Kenneth Cohen

Holiness of Shabbat

There are many laws that are hinted to, by the instructions related to the various sacrifices. One such example comes from the wording of Tamid sacrifice offered each day, including Shabbat.

The Torah uses what are considered extra words when it writes, עולת שבת בשבתו, the Olah of Shabbat on its Shabbat. The Tamid is also referred to as an עולה, as it was completely burned on the altar. Since it is obvious that the Shabbat sacrifice should be offered on Shabbat, it must be coming to teach something else.

The reference here is that the holiness of Shabbat is greater than the holiness of any other day in the Jewish calendar. Therefore there is a big difference when Shabbat follows a Yom Tov, or Yom Tov follows Shabbat. This applies specifically to the recitation of Havdalah.

When we speak of Hallel in this case, we are speaking of the insertion of a special paragraph in the Kiddush of the day. If Shabbat is followed by a Yom Tov, there is no Havdalah paragraph in the Shabbat Kiddush.

But when Yom Tov follows Shabbat, there is a reference of Havdalah in the Kiddush. We are separating between the holiness of Shabbat, to the holiness of Yom Tov, as we are going down in holiness from Shabbat.

When we increase the holiness in the reverse situation, there is no separation, but an increase in holiness. All of this is learned from the words, עולת שבת בשבתו. This teaches that Shabbat is in its own category, unparalleled by any other day if the year.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at