Witness to God

October 19, 2012 - 5:00 am

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me’.” — Isaiah 43:10

The Torah portion for this week, B’reisheet, is from Genesis 1:1–6:8 and Isaiah 42:5–43:10.

Every Saturday in the synagogue, just after the weekly Torah portion is read, we read a portion from Prophets. The verses from Prophets are always connected to the portion from the Torah. You don’t have to search hard to find the connection between Isaiah 4243 and the beginning of Genesis. Genesis begins with the story of Creation. The portion from Isaiah ends with these words:  “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD . . . ‘Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.’” We need to bear witness that God is the eternal being Who created the world.

How do we serve as a witness for God? The Sages explain that we do this by observing the Sabbath.

Take a look at the fifth of the Ten Commandments:  “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God . . . For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:9–11).

By observing the Sabbath, we acknowledge that God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh. One day, every week, we remember that while we spend most of our lives working and creating, there is only one true Creator and He is our God.

A few years back, Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed on Larry King Live. Larry said to him, “You live in the center of a hostile world. Do you ever get to really relax?” Netanyahu answered, “Yes, and I’ll tell you when. Every Saturday we have a day off. I take an hour and a half and I read from the Bible with my younger boy. I relax then and I draw a lot of spiritual strength.”

Many people mistakenly think that the Sabbath is merely a day of physical rest. But they are missing the whole point. The Sabbath is a day of spiritual connection. It’s a day to recognize God as the Master of the Universe and to study His Word. We don’t refrain from working just so that we can have a short break before we go back to the grind the next day; we rest from activity so that we can exercise our soul.

Everyone needs to recharge their batteries. But make sure that you revive your soul as well. Take one day a week to concentrate on all things spiritual. That one day a week will give direction to the other six and give more meaning to your entire life.


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