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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “A higher and holier level of creation.”

Although the act of divine creation was a one-time event, it is also the paradigm and prototype for everything that happens afterward in the world through man and his actions.

Just as the divine creation paused for summation, thought, and exaltation, so too, man – who continues the work of creation, who is the divine instrument for deliberate, purposeful creation – must cease his actions for one day of suspended creation, rest, and stillness: Shabbat.

Shabbat, the holy day of cessation and rest, is the culmination of everything that was done during the week.

The stillness of Shabbat is a state of contemplation, a state of preparation for a deeper understanding of the essence of things, in a greater effort to attain their purpose.

Certainly, as long as Shabbat is perceived as a time of forced idleness, it becomes an incomprehensible, unwelcome burden.

But this is not the true nature of Shabbat; its true nature is elevation from the mundane activities of the week to the attainment of a higher and holier level of creation.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz