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The Reward Of Honoring Shabbat

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According to the wisdom of the sages, there is no way to “over-spend” on Shabbat. As it is said, “One who lends to Shabbat, Shabbat repays him!”(Shabbat 119a). “Lending to Shabbat” does not mean going into debt to purchase fancy foods or decor, but rather that one should borrow from his/her weekday budget in order to make Shabbat more beautiful.

How does Shabbat repay those who honor it? Primarily, there is the spiritual and physical recharge of “the batteries.” Sometimes, however, the reward is tangible, as in the story of Joseph Mokir-Shabbat, whose dedication to honoring Shabbat was richly rewarded (Shabbat 119a):

Joseph Mokir-Shabbat was known for his largess when preparing for Shabbat. One day, his neighbor was told by fortune tellers that “Joseph Mokir-Shabbat has eaten all your wealth.” Assuming that this meant that Joseph would take over his lands, the man sold all his property, and bought a precious jewel with the proceeds. He hid the jewel in his hat.  One day, however, a wind blew his hat into the river, and he watched, devastated, as a fish swallowed the jewel.

Not long thereafter, the fish was caught by some Jewish fishermen. However, it was almost Shabbat and they did not know to whom they could sell it.

“Take it to Joseph Mokir-Shabbat,” they were told, “who always buys delicacies in honor of Shabbat.” Although Joseph had already prepared his Shabbat meal, he was happy to spend the extra money for the special fish. (And this in the days without freezers!)

When Joseph went to prepare his fish he found the jewel, which he sold for a princely sum (Shabbat 119a).

This Treat was posted on June 19, 2009.

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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