“On the seventh day you shall rest.” (Shemos 23:12)
It is a mitzvah to refrain from all forms of creative work on Shabbos, in order to demonstrate that Hashem is the Creator and Controller of the entire universe. There are thirty-nine primary forms of labor which we are obligated to refrain from on Shabbos.
This mitzvah is the fourth of the Ten Commandments, which are listed twice in the Torah, once in Parshas Yisro and once in Parshas Va’eschanan. The wording is slightly different the second time around. The first time it says, “Remember the day of Shabbos” (see mitzvah 59 above), while the second time it says, “Guard the day of Shabbos.” Our Sages explain that “remember” refers to the positive mitzvos of eating and celebrating, while “guard” refers to avoiding work. Both words were said by Hashem at the same time to teach us that we need to perform both aspects of the mitzvah in order to gain all of the intended benefits from Shabbos.
“Shabbos is equal to all of the other mitzvos.” (Rashi, Bemidbar 15:41)
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and Torah.org.