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After each day of creation, the text reads "Vayehi erev, vayehi boker, yom ____" with (basically) the number of the day listed.

While there was no creative creating on the seventh day, it is set aside as a unit of time with its own identity. Why does the section about the seventh day (Bereishis 2:1-3) not end with the same "Vayehi erev" statement for Yom Ha-Shvi'i (or shabbat).

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Several commentators have noticed this anomaly, and various answers are given, depending upon their assumptions of what that phrase means more generally:

  • R. Yosef Bechor Shor: לפי שבשאר הימים לא נאמר כן אלא לחלק המלאכות דבר יום ביומו ואומר לאחר מלאכה זה פסק אותו יום אבל בשבת שלא עשה בו מלאכה לא הוצרך לומר כן. On other days, this phrase was only said to differentiate between each day's work of creation, saying that after this work the day ended. But on Shabbat when there was no creation, there was no need to say this
    • he appears to be saying that this phrase is meant to signify the end of one day and the beginning of the next (for example, from Monday to Tuesday) for the purpose of explaining which creation was done on which day. Since there was no creation on Shabbat, there is no longer a reason for the Torah to differentiate between it and the following Sunday
  • Rabbeinu Bachyei: ברכו בחדוש שהיה בו ביום והיא ברכת האורה כי היום והלילה של יום השביעי שוים באורה וזאת היא הברכה ותוספת הטובה, וע"כ לא תמצא ביום השביעי זכרון ערב ובוקר כמו בשאר הימים כי זמנו כלו בקר אין בו ערב כלל [God blessed the seventh day] with the novelty of day which is the blessing of light, for the day and night of the seventh day were equal in light and that is the blessing and additional good. You will therefore not find on the seventh day a mention of evening and morning as with the other days, because its time is entirely morning; it has no evening at all
    • R. Bachayei is mainly explaining what the "blessing" was for the seventh day, and writes that its blessing is the equating of night and day in terms of lightness. He assumes that the phrase "evening and morning" generally indicates a difference between night and day.
  • Tur: ולא כתיב ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום שביעי, לפי שמוסיפין מחול על הקודש It does not say "and it was evening and it was morning--the seventh day," because we add from the weekday onto the holy day
    • the Tur appears to believe that this phrase is meant to differentiate the day from [both?] its previous [and following?] day, but because halakha requires that the sanctity of Shabbos be extended into its flanking weekdays, the Torah does not use this phrase signifying distinction between one day and the other
  • Kli Yakar: ומה שלא נאמר בשבת ויהי ערב ויהי בקר. לפי שבכל הימים הלילה זמן המנוחה והבקר זמן המלאכה כמו שנאמר (תהלים קד כב) תזרח השמש יאספון וגו' יצא אדם לפעלו. אבל יום השבת או כולו מנוחה או כולו מלאכה א"כ אין בו הבדל בין ערב לבקר כי מצד סתם מלאכה כולו מנוחה. ומצד עמל התורה כולו למלאכה Why it was not said regarding Shabbos, "and it was evening and it was morning," because on all of the days the night is the time of rest and the morning the time of work... but on Shabbos, either it is all for rest or all for work and therefore there is no difference between the evening and morning-- because regarding work generally it is all rest, and regarding Torah it is all work
    • the Kli Yakar assumes that this phrase indicates a distinction between day and night (a similar assumption as Rabbeinu Bachyei above), which is inapplicable to Shabbos
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This question is addressed by R. Yosef Bechor Shor. He explains that the only reason the Torah said "vayehi erev..." by the other days was to separate the different acts of creation by different days, saying that once the act of creation was completed the day ended. On the seventh day, however, there were no acts of creation so there was no need to say "vayehi erev..." since nothing needed to be separated.

Commentary to Genesis 2:3

לכך לא נאמר ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר יום השביעי לפי שבשאר הימים לא נאמר כן אלא לחלק המלאכות דבר יום ביומו ואומר לאחר מלאכה זה פסק אותו יום אבל בשבת שלא עשה בו מלאכה לא הוצרך לומר כן

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Ba'al Haturim on Breishit 2:1 says that this is missing because we have to add from the weekday to Shabbat (Tosefet Shabbat).

The Baal HaTurim says ואין כתיב ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר יום שביעי לפי מוסיפין מחול על הקדש: and it is not written "and it was evening and it was morning, the seventh day" because we add from the weekday to the holy (day).

I understand the Baal HaTurim to mean that the seventh day – Shabbos – demands an addition from the weekday to the Shabbos. So it would not have been accurate to write “ it was evening and it was morning, the seventh day” because in fact the way we keep Shabbos it would have to read, “it was a little before evening and it was morning, the seventh day”

  • I don't understand what Tosefet Shabbat has to do with this phrase. – Double AA Nov 2 '16 at 19:42
  • @Avrohom but we also don't keep the sixth day the whole way through. – Double AA Nov 2 '16 at 21:19
  • @DoubleAA You have a good question on the Baal HaTurim! – Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 2 '16 at 21:20
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    @AvrohomYitzchok Only if you understood his intent correctly – Double AA Nov 2 '16 at 21:28
  • @DanF but wouldn't it have been accurate to write SOMETHING? If the phrase has to be edited to reflect the additional part, then do so, but why not establish this as the 7th day of a 7 day cycle the way days 1-6 were? – rosends Nov 2 '16 at 21:39
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Rav Hirsch and the others describe the "Vayehi erev" of each day as a special command to cause each day to stop and the next day to start independently. That is, each day of creation stopped, not at the end of a set period of time, but by an explicit command of Hashem. The next day did not start based on time passing, but as a result of Hashem declaring it a new day.

That is why each day except the sixth is declared as "a second day", "a third day". etc. Only at the end do we have "the sixth day" because this is the start of the continuing natural process. At the end of the sixth day, with the finishing of creation, the next day happened "naturally" and as such did not require a command to cause the day to change.

That is why we have

2 And God completed on the seventh day His work that He did, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work that He did.

ב וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה:

Hashem allowed the seventh day to occur "naturally" and declared that creation had been completed with the beginning of the natural cycle.

  • While this might explain the distinction between yom sheini and yom HAshishi, I don't see why the "natural" process kicks in when there is still a need to be mevareich the 7th day and be mekadeish it. This blessing and sanctification is what completes the cycle -- it is not the restarting of day 1 over again, but an additional day which must be delineated. – rosends Nov 2 '16 at 21:37

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