Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us
Shabbat, 21 Tammuz 5777 / July 15, 2017

Shabbat: Weaning Ourselves from Materiality

Shabbat: Weaning Ourselves from Materiality

Seventh Reading: Numbers 29:12–30:1

Special communal offerings were sacrificed every day of the seven-day holiday of Sukot. But as whereas the number of rams and lambs offered up remained constant throughout the seven days, the number of bulls decreased from 13 on the first day to seven on the seventh day. On the following day, the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, only one single bull was offered up.
וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם עֹלָה . . . פָּרִים בְּנֵי בָקָר שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר וגו': (במדבר כט:יג)
[G‑d instructed Moses to tell the Jewish people,] “You must offer up an ascent-offering [on Sukot] of 13 young bulls [on the first day] . . . ” Numbers 29:13

If we indulge the “animal” side of our personalities, always giving in to what it insists are its “needs,” it will quickly learn to assert itself and make increasing demands on us. Instead, we should accustom it to make do with the minimum, while we strive for greater and greater fulfillment in spiritual areas. On the other hand, if we try to change our animal side too abruptly, it will simply refuse to comply. We must accustom it gently and gradually, showing it step by step how spiritual fulfillment is even more satisfying than material satisfaction.

Once our material drives have been trained in this way, we can make a quantum leap and wean them entirely of their material orientation, just like the quantum leap from the last day of Sukot to Shemini Atzeret, when the number of bulls offered up drops from seven to one.1

Sichot Kodesh 5727, vol. 2, p. 303.
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson (11 Nissan 1902–3 Tammuz 1994) became the seventh rebbe of the Chabad dynasty on 10 Shevat 1950. He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century, a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah, and fluent in many languages and on scientific subjects. The Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet, having sent thousands of emissaries around the globe, dedicated to strengthening Judaism.

Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky is a scholar, author and anthologist, and is editor-in-chief at Chabad House Publications of California. He is the author and translator of Apples from the Orchard, gleanings from the writings of the Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria, 1534–1572) on the Torah, and is the author and editor-in-chief of the Kehot Chumash produced by Chabad House Publications, featuring an interpolated translation of the Torah with commentary adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1 Comment
1000 characters remaining
Wang Zhangyuan China November 6, 2016

Title Shabbat: Weaning Ourselves from Materiality,however in the text the Title is Authority, why different?

Kind regards, Reply

Daily Quote
Seeing brings on memory, and memory brings action
  –Talmud, Menachot 43a
This page in other languages