Understanding the Shabbat and Keeping it Holy | David Herbst

David Herbst . Episode 1 . 00:00

Shalom Aleichem.

In our reading this week we find the Sabbath command repeated again from the ten commandments and the covenant passage with Israel in Exosdus 31:12.

Why do Elohim – god see the Shabbat as so important as to command Israel to keep it?

Sabbath Regulations

Exo 35:1  And Mosheh assembled all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ěl, and said to them, “These are the Words which יהוה has commanded you to do

The commandment requires a scheduled six days of work and a seventh day of rest. We find that a death penalty is connected to the Sabbath command to show its importance.

Exo 35:2  “Work is done for six days, but on the seventh day it shall be set-apart to you, a Sabbath of rest to יהוה. Anyone doing work on it is put to death.

The creator Himself initiated with creation a seven day cycle that He wants Adam to imitate and follow. Please take note that the Creation week starts on a Sunday as first day of the week.

The Seventh Day, God Rests

Gen 2:1  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their array. 

Gen 2:2  And in the seventh daya Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.

Gen 2:3  And Elohim blessed the seventh day and set it apart, because on it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made. 

Let us look closer to the command to not do work on the Shabbat.

Anyone doing work on it is put to death.

The Hebrew language has two words for “work”—avodah and melachah.

 Avodah is a general term meaning work, while melachah has a very precise halachic meaning namely occupational, business, and workmanship. The way you earn your living.

In Exodus 35:2 we find the Hebrew word melachah is prohibited.

According to Jewish teaching basic work entails carrying.

1. Carrying

This category involves carrying in a public place.

This is one of the few categories of work that is actually mentioned in the Torah. It is also the very first type of work that was prohibited.

As we discussed earlier, the initial commandment of the Sabbath was given in connection with the Manna. But what possible type of work was involved in gathering a portion of Manna for one’s family? Obviously, this is carrying. Thus, when Moses told the people (Ex. 16:29), “Let no man leave his place on the seventh day,” he was telling them that they could not carry the Manna.

The Torah also gives an account of a man who was put to death for gathering wood on the Sabbath. Here again, according to some commentators his violation of the Sabbath involved carrying.

In a third place, the Prophet Jeremiah specifically warns his people not to carry on the Sabbath. He says (Jeremiah 17:21-22), “Take heed and carry no burdens on the Sabbath … Also do not carry any burden out of your houses on the Sabbath.”

Carrying is really the prototype of all other types of Sabbath work. As mentioned earlier, the definition of such work is any act where man demonstrates his mastery over nature. But the first act by which man demonstrates such mastery is by taking things from nature and carrying them where he needs them. This was the deed of the man gathering wood. Therefore, if we are to relinquish our mastery over nature, the first requirement is that we not carry anything away.

In a sense, by not carrying, we also relinquish our ownership of everything in the world. A main sign of ownership is that one may take something wherever he pleases. On the Sabbath, we give up something of this ownership. Nothing may be removed from the house. When a man leaves his house, he may carry nothing but the clothing on his back. It is Elohim – G-d, not man, who owns all things.

Carrying in a private home is permitted on the Sabbath. It is only in a public domain that it is forbidden.

Let’s look at the strange incident that happened in the gospel of John. Yeshua – Jesus heals a paraplegic on Shabbat and orders him to carry his bed.

The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

Joh 5:1  After this there was a festival of the Yehuḏim, and יהושע went up to Yerushalayim. 

Joh 5:2  And in Yerushalayim at the Sheep Gate there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Běyth Zatha, having five porches. 

Joh 5:3  In these were lying a great number of those who were sick, blind, crippled, paralysed, waiting for the stirring of the water. 

Joh 5:5  And a certain man was there who had a sickness thirty-eight years. 

Joh 5:6  When יהושע saw him lying there, and knowing that he already had been a long time, He said to him, “Do you wish to become well?” 

There were lots of sick people there that day. Why would Yeshua chose this person to heal?

Could Yeshua smell faith on him and knew that he had the means to be healed?

Joh 5:7  The sick man answered Him, “Master, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 

Even though he gives an excuse for the reason he was in this dire circumstance a flicker of hope and faith appears.

Joh 5:8  יהושע said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 

Joh 5:9  And immediately the man became well, and he took up his bed and was walking. Now it was Sabbath on that day. 

Joh 5:10  The Yehuḏim therefore said to him who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, it is not right for you to take up the bed.” 

Joh 5:11  He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” 

Joh 5:12  Therefore they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 

Strange that the religious leaders focus is on the breaking of Shabbat and not the wonderful healing of the sick. Why is that? Did they set the shabbat command above the wellbeing of the believer?

Joh 5:13  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for יהושע had moved away, a crowd being in that place. 

Joh 5:14  Afterward יהושע found him in the Set-apart Place, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, so that no worse matter befalls you.”a Footnote: aSee also Joh_8:11. 

Joh 5:15  The man went away, and told the Yehuḏim that it was יהושע who made him well. 

Joh 5:16  And because of this the Yehuḏim persecuted יהושע, and were seeking to kill Him, because He was doing these healings on the Sabbath. 

Joh 5:17  But יהושע answered them, “My Father works until now, and I work.” 

Mar 2:27  And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 

Mar 2:28  “So the Son of Aḏam is also Master of the Sabbath.” 

Why would Yeshua create such conflict on Shabbat with the religious leaders of the day?

Was His goal to show them the true meaning of the Shabbat.