related Must one "work" and "deserve" to observe Shabbat?

Why don't we have to work every non-Shabbos day?

Is there any source which explains that the phrase lo ta'aseh kol melacha points exclusively to the seventh day and therefore means that on other days we must perform some sort of melacha? (that the cessation is unique to Shabbat)

This position might say that "sheshet yamim ta'avodu" requires that the other days not be Shabbat in a way similar to the statement that "beini uvein b'ney Yisrael" demands that others not observe Shabbat.

Other questions have mentioned that there is some sort of expectation (according to some) that one be employed, but is there a source that focuses on the halachic concepts of work and cessation from work?

  • I feel like this question assumes Hashem gave the Jewish People Shabbos as a rest from work... Although certainly a day to kick back and relax from the week's antics is nice, it's not necessarily the point of Shabbos.
    – ezra
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 20:42
  • There is difference between עבודה and מלאכה, and I think that difference may contribute to the understanding. The main point is that it seems that since the Torah states that you should do מלאכה on the other 6 days, I believe Ramba"m comments that this is a specific mitzvah to do so.
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 21:16
  • @ezra Depends how you define "work". If you generalize that term as "employment" - obviously, it depends what you do. Waiters and caterers "work" on Shabbat (separate issue about when and how they are paid.) There is obviously a different meaning in the term "avodah", and, perhaps, part of OP's question may need to explain why the pasuk in 10 Commandments, e.g. says both terms and what it's conveying.
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 21:26
  • @DanF do you have a citation for that Rambam?
    – rosends
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 22:02
  • I asked a rabbi this question and was told why it's not actually a mitzvah (which it definitely isn't -- at least not a d'oraisa). I'm trying to remember the explanation I was given. It had to do with the official rules of exegesis, and the explanation was very compelling. This site myjewishlearning.com/article/six-days-shall-you-work would seem to disagree, but I think that site is wrong according to the mainstream Orthodox mesorah
    – SAH
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


Assume there is a commandment to work on the six days preceding Shabbat. Then you could fulfill your obligation by signing your name on Sunday, flipping a switch on Monday, blowing out a candle on Tuesday, etc. This would be trivial and pointless. So I do not believe such a commandment exists. "Six days you will labor and do all your work" is just a preamble to the commandment of Shabbat. "Do all your work" is an impossibility at any rate.

  • It's extremely easy not to murder, but that's still a mitzvah.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 15:48
  • Must include consequences in assessment, not just ease of act. Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 16:29

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