In this week’s Parashah, the Kli Yakar (20:13) notes that the first five of the Aseret HaDibrot parallel the last five commandments. This is seen in the fourth commandment (to keep Shabbat), which lines up with the ninth commandment (not to testify falsely), because one who defiles Shabbat is considered as if he testified falsely against Hashem. The Kli Yakar then continues to delve into the prohibition of speaking about prohibited acts on Shabbat. Because Hashem made the world through speech – as we see in our daily morning prayer, “Baruch SheAmar ViHaya HaOlam,” “Blessed is He Who spoke, and the world came into being” – rather than through physical actions, it behooves us not only to refrain from the actual physical activities that are prohibited on Shabbat, but also from speaking about them. This helps remind us how Hashem created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh.
This lesson applies very well to contemporary jobs, which are not limited to just physical labor. If we speak about prohibited actions on Shabbat, we fail to separate ourselves from the creative work that we take part in during the other six days of the week, and therefore aren’t truly demonstrating the concept that Hashem created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, as we are commanded to do on Shabbat.
The Seforno (Shemot 20:10) explains that the prohibited acts on Shabbat aren’t just a remembrance or testimony to what Hashem did, but rather a means to come closer to Him by being Holeich BiDrachav, walking (i.e. imitating) his ways. By guarding the matters of our speech on Shabbat, we are not only truthful witnesses to Hashem’s seven day cycle of creation, but also emulating Hashem’s separation of creation and rest.
Based on a Dvar Torah given by Rabbi Aryeh Brueckheimer