Times of Refreshing

In Exodus 31:17, when Moses is recounting the creation story to Israel, we read “…and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed”. The phase “and was refreshed” is vayinnafash (vav-yod-nun-nun-fey-shin).

Nafash (to catch ones’ breath, to breathe, to rest) is from the same root as nefesh (living soul), which we find in the creation of man, “and Adam became a living soul”. The “nefesh” is the whole person, body, mind and soul – these are not separable in Hebraic thought.

Va is the conjunction “and”. The letter nun is doubled (and therefore important). Nun means “life”. The prefix “yi” means “my” (possessive pronoun). Actually, it just needs the “i” sound (as in beni, my son, or abimelech, my father (abi) is the king (melech)), but you can’t have two consecutive vowels in Hebrew so it becomes “va-yi”.

If we put it together, we can read it as “and life (nun) to my (yi) soul (nefesh)”. So, on the seventh day, God rested and it is life to my soul. Shabbat is about LIFE (”I came that you might have LIFE, and life more abundantly”) and about refreshing ourselves in preparation for facing the battles that may come during the rest of the week. Shavua Tov (have a good week).

Rodney posted at כ״ב בשבט ה׳תש״ע (February 6, 2010) Category: Feasts, Sabbath, Torah