Parshat  אמר Leviticus 23:3 – Whose Shabbos Is It?

Leviticus 23:3  [For] six days, work may be performed, but on the seventh day, it is a complete rest day, a holy occasion; you shall not perform any work. It is a Shabbos to the Lord in all your dwelling places

Gemora Yerushalmi Shabbos, Chapter 15, Halacha 3 – We learned in a Beraita: one posuk says “It is a Sabbath to the Lord” and [yet] another posuk says (in Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 29:35) “It shall be a convocation for you.” How can this be possible? Give a portion to Torah and a portion for eating and drinking.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #10:

[At first glance] this Gemora is difficult to understand because one posuk is dealing with Shabbos and the other is discussing Yom Tov (Jewish holiday). [Therefore the fact that there is an inconsistency between them would not be surprising.] It is well known, for example, that the holiness of Shabbos is greater than the holiness of Yom Tov. [This would explain why it says that Shabbos is for God but Yom Tov is for you.] However, in fact, this Gemora can be explained if we consider what it says in Gemora Pesachim 68b, as follows: Rabba said “everyone agrees that Shabbos must also contain an aspect of ‘For you’ because of the posuk that says “You shall call Shabbos a pleasure.” [Isaiah 58:13] This being the case, the Gemora’s question is based on “a fortiori” logic as follows –  “Yom Tov, which has a commandment to be ‘for you’, even though it has no commandment for it to be a ‘pleasure’ THEN Shabbos which DOES have a commandment that it should be a pleasure certainly must also have a requirement that it be “for you’”.

Also, keep in mind that, at first glance, the expression “It is a Shabbos for the Lord” would seem to imply that it should be completely for the Lord.

Look more deeply into the disagreement that is recorded in this section of the Jerusalem Talmud. One rabbi stated that Shabbos and Yom Tov were only given for the sake of eating and drinking. Another rabbi states that Shabbos and Yom Tov were only given for the sake of studying Torah. Clearly the use of the phrase “only” in this disagreement should not be taken literally. It would not make sense to say that Shabbos should only be for studying Torah without eating at all because everyone admits that it is forbidden to fast on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Rather the word “only” here is used to emphasize which aspect should have the vast majority of emphasis. In other words, for example, the one who says “only eating and drinking” really means “the majority of the time should be spent eating and drinking…” In the Midrash Tanchuma it seeks a sort of “compromise” between these two rabbinic opinions. The only who thinks that the time should be spent primarily on eating and drinking is discussing Torah Scholars who toil all week long studying Torah. These scholars need to enjoy Shabbos and Yom Tov even more than the average person [because of the way they spend their week.] On the other hand, the rabbinic opinion that states that Shabbos and Yom Tov should be spent studying Torah primarily are dealing with the average workers and the general populace who spend their time during the week earning a living. They should spend their Shabbos and Yom Tov involved in studying Torah.

Further, it appears that the Tanchuma relies on the phrasing in our posuk for this observation. In our posuk it says, “six days you shall work, on the seventh it will be for God, don’t do any work”. The inference in the posuk is that if you work for six days, then the seventh day should be for God. Additionally note that the phrase “don’t do any work” is out of place. The proper place for it is in Parshat Yitro [with the ten commandments including ‘observe Shabbos’] and in fact in Parshat Yitro it does clarify and explain there the law about resting [and not doing work] on Shabbos. Rather, here in our posuk it mentions not doing work to hint to the fact that these people who work all week long at their jobs, they should make the Shabbos day holy [almost] entirely for God and make it a day of study.

Look also at the Beit Yosef on the Tur Orach Chaim at the beginning of section 288 and in the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim section 290. See also what I write regarding this in Parshat Yitro.

Editor’s Note: I think that the Torah Temimah is often discussing the issues relating to the ‘common man’. In fact, I think he wrote his book for the common man who wants a deeper understanding of the Bible, which often is as far as the common man had time to study. This note is directed to the common man and how he should spend his Shabbos.

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