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    A foretaste of the festivals – Emor

    The festivals have a crucial role in this week’s Torah reading (Lev. 23:2-3): “These are the festivals of the Lord which you shall proclaim”.

    However, the list begins with Shabbat, and many people wonder why.

    “Festivals” are great annual occasions like Pesach and Rosh HaShanah. How can Shabbat head the festival list?

    The Vilna Ga’on says the seven-day Sabbath is a reminder that there are seven festival days in the calendar so the festivals themselves enshrine the “seven day” principle.

    Another interpretation sees the weekly Shabbat as a foretaste of the festivals:

    • Shabbat is a mini-Pesach, a day of freedom, when one chooses to be free from weekday pressures;

    • a mini-Shavu’ot, when one lives by God’s law;

    • a mini-Rosh HaShanah, when one recalls the creation of the world;

    • a mini-Yom Kippur, when one is at-one with God;

    • a mini-Sukkot, when one thanks God for His blessings; and

    • a mini-Sh’mini Atzeret, when one prays that the world will enjoy rain and prosperity.

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