Shabbos is a time of achdus, unity, in a number of different relationships. The first and foremost of these is our relationship with Hashem. Halachah dictates that on Shabbos one is not supposed to pray for personal requests. Rabbi Shimshon Pincus (1944 – 2001, Ofakim, Israel) explains this law with an analogy to a fundraiser. At times, the fundraiser will ask a potential donor for money, but on other occasions, he will simply spend time building his relationship with the potential donor. This relationship building will ensure that the next time the fundraiser will ask for a donation, the check will be much larger. Any good fundraiser will readily admit that the key to successful fundraising really lies in this relationship building. On Shabbos, Rabbi Pincus explains, our goal is simply to build our relationship with Hashem. This will ensure that when we pray for our various needs during the week, it will be a more meaningful prayer and our requests will be more likely to be fulfilled.
Another area of achdus on Shabbos is shalom bayis – unity between husband and wife. All of the laws surrounding the Shabbos candles depend on what will most likely prevent discord from breaking out. On Friday night, we sing Shalom Aleichem – a song about the malachim, angels, that accompany the men home from shul. We all know the famous Gemara that describes how one of these angels is hoping to find harmony in the home, while the other is hoping to find disharmony. Our children come home from nursery with the song – “The Shabbos angels are peeking through my window….”
Shabbos is also a time of achdus for the community. Even those that don’t necessarily come to shul during the week will make it a point to come on Shabbos. Various communal programs such as onegs, youth groups, and classes abound.
The Daf Yomi, too, is a unity-building concept. One of the reasons that Rabbi Meir Shapiro founded the Daf Yomi program was to create achdus amongst the Jewish people. He envisioned a traveler from Europe getting off the boat in America and being able to walk into the first shul he finds in order to hear a class on the exact page of Gemara that he is currently studying.
How fitting, then, is it, that upon finishing Meseches Shabbos in the current cycle of Daf Yomi, our entire community joins together in celebration! What an unbelievable and inspiring moment this is where the various shuls and organizations that exist throughout our community come together in a moment of achdus to rejoice upon this momentous occasion. Seeing the community Shacharis this past Purim was extremely moving; seeing this united siyum just a few weeks later is all the more so.
As we begin Meseches Eiruvin, we once more find achdus as an underlying theme. The main objective of the eiruv is the unification of a group of disparate domains into a single domain. Let us, therefore, continue building the achdus within our community as we begin the journey through Meseches Eiruvin, and may our achdus be the catalyst for us to be able to celebrate the siyum on Eiruvin in Yerushalayim with the coming of Mashiach.