Devar Torah Vayakhel – A Greater Catch: great Pshat

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    Vayakhel 2 — A Greater Catch:
    ששת ימים תעשה מלאכה וביום השביעי יהיה לכם קדש שבת שבתון לה’
    Six days work shall be done but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem (Shemos 35:2).

    In Sefer Apiryon, Rav Shlomo Ganzfried (author of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch) deals with two well-known questions. First, since the thrust of this pasuk is to restrict work on the seventh day of the week, why does the verse not just say, “On the seventh day do not do any work”?
    Second, the pasuk does not actually say that we are to do the work for six days, but that the work shall be done. What message is the Torah giving us by wording the command in this way?
    Only a person who honestly believes that his parnassah is from Hashem is able to experience a true sense of rest on Shabbos. A person who recognizes that the amount of his effort or the acumen of his ability is not what determines his income is able to take a day off of work with no regrets. This person understands that the six days are no different from the seventh. Just as any profit from work on the six days is only because Hashem desires it, so, too, there will be no loss of income from not working on the seventh day. His earnings are dictated by Hashem, not by his effort!
    On the other hand, the person who believes that his talent and hard work earn him his payday will have a very hard time resting on Shabbos. He views the profit from his work during the six days as his own, and he will also view the time spent not working on Shabbos as lost profits. Even if he does not work, he will do so in angst, with no tranquility.
    That is why the Torah first writes, “Sheishes yamim tei’aseh melachah — Six days work shall be done.” We have to realize that for six days, “the work is done,” as if on its own. Material blessings are found only through the assistance of Hashem; without His help, all a person’s hard work is for naught.
    When a person recognizes that he is not really an active player in earning his livelihood, and that the work and its resulting profit are independent of him and his effort, he will truly appreciate Shabbos and be able to rest on this special day — without any worries that resting on Shabbos is costing him money.
    Therefore, the pasuk says to keep Shabbos holy, rather than saying not to work on Shabbos; once one understands that it’s not his effort that bears the fruit, he will be able to appreciate the kedushah of Shabbos.
    Along these lines, Rav Meir Yechiel HaLevi, the Ostrovtzer Rebbe, explains the minhag of eating fish on Shabbos. We are all familiar with the sight of a larger fish chasing a smaller fish. The curious thing is that when we open the larger fish, we usually find the smaller one with its tail near the head of the bigger fish. We rarely find the tail of the captive lined up with the tail of the captor.
    Even though the larger fish was nipping at a smaller fish’s tail as it attempted to catch it, Hashem caused another fish to come from the opposite direction and enter its mouth. Hence, when the larger fish is cut open, the two fish are in opposite directions.
    The need for this is obvious, writes the Ostrovtzer. Were the larger fish to swallow the smaller one from behind, it would be pierced and ripped apart by the opposite-facing fins.
    The lesson from this is one of bitachon. We may be doing the work — going in one direction after a potential client — but our parnassah may come from the opposite direction. Additionally, the venture that we had been pursuing, and which we regret not getting, would have been our undoing.
    What better lesson for Shabbos. I may have exerted myself, but it was not my work that brought the result. I did not do; it was the work that was done.
    Much like the catch of the fish, all profit comes — not from me, but from Hashem.

    Reb Eliezer

    The holy Zohar says that the six days gain strength from shabbos. The value of work done on the six days comes through shabbos. A person works but does not accomplish anything. The coming shabbos, as by creatiion, reflects back by streghtening tne previous six days and determines the work’s done value.

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