The Torah’s Approach To Work: Doing Work Or Work Is Due?

webinars Feb 28, 2019

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1. Exodus 35: 2

שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִים֮ תֵּעָשֶׂ֣ה מְלָאכָה֒ וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י יִהְיֶ֨ה לָכֶ֥ם קֹ֛דֶשׁ שַׁבַּ֥ת שַׁבָּת֖וֹן

“On six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a sabbath of complete rest”


2. Exodus 20: 9

שֵׁ֤֣שֶׁת יָמִ֣ים֙ תַּֽעֲבֹ֔ד֮ וְעָשִׂ֖֣יתָ כָּל־מְלַאכְתֶּֽךָ֒


“Six days you shall labor and do all your work..”


שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִים֮ תֵּעָשֶׂ֣ה מְלָאכָה֒

תֵּעָשֶׂ֣ה בדרך ממילא

תַעַשֶה תעשה בהתעסקות

"Sheshet Yomim Taioseh Melacha"

Taioseh = It will get done

Ta'aaseh = You shall do


3. Mekhilta DeRabbi Shimon Bar Yochai 35:2

, וכתוב אחד אומר: "ששת ימים תעבוד" (שמות כ ט; שמות לד כא)? בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום, מלאכתן נעשית על ידי אחרים; וכשאינן עושין רצונו של מקום, מלאכתן נעשית על ידי עצמן.

This is what Rabbi Yishamel would say: One verse "six days work will get done" and another verse says "six days you shall labor and do all of your work". How can both of these verses be fulfilled? when Israel does the will of G-d their work is done by others, as it says (Isaiah 61:5) "And strangers shall stand and pasture your sheep" and in times when Israel doesn't do the will of G-d their work is done by themselves, and not only that, but even work of others will be done through them, as it says (Deut. 28:48): " will serve your enemies, whom the L-rd will send against you.."


4. Psalms 128:2                        תהילים קכ״ח:ב׳

יְגִ֣יעַ כַּ֭פֶּיךָ כִּ֣י תֹאכֵ֑ל אַ֝שְׁרֶ֗יךָ וְט֣וֹב לָֽךְ

“If you eat the toil of your hands, you are praiseworthy, and it is good for you”



5. Deuteronomy 15:18

וּבֵֽרַכְךָ֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשֶֽׂה

“Hashem will less you in all that you do..”


6. Proverbs 10:22

משלי י׳:כ״ב

כב) בִּרְכַּ֣ת יְ֭הוָה הִ֣יא תַעֲשִׁ֑יר וְלֹֽא־יוֹסִ֖ף עֶ֣צֶב עִמָּֽהּ

(22) The blessing of Hashem, that makes (one)rich, And toil adds nothing thereto.

וְאַתָּ֞ה דַּבֵּ֨ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר אַ֥ךְ אֶת־שַׁבְּתֹתַ֖י תִּשְׁמֹ֑רוּ כִּי֩ א֨וֹת הִ֜וא בֵּינִ֤י וּבֵֽינֵיכֶם֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם לָדַ֕עַת כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה מְקַדִּשְׁכֶֽם׃

7. Exodus 31:13

Speak to the Israelite people and say: Nevertheless, you must keep My sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I the LORD have consecrated you.


8. Rashi Commentary:

ואתה דבר אל בני ישראל SPEAK THOU ALSO UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL — AND thou, although I have given thee charge to command them concerning the work of the Tabernacle let it not appear a light thing to thee to set the Sabbath aside on account of that work.


9. Shulchan Aruch Harav OC 306:21


It is permitted to think about one’s business affairs [on Shabbos], even how to perform labors after Shabbos that are absolutely forbidden on Shabbos,for [our Sages] forbade only speech, [as reflected by the prooftext1that mentions] “speaking about [mundane matters].” [Implied is that] speech is forbidden; thought is permitted.


Nevertheless, if thinking about [his business concerns will cause him] anxiety or even a trace of worry, it is forbidden. [Indeed,] it is an expression of Shabbos pleasure not to think about one’s business concerns at all, but rather to consider all of his work as having been completed. This is [hinted at by] the verse: “Six days shall you labor and you shall perform all your work.” Now, [the verse cannot be understood literally because] there is no way a person can perform all his work in one week. [Instead, the intent is that] every Shabbos, a person should consider all of his work as having been completed. There is no greater pleasure than this.


10.Rabbi S. R. Hirsch on Exodus 35:1-3

The mastery of Man over matter, in getting, producing, changing, manufacturing the raw materials of the world, attained its highest meaning in the Temple. The world submits to Man, for him to submit himself and his world to God, and for him to change this earthly world into a home for the Kingdom of God, to a Temple in which the Glory of God tarries on earth. The building of the Temple is a sanctification of human labour, and in the context here, it is represented as being a combination of all those creative activities of Man, be the cessation of which - by shevita from all melachah - the Sabbath is made into an acknowledgement of man's allegiance to God…


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