The Avnei Nezer writes that we the read the following posuk in the haftarah on Yom Kippur morning:.אם תשיב משבת רגלך. The superficial meaning of these words are, “If you restrain your foot because it is the Sabbath." The Avnei Nezer finds a deeper meaning: If you will refrain from making Shabbos,רגלך becoming something done out of הרגל, rote, you will then merit the Hashem’s promise in the next pasuk: Then you will delight in Hashem, and I will mount, you astride the heights of the world; I will provide you the heritage of your forefather Yaakov for the mouth of Hashem has spoken.

Does anyone know where the source for this Avnei Nezer is located?

  • 9
    How do you know the Avnei Nezer writes this anywhere?
    – Double AA
    Jan 14 '15 at 4:20
  • if you like an answer consider marking it correct.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 14 '17 at 1:34

This is alluded to in R' Avraham Borenstein's (the author of Avnei Nezer) נאות הדשא (Bo, §2), where he says:

If one's service of HaShem is performed in a perfunctory manner and habitually, this is the opposite of the trait of Ya'akov.... Shabbos also comes with renewal, per the statement of the Ariza"l that this is why we say on Shabbos: "Sing a new song to HaShem" (T'hillim 96:1). And since renewal is the opposite of the trait of habituation, it is therefore stated about Shabbos (Y'sha'yahu 58:13), "If you restrain your foot (raglecha) because of Shabbos". And the word "raglecha" can be interpreted as relating to the word "hergel" (meaning "habituation", causing the verse to read, "If you restrain your perfunctory ways because of Shabbos"). And we have already explained this elsewhere.

R' Borenstein's son also expresses this concept at greater length (Shem miShmu'el, B'chukosai, 5672):

ובזה יש לפרש מ"ש (ישעי' נ"ח) אם תשיב משבת רגלך, היינו שבשבת שהוא יומא דנשמתא צריך שיהי' הכל בחיות אפי' עשיות ופעולות האיברים יהיו בחיות ורגש ולא מצד ההרגל כלל, ואינו דומה לששת ימי המעשה שהגוף צריך לעבוד עכ"פ מצד ההרגל והנשמה בחיות חדשה, אבל בשבת צריך שהגוף יהי' בטל אל הנשמה לגמרי וחיות הנשמה תפעל גם על הגוף שיעשה בחיות ולא מצד ההרגל. וזה שמדוקדק הלשון אם תשיב משבת רגלך, שלכאורה הי' צריך לומר בשבת, אך להנ"ל יובן שהפירוש הוא שבשביל שבת שהוא יומא דנשמתא ישוב מההרגל אלא לעשות הכל בחיות חדשה:


The verse (Y'sha'yahu 58:13) may be thus interpreted: "If you restrain your foot (raglecha) because of Shabbos", namely, that on Shabbos, which is the day of the soul (see Zohar, Vayakheil 205a), everything must be done in a lively manner. Even the deeds and the actions of the limbs should be lively and vigorous, with no aspect of rote (hergel) at all.

And this is not similar to the six days of the week, when at least the body must work by habit even while the soul conducts itself with new life. But on Shabbos, the body must be totally subordinate to the soul, and the life of the soul also affects the body, that it conduct itself with life and not by rote.

And this is why the language is precise (Y'sha'yahu ibid.): "If you restrain your foot (raglecha) because of Shabbos (miShabbos)" [lit. "from Shabbos"]. Because it apparently should have said, "If you restrain your foot on Shabbos". However, according to the aforementioned, it will be understood that the interpretation is that, on account of Shabbos, which is the day of the soul, a person should rest from habituation, and rather do everything with new life.

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