The Power of Being a True Shomer Shabbos
By: L. Halevi
Timeline: Vitebsk, Russia circa 1920
Leibish and Baila were married for many years yet were not yet blessed with children.
They fervently prayed day in and day out and traveled to many
Tzadikim to receive their blessings that they merit having a child, yet they remained childless.
Their 15th anniversary came and went and their pain became stronger and more intense;
they could no longer bear the loneliness and heartache. Was their destiny to be one of infinite childlessness?
They decided that they must undertake the arduous journey and
visit the saintly Chofetz Chaim. Perhaps a Tzaddik of his caliber could offer them a last glimmer of hope.
The journey took them a few long weeks, but they finally made
it to the tiny shtetl of Radin. It seemed so ironic that such a small, insignificant village which was hard to find on a map
could be the abode of arguably the greatest personality of his generation and perhaps his era.
They knocked on the door of the humble home and were ushered into the unfurnished “study”
of the Tzaddik.
They poured out their
hearts to the sage and begged him to help them in any way that he could and ensure that they don’t live out their days
in childless loneliness.
The Chofetz Chaim
opened a Chumash to Parshas VaYeishev to the portion that relates the story of Yosef recounting his dreams to his brothers,
and turned to the woman and asked “What time do you kindle the Shabbos candles each Erev Shabbos?”
Startled by the question, Baila stumbled a reply “Why,
eighteen minutes before sunset, as is the Minhag of most Jewish women”
The Chofetz Chaim read from the Chumash,(Perek 37:11), “…V’Aviv Shomar
Es HaDavar and his father “watched” what he said. What does “Shomar” mean?” he asked. “Rashi
explains that the word “Shomar” in this context doesn’t mean “watched” rather it means “waited
and anticipated for the arrival of…”
are of course Shomrei Shabbos” said the Chofetz Chaim, “but do you anticipate and wait for Shabbos to arrive?
Or do you finish your preparations in the nick of time right before Shabbos arrives?”
“Shabbos is deserving of us waiting for it! The Shabbos queen is deserving of
our full attention when she arrives!”
Chofetz Chaim then turned to them and said “In the Aseres Hadibros (Devorim 5:12) it says “Shamor Es Yom HaShabbos
L’Kadsho, watch the Shabbos day and make it holy….” And is followed (in 5:14) by “Atah U’Vincha
U’Vitecha, you, your son and your daughter…”
“One who is “Shomer” Shabbos with the definition of the Rashi above merits having children!
Be Mekabel (accept) Shabbos early, don’t rush into Shabbos! Wait for Shabbos! Anticipate Shabbos! In this merit may
Hashem bless you with “Vincha U’Vitecha,”
Armed with their newfound mission of becoming “real” Shomrei Shabbos and with the Bracha of
the holy Chofetz Chaim, Leibish and Baila returned home with lighter hearts then when they arrived.
The following Erev Shabbos everything was ready a full hour
before Sunset, and from that week onward the candles were always lit a full half hour before the “regular” time
of Licht Bentching (candle lighting).
a beautiful glow those candles brought into the home. What Kavod Shabbos!
One year later…
Mazel Tov! The formerly barren home was glowing with the light of a radiant Jewish child….
Leibish sat at the Shabbos table while holding his son in his
arms and gazing at the Shabbos candles. He sang those precious words “HaShomer Shabbos….HaBen Im HaBas…One
who anticipates the arrival of Shabbos Kodesh… [Will merit] sons and daughters.