Vayikra or Postcard from the Wilderness

vayikraMany of our teachings in Torah were and are revolutionary – in every way from economic to social. In the book of Exodus, of Shemot we were called to remember and keep Shabbat. Let’s try and think for a few minutes about how utterly revolutionary that command was and still is: Stop working. Do not engage in any manner of creative work.

Millennia ago, we were a people who knew nothing but enforced work. And then God demanded we cease and desist from any manner of work that in any way replicated the 39 melachot, the 39 acts of work used to create the Sanctuary, the Mishkan. These activities are symbolic of God’s own creating, but where humans create and alter elements. Be it by plowing or winnowing, sifting or smoothing, shearing or spinning (or any modern-day variations of these kinds of work), we are enjoined by God to rest on Shabbat.  Instead of ceaseless melachah, God wanted us to know joy and rest, menuchahShabbat.