The Jewish importance of working

Check out this excerpt from the teacher's material from this course.  See below as we invite your discussion and insights.

The Sages of the Mishnah thus tell us to:

אהב את המלאכה

פרק א משנה י'

Love labor

Avot Chapter 1 Mishnah 10

The Sages furthermore urged parents not to neglect the professional orientation of their children (Kiddushim 30b, 82a; Berachot 63a; Erchin 16b). In particular, they insisted on pointing out the morally disastrous consequences of idleness (Ketubot 59b), as noted even by Scripture (Proverbs 8:15, 19).

On the other hand, the individual who remains idle is publically stigmatized by the Sages, who invalidated him from testifying in court (Kiddushin 14b). The Sages further pointed out that no human being is exempt from working, thereby placing all human beings on the same level: "And if you will tell me that my work as a sage is more precious than someone else's, they I would answer: The work and its result are not significant, provided the intention is noble."

We cannot express the exalted value of labor any better than by citing the words of Chazal: "Greater is the one who enjoys the labor of his palms, even more than one who fears God" (Berachot 7a).


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