75 words for 75 years of Israel – Menucha/Rest

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!

מְנוּחָה

MENUCHA

MEH-NOO-CHA

REST

“For in six days God made heaven and earth and sea—and all that is in them—and then rested on the seventh day; therefore God blessed the Shabbat day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:11)

כי ששת ימים עשה יהוה את השמים ואת הארץ את הים ואת כל אשר בם וינח ביום השביעי על כן ברך יהוה את יום השבת ויקדשהו.

“Because you have not yet come to the allotted rest and inheritance that Hashem your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 12:9)

כי לא באתם עד עתה אל המנוחה ואל הנחלה אשר יהוה אלהיך נתן לך.

Menucha, Hebrew for “rest,” is often used in the Bible to describe how God rested after the six days of creation. This established the seventh day, Shabbat, as a day of rest for all time, both to honor God as the Creator of all things and to provide humanity with a day to reflect upon the purpose of our existence in this world.

The Bible also uses menucha to refer to the Land of Israel, where the people of Israel would settle and “rest” and finally become a nation in their own land. As the verse states, “Because you have not yet come to the allotted rest and inheritance that your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 12:9). 

Rashi, the great Bible commentator, writes that menucha specifically refers to Shiloh, the longtime home of the Tabernacle in Israel and the spiritual center of the 12 tribes of Israel before King Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem. Menucha is a fitting word for the site of the Tabernacle, for the primary purpose of the Tabernacle was to create a physical space for God’s presence to “rest” in the midst of the people of Israel and all of humanity.

In one of his most well-known psalms, King David uses menucha to describe the rest and tranquility that only God can provide to humanity. “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me to water in places of repose” (Psalm 23:2). God is our constant source of support; only through our relationship with Him can we experience rest and tranquility, and realize that we lack nothing.

The Israel Bible Team

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