Rabbi Eckstein: We’ve been talking about the Sabbath and today I want to address an area of a misunderstanding about the Jewish observance of the Sabbath. Why don’t we work on the Sabbath? How is work defined? Why can’t we cook or light a fire? For answers, we turned to G_d’s words.
Exodus 35:3 clearly prohibits creative work. For six days we are permitted, even commanded to work and subdue nature. In this capacity we serve as G_d’s co-partners in the creation of the world. But on the 7th day, we are commanded to take a break from our own creative work so we can focus on the true creator, G_d.
You see, G_d knows us all too well. He recognized and anticipated that our intelligence and creativity might lead us to forget the actual source of our own creative power. As human beings, we can easily get caught up in what we do and how much we accomplish, neglecting the spiritual side of life and turning away from him.
Doubt that’s true? Well, remember the story of the Tower of Babel when men built a huge tower in an effort to dethrone G_d. When we refrain from all our creative activities on the sabbath, including cooking, we are acknowledging that G_d is the ultimate source of being and creation. We affirm that the Earth belongs to the Lord and that man is not G_D.