Torah Portion: Yisro
Remember the Shabbos day to keep it holy (Shemos 20:8).
It is a positive commandment to verbally express — on the Shabbos day as it arrives and as it leaves — words in which there is a remembrance of the day’s greatness and importance, and of its being set apart from the days before and after. [The Torah thus] says, Remember the Shabbos day to keep it holy(Shemos 20:8); that is, recall it as a remembrance of holiness and greatness. Our Sages taught that the commandment to say these words is to say them over [ a cup of] wine.
Among the roots of this commandment: Through this act we are to be aroused to remember the greatness of the day and to affirm in our heart our faith in the creation of the world out of non-existence, as it is written, for in six days Hashem made heaven and earth… and He rested on the seventh day (Shemos20:2). This is why we were commanded to perform this act with wine, for a man’s nature is greatly stirred by it, as it sustains and gives joy. And, as explained earlier, the greater one’s deed and the greater one’s stirring — the greater the impact on the person and the longer it will last.
This mitzvah applies in all places and at all times, to both men and women. Despite the fact that it is a time-bound mitzvah, our Sages have taught us that women are nevertheless obligated to recite Kiddush and Havdalah.
One who transgresses it and does not sanctify Shabbos with words, violates a positive commandment of the Torah. One who sanctified the day with words over bread instead of wine, has, after the fact, discharged his Scriptural duty.