Sunday, September 16, 2007

Three-Day Marathon Holidays

This year, Rosh Hashana, Sukkot and Simchat Torah are all "three-day holidays."

To be more precise, they're acutally two-day holidays like always. However, this year, since they occur on Thursday and Friday, these holy days flow seamlessly into Shabbos without any interruption of a mundane weekday.

What can we learn from these three-day marathon holidays, in which work is forbidden for three consecutive days?

In Judaism, three is an important number. It symbolizes permanence, consistency, endurance and sturdiness.

An occupant of a house can claim three consecutive years of undisputed occupancy as proof of ownership.

An ox that gores three consecutive times is considered a "goring ox," and it must be presumed that it will gore again in the future.

A three-ply twine is far more enduring than a two or single ply, and is not easily severed.

A table cannot stand on two legs, but can stand on three. Hence the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Due to the righteousness of this threesome, their progeny endures forever.

So what do we make of three days of consecutive holy days?

Simple! This year, holiness and the holy activities of Shabbat, i.e. prayer and Torah Study, Mitzvot observance, etc., ought be focused on as a greater priority than ever.

Indeed, our fixed times for Torah study must be:
permanent, consistent and enduring.

Soccer, karate, piano lessons and business calls, etc., can all wait. When your weekly or daily Torah study time arrives, everything else stops.

Even if the phone rings, don't answer it. It's like Shabbos. Three-days-worth of it.

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