The medrosh criticizes Eisov for trapping his father with questions such as "must one tithe salt," yet doesn't specify that it was shobbos, so there should be no melucha of "tzud"! Is this proof that the Avos kept shobbos all week long?
closed as too localized by Isaac Moses♦ Mar 12 '12 at 5:12
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It can't be, because the verse (Genesis 22:3) states:
וישכם אברהם בבקר
And Avraham rose early in the morning
but we know the Rama rules (Shulchan Aruch OC 281:1) that we start davening late on Shabbat morning. Therefore, we can conclude that it was not Shabbat for Avraham on that day.
Furthermore, Genesis 27:25 relates about Yitzchak:
ויגש לו ויאכל, ויבא לו יין וישת
And he brought him food and he ate; and he brought him wine and he drank
but we know the Shulchan Aruch rules (OC 271:4) that you can only eat after saying kiddush on Shabbat. Therefore, we can conclude that it was not Shabbat for Yitzchak on that day.
Furthermore, in Genesis 28:22 Yaakov says:
אעשר אעשרנו לך
I will separate a tithe to you
but we know the Shulchan Aruch rules (OC 307:1) that you can't speak on Shabbat about doing forbidden labor even after Shabbat. Therefore, we can conclude that it was not Shabbat for Yaakov on that day.
The Avos did not keep shabbos all week. The midrash was critical that Esav was tzayid b'fiv- he trapped with his mouth. The trapping was done kilachar yad, in an unusual way. This was a violation of שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל-מְלַאכְתֶּךָ.
Yes, the avos kept shabas all week long, but the imahos did not. Consider:
- In B'reshis 14:22, Avraham refuses to take money, telling the king of S'dom to keep it for himself and give it to others. Of course, this was because Avraham couldn't take money on shabas (i.e, every day).
- In chapter 18, Avraham brings food to his visitors, but only Sara and "the young man" prepare it.
- In 27:9, Rivka tells Yaakov to bring goats, but offers to prepare them, herself, for eating.
While you can ask how Avraham cut animals in half (15:10), this was presumably on a direct command (not stated in the pasuk) from Hashem, which of course overrides a general mitzva.
And his "repaying his credit" (Rashi to 13:3) was done not with money but with services, which can be done on shabas: he was a magid, an itinerant preacher, who of course can work on shabas.
You may ask about Yitzchak's digging wells in 26:18, 22. But we see in verses 19 and 21 that his servants did the digging. The two interior p'sukim specifying it was his servants surrounded by the two saying "Yitzchak" serve as a k'lal ufrat uchlal, i ata dan ela k'en hap'rat, so we see that all the wells were dug by people affiliated with Yitzchak. None, however, were actually dug by him: what do you take him for, a m'chalal shabas, chas v'shalom?