D’var Torah: Kabbalat Shabbat and the Exodus from Egypt by Rabbi Ed Gelb
This summer, our theme is Kabbalat Shabbat. We intend to take a broad look at Shabbat beyond just the Friday evening service. Shabbat is central to the Camp Ramah experience. It is the favorite day of the week for the vast majority of our campers. We celebrate Shabbat through song, dance, prayer, reflection and activity.
At Friday night Kiddush, we refer to two reasons for Shabbat. The first is that God has ended the act of creation and rests on the seventh day. The second is that we celebrate Shabbat in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt.
Why is Shabbat connected to the exodus? Several reasons are given. The Rambam believes that the exodus is connected to Shabbat because when we were slaves, we did not control our own time and we could not rest. Now, we are free and can rest; by observing Shabbat, we remember that there is a God who created this world and that we are lucky to be free and able to live in freedom.