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Thought for the Day: Keeping Shabbos Is Considered As Keeping the Entire Torah Completely

When I first heard about the The Shabbos Project, I was not impressed.  The idea was presented to me as, "We must go out and show Jews the beauty of Shabbos!"  In other words (the words into which I translated that in my head, that is), "Let's market holiness."  Eyew.  I worked for a marketing company for nine miserable years.  Why miserable?  Because marketing means lying to get people to buy your product; I don't do lying well.   Besides, the Torah is not merchandise that needs to be sold.

In fact, I had a very bad taste in my mouth from dabbling in showing the beauty of Shabbos to non--observant Jews.  I had once invite a couple for Shabbos -- a complete, beautiful Shabbos experience.  We planned it for the summer so they wouldn't have to leave work early in Friday.  We were completely open and up front that it had to be an entire, 25 hour, experience.  They were game.  We had a beautiful Friday night, and a nice Shabbos s'uda on Saturday.  Then, at approximately 4:23PM on Saturday afternoon, my friend told me, "We are going for a walk."  "Oh, nice," I replied.  "Hmm... I mean, we are going for a walk... don't wait for us to return."  Oh...  I realized that our Shabbos experience had been an anthropological trip for them; a nice opportunity to observe the natives in their own habitat.  Interesting, but they less likely to even contemplate trying it themselves than Margaret Mead would consider joining her gorillas.

Moreover, I heard a story many years ago that made a deep impression on me.  The Chazon Ish was walking with a talmid one Shabbos.  He asked his talmid, "Do you know why they are driving across the street in the other neighborhood?"  The talmid, perplexed and not sure what the rebbi meant with his question, just answered simply, "Because they aren't shomer shabbos?"  "No," replied the saintly Chazon Ish, "It is because our shmiras shabbos is lacking."

So when I was first approached, I replied that rather than cold calling non-observant Jews and asking them to, "Market Shabbos?! Much better to deepen your own observance of Shabbos.  Try accepting on yourself to learn two halachos of Shabbos every friday night!  Commit to learning one topic deeply and observing all its details!"

Then I was approached again... and was told that R' Fuerst backs the idea.  Yikes... maybe I was wrong.  So l looked into it: The Shabbos Project, and the first thing I saw was:
2. We will keep it in its entirety, in all of its halachic detail and splendour as it has been kept throughout the ages.
Oh.  That's different.  Then I spoke to my son-in-law who said, "You know, Abba, inviting someone to Shabbos doesn't always work, but if my parents had not been invited to one Shabbos, you wouldn't have these beautiful grandchildren."  That's hitting below the belt.

So I signed up.  You should at least look into it... you might give someone beautiful, yiddishe grandchildren.  That's worth the whole world and more.

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