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Home » Vayakhel

Vayakhel: The Real Shabbaton

Submitted by on March 13, 2006 – 5:42 amNo Comment | 2,437 views

Shabbat – A Day of Rest

“Six days your work is done and the seventh day is Shabbat Shabbaton” (our Parsha Exodus 35, 2) Contrast this verse with the way it appears in both recordings of the Ten Commandments. “Six days you shall labor and the seventh day shall be a Shabbat.” (Exodus 20, 9-10, Deuteronomy 5, 13-14)

Upon close inspection you will notice that there are two crucial differences in the text. The first verse renders the seventh day a Shabbat Shabbaton, the second verse renders it merely Shabbat. The first verse mentions that our work shall be done, the second verse specifies that we shall labor. What is the hidden meaning?

Resting From What?

Our sages taught that when we, the Jewish people, fulfill the will of G-d our work is accomplished by others. When we labor for six days, the seventh day is merely Shabbat – a day of rest. When we are free from work all week, (because our work is done for us) the seventh day becomes more than just Shabbat – rest, for we have been resting all week long. The seventh day becomes Shabbat Shabbaton – a rest unique among rests.

On the Highest Level

To have our work done for us we must, as mentioned earlier, fulfill G-d’s will. If we have been busy fulfilling his will for six full days then what does Shabbat add? Since G-d is infinite there are an infinite number of levels on which he can be worshiped. Shabbat Shabbaton refers to the highest of these levels.

No Worries Mate!

Having our work done for us by others does not necessarily mean other humans, it also refers to G-d. Those who constantly carry the burden of financial worry, find that they must solve every problem by themselves. Those who make an honest effort and put in a full day of work but also leave the worrying to G-d find that G-d solves their problems for them.


Surely there is a way to incorporate the concept of Shabbat Shabbaton into our hectic life. Shabbat can serve as a mere day of rest from the hectic pace of our week. Shabbat can also be more than that. It can become a unique day when we rest even from resting. For resting is devoted to the recuperation of the body, Shabbat should also be devoted to matters of the soul.  A day to reach the highest plateaus of human, Jewish and spiritual endeavors.