Adapted from the Lubavitcher Rebbe's teachings by Yanki Tauber and Yisroel Rubin


Time and space are related. Indeed, physicists refer to 'spacetime,' a four-dimensional grid against which objects and events can be measured.

Time is abstract, yet we describe a 'point' in time, a 'stretch' of time, time 'cycles,' even the 'condensation' or 'fanning out' of time. Complex time concepts can be explained by applying spatial characteristics and geometric models to our perception of time.

One such model is the circle, a perfect spatial shape. A circle's primary features are the central point from which it radiates in all directions; the radius from the circle's center to its outer limit; and the circumference enclosing it, about six times the radius.

Regardless of size, all circles have the same ratio: the larger the radius, the larger the circle area and the larger the circumference. Each additional inch, yard or mile of radius translates into (slightly more than) six additional inches (yards or miles) of circumference.

What's the Point?

The point itself occupies no area, yet it is the center that makes the circle a circle, and is basic to all geometric forms. The point marks the line's beginning, its center and its end, and its convergence with other lines. The radius extends from it, the diameter turns on it and the circumference revolves around it.

Let us now envision the weekly seven-day cycle as a circle, which encompasses six perfect triangles. The circumference represents the six workdays, tracts of time, progress and change. The circle's center represents Shabbat, a timeless point, the axis on which the week turns.

Quality Time

Shabbat is the goal and the purpose of time, when we go deeper to elevate our six workdays to holier levels. Shabbat takes us beyond the whirling perimeters of time to 'taste the eternal Shabbat of Moshiach which will be 'wholly Shabbat and everlasting rest.'

This point of calm and tranquility, eye of the storm, gives us the vision to elevate and transform the imperfect world during the six workdays. Shabbat is the center of the six days that form the weekly circumference.

It is the essence of time precisely because it is devoid of the motion and flux that characterize time, just as the circle area is defined by its area-less center. In the circle of time, the distance from its tranquil center multiplied by six results in the 'circumference' of the six workdays.

According to the Kabbala the six weekdays reflect the six divine 'sefirot' attributes of Creation: 'Chesed' attraction, 'Gevurah' rejection, 'Tiferet' sy   nthesis, 'Netzach' competition, 'Hod' devotion, and 'Yesod' communication, coloring every endeavor and experience. The seventh attribute of 'Malchut' receptiveness 'has no quality of its own' yet distributes to all.

The greater the radius, the further the circumference. The further we depart from the infinite timeless 'Shabbat' at its core, the more crass, material and turbulent it becomes. But regardless of the superficial flux of life, it connects with the inner axis, serving its harmonious end.

What Goes around, Comes Around

The Talmud teaches us: "He who prepares on Friday, has what to eat on Shabbat." Shabbat is the source, yet on the other hand, the weekday circumference helps feed, fuel and protect it.

Maimonides concludes the section of the Holy Temple Laws (Mishne Torah) with this ruling: "Before dawn when the Holy Temple opened for services, two groups of Cohen priests carrying lanterns conducted a site inspection. This procedure was followed each day, with the exception of Friday night, when Sabbath law prohibits holding a torch. Instead, they then inspected the Temple by the light of lamps left burning on Friday before the Sabbath."

This seeming anti-climactic statement delivers a poignant message. The six weekdays represent the six worldly millennia, while Shabbat represents the everlasting Shabbat of Redemption.

Symbolically, the mitzvot we perform while still in the Galut darkness serve as pilot lights that will illuminate the era of the Third Temple, speedily in our days.

(Based on an entry in the Rebbe's journal Reshimot 3 pp. 46-47, Shabbat Devarim 5740)