The end of this week’s parasha summarizes all the יומים טובים:
The obvious question is, why mention שבת here?
That does not seem to fit the פשט. The Vilna Gaon is often cited as having a different interpretation, though I haven’t found the original:
The problem is that the Vilna Gaon is wrong; the מועדים are called שבת:
I think that the Vilna Gaon is hinting at something deeper than the fact that we can cook on Yom Tov. There are two aspects of “resting” on Shabbat, the negative commandment (“Thou Shalt Not Work”) and the positive (“Thou Shalt Rest”):
What’s interesting is that for the יומים טובים, the Torah says כל מלאכת עבדה לא תעשו (the negative commandment), and it calls those days שבת or שבתון, but there is no direct command תשבות except for יום כיפור:
There is a complicated מחלקת in the gemara whether there is a מצוַת עשה of שבות on יום טוב. Rabbi Michael Rosensweig has a shiur on this, which I don’t pretend to fully understand, but the Rambam concludes that there is a מצוַת עשה as well as a לא תעשה:
However, Rav Rosensweig points out that the derivation of the positive commandment is not from the word שבתון (that simply serves as the textual hook for deriving the details of the law) but from מקרא קודש:
We make יום טוב a מקרא קודש by not spending our time doing prosaic things but instead dedicate the day to ה׳. But that isn’t quite true. We do other things on יום טוב besides serve ה׳: we eat. A lot:
And in fact, that is another מצוַת עשה on יום טוב:
But the truth is that the מצוה of שמחה does not detract from our עבודת ה׳:
Our eating and drinking have to be with the community. That is part of the מקרא קודש.
And that explains an odd insertion in our parasha:
The Chasam Sofer explains the connection:
The Torah is telling us that שבועות starts the harvest season. Don’t spend your “חול המואד” going to Six Flags; get out in the fields and work, so you can give לקט שכחה ופאה לעני כראוי. That is a מקרא קדש.
Rabbi Shulman likes to point out that the משכן is called the אוהל מועד, the “tent of meeting” or “tent of the encounter”. There are two aspects of this encounter: we meet with ה׳ and we meet with the community as a whole. The מועדים as well as מקראי קודש have to encompass both.