שביבי אש
לסדר ויקהל

וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה וכו' אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה

And Moses gathered all the congregation of the people of Israel together, and said to them, These are the words which the Lord has commanded, that you should do them. Six days shall work be done (Exodus 35:1-2)

The question arises what was it that the Eternal commanded to be done (אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם), for the commandment is rather not to do work on the Sabbath. And our Sages were aware of this problem and therefore interpreted the verse as a reference to the work of the Tabernacle, which is to be conducted on the other six days of the week, but not on the Sabbath. However, why the Scripture writes "תֵּעָשֶׂה" (shall be done) instead of "תַּעֲשֶׂה" (you shall do) remains unknown. And perhaps the intention was to show that the work of the Tabernacle was not really performed through the exertions of the workers, but that even though their hands moved, the work was performed of its own accord, as it is written (Exodus 35:31): "And He has filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in every kind of workmanship."

And see Midrash Rabbah (Exodus 52:4) When Solomon built the Temple everyone was helping him, including both man and spirits, because it says (1 Kings 6:7), "For the house, when as in building, was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. (וְהַבַּיִת בְּהִבָּנֹתוֹ אֶבֶן שְׁלֵמָה מַסָּע נִבְנָה וּמַקָּבוֹת וְהַגַּרְזֶן כָּל כְּלִי בַרְזֶל לֹא נִשְׁמַע בַּבַּיִת בְּהִבָּנֹתוֹ)" It was built of its own accord; therefore it must have been built miraculously. Similarly, when the Tabernacle was erected, it also rose up miraculously.

Nevertheless, the Scripture says not to do even such work (performed of its own accord) on the Sabbath. And it appears to our master to say simply that the Scripture is referring to a person who places his trust in the Eternal, and his belief in G-d is so strong that he would not perform any work had the Torah not commanded him "and you shall harvest your crops" (וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגָנֶךָ), which means that even a person on this level is obligated to conduct himself according to the normal way of the world (הנהג בהם מנהג דרך ארץ), so that "I shall bless you in all that you shall do" (וּבֵרַכְךָ ה"א בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה). When the Sabbath comes, rest comes to such a person, and he takes pleasure in the Eternal with a generous heart and a willing spirit, because his faith in the Eternal is strong, and although he rests from his work, he lacks for nothing. Not so is the one whose faith in the Eternal is weak, and who says in his heart: "my power and the strength of my hand have achieved this wealth." Even if he does observe the Sabbath and does no work owing to fear of punishment or to embarrassment before his fellow man, he nevertheless will find no rest for his soul and his rest will not please him because his heart is not in accord with his actions. This is the meaning of "and these are the words" (אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים), which, according to the interpretation of the Sages, are the thirty-nine categories of work "that the Eternal commanded to perform them" (אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם), because it is necessary to conduct oneself according to the normal way of the world. It is therefore written "six days shall work be done" (שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה). If you shall work six days of the week only because G-d commanded you to conduct yourself according to the way of the world, but had you not been commanded to do so, you would not have worked because of the greatness of your faith in the Eternal, then "on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord" (וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן) when you observe the Sabbath in pleasure and great joy. And see in parashat Ki Tisa on the verse (Exodus 31:15) "Six days may work be done but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest" (שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹ), Rashi comments: " a resposeful and complete, not a casual, rest" (מנוחה מרגוע ולא מנוחת עראי).

לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת

You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day) (Exodus 35:3)

Our Sages have already explained why this particular type of work (kindling a fire) was enumerated. But it appears to our master to say in an allegorical way that it is related to how the Sages interpret the verse: "And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel" (וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה) to teach us that they should come together in gatherings on the Sabbath and Festivals. And these gatherings should be holy convocations for the sake of the Eternal for Torah and for testimony. But these should not be unruly gatherings for frivolous purposes and dissipation that lead a person astray and ignite within him his passions or stir up contentiousness and the fire of strife. Therefore, after the Scripture commands them to call a halt to work on the Sabbath, it says "you shall kindle no fire in your habitations upon the Sabbath day." This is meant to teach us that the meetings in which they gather together on the Sabbath should not lead them to kindle the fire of jealousy and strife or to engage in any immodest conduct. Instead the meetings should be a gathering for the righteous, appropriate for them and appropriate for all.