Shabbat: A Day of Rest
by Morris Dweck
There are thirty nine actions forbidden to be preformed
on Shabbat. There are also fences that the Rabbis created to ensure our
commemoration of the day. The question that presents itself is why. Why
should be refrain from doing work once a week? Why should the thirty nine
actions performed in the Mishkan have anything to do with Shabbat. It seems
to have no logic or rational behind it, which is a problem. The Torah is the
ultimate source of intelligence and every detail down to a single letter has
a logical idea behind it. It is our job to seek out the intelligence that is
hidden in the Torah.
In Parashat Tetsave the Torah begins with it's elaboration about the details
of the Mishkan. The Mishkan is so important to the People of Israel because
every detail is surrounded by ideas, from every different sacrifice down to
the intricacies of the Menorah. It was at this time, the building of the
Mishkan that Israel was involved in it's most creative task. They were
involved in creating a place surrounded by the ideas of Judaism. It was a
place was set aside for man to be involved with his Neshamah. It is because
of this creativity that we must refrain from the thirty nine actions of the
Mishkan, on Shabbat.
Every Shabbat we take a day out to reflect on the idea of God as the
Creator. We take a day to reflect on this idea, since our existence is
dependant on the existence of God and we are products of his creation. When
we refrain from doing work on Shabbat we are showing that in truth we are
never involved in creation. Our creativity is a manipulation things that
exist (creating something from something). God as a creator was involved in
a true creation, creating something from nothing.
When we refrain from our most creative actions (the actions preformed at the
Mishkan), we are showing that God is the only existence that is truly
involved in creation. It is for this reason that the Amidah and Kiddush of
Shabbat incorporates references to creation, something that we do not see in
the Amidah of the weekday.