On Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you day, a day of complete rest (Shemos 35:2)
Chazal is replete with all kinds of promises for success in a variety of areas of life. Yet we can all verify that there have been times that we seemingly fulfilled the obligations as enumerated by Chazal, yet the guaranteed success did not pan out.
The Chofetz Chaim in hilchos “netilas yedayim” addresses this issue. The Ben Ish Chai in this week’s Parsha also addresses this issue. The Torah says “sheishes yamim te’aseh melacha” literally meaning that work should be done; “uvyom hashevi’i…” on the seventh day one should rest. On a simple level this just means one is permitted to work during the first six days of the week, and on the seventh day one must rest from work.
The Ben Ish Chai reads this pasuk with a bit of an insight. Sometimes if we do something that has a value as a segula to bring success, that success will come without much effort on our part. Therefore, he reads the pasuk as follows: “six days the work will happen by itself,” as long as “one rests on the seventh day,”. Chazal have taught that all brochos come from Shabbos. However, he adds to this another condition. Many people observe the Shabbos not transgressing any halachas, but do not keep the Shabbos “Kodesh” as it should be. If that is the case, though nothing was transgressed, the segula will not work. Therefore, the pasuk continues “..yihiye lachem kodesh” meaning the seventh day shall be holy for you. The only way to get the brocho of the Shabbos day bestowed upon you is to first not transgress any Shabbos prohibition, and secondly to keep the Shabbos day holy.
Many times we do all the things that our relationship demands of us but only at a technical level. However, in regard to keeping that relationship Kodesh – separate and special – we fall short of that which is demanded of us. This means that we must make the day one of ruchniyus. It seems to me that it is not by coincidence that the Medrash here (Yalkut Shimoni) tells us to spend the day in the Bais Hamedresh, and by doing so we will make Hashem’s name held in esteem amongst the Jews.
This Shabbos, not only should we read the pasuk as the Ben Ish Chai says, but we should merit to keep the Shabbos in the way that the brocho should be bestowed upon us.