"When you come into your land... the earth shall rest a Shabbat for G‑d. For six years you shall sow your land but the seventh year shall be…a Shabbat for G‑d" (Leviticus 25:2-4). This verse begins with a discussion of Shabbat, moves on to discuss the six years and then returns to Shabbat. What is the purpose of this circuitry?

The seven-year cycle which culminates in the sabbatical year (shemitah) is reflective of the seven-day cycle which makes up our week. Our week begins with Sunday yet its predicate is Shabbat. Every morning before we recite the song of the day we declare, "Today is the first day of Shabbat." This, according to Nachmanides, is how we fulfill the commandment of remembering Shabbat every day.

Shabbat is greater than the rest of the week, yet weekdays create the Shabbat. The Talmud says, "He who has toiled and prepared before Shabbat will eat on Shabbat." Surely the eating referred to here is not merely physical but also spiritual; our spiritual achievement during the course of the week generates the reward that we enjoy on Shabbat.

This is the element of Shabbat that is vested in the weekday itself. All week long we work for Shabbat. All week long we build up the spirit of Shabbat. In fact, the magnitude of our experience on Shabbat depends on the effort we make during the preceding weekdays. If we succeed during the week we have a fulfilling Shabbat. If not we try again next week.

This insight lends significance to the custom of our great sage, Shamai. We are told that whenever he came across a nice garment or a delicacy he would say, "Save it for Shabbat." Torah is compared to food and the mitzvot (commandments) are compared to garments. We might say that whenever Shamai felt that he had performed a mitzvah well or studied Torah correctly he would say, "We have just saved up for a good Shabbat."

It is now much easier to understand the Zohar’s statement, "Shabbat is the blessing of the entire week." Is this perhaps why we wish one another "a good Shabbat"? Wishing each other "a good Shabbat" is in effect wishing each other "a good week."