Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:100

Rest Is for those who Work


Various Rabbis

Kislev 29 5780
[We continue with more arguments of Moshe that the angels are not fit to receive the Torah.]

Gemara: "What else is written in [the Torah]?" "Remember the day of Shabbat to sanctify it" (Shemot 20:7). "Do you do work at all that you would need to rest from work?"

Ein Ayah: The characteristic through which man completes and improves the world is revealed through his ability to work and thereby act within creation. He uses the G-d-given power to innovate and create in order to be His partner in creation.

Man’s unique quality, which finds expression through the divine spring of wisdom that enables his physical actions, is evidence of the quality of his spirit and his ethical actions. His ethical actions enable him to improve the natural world. This is the point of Shabbat, which is a cessation of work in the physical realm, which restores the practical powers and returns them to the soul. This allows his internal power of creativity to grow.

Menucha (rest) is a most powerful, lofty creation. It is much greater than the value of increasing and elevating, as a man may do when he is involved, with his wisdom, in the world of physical function. In order to complete the wonderful vision of eternal rest that is a secret of creation, Shabbat is the source of all blessing. It is the flow of innovation and the source of Israel’s unique, sacred life. This is as is written regarding Shabbat, "… to know that I am Hashem Who has sanctified you" (Shemot 31:13). This gives us the power to glorify the whole of existence and increase the power of the world and the light from the spring of life of the lofty blessing. The menucha of Shabbat engenders a special creation upon which the nucleus of Torah is based. It is one with man’s ability to work and produce, which in Israel includes the ability to do Hashem’s work, which continuously elevates the universe.

Angels, though, not only do not do mundane work but are also incapable of innovating and adding to the world. They can only carry out Hashem’s word and keep the world going according to its rules. They do not add glory to lofty elements of the universe that are above creation. Since they do not work, they do not have rest and cessation of work. Therefore, the central tenet of the Torah to refrain from work on Shabbat is inapplicable to them.
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