27 Iyar 5781 / Sunday, May 09, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
 
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HomeTorah PortionStories from the Baal Shem TovKi Tisa: The Holy Shabbat Beans
 
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Ki Tisa: The Holy Shabbat Beans    

Ki Tisa: The Holy Shabbat Beans



His wife brought a platter of cooked beans and placed a spoonful on each of their plates. Then she spoke, "May it be God's Will that these beans have the taste...

 



Parshat Ki Tisa
 
"And you speak to B'nei Israel (the Children of Israel) saying: You must preserve My Sabbath for it is a sign between Me and yourselves for your generations to know that I, God, am making you holy." (Shemot 31:13)
 
"To Know..." So that the nations will know through it "that I God make you holy." (Rashi)
 
* * *
 
Once, the Baal Shem Tov called together his closest disciples, "My friends, I'd like to show you something that you've never seen before. Just be sure to stay close to me next Shabbat."
 
The disciples were so excited with anticipation; they could barely wait for the next Shabbat to arrive.
 
When Shabbat finally arrived, they eagerly surrounded the Baal Shem Tov during his prayers. Suddenly, they saw the Baal Shem Tov glance to the side of the synagogue. They looked over and saw a pauper that was praying intensely and with great joy. But they didn't notice anything particularly special about the man. After the prayers, the Baal Shem Tov motioned for his disciples to join him.
 
They walked together, quietly approached the pauper's house, stood outside the front door, and listened to the conversation between the poor man and his wife.
 
"Shabbat Shalom, my sweet wife," he greeted her with a joyful tone in his voice.
 
"And a restful and holy Shabbat to you, my dearest husband," she replied.
 
The husband sang Shalom Aleichem (Peace to You), the ancient greeting to the two unseen angels that accompanied him home from shul to his simple home.
 
Then he requested of his wife, "Please bring the wine for Kiddush" (to fulfill the commandment: To remember the Shabbat day and keep it holy).
 
The couple was so poor that there was no money for wine. So she placed two small rolls of bread before him and said, "My dear husband, we don't have wine, so make Kiddush over these two rolls of bread."
 
"All right," the poor man answered. "We will make Kiddush over the two loaves of bread and they will taste as the special wine reserved for the Feast of the Leviathan (a special meal celebrated with King Moshiach, upon his imminent arrival).
 
After they finished Kiddush over the two rolls of bread, the poor man asked, "My dearest wife, please serve the fish and let us experience Oneg Shabbat (the joy of Shabbat). His wife brought a platter of cooked beans and placed a spoonful on each of their plates.
 
Then she spoke, "May it be God's Will that these beans have the taste of a wonderful fish delicacy."
 
They ate the beans and their faces shone with delight and inner joy.
 
The poor man began to sing Shabbat songs. "Thank God we lack nothing in order to celebrate the holy Shabbat," he remarked. "Let us have the soup now."
 
They both took another spoonful of beans. "Oh, this Shabbat we really have a wonderful soup," they remarked to each other.
 
Then they had a third spoonful of beans for the meat dish and a fourth spoonful as a dessert.
 
"Come, sweet wife, let us dance to celebrate the Shabbat," suggested the poor man. So they both got up from the table and began to dance. "Our dancing," commented the man, "fulfills the saying of our Rabbis, 'He who properly sanctifies the Shabbat will earn a great reward.' "
 
As they danced around their Shabbat table, they laughed to each other, "How fortunate are we: How good is our lot."
 
The students that were watching this scene felt a warm glow well up in themselves.
 
The Baal Shem Tov whispered. "I see you are all experiencing the gift of enjoying the Shabbat to the degree that this poor man and his wife have been enjoying their Shabbat. You should know that it is not the earthly food that they tasted, but the Shabbat itself."
 
And so it was.
 
 
***
Tzvi Meir Cohn attended Yeshiva Hadar Hatorah in Crown Heights, Brooklyn after completing his university studies in Engineering and Law. While studying at the Yeshiva, he discovered a deep connection to the stories and teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. His many books about the Baal Shem Tov can be found in the Breslev Store. He can be contacted at howard@cohnpatents.com.




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