The Shabbos Spell

“…For six days, work shall be done; on the seventh day, you shall have sanctity, a Shabbos of complete rest to G-d…” – Shemot 35:2

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן לַה’ – שמות לה, ב

The command of Shabbos observance is first stated in the Aseres Hadibros, the Ten Commandments (Shemot 20:9-10): שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וְעָשִׂיתָ כָל מְלַאכְתֶּךָ וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבָּת לַה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ, “Six days you shall work and perform all your labor, but the seventh day is a Shabbos to G-d, your L-rd.”

This command is reiterated here in Parshas Vayakhel, but with a number of differences. Notably, the passive statement here, “work shall be done,” with no mention of who is doing the work, replaces the directly phrased, “you shall work” used in the Aseres Hadibros. Additionally, here the seventh day is not referred to only as a “Shabbos to G-d,” but with the twofold title Shabbos Shabbason, “a Shabbos of Shabbos.”

With these two variances in Parshas Vayakhel, the Torah brings attention to the effects of Shabbos observance on the weekdays as well.


We rest on Shabbos to remember that G-d created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. Thereby, “we instill in our souls the belief in the world’s deliberate creation” (Sefer Hachinuch). This recognition, that G-d deliberately created, creates and conducts all the affairs of the world and humankind, fundamentally affects the way we approach our work throughout the entire week. Knowing that our daily sustenance is provided by G-d alone, our work in the six days of the week becomes as though passive, “work shall be done.” As our sustenance is truly in the hands of G-d and the work is merely the conduit for G-d’s blessings, we don’t attach ourselves to our work emotionally nor allow it to consume our minds and hearts.

In turn, this affects Shabbos as well. For after six days under the spell of Shabbos, the Shabbos that follows is Shabbos Shabbason, “a Shabbos upon Shabbos.”

—Sefer Hasichos 5749 vol. 1, pp. 381-382


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