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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach





Exodus 31: 13

…… Therefore, you shall speak to the Israelites in the same exceptional, public forum as you deliver the instructions for the Tabernacle and say to them: ‘Anxious as you may be to complete the Tabernacle—inasmuch as it expresses how God has forgiven you the sin of the Golden Calfyou shall nevertheless observe My Sabbaths carefully, and not let your enthusiasm for building the Tabernacle lead you to inadvertently desecrate the Sabbath.29 For the Sabbath is a sign for all other nations of the special relationship between Me and you, throughout your generations, in that I have appointed as your day of rest the same day that I rested on when I created the world. In this way, the other nations are to know that it is none other than I, God, who sanctifies you.

The claim that G-d created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh day is often misinterpreted, as G-d is not a human who requires rest after work. Genesis 2:1-3 clarifies that G-d did not rest but ceased working.

1Now the heavens and the earth were completed and all their host. אוַיְכֻלּ֛וּ הַשָּׁמַ֥יִם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ וְכָל־צְבָאָֽם:
2And G-d completed on the seventh day His work that He did, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work that He did. בוַיְכַ֤ל אֱלֹקים֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה:
3And G-d blessed the seventh day and He hallowed it, for thereon He abstained from all His work that God created to do. גוַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹקים לַֽעֲשֽׂוֹת:

It’s crucial to understand that G-d’s cessation of work on the seventh day signifies a completion rather than rest. This completion signifies that everything necessary for making the world a perfect dwelling place for G-d was potentially present, although not yet perfected. Humans have the responsibility to make the world habitable for G-d by following His will and commandments. When humans make righteous choices, the perfect world envisioned by G-d will manifest.

Despite living in the year 5784, humans often make erroneous choices, pushing the perfect world further away. Nevertheless, when humans take small steps and turn to God, He assists them in making progress. Throughout history, there have always been people striving to create a perfect dwelling place for God, and God will continue His work in the seventh millennium. This is why the paragraph ends with the word ‘לעשות’ which means ‘to do’ or ‘to complete’.

We see this, for example, in Isaiah 65:17.

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the first ones shall not be remembered, neither shall they come into mind.
 יזכִּֽי־הִנְנִ֥י בוֹרֵ֛א שָׁמַ֥יִם חֲדָשִׁ֖ים וָאָ֣רֶץ חֲדָשָׁ֑ה וְלֹ֚א תִזָּכַ֙רְנָה֙ הָרִ֣אשֹׁנ֔וֹת וְלֹ֥א תַֽעֲלֶ֖ינָה עַל־לֵֽב:

Ibn Ezra points out that this verse means that G-d will create a new good atmosphere, so that people will be healthy and enjoy a long life; He will also increase the productivity of the earth, so that it will be as if it is new. This new millennium is the time of the Messiah. Indeed, we know from passages like Isaiah 35:5 that in the time of the Messiah people will live longer and there will be no more sickness.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
 האָ֥ז תִּפָּקַ֖חְנָה עֵינֵ֣י עִוְרִ֑ים וְאָזְנֵ֥י חֵֽרְשִׁ֖ים תִּפָּתַֽחְנָה:

And if there is sufficient food, as we can read in Ezekiel 34:27, and it is distributed fairly, that will no longer be a reason for people to wage war.

And the tree of the field will give forth its fruit and the land will give forth its produce, and they will know that I am the L-rd when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from those who enslave them.
 כזוְנָתַן֩ עֵ֨ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֜ה אֶת־פִּרְי֗וֹ וְהָאָ֙רֶץ֙ תִּתֵּ֣ן יְבוּלָ֔הּ וְהָי֥וּ עַל־אַדְמָתָ֖ם לָבֶ֑טַח וְֽיָֽדְע֞וּ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י יְ”הֹוָ֗ה בְּשִׁבְרִי֙ אֶת־מֹט֣וֹת עֻלָּ֔ם וְהִ֨צַּלְתִּ֔ים מִיַּ֖ד הָעֹֽבְדִ֥ים בָּהֶֽם:

The forthcoming millennium will also witness the nations converging on Jerusalem, seeking enlightenment from the Jewish people about G-d, as described in Zechariah 8:23.

So said the L-rd of Hosts: In those days, when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you.”
 כגכֹּֽה־אָמַר֘ יְ”הֹוָ֣ה צְבָאוֹת֒ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔מָּה אֲשֶׁ֚ר יַֽחֲזִ֙יקוּ֙ עֲשָׂרָ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים מִכֹּ֖ל לְשֹׁנ֣וֹת הַגּוֹיִ֑ם וְֽהֶחֱזִ֡יקוּ בִּכְנַף֩ אִ֨ישׁ יְהוּדִ֜י לֵאמֹ֗ר נֵֽלְכָה֙ עִמָּכֶ֔ם כִּ֥י שָׁמַ֖עְנוּ אֱלֹקים עִמָּכֶֽם:

The roles will be reversed. The nations that currently accuse Israel of lacking proper knowledge of God, those who assert that Israel wears a veil while reading the Torah (as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:14-15 in the Christian Bible), and those who condemn and physically attack Israel will ultimately have to acknowledge their error, recognizing that Israel was always right (Micah 7:15-17 and Isaiah 52:15). Rashi also comments on this verse in Isaiah:

“New heavens”: The celestial princes will be renewed, with the princes of Israel being elevated above all others, while the princes of the nations will be humbled. This pattern will also manifest on earth. (K’li Paz interprets: The celestial princes will be renewed to uplift the humble and humble the haughty, and this will also occur on earth.)

However, before this transformation occurs, Israel will endure much suffering from the world. The observance of the Sabbath serves as a sign of their special bond with God. It is a day when they may feel particularly strengthened and loved by God, knowing that they stand on the right side by fulfilling His will.

In contrast, the rejection of G-d’s Torah by the nations, as depicted in the Midrash Sifrei Devarim 343:6, reflects their unwillingness to adhere to its moral and ethical teachings.

First He went to the children of Esav, and He asked them: Will you accept the Torah? They asked: What is written in it? He answered: “You shall not kill” (Shemoth 20:13). They answered: The entire essence of our father is murder, as it is written (Bereshith 27:22) “And the hands are the hands of Esav.” And it is with this that his father assured him (Ibid. 27:40) “And by your sword shall you live.” He then went to the children of Ammon and Moav and asked them: Will you accept the Torah? They asked: What is written in it? He answered “You shall not commit adultery.” They answered: L-rd of the Universe, ervah (illicit relations) is our entire essence, as it is written (Ibid. 19:36) “And the two daughters of Lot conceived by their father.” He then went and found the children of Yishmael and asked them: Will you accept the Torah? They asked: What is written in it? He answered: “You shall not steal” (Shemoth, Ibid.) They answered: L-rd of the Universe, our father’s entire essence is stealing, viz. (Bereshith 16:12) “And he (Yishmael) shall be a wild man, his hand against all.” There was none among all of the nations to whom He did not go and speak and knock at their door, asking if they would accept the Torah, viz.

This rejection contributes to their lack of a special bond with G-d, leading them to create their own holy days and engage in conflict with Israel out of jealousy.

Instead of using their jealousy for good and turning to G-d, they persist in their own ways, create their own holy days, and fight against Israel.

May the time of the Messiah soon arrive in our days, ushering in peace and tranquility to the world.

Learning Points

  1. The Symbolism of the Sabbath: Understanding the deeper significance of the Sabbath beyond mere rest, as a sign of the covenant between G-d and His people Israel, highlighting the importance of observing it amidst other obligations.
  2. The Concept of Completion in Creation: Recognizing that G-d’s rest on the seventh day signifies the completion rather than exhaustion, emphasizing the responsibility of humans to continue G-d’s work by following His commandments and making righteous choices.
  3. Anticipation of the Messianic Age: Exploring prophetic texts and interpretations that foresee a time of peace, enlightenment, and reconciliation, where nations will converge on Jerusalem and acknowledge the wisdom of Israel, alongside the enduring suffering and rejection faced by G-d’s chosen people until the arrival of the Messiah.

By Angelique Sijbolts


Or HaChaim on Genesis 2:2:1
Rabbeinu Bahya, Bereshit 2:2:1-3
Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 65:17:1
Rashi on Jesaja 65:17
Chabad: Kehot Chumash Ki Tisa

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