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4 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2010 - 3:04PM #1
aprilerin
Posts: 7

Exodus 20:9-10 says


Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.


if this is the right measurement of work and worshiping God are we then allowed to go beyond this measurement? It would be breaking of a commandement. Here I see learning/studying God as a form of worshiping God.If only in Sabbath we can worship Gd by studying about him, then as much as this is the greatest good, it has a right measurement?


Is this correct way of seeing things?


 

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2010 - 8:57PM #2
Pam34
Posts: 2,650

I would see that as 'work' being 'what you do to earn a living, to create and imagine and develop in your life' and 'the Sabbath being a rest from all that - NOT 'worship'.


 


Worship is more of an attitude, I believe - a relationship with God that has different aspects. Working during the week can be a form of 'worship' - it is fulfilling the command of 'six days shall you labor' after all - it's all in HOW you do it, and your attitude toward it.


 


Worship  - lots of attitudes and activities constitute 'worship' if they are done or if they are aimed at/focused on God.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2010 - 3:32AM #3
NahumS
Posts: 1,759

The Sabbath is set aside to refrain from creative work, in imitation of the Creator who ceased creative activity ("rested") on the seventh day. The Sabbath is a covenant between the Jewish people and G-d, through which we live our faith in G-d's creation. We are commanded to keep it holy by refraining  from work or weekday activities. These are clearly defined by Jewish law. A Shomer Shabbat ("Sabbath Keeper") is the definition of an observant Jew.


Serving G-d, worshipping - that applies to our whole lives, every day, all week. Formal worship (synagogue services) are held three times a day, every day. When we study G-d's Torah, we fulfill a commandment to "study it day and night", as mentioned in the book of Joshua. Doing acts of charity, justice and loving-kindness is often more available on weekdays than on the Sabbath, when we are considerably limited. Physically building up the Land of Israel is the fulfillment of one of G-d's commandmensts, and that is a weekday activity. Finally, contributing to the world and society around us, by being productive, is a form of serving G-d who didn't create the world to be desolate but to be settled (Isaiah).   Raising a family is a very sifgnificant part of serving G-d, our Father.


Judaism aims to sanctify all of our lives, even those parts often considered "secular" - the weekday as well as the Sabbath. Naturally, the Sabbath has its own intrinsic sanctity, imbued in it by the Creator. As a day of leisure, there is more opportunity and time to devote to sacred pursuits - but Judaism does not abandon the weekday either. The idea that only one day a week is dedicated to holiness and the other six are profane and empty of spirituality is not a Jewish idea.

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2010 - 4:40AM #4
aprilerin
Posts: 7

I understand what you are saying that in Judaism there is no division of time in profane and holy, i.e. 6 days profane and 1 day holy. My question is how much time a person is allowed to spend on learning. If raising a family, contributing to fix the world, everyday work are all commandments then spending time in learning Judaism will jeopardize the fullfilment of those other commandements. If knowing Gd which can be attained through learning Torah, Talmud... is the greatest good then it has its limits. You say:


"Formal worship (synagogue services) are held three times a day, every  day. When we study G-d's Torah, we fulfill a commandment to "study it  day and night", as mentioned in the book of Joshua."


If we all study Torah day and night, then what will happen with the rest of the obligations to work and family. Am I right to think that Shabbat is the only allowed time to study Torah for a person who must raise family and work? Will then studying day and night be considered breaking the commandments to raise a family and fix the world?


 

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2010 - 6:25AM #5
NahumS
Posts: 1,759

Good question!


When I was studying Talmud the other night , the exact subject came up.


The text was from the sixth chapter of tractate Brachot, and dealt with the proper division of time between Torah study and (materially) productive work.


"Since it says: "And let not this book of the Torah cease from your lips" (Joshua 1:8), I might think that this injunction is to be taken literally. Therefore it says "And you shall gather your grain" (Deuteronomy 11:14) which implies that you are to combine the study of Torah with a worldly occupation - these are the words of Rabbi Yishmael.


But Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says: "if a man plows at plowing time and sows at sowing time and reaps at reaping time...what will become of Torah study? Rather, when Israel does the will of God, their work is done by others" (Berakhot 35b). "


As can be expected amongst Jews, there are many aproaches and positions The Talmud goes on to say that "many did as Rabbi Yishmael tought  (and made time to study Torah in addition to their work) and were successful, and many did as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai tought (and dedicated themselves exclusively to Torah study and were not successful".


As I understand it, Rabbi Shimon's approach of only studying Torah is for unique and special individuals - the equivalent of great artists or scientists who receive a prize or fellowship so that they can be totally involved in art or research. That approach is not for the "many" - but for the few. The majority should work for a living and dedicate free time to Torah study. Obviously, it's an advantage to have been able to to spend several years in intensive study so that you can have the necessary background for a life of (extra-curricular) study in addition to work, as well as to identify those truly gifted individuals who should become full-time scholars.


Most people should be working - not only for economic reasons - but because it fits their personalities and talents more than full time Torah study. I know many people who work full-time and find a number of hours every day to study Torah. It's a matter of self-discipline and setting priorities.


Here are few websites that discuss the issue in greater depth - and reach differing conclusions.


ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/3/Q1/


www.responsafortoday.com/moment/2_3.htm


Even people who are overwhelmed with the demands of making a living can find some time on Shabbat for Torah study.

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2010 - 11:51AM #6
Pam34
Posts: 2,650

Dec 23, 2010 -- 4:40AM, aprilerin wrote:


I understand what you are saying that in Judaism there is no division of time in profane and holy, i.e. 6 days profane and 1 day holy. My question is how much time a person is allowed to spend on learning. If raising a family, contributing to fix the world, everyday work are all commandments then spending time in learning Judaism will jeopardize the fullfilment of those other commandements. If knowing Gd which can be attained through learning Torah, Talmud... is the greatest good then it has its limits. You say:


"Formal worship (synagogue services) are held three times a day, every  day. When we study G-d's Torah, we fulfill a commandment to "study it  day and night", as mentioned in the book of Joshua."


If we all study Torah day and night, then what will happen with the rest of the obligations to work and family. Am I right to think that Shabbat is the only allowed time to study Torah for a person who must raise family and work? Will then studying day and night be considered breaking the commandments to raise a family and fix the world?


 




 


The Sabbath is indeed 'divided' from the rest of the week, and is 'holy' (is in fact, THEREFORE holy, because it is separated from the 'work week'). But it is NOT the 'only allowed time to study Torah'. No indeed.


 


The Sabbath is the day to cease from the 'everyday'. According to the Talmud - I believe it's in Pirkei Avot - scholars - who study all WEEK, should cease from studying on the Sabbath, while farmers - who plow and sow all week, cease from THAT  - and study Torah on the Sabbath day.


 


Also, we are taught (again in the Talmud) that it is important to set aside a regular time for study, because if we don't set aside time to study, we might not ever study. 'Study day and night' does not mean 'study every minute of the day and night' but instead means 'study (for some period of time) during the daytime and study (for some period of time) at nighttime'. For observant Jews, that commandment is fulfilled during the regular morning and evening prayer services, each of which incorporates a short piece of 'study material'.


 


We are also taught that study is 'more important' than doing good deeds, because doing good deeds is a very good thing, but doesn't lead to study, while on the other hand, studying LEADS to the doing of good deeds (because we learn about doing, but doing doesn't necessarily lead a person to studying).


There is even a discussion in the Talmud, about whether or not it is proper to interrupt STUDY, at the time for PRAYER (which is pretty extreme, in my opinion!)


 


Now, how do we reconcile 'constant study' with work and so forth? By taking our regular study (which is scheduled - so can be daily, weekly or whatever, the point is, that  you PLAN for it and SCHEDULE it and make study a regular part of your life) and APPLYING our study to the way we live our 'regular' lives. Make the connections between what we learn, and what we DO. By that process, we do indeed 'study without ceasing'.


 


A rabbi once said (help, Nathan! which one? the Besht? Nachman?) that our lives are our prayers - thus one 'prays without ceasing' by living a life directed toward God. So too with our actions, which reflect  - remember the Talmud says that study leads to action? - our studies.


So you are 'allowed' to spend as much time in study as you yourself determine, as long as you DO study, and set aside time for that. The ideal might be 'daily' but certainly could be 'weekly' or 'monthly' or even 'once a year I go on a weekend retreat'. But study doesn't stand alone, it leads to all the rest of your life's 'work'.


 


 


 


 

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2010 - 12:13PM #7
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

BS"D


My personal sanity check:


1. One who is doing a mitzvo is not obligated to be doing another mitzvo at the same time.


2. Maximize the choices you make in your life.  Not everyone is called to be a rabbi or chasid.  Everyone lives in the choices they make.  Torah is big enough to accommodate any Jew in any situation.


3. Judaism is NOT an all-or-nothing scenario.  Every Jew is a unique living creature and is expected to develop and grow at  their own rate relative only to their own potential and nobody else's.   The person who esteems their position lowest inn life is no less valuable than the person who esteems themself highest in life.  Torah provides for a mindset whereby any Jew at any station in life is of inestimable worth and irreplaceable in klal yisroel.

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2010 - 7:07PM #8
Dennis
Posts: 14

A famous Jewish Rabbi is widely quoted as saying that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, but he was murdered--so much for individual freedom!

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2010 - 8:07PM #9
Pam34
Posts: 2,650

famous maybe, and Jewish maybe, but not famous for being Jewish. There's a difference.


 


The Sabbath possesses both universal (from Eden) and particular (from the escape from Egypt) aspects, as we observe it by ceasing from daily work, and by remembering both the Creation and the Exodus.


 


Like all but a handful of commandments, all the laws of Sabbath observance can and must be set aside to save a life, always. We are, after all, commanded to obey the commandments so that we might LIVE by them, and therefore the commandment to LIVE supercedes other commandments (the exceptions are the prohibitions against murder, idolatry, and certain kinds of sexual immorality, such as (for instance) incest and rape).


 


In other words, your 'famous Jewish rabbi's famous words' were neither new nor special.


 


 

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2010 - 8:34PM #10
ffb
Posts: 2,183

Dec 28, 2010 -- 7:07PM, Dennis wrote:


A famous Jewish Rabbi is widely quoted as saying that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, but he was murdered--so much for individual freedom!




achad ha'am said "more than the jews have kept the sabbath, the sabbath has kept the jews."


I think this speaks to me more than your "quote"

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