Since Hashem made the world and it’s really a chiyuv for everybody to recognize that and to thank Hashem, so what is so terrible if a goy keeps the Shabbos in honor of Hashem and to give gratitude to Hashem for making the world? Why is a גוי ששבת חייב מיתה?
The question is this: Akum shashav chayav misah – a gentile who keeps Shabbos deserves death (Sanhedrin 58b). So this gentleman asks why does he deserve death? Let him utilize the Shabbos just like we do for the grand purposes of remembering the creation of the world.
The answer is this. Suppose that gentile who wants to serve Hashem in gratitude will walk into the Beis Hamikdash and put on the garments of the kohen gadol and say, “I’m here to serve Hashem.” We give him a smack and we drag him to the beis din and he’s put to death. He’s put to death. You know the Beis Hamikdash had a sign in Latin outside: “Any gentile who enters will be put to death.” And the Romans allowed that. The Romans understood that a gentile doesn’t belong in the holy precinct of the Jews.
Any gentile who enters the sanctuary of Shabbos is put to death. Why? Because you have a right to thank Hashem but you have no right to take privileges that don’t belong to you. The Shabbos is a special privilege, a special honor bestowed only on Hashem’s people, and nobody has a right to usurp that privilege if it wasn’t given to him. If you want, thank Hashem. But don’t keep Shabbos.
Once I was sitting in Mesivta Chaim Berlin in my office. A man knocked on my door. I opened the door and a goy came in with a banjo on his back. “What do you want?” I said. He said he wants to become a Jew and he tells me that he’s already keeping Shabbos. I said, “Don’t keep Shabbos. You’re not a Jew yet.” “What should I do,” he said? I told him, “Every Shabbos at least once turn on the electric switch. At least once to show that you’re not keeping Shabbos.”
A gentile shouldn’t keep Shabbos because Shabbos is an especial privilege. Shabbos is a garment of priesthood, of kehunah; a glorious gift that Hashem gave us. And nobody but the Am Yisrael is allowed to keep Shabbos. And even if a goy will keep Wednesday instead of Shabbos, it’s the same thing. He shouldn’t keep any day of Shabbos. For him it’s very good to work seven days a week. Do you know why it’s good for him to work seven days a week? Because he has to be busy. You have to be know how to utilize leisure. Leisure is dangerous if it’s not used properly.
But the Am Hashem they have the Torah. They have mitzvos. They know what to do with the Shabbos. They are able to utilize leisure. Nobody else is capable of utilizing leisure properly and therefore we say to the gentiles, “Get busy on every day of the week! It’s the best thing for you to work seven days a week. If you want to thank Hashem, do it. But don’t adopt the practices that belong only to the Am Hashem.”
TAPE # 751