We are told in the Torah that no “work” is to be done on the Sabbath, but I am often asked “What constitutes work?”
The word the Torah uses In regards to the prohibitions of Sabbath which is translated into English as "work" is the Hebrew word m'lawkhaw meaning "all and any kind of creative 'generative' endeavor, changes to the environment or any object." (Lev. 23:3; Ex. 34:21; Ex. 16:21-30).
But how do we define "work"?
ELOHIM rested from creative activity on Shabbat (Gen. 2:1-3). In Is. 58:13-14 "work" on the Sabbath seems to mean "doing your will" or "doing your own ways" or "wording words." Thus resting from "work" on the Shabbat means to rest from creative activities and to rest from inflicting our own will on the universe.
The Torah gives us a very good clue as to how to understand the word “work” in this context.
The word m'lawkhaw (work) appears in Ex. 31:3 referring to the work of the artisans in building the tabernacle. This section of Torah is immediately followed by a reminder to rest from “work” on the Shabbat (Ex. 31:12-17). It seems then that m'lawkhaw in Ex. 31:12-17 must include the meaning of m'lawkhaw in Ex. 31:3. Thus the activities involved in making the Tabernacle are among those not normally permitted on Shabbat.
The Mishnah breaks the types of tasks performed in the building of the Tabernacle and the crafting of its artifacts into thirty nine categories of “work” as follows:
THE PRIMARY LABOURS ARE FORTY LESS ONE, [VIZ.:] SOWING, PLOUGHING, REAPING, BINDING SHEAVES, THRESHING, WINNOWING, SELECTING, GRINDING, SIFTING, KNEADING, BAKING, SHEARING WOOL, BLEACHING, HACKLING, DYEING, SPINNING, STRETCHING THE THREADS, THE MAKING OF TWO MESHES, WEAVING TWO THREADS, DIVIDING TWO THREADS, TYING [KNOTTING] AND UNTYING, SEWING TWO STITCHES, TEARING IN ORDER TO SEW TWO STITCHES, CAPTURING A DEER, SLAUGHTERING, OR FLAYING, OR SALTING IT, CURING ITS HIDE, SCRAPING IT [OF ITS HAIR], CUTTING IT UP, WRITING TWO LETTERS, ERASING IN ORDER TO WRITE TWO LETTERS [OVER THE ERASURE], BUILDING, PULLING DOWN, EXTINGUISHING, KINDLING, STRIKING WITH A HAMMER, [AND] CARRYING OUT FROM ONE DOMAIN TO ANOTHER: THESE ARE THE FORTY PRIMARY LABOURS LESS ONE.
Three of these are specifically mentioned in Scripture:
1. Preparation and cooking of food.
(Lev. 23:3; Ex. 34:21; Ex. 16:21-30)
2. Kindling a fire.
3. Carrying anything out of a "domain".
The Talmud examines these thirty nine categories, further breaking them down some of them into more detailed sub-categories (b.Shabbat 73a-75b).
Coming Soon, Part 2: What is Permitted on Sabbath?
"Dire" is a word I have never used in these messages, but that is definitely the word I must use today. Since I posted the message below yesterday, not one penny has come in to support this ministry.
There have been a couple of times that I have told you that my wife was stressed out to the point of tears, and this is one of those times. If something does not turn around in the next 24 hours, we will be forced to pawn her wedding ring just to get by. I do not believe the financial situation for this ministry (and in turn, my family) has ever been this dire.
I cannot remember the last time donations to this ministry were lower than they were in April, and this has left us in May with a large budget shortfall.
Bills are due and we do not have the funds to pay them.
We must raise $600 in the next 24 to 48 hours.
If this ministry has ever benefited you, if you have learned something new and exciting from James Scott Trimm as a teacher, please consider supporting this work with a donation today.
NazareneSpace and the Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim are reaching Jewish people with Messiah like no other ministry while at the same time reaching Christians and other non-Jews with the message of Torah!
Help us keep the vision alive!
Any amount you can donate will help!
If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.
What other ministry is reaching the Jewish people with Messiah like this ministry is?
Now is time to step up to the plate!
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