One of the most beautiful and important aspects of Shabbat is that by its very nature it forces us to put aside our work, our electronic gadgets and our ultra-busy schedules, and focus on what is truly important — our relationships with both G-d and family.
The problem we so often face, however, is that it is precisely this aspect of Shabbat that can cause us so much grief. The opportunity to finally spend so many waking hours in such close proximity to one another can seem to result in nothing more than squabbles! So important is it for us to address this matter that the Torah in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Vayakhel-Pikudei, discusses it front and center.
In just the third verse of the parsha the Torah states, “Do not ignite a fire in your dwellings on the day of Shabbat.” The Zohar, in a novel understanding of this verse, understands “fire” here to mean destructive arguments and bickering. Whereas water symbolizes a degree of calmness and serenity, as water merely takes the shape of its container, fire on the other hand is destructive, consuming its container, much like needless arguments can grow and destroy. Thus, the verse is warning us not to have destructive arguments with each other on Shabbat.