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The verse states…“For six days labour may be done, and on the seventh day is a complete day of rest, a holy convocation; you shall not do any work” (vayikra 23:3) The mitzvah of shabbos is written in the Torah 5 times. Each time it is introduced with the same statement that on 6 days labour is permitted, three times it says labour may be done – tay’oseh melochoh – תעשה מלאכה whilst the other two times it says you shall work – ta’avod – תעבד. In addition the first three times it is written, the day of Shabbos is described as a day of complete rest – shabbos shabbosson – שבת שבתון where the other two times it is described as shabbos – שבת. So what is the meaning of these differences and how are they connected? Mayim chaim explains that whilst bnei yisrael are at their ideal state and that as a whole they are considered to be completely righteous they are blessed with being completely free of all economic obligations. Their planting and reaping will be done by others while they involve themselves in more spiritual work, Torah study. Other times when they at a less than ideal state they must themselves labour to produce their bread leaving only limited time for Torah study, (Berachos 35b) The phrase תעשה מלאכה , labour may be done, indicates that the people themselves are not labouring in the fields but labour is being done for them, this is the jews at their most exhalted level. When the entire week is ‘shabbos’ then shabbos itself becomes a day of even higher spirituality, a shabbos after a week of shabbasos – this is described in the Torah with the words שבת שבתון, double shabbos or a shabbos of shabbasos. However when the level of Bnei Yisrael is such that during the week they must work, described in the Torah as ששת ימים תעבד, six days you shall work then shabbos itself is not on that double level of intensity and is simply called shabbos – שבת. Apiryon offers a different explanation of the passive term תעשה. One who works with the feeling that the level of his sustenance is strictly confined to the amount of effort he puts in is bound to find it difficult to abstain from work one day a week. The Torah’s message for this person is that he must change his attitude to the relationship between income and labour. A person can not take sole credit for his income nor sole responsibility for his losses. His every success is decreed from ABOVE; his efforts are a mere token input so that Hashem can send him his livelihood. He must look at work as if it is done by others, that is the meaning of the passive תעשה מלאכה, labour may be done. When a person looks at his labour in this way he will happily fulfil the rest of the verse, the seventh day is a day of complete rest!!! GOOD SHABBOS

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