|Shalom Aleichem: Intimacy|
|Written by David Sacks|
When singing Shalom Aleichem I have the following kavanah. First I think of Yaakov Avinu wrestling the angel of Esav, also known as the yetzer harah. Everybody knows, the angel told Yaakov once it became dawn that it had to depart because it was it’s time to sing shirah, praises to Hashem in heaven. Why just then?
I heard that the timing wasn’t a coincidence. In other words, once it became clear to the angel that it could not defeat Yaakov – that was the very thing it was going to sing praises to Hashem about – the spiritual might of Yaakov!
Next, I have in mind that it’s thousands of years later, and the Jewish People are still here! That the ministering angels of all the nations throughout history should ascend to Hashem and testify that we’ve faced every test and still we haven’t abandoned Your holy Torah.
With all of the holy sparks having certainly been uplifted, nothing is standing in the way of Your bringing the Mashiach.
When it comes time to sing “Tzaytz’chem l’Shalom” and we ask the angels to leave, I think of the cruvim guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden.
It’s time for them to finally depart, and allow us to enter, signaling the final fixing of the world, where Shabbos is not just a taste of Eden, but when reality will become the day that is all Shabbos.
The question is, at the end of Shalom Alecheim, why are we sending away the angels? I heard an answer from my brother-in-law Jorge Davidson, who heard it from his Rabbi which I love.
The answer is that, as the Gemara teaches, Shabbos and the Jewish People are soulmates and the Shabbos table is the “yichud room” — that special private place that the chassan and calah, the bride and groom, go to after the chuppah. So it is with us and Hashem every Shabbos. We send away the angels because this most intimate setting is for us to share with the holy Shabbos of Hashem alone.
Building on this, it also suggests that the work week really is something way more – namely, our shevah brachas with Hashem.
But remember every Shabbos is a wedding between us and Hashem. Which means that every week we are also busy courting Shabbos.
With this in mind, maybe we can understand the practice of Hillel and Shammai of taking the best of whatever they saw that weekday and setting it aside for Shabbos. It is nothing less than the courtship itself! And lucky us, every week Shabbos says “yes”!