognize Hashem’s sovereignty over the world, but their recognition will lack the clarity that belongs to the Jewish nation. The clarity of our recognition will stem from the fact that, throughout all generations, we have strived to uncover Hashem’s majesty in this world. It is the collective toil of our predecessors together with ourselves that will reveal the clearest, most lucid cognizance of Hashem in this world. One of the most obvious ways by which we show our desire to bask in Hashem’s presence is by keeping Shabbat. Therefore, we mention it in Havdalah, as a reminder of just how astonishing the reward for honoring Shabbat will be when we finally reach that sublime time.

Due to the power of our connection to Shabbat, Rabbi Pinchas Mordechai Teitz (1908-1995), the Rabbi of Elizabeth New Jersey, would never bring in Shabbat early. Even in the summer months, when nearly everyone else did so because the summer days are very long and it would make everything extremely late, he began Shabbat with the setting sun. When he was asked why, he answered that there were many Jews in Elizabeth who did not keep Shabbat at all, and once Shabbat was accepted by the community, they were transgressing the Shabbat laws, albeit inadvertently, even though it was not yet dark. He felt an obligation to bring in Shabbat at the correct time so that he could minimize their transgressions.

We then recite the words from Tehillim 84:13, “Hashem, Master of legions, praised is the one who trusts in You.” Rabbi David Kimche explains that this verse is directed towards those who never give up hope that Hashem will redeem us. These powerful words are dedicated to those who continue to yearn for the rebuilding of the Temple and the ultimate redemption. Only the eternal bond with our souls has kept us joined to Hashem during our seemingly interminable exile. And it is only our connection to the spiritual dimensions that will bring us to the final redemption, to the most anticipated moment in history, the moment that our Sages call the “Yom Shekulo Shabbat — a time of eternal Shabbat.”

Havdalah then continues with another verse from Tehillim (20:10), “Hashem, save! May the King answer us on the day that we call out to Him.” The Midrash says that it is only when we call out to Hashem in prayer that He answers us and saves us from the predicaments that each generation finds itself in. Our relationship with Hashem is not just an intellectual one. It requires the constant involvement of our physical beings as well.

To be continued…

© 1995-2023 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to Abarbanel on the Parsha

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.