Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Shavua tov from San Diego. "Is there something that you would like to continue to experience forever?" So asked Rabbi Moshe Friedman who came to the San Diego Community of Aish HaTorah especially to participate in The Shabbat Project, a worldwide event that is annually celebrated at this time of year.
The large and diverse crowd that had gathered to welcome in Shabbat looked at the rabbi with curiosity, and he continued:
"There are many nice and pleasant things in life, but we would not want to eat chocolate non-stop forever, or ride on a roller coaster for eternity.
Shabbat is defined as me'ein olam haba (a foretaste of the World to Come). In other words, it is a taste of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) that will continue forever. Therefore we need to try to understand what is so special about the unique pleasure of Shabbat. It seems to me that this pleasure derives from three special relationships that are eternal, that have no end, and that may be increasingly developed and enhanced to no end.
The first is the relationship between us and others. Look around you: You see the power of community, of family, of togetherness, of solidarity. Shabbat is the time of the week to strengthen these ties.
The second is the relationship between us and our innermost selves. There is no end to the depth of our souls, no end to our potential. Shabbat is the day to uncover and express the deepest elements and most creative aspects of ourselves.
The third is the relationship between ourselves and God. Shabbat is not only a day of rest but a day of holiness, of prayer, of the connection between us and our Creator.
So thanks to everyone who came here for Shabbat, and for a taste of eternity. Shabbat shalom."