Acharei: Good bye Angels?

I hope everybody had a good Pesach.  Thankfully, ours was probably the best we’ve had.  Everybody behaved well, the weather was wonderful, we took day trips to interesting places, and we actually had good, old-fashioned, “family time.”  We travelled from the Mediterranean to the Kinneret, and hiked in the hills of the Upper Galilee.  Every trip we took turned out to have a spiritual component and a "fun" component.  All in all, it was busy and relaxing at the same time.  Nothing like Eretz Yisroel in the spring!


“No one else shall be in the Communion Tent from the time that [Aaron] enters the sanctuary to make atonement until he leaves” (Vayikra 16:17). 


Every Shabbos night, after coming home from shul, we gather around the table and sing Shalom Aleichim to the two angels that escort us back.  We sing “Shalom Aleichim” (Peace upon you…), “Boachem L’Shalom” (Come in peace), “Barachuni L’Shalom” (Bless me in peace), and end off with “Tzeitzchem L’Shalom” (Leave in peace).  It’s a bit strange.  Welcome, come in, bless me, leave.  Would we not want them to stay with us?  Why are we asking them to leave?


Rav Shimshon Pincus explains that on Yom Kippur, only the Kohen Gadol is allowed to be in the Holy of Holies with Hashem.  No other being is allowed in, not even spiritual beings.  It is a time of extreme closeness between the Kohen Gadol, representing the Jewish people, and Hashem Himself.


So too with Shabbos, which is a time designated to be between us and Hashem.  We welcome the angels, we ask for their brachos, but then we say, “Listen…it’s nice to have you around and all, but now is Shabbos, and this time is a special time between only Hashem and ourselves.  So, we’ll see you after Shabbos.

This gives us an interesting insight to the uniqueness of Shabbos.  It isn’t simply a “day of rest," but it is a day where we focus on our relationship with Hashem, without letting other issues get in the way.


Have a wonderful Shabbos!