Soldiers sleep.
Soldiers sleep.Abir Sultan / Flash 90

Hitoreri hitoreri, wake up! wake up! Uri Uri, arise! Arise!

We say these words as part of Lecha Dodi every Friday night, but what are we waking up from? And why do we need to repeat these phrases twice?

In fact, we say a similar line Hitnaari mayafar kumi, shake yourself off from the dust.

To answer this question, we need to see where these words first come up.

These words come up in our haftarah, in Sefer Yeshayahu Chapters 51 and 52. Therein Yeshayahu is conveying G-d's message to Jerusalem, “Wake up!” from the destruction, pick yourself up off the ground and start rebuilding because the time has come for the return to Jerusalem.

But if that is the source, why is that part of Kabbalat Shabbat, Welcoming in the Shabbat?

We have just finished our busy work week and can now relax and enjoy Shabbos. But why do we need to wake up?

Every Friday night we take but one step away from our work week and journey into Shabbat. Not just a step, but we enter into a whole new world. We don’t need to worry about what happened, we can simply be where we are and be with those around us and enjoy Shabbos.

But how can we compare leaving our workweek to Jerusalem recovering from the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash? How is this message helping Yerushalayim be healed, the Jewish people as we are in the haftarah of Nechama, comfort? How do we begin rebuilding after the destruction?

The answer lies in our very own work week. What does it take to transition from our busy work to Shabbat?

It takes just one step, that step from everyday life into shul. That is what allows us to leave what is weighing us down and transcend it.

Yerushalayim is currently left in the pits of despair after the destruction That one little step seems like an insurmountable wall that can never be crossed.

That is why G-d is coming to Yerushalayim now and saying you can do it. It is time to wake up. It is just one step. You need to rise up, lift yourself off the ground and you’ll be there.

That one step is this first step on our journey that will bring us to where we need to be.

As each of us takes a step away from our work week I also want us to take a step towards something. It can be a step towards singing kabbalat shabbat, a step towards a delicious Friday night dinner, or a step away from your phone towards peace and quiet.

But the bottom line is make sure that you take that one step away from your week and into SHABBAT.

Rabbi Chaim Metzger was an avrech in Toronto (2020-22). Comments: [email protected]

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