5772 Vaetchanan

As everyone is aware, there are slight variations between the Ten Commandments in Parashas Yisro and those of Parashas Vaeschanan. The most famous of these can be found in the directive of Shabbos. In the first set we are told to “remember” the Sabbath, “to keep it Holy.” In the second set the read is to “keep” the Sabbath. Our Sages tell us that “remember” refers to the positive aspects of Shabbos such as making Kiddush, and “keep” the Shabbos refers to the prohibition of work. The interesting thing is that even though we are more conditioned to “zachor” (remember) due to the recitation of Kiddush, “shamor” (keep) actually jibes more appropriately with the end of the verse “to keep it Holy.” We find through scripture that Holiness denotes restriction and abstinence. “Keeping” Shabbos is therefore more in line with its Holiness. Why then does the Torah first introduce the Holiness of Shabbos with the positive “remember?” The answer may be a very profound one. It is impossible to depict Shabbos as a negative, restrictive concept. Shabbos is such a basic, foundational thing that the Torah had to describe it in positive terms. The Torah made it clear that the Holiness of Shabbos is no ordinary Holiness. So to speak, Shabbos breaks the rules. The enjoyment, the eating and the sleep are all part and parcel of the Holiness. It is refreshing indeed to experience this kind of Kedusha. FROM THIS WE LEARN that as we observe this Shabbos and all future Shabbosos, we must keep in mind that we’re not only enjoying, but actually fulfilling thereby, the Fourth Commandment.