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By Rabbi Dr. Meir Tamari | Series: | Level:

Shabbat as kodesh is therefore, something far above the ability of humans to fully identify with, whereas Yom Tov as only mikraie kodesh, is within the grasp of Israel who are a people of kodesh. The Kohen Hagadol,the Admor of Alexander [part of the school of Psyscha] taught that we should understand the words of the Arie Hakadosh to mean that because Shabbat is so lofty, only a reflection of its sanctity percolates down to us. So there is simcha on Yom Tov but not on Shabbat, since simcha is the ecstasy of the nefesh that overflows and is the labor of the heart and is far more easily achieved than Shabbat that is purely and solely mind. This is reflected in the Korbanot in two ways.

Firstly, there are far more korbanot on Yom Tov than there are on Shabbat. The purpose of the korbanot [lehitkarev] is to draw us closer to hashem and that is easier on Yom Tov, since it not so lofty or elevated as Shabbat, which for most people are heights that they are unable to achieve. Now we can understand why Shabbat is Moshe- Yismach Moshe bematnat chelko- and Aharon is Yom Tov that only reflects the light of Shabbat. To raise Israel by elevating them from the lower to a high level is the task of Aharon the Kohen Hagadol, rather than of Moshe, who because of his special and specific spirituality could not, like Shabbat, bring himself down to the level that would effect the masses of Israel.

Secondly, there is no korban Chatat on Shabbat, while every Yom and Rosh Chodesh has a korban Chatat. Since Shabbat is pure mind and completely given over to Torah and Hashem, there is no place or possibility for sin; it’s as though the Shabbat repulses any thought or evil forces so that they are unable to attach themselves to a person. ‘She merges into Oneness and is separated from the â?? other side’, and all strict judgments are removed from her [Shabbat]….. all powers of wrath and all adversaries flee from her and vanish and no other power reigns in any of the worlds’ (Raza De Shabbat). On Yom Tov, however, humans have a connection and an imprint, so they are not completely filled with Hashem, so there is place for impure and evil thought and therefore need korban Chatat.

There were three different levels of holiness in the Mishkan and later in the Bet Hamikdash; the kedushah of the courtyard [Haazarah], that of Ohel Moed [Haheichal] and then that of Kodesh Hakodashim. It is true that the Rambam considers the Ulam also as an important constituent of the mitzvah, but still it does not have a separate and independent holiness, either it must be considered part of the Heichal or alternatively its holiness isn’t biblical. These levels are also reflected in time, so that we have a corresponding kedushah of Shabbat, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh and they are reflected in three levels of the kedusha of the Nefesh. There is the kedushat Hanefesh of the fence against unworthy actions, as it is written, ‘Everywhere that there is a barrier erected against sexual immorality, there you will find kedusha’ (Vayikrah Rabbah, 24), there is that of ‘ Sanctify yourself by that which is permitted to you’ (Yevamot, 20a) and then there is that of all our actions being for the sake of Heaven, ‘ In all your ways daehu’ (Mishle, 3:6).The kedusha of Rosh Chodesh is that achieved by the barriers against unworthy actions, since all types of work are permitted but people are required to examine all their works during the past month carefully, in order to be sure that none of them were unworthy ones such as theft, interest and oppression etc. This kedusha, is paralleled by that of the courtyard [in the Bet Hamikdash, Haazarah] since all the people are permitted to enter it, except for one who is tamei.

At a higher level there is the kedusha of Yom Tov that is achieved by sanctifying even that which is otherwise permitted. All work, normally permitted, is then forbidden except for ochel nefesh. This kedusha is akin to the kedusha of the Ohel Moed [in the Bet Hamikdash, the Heichal], where admittance is limited to Kohanim and then only for purposes of their Avodah, thereby sanctifying their entrance.

And still higher there is the kedusha of the Shabbat [that includes Yom Kippur] on which all of our actions are sanctified by only being for the sake of Heaven. So on this day all work is forbidden, it is a day that is completely Torah and there is nothing except the oneg in Hashem. This is the kedusha of the Kodesh Hakodashim, where none enter except the Kohen Hagadol on Yom Kippur, when he is like a ministering angel.

Copyright © 2002 by Rabbi Meir Tamari and Project Genesis, Inc.

Dr. Tamari is a renowned economist, Jewish scholar, and founder of the Center For Business Ethics ( in Jerusalem.