23 Mar Shabbat Themes-Hachodesh-The Shabbat of Thought
It is written, “You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Shabbat (Leviticus 23:15).” This is the commandment to count the Omer, the days between Pesach and Shavuot, and our sages explain that in this verse, the word “Shabbat” refers to the first day of Pesach (Menachot 65b). We must, however, understand why the Scripture refers to Pesach as “the Shabbat.”
It is written, “in the beginning the Lord created the heavens and the earth.” Our sages teach us, “’ In the beginning,’ for the sake of Israel who are called a ‘beginning’ (Bereishit Rabbah 1:4).” All the universes were created for the sake of Israel.
Until the time of the Exodus from Egypt, however, God’s love for Israel had not yet been revealed. Therefore, the act of creation was only completed at the time of the Exodus. God’s love for Israel was then revealed, and the purpose of creation was realized. Pesach is therefore like the Shabbat.
The Torah gives the reason for Shabbat, “for on it He rested from all His work (Genesis 2:3).” On Pesach, God rested from the thought and intention of creation. The Zohar thus states that there is a lower Shabbat and an upper Shabbat (Tikkunei Zohar Chadash 99b). There is a Shabbat of deed and one of thought.
Regarding the Shabbat of creation, it is written that “He rested from all His work.” This means that God’s deed was then revealed in the act of creation.
On Pesach, however, God’s thought in creation was revealed, that is, that creation was for the sake of Israel. It was then that the act of creation was completed. At the time of the Exodus, God’s existence was revealed, and with it, His thought and intent in creation. Thus, Pesach is called a “Shabbat.”
We are taught, “if Israel kept two Shabbats, they would immediately be redeemed (Shabbat 118b).” The first Shabbat is the actual Shabbat here on earth, while the second one is the upper Shabbat. The more a person serves God and keeps His Commandments, the more the purpose of creation is revealed. (Kedushat Levi, Emor)