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V'etchanan(Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

Effort is the Only Work Required

In this week's Torah portion, Moses reiterates to the Jewish people the Ten Commandments they heard on Mount Sinai. Moses tells that Jewish people that:

"Six days shall you labor and accomplish all your work; but he seventh day is Sabbath to the Lord, your God..." (Deuteronomy, 5:13-14)


God commanded that in addition to the Jews resting on the seventh day, they should also have all of their work accomplished at the conclusion of the six preceding days. Resting on the seventh day is a concept we can certainly grasp, but there isn't a person amongst us who feels that he's truly completed all of their work come Friday afternoon. We all leave the office with our in-boxes over flowing, having countless emails that still need to be answered, and several projects that are all behind schedule. We even have a mental to-do list to tackle immediately after our commanded day of rest. God wired us to be doers, so how is it possible to understand the commandment to have all of our work completed at the end of the week?

The answer - if you let it - might just be one of the most liberating concepts to which you've ever been exposed. When God commands us to have all of out work accomplished, we have to understand what "work" God means. Our work is our effort - which is the only thing we can control. And it's God - and only God - who controls the outcome of this effort. So it's only our effort that God says we will have completed.

And therein lies the powerful life-changing message. On one hand, the amount of things we have to do will NEVER end. But that's okay, because the only thing God demands of us is the effort we put forth in these endeavors. Therefore, God tells us that for six days we need to put in the necessary effort to make a difference and then our "work" is completely accomplished. On the seventh day, God wants us to take a breather and stop putting forth any more effort.

When you understand this life-changing concept, you will no longer feel over-whelmed, over-burdened, or stressed. You will no longer be shackled by the mountain of work that's constantly before you. By the way, if you do feel out of control it only means that you're simply spending too much time being consumed with the outcome - of which you cannot control or dictate. When you focus only on your effort and not the outcome, you're certain to be on the track of a balanced and happy life.

Just do your part for six days by putting in the proper effort, then sit back and remember who's really in control. Understanding and living with this reality will free you from the illusion most of us call living, and allow you to break into what the enlightened call paradise.

Published: July 29, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 11

(10) Morris Abadi - Sao Paulo/BR, August 3, 2012 12:55 PM

time is a golden gift

what happens is not that our work is not done, or that the expectations on our jobs are gigantic. as a matter of fact EVERY SINGLE PROFESSIONAL use a lot of precious time on the social networks, facebook, msn and so on. every single professional has lots of time for youtube, soam and jokes by email. every single professional give a look every 30 seconds to the cellphone, looking for a new sms, twitter, and so on. i have no twitter, no facebook. i am not a slave of all this useless communication technologie. and (i am quite busy, believe me), work, daven, study, have good time with wife, kids, friens and family. why? instead of waisting time with all the technological garbage, my time is used for purposefull and meaningfull aims. and when i turn it all off not only for shabat and chaguim, but every sigle night, i am not frightened. on the contrary: i know that i am free.

(9) Bernie, August 3, 2012 4:26 AM

Man has the power G-d gave us, if we don't use it we are blind

Remeber the story of the man that was stuck on a boat after a flood in the middle of no where. The man prays and prays, suddenly a rooftop where he could anchor appears, the man ignores it and keeps on praying, then a tug boat appears, instead of flagging it down, the man continues praying, then a helicopter appears, the man says .. No.. I must follow gods will and pray. When he asked god why he didn't answer his prayers god tells him, I placed a rooftop for you to anchor to, I sent a tug boat to rescue you, and a helicopter to take you to safety. We should pray and follow gods commandments, but we should not ignore what he gives us, even if that it the power of effort. If we put effort into things we will get results, if we don't we will not. God isn't laughing at us, god gave us the power to choose to use effort or be effortless. What we as humans do is because of power that god gave us, he also gave us the power to be ignorant and the power to be complacent.. Read the Haggadah - what do you think the four children who ask questions represent? This is a great article,because it tells us we have power to use effort and then rest as god commanded us to do. That too is a power god gave us, god does not laugh at anyone and is always there for all. I however laugh at those that choose to be complacent.

(8) David Gr, August 13, 2011 4:44 PM

Results vs Effort

I understand where G-d appreciates effort. However, in today's business world, many if not most supervisors want results. Supervisors may appreciate your efforts but they must look for expected results of those efforts, i.e., expectations to be met. Hence, the quandary between G-d's expectations and the supervisors'. I don't know how to reconcile results versus effort but I do know to make a living in this world you have to meet expectations, i.e. get results.

JD, August 4, 2012 10:31 PM

No contradiction

We have to do all we can to achieve the best results possible, but these results are up to Hashem ultimately. From the perspective of a boss, their efforts involve keeping the most productive people on the team and cutting the fat, but the success of the business still depends on the will of Hashem.

(7) Daliah Davis, August 12, 2011 1:33 PM

very true...there are so many different occasions on a daily basis, where you feel stuck finding a solution for a problem or running around in circles like a headless chicken with absolute no outcome! If you work on a only commission based basis, then you will have that experience almost every day..strangely if you want sth to happen and you work hard to achieve it and it doesn;t work out, it suddenly will if you just let go and forget about it. It's like planting a seed in your garden, which you have to do and just leaving it to grow by itself...suddenly you look out and you find a tree...Good Shabbes Daliah Davis

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