What is the mainline Jewish view of "work"?
(1) Work is an just an option for those who have enough money to live on. The Torah may say "Six days shall you labor and do all your work", but none of the Sources or commentators interpret this as a commandment to work for six days. (It's just a preamble for the commandment of Shabbat.) Work is, however, encouraged. The Mishna says simply: "Love work -- Ehav et hamlakhah." [Pirkei Avot 1:10]
(2) Work is a religious obligation. The Rambam says [Mishneh Torah, Laws of Torah Study 3:10-11]:
Anyone... who makes up his mind to study Torah and not work, but live on charity, profanes the name of God, disgraces the Torah, obscures the light of religion, causes harm to himself, and deprives himself of life in the World to Come; for it is forbidden to derive temporal advantage from the words of the Torah [such as being supported by them] … The end of such a person will be that he will rob his fellow man.
[On the other hand,] anyone who supports himself by the work of his hands possesses a great virtue … He will attain all the glory and happiness of both this world and the World to Come, as [the psalmist] wrote: "When you eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you shall be happy and it shall be well with you." [Psalms 128:2]
(3) Work is punishment for not being observant enough. The Mechilta [at Ki Tisa] says:
One verse says "In six days work shall be done" [passive voice] [Ex. 31:15, Ex. 35:2, Lev. 23:3] and another says, "Six days shall you work and do all your work" [active voice] [Ex. 20:9, Ex. 34:21, Deut. 5:13] . How can both be true?
It means that when [Israel] does not do the will of God, they will do their work themselves, and when Israel is doing the will of God, their work will be done by others, as it is written:
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and tend your vineyards. But you shall be named the Priests of the Lord. Men shall call you the Ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory. [Isaiah 61:5]
(4) Work is a necessary evil. Derived from combining (1) and (3).
Question: Is working for a living an option, an obligation, punishment, or an evil? (It can't be all of them.)