Shabbos Gerekt – Shabbos Correct
5:11 Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy, as Hashem thy G-d commanded thee.
There is a story told about a chasid who fell on hard times to the point that he felt that it was necessary for him to keep his store open on Shabbos, so that he could offer his customers more hours to buy his wares. But as a true Chasid, he felt it incumbent upon himself to first go the Rebbe to get a brocho for success with his new “longer-hours” business plan. The Rebbe listened to his story, and while the Chasid didn’t mention the fact that he had succumbed to the temptation of opening the store on Shabbos, the Rebbe was able to determine this fact on his own. Without mentioning his understanding, the Rebbe proposed a different deal to boost the chasid’s business: He offered to become a partner with him. Since everyone knows that the Rebbe has the blessings of Hashem, so too will this business be blessed with success. A contract was drawn up, and the Rebbe proposed to have a 15% share of the business as well as 15% of the revenues. The chasid readily agreed and the contract was signed. As soon as it was signed the Rebbe said “One day is equivalent to 15% of the week; Since I own 15% of the business, I demand that one day of the week belongs to me. I pick Shabbos, and I demand that the store be closed on Shabbos. I also would like that I get the profit for my day’s business” (meaning the reward for keeping Shabbos should belong to the Rebbe and the rest of the business remained as it was). The chasid had no choice, for he had already signed the agreement, and the business deal was put into place. Within a very short time, the business started to thrive and the chasid became rich – exactly as the Rebbe predicted, giving the Rebbbe an unbelievable zechus.
One of the “10 commandments” that is mentioned in this week’s parsha is the mitzvah of Shemiras Shabbos. B”H in our community, especially in our business dealings, we don’t face tests similar to the ones that the chasid in the above story faced, or that Jews in America faced 100 years ago. However, challenges do remain…
There is a joke told about Reuven who decided to sell his car on a Friday afternoon. While walking home with his friend Moishe from shul on Friday night, he mentioned to him “Nisht Shabbos geredt (not to speak about this on Shabbos, but) I am selling my car. Do you know someone who may be interested in buying it?” Moishe’s ears perked up when he heard this, and he answered “What Mazel! I myself am actually looking to buy a car nisht Shabbos geredt. Nisht Shabbos geredt how much do you want for the car?” Reuven thought for a moment, and said “Nisht Shabbos geredt, for such a wonderful car, I could not go lower than ten thousand.” That was a bit steep for Moishe, who said “Nisht Shabbos geredt I will think about it.” On Shabbos morning, Moishe approached Reuven after Shacharis “Nisht Shabbos geredt can you go down in price?” to which Reuven replied “Nisht Shabbos geredt I already sold the car!”
Though this scenario is just a joke and far from reality, there are many times, we also have a challenge in not thinking about our mundane matters on Shabbos. This is also a challenge in shemiras Shabbos, as Chazal tell us that on Shabbos it should be “k’ilu kol milachticha asuya” (all of our business is finished). If we accept Hashem as our business partner in our dealings, meaning not to think about our business on Shabbos, we can merit a special brocho. As we know and say “likras Shabbos lechu v’neilcha ki hi mekor habracha” Let us go forward to greet the Shabbos because it is the true source of blessing.”