מלאכה

Parshat Emor spoke about Shabbat and the Chagim. On all of these days, it is forbidden to do מלאכה. This word, מלאכה, is generally translated as “work”, but this is not an accurate translation.

There was a book written around fifty years ago, called “The Sabbath” by Dayan Grunfeld. It is a short book that tries to give a definition of מלאכה. His definition is as follows: Any act that shows man’s mastery over the universe, is מלאכה.

Therefore, it does not necessarily refer to a strenuous activity. It does refer to a creative activity. This definition fits nicely when we look at the 39 מלאכות that were done in constructing the משכן.