Avodah: Vocation, Calling, Service

More than just means to make money, our jobs can be one vehicle for setting the world right.

Print this page Print this page

These texts reflect the tradition's essential attitude toward work. Work is not just necessary to earn a living, it is a way, perhaps the way, to engage in Torah. Thus the very verse that is often understood to mean that we should engage in Torah study continuously--day and night--is reinterpreted to refer not to Torah study but to living a life of Torah. Why? Because it is impossible in the "real" world to spend all of one's time in Torah study.

The Torah is meant to be lived, not studied. We are to meditate on it day and night, night and day, not by withdrawing from the world into the beit midrash, "the house of study," but rather by engaging fully in the world while meditating on the Torah and its teaching regarding honesty and living with awareness.

Reprinted with permission from A Book of Life (Schocken Books).

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Michael Strassfeld is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan, co-author of The First Jewish Catalog, The Second Jewish Catalog, A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah, and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary.