Divisions of Saintliness | Part Four

In divisions of saintliness part four we discuss honor of Shabbos and Loving G-D. Our Sages of blessed memory tell us (Shabbath l0a), “Rava bar R. Huna would put on beautiful clothes and pray, saying, `Beautify yourself before your God, Israel (Amos 4:12).’ ” And in relation to “the fine clothes of her son Esau” (Genesis 27:15), R. Shimon ben Gamliel said (Bereshith Rabbah 65:16), “1 served my father … but when Esau served his father, he wore only regal garments.” If a creature of flesh and blood is served in this manner, how much more so should one take care to be dressed respectfully when he stands to pray before the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed be He, and to sit before Him as one sits before a great king.

Included in this category is the honoring of Sabbaths and Festivals; for one who gives much honor to them is certainly giving pleasure thereby to his Creator, who has commanded us (Isaiah 58:13), “And you should honor it.” Once the truth of its being a mitzvah to honor the Sabbath has impressed itself upon us, many means of honoring it present themselves to us. The guiding rule in this connection is that one is duty-bound to perform any action which would add to the dignity of the Sabbath. It is for this reason that the early Sages occupied themselves with preparations for the Sabbath, each in his own way (Shabbath 119a): “R. Abahu would sit on a stool of ivory and fan the fire; R. Safra would roast the head of an animal; Rava would salt a carp; R. Huna would kindle a flame; R. Papa would twist a wick; R. Chisda minced beets; Rava and R. Yosef would split wood; R. Nachman would carry things in and out of the house, saying, `If R. Ami and R. Asi were my guests, would I not perform such labors for them?”‘

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