For six days you shall do work, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem (35:2)
The Chofetz Chaim once asked why this verse, which describes Shabbos, needed to begin with the words “For six days you shall do work”, why not just begin with “The seventh day shall be holy for you”?
He answered that this verse teaches us that the success of our six days of work is solely dependent on the extent to which we make Shabbos a holy day of complete rest. Therefore, explained the Chofetz Chaim, if one desecrates the Shabbos, his work during the week will not succeed.
The Chofetz Chaim once illustrated this lesson with the following analogy:
There was once a simple farmer who arranged to sell all of his wheat to a wholesaler. Since there were so many stalks, the wholesaler told the farmer that he would make things easier and place a penny in a bowl every time a new bundle was loaded onto his cart. At the end of the harvest, the wholesaler would count each penny and exchange them for the full price of the bundle. As the days went on, and the wholesaler’s bowl steadily filled with pennies, the farmer could not take his eyes off the pile of coins that faced him every time he placed wheat into the wholesaler’s cart. One day, the farmer could not contain himself any longer and when the wholesaler’s back was turned for a moment, he reached his hand into the bowl and grabbed a handful of pennies, elated at the small fortune he had acquired.
With this analogy, the Chofetz Chaim shows that even though this foolish farmer thought that he was gaining, he was really only cheating himself. So too, someone who works on Shabbos will ultimately see no gain. He may be elated at the small fortune that he has acquired, but in the long run, it will not be worth anything compared to what he could have received.
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