Over these seven weeks we are building our characters. This is thanks to the Torah law in Parshat Emor which tells us,
“Sheva shabbatot temimot tihyena.”
We count the days from the second day of Pesach until Shavuot and these ‘must be seven whole and complete weeks’ of counting.
We count upwards from one up to 49, so that on each day during this journey, we will continue to improve our characters beyond where we were standing the day before.
This situation is actually mirrored during every week of our lives. In the same way as Pesach inspires us to grow and develop well beyond the festival, so too with shabbat. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that the names of the days of the week in Hebrew are different from any other language.
Sunday is Yom Rishon, the first day. Monday is Yom Sheini, the second day, going up to Friday, which is Yom Shishi, the sixth day. Shabbat just like Pesach serves as an enormous source of inspiration to us and sets off a process, a journey through which in each subsequent day during the week we will continue to grow and develop further. Therefore, in extraordinary fashion, shabbat is not only beautiful and majestic within itself, it is also the inspiration for many wonderful days that follow.
This coming shabbat will be ShabbatUK! Sadly because of Covid, we weren’t able to celebrate ShabbatUK in 2020 and in 2021 and at long last we have this glorious opportunity. I’ve been overwhelmed by the extraordinary response of communities right across the UK. It’s going to be an exceptionally special shabbat.
The greatness of ShabbatUK will not only be within the day itself, which will be exceptionally special, but beyond it, please God, in the follow-up.
I invite you all to embark on a journey beyond ShabbatUK, to guarantee that the wonderful experiences we’re going to have will be a source of inspiration to enable us all on each successive day to grow and develop further.
I’m so delighted to wish you all Shabbat UK shalom.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis