“Now you speak to the Children of Israel saying ‘However, you must observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations to know that I am Hashem, Who makes you holy. (Shemos 31:13)
Remember the Sabath day and sanctify it. (Shemos 20:8)
Safeguard the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as Hashem, your G-d, has commanded you. (Devarim 5:12)
The introduction to the commandment in our Parsha is unusual. Nowhere else in the Torah does a verse begin “you shall speak…” The Chida in Nachal Kedumim explains this while answering another question. We find that there are differences between the way Shabbos is mentioned in the first luchos (Parshas Yisro) and the way it is mentioned in the second luchos (Parshas Va’eschanan). There is also a difference between the two luchos in the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents. The Chida explains as follows: There are two aspects of Shabbos. The first is the physical rest and ability to rejuvenate, which is indeed G-dly. The second is a totally spiritual aspect of consecrating oneself in the service of Hashem and ceasing to do any “work” (melacha). The luchos in Parshas Yisro use the word “Zachor” referring to the first aspect of Shabbos, and in Va’eschanan the word “Shamor” is used, referring to the second aspect.
When Moshe Rabbeinu was in Egypt, he wanted to help the Jews out of their misery, and Chazal tell us that he went to Pharaoh and told him, “If you don’t give the Jews a day off, they will break down.” Pharaoh agreed and told Moshe to pick a day to be a day of rest.Moshe chose Shabbos (that is why we say in davening “Yismach Moshe bimatnas chelko…”). Therefore, Moshe Rabbeinu is associated with the Shabbos of rest (menucha) and not the Shabbos of prohibition of work. When it came to building the Tabernacle, whose construction was forbidden on Shabbos, there was a special directive to Moshe that he must reinforce the second aspect of Shabbos (work). Therefore, Hashem tells him “You (Moshe, who is familiar with the first aspect, also have to make sure that the second aspect of Shabbos is upheld)…” and the Torah continues with the same words describing upholding Shabbos (shamor) with the second aspect of Shabbos (work).
The Chida goes on to explain that there are also two aspects of honoring one’s parents. The natural – which even the gentiles understand – which is that there is a relationship that fosters responsibility between parent and child. But there is a way to connect on a deeper level and form an even stronger bond, where one feels that connection, which is sublime.
Someone told me the following story. He had a father who took care of all of his needs, sent him to cheder, spoke to his Rebbeim and monitored all of his activities. Yet he gave his child freedom of expression. As the years went by, the relationship deepened and the father, from time to time would travel over 100km to learn with his son in yeshiva. During one of those meetings, the father told his son that he loves him. The son related to me, that although he is sure the father said he loved him many times, it all of a sudden clicked in his mind that his father really loves him. Though this boy already upheld the laws of honoring one’s parents, after this encounter his relationship deepened and he did it with more feeling.
With the Purim Geulah now behind us, and the Pesach Geulah only 3 weeks away, we too should understand and feel, in a much clearer way, that Hashem is not only our Master and but also our Father. This is a time that we can connect to Him on these multiple levels, and elevate our service of Him, as the Gemara says in Shabbos 88, “Out of their love for Hashem for the miracle He did, the re-accepted the Torah with love.”