Work that gets done of itself

What does the Torah's phrase descrbing Shabbat as "a day of complete rest for Hashem" mean?

Danny Ginsbourg, | updated: 20:26

Judaism Danny Ginsbourg
Danny Ginsbourg

Why, ask the commentators, does the Torah say:(35:2)’On six days תעשה מלאכה: work shall be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem’?

The word תעשה, they note, means literally: the work shall be done ‘of itself’; why does it not say, as it does in the fourth of the Ten Commandments:(Yitro 20:9)’Six days shall you work, and accomplish all your work’- meaning: man does the work?

Rav David Hofstedter answers: It comes to teach us that, in truth, ‘our’ work does not come to fruition because of our toil, but only  by Hashem enabling it ‘to be done’. This is alluded to by the Torah saying that it is ‘done of itself’, as distinct from man’s labour being the sole ‘factor’.

The Chafetz Chaim, in his golden words, says:’Our task is to do, but the תוצאות: the outcome, הביצוע: whether it comes to fruition, is solely the province  of the Creator’.

We, in fact, proclaim this in the first of the Rambam’s Thirteen Principles:’I believe באמונה שלמה that the Creator alone עושה כל המעשים: makes all things’.

Expounds Rav Hofstedter: This is an essential message, so that we heed the Torah’s warning, and do not fall into the heresy of:(Ekev 8:17-18)’And you may say in your heart: My strength and the might of my hand made me all this wealth; Then you shall remember Hashem, your G-d; that it was He who gave you the strength to make wealth’.

Adds Rav Shlomo Ganzfried: This message was given at this time, as offerings were ‘invited’ for the erection of the mishkan, so that the people would give generously towards the construction of a sanctuary in which Hashem would ‘dwell’, in gratitude for Hashem being the source of all their wealth.

And this, too, is why the Torah says:(Terumah 25:2)’ויקחו לי: and they shall take for Me a portion’- and not: ויתנו:’They shall GIVE to me’; to teach that, that that which we ‘give’, is, in fact, ‘taken’, from Hashem!

Let us proffer another reason, for the need of this ‘recognition’, at this time.

Our sages (Tanchuma Terumah) expound the words:(25:2):’And you shall take a portion for Me’: as:‘For Me’, for the sake of My name. Explains Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl: To be acceptable, the offering must be made with the sole כוונה: intention, that it be to erect a mishkan for the Shechina; if there is any ‘trace’ of any other כוונה, such as the thought of the honor the donor might receive, the offering would not be ‘acceptable’.

Only a person, who believed באמונה שלמה, that all he had was from Hashem, would have the requisite כוונה!

This may, לענ׳ד, explain the seeming repetition, in the psukim describing the inspection of the completed work by Moshe Rabenu:(Pikudei 39:42-43)’Like everything that Hashem commanded Moshe, so did Bnei Israel perform all the labour; Moshe saw the entire work, and behold!- they had done it as Hashem had commanded, so had they done; And Moshe blessed them’.

 As it already said: ‘they had done it as Hashem had commanded’, why did it need to add: ‘so had they done’?

Might it not allude to the two separate pre-conditions, for the Shechina to reside in their handiwork? One, that the physical construction was, in all respects, as Hashem had shown Moshe Rabenu, commanding: (Terumah 25:9)’so shall you do’.

Second, that all was done- starting with the contributions, and then with the construction- with the sole כוונה: for the sake of My Name:לשמי.

Only Moshe Rabenu could ‘see’ that these two, separate pre-conditions were fulfilled: the first by looking at the work; and the second, with his רוח הקודש, to look ‘into’ the work, and verify that all had been done with the requisite כוונה.

And, only then, having seen that ‘so had they done’, he blessed them that the Shechina should dwell in their handiwork.

לרפואת מיכאל אריה הלוי בן פרומא רחל; ולרפואת נחמה יהודית בת פרומא רחל,