Study and Theory/
Sabbath

Martin Buber

The Feeling of Shabbat

From: The Hidden Light, p.224, Shoken Publication

Rabbi Elimelech and Rabbi Zushe would both feel the Holiness of Shabbat every week, from its beginning until its end, and especially - when the Chassidim would attend the Shabbat meal and discuss Torah topics. When they once met, Rabbi Elimelech told Rabbi Zushe, "Brother, I sometimes fear that my feeling about the holiness of Shabbat is not genuine, it is merely an imagination. And if this is the case, my service of G-d is not real.

"Brother”, said Zushe, “I also sometimes experience such a fear”.

“What shall we do?”, asked Elimelech.

“We must”, answered Zushe, "each one of us must hold a Shabbat meal with all its details on a weekday, and - sit among Chassidim and discuss Torah thoughts. If we feel the holiness of Shabbat, we'd realize that we have not been following the right path; and if we feel nothing, this would be a sign that we’re on the correct path.”

So they followed this plan and arranged a Shabbat meal on a weekday. They donned Shabbat clothes, they wore “Shtreimels” and sat among Chassidim and delivered Torah discourses. They then felt that special inspired feeling as they'd feel on Shabbat.

 When they met each other again, Rabbi Elimelech asked: “Well, brother, what shall we do?”

“Let us go to Mezritch”, said Rabbi Zushe.

So they went to Mezritch and told their rabbi what was troubling them.

The Maggid of Mezritch replied to them: If you wore Shabbat garments and put “Shtreimels” on your heads, it is logical that you had a feeling of Shabbat, since Shabbat clothes and “Shtreimels” have the power to bring down to earth the holy light of Shabbat. Therefore, you have no reason for concern.”

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