Parshat Vayetze – A Land Without BoundariesYour seed will be like dust of the earth, and you will spread west and east north and south, and all the families of the world will be blessed because of you and your offspring.
I recently had a discussion with a young man who comes from a distant country. In his spare time he studies Economics. In distant countries they have not yet learned that real life economics does not follow text book theories. I brought this to his attention and that it is more difficult to predict economics than the weather. Economics as well as the weather are two matters which G-d does not give man control of. A Talmudic discussion which discusses the above Pasuk says that If you enjoy Shabbat G-d will manipulate world economy in our direction giving us the blessing of Yaacov Avinu.
In the Gemarah it says that whoever makes Shabbat relaxed will receive an inheritance without boundaries as it says in the book of Yishayahu: If you prevent your foot from doing your business on my holy day and you call Shabbat relaxation to sanctify G-d in honor, and you honor it by not going on the way to your business and by not talking. (about business) Then you will relax over G- d…and you will consume the blessing of your father Yaacov.”
This blessing is what we see in the top quote which states that you will spread west and east etc. It can be asked “Why is it so important to relax on Shabbat? Why should G-d work economic miracles if we relax?”
Succinctly, by not working on Shabbat we recognize that G-d runs the world. During the week when we do work we feel as if we run the world and on Shabbat we refrain from working. This is what we mean by creation. When we realize that G-d really runs the show he gives us the best blessing possible. In this discussion our Rabbis of Blessed Memory tell us that through relaxation, not work, we will see economic prosperity.
On Shabbat we relax by dining. We should not just eat but we should go out of the way to enjoy a dining experience. There is no better way to realize that G-d runs the world than to just dine with friends avoiding business chat. While you eat the world still turns. In the talmud there is discussion as to what constitutes a really relaxing meal. According to an opinion in the Gemarah in the name of Rav you must eat delicious vegetables, big fish and heads of garlic. (I am sure they were cooked) Another opinion the name of Rav says that even if you eat something light like fish hash if you prepared it in honor of Shabbat it is then relaxing.