Trust Folks with Jobs

In dozens of cities around the world, as darkness descends, barbarians emerge to enjoy their orgies of plunder and destruction. As if intoxicated by the absence of defenders, they are unable fully to comprehend that nobody is defying them.

I think of you, my readers, as noble knights defending the fortress of civilization against the hordes of scheming and surging savages trying to invade and conquer what you and your fathers have built.  The barbarians know that even after they destroy the civilization you built, as they loot its stores and wretchedly crawl through its wrecked ruins, they will still live better than in anything they could ever have built themselves.

Who are these people?  Who is the 23-year-old arrested for the second time in Green Bay, WI, on his way to a riot with guns and explosives?  Does he have parents? If so, do they know what has become of their baby? Above all, how does he eat? From where does he have money for clothing and food, not to mention weapons?

Who is the 40-year-old killer arrested at a Portland riot? We know that he has a baby daughter but no wife. We know that he seems not to have held down any kind of job, listing his occupation as a professional protester.  From where does he have money for all of life’s basic necessities?

We know two things for sure about the rioters: They do receive money and they do not have jobs.  They’re not dressed in rags and they don’t walk to riot locations; they have money. People with jobs tend to sleep at night so they are ready for work the next morning. Even when the prize is a few flat-screen TVs, people who riot all night don’t work all day.  These people have no jobs.

They are probably getting money from groups led by people like George Soros. They are also probably getting money confiscated from their fellow Americans and transferred to them in the form of welfare and COVID payments. Some of them are probably getting money from proud parents eagerly reliving the 1960s. Some of them are probably getting money from various criminal endeavors.

We can’t stop Soros from doing what he wishes with his own money and we can’t do much to stop parents from encouraging their children to commit mayhem. But we ought to be able to stop financial reward from criminal enterprise and we surely ought to be able to end rioters obtaining the money that the government transfers to them from hard-working citizens.  In other words, if we took the steps necessary to make having a job the best way of obtaining money, we’d be taking an enormous step towards tranquility.

Sadly, since the early 1960s, we began downgrading the value of work and elevating educational credentials so that many people who could have joined the real world by starting work instead extended adolescence indefinitely by spending years taking useless courses in colleges and universities.  On most campuses (on my podcast, I disparagingly refer to universities as kindergartens) a degree in gender studies or on racial bias in French movies is considered the equivalent in terms of rigor and objectivity as a degree in Russian literature or physics.

An unintended side effect of the then necessary and positive child-labor laws enacted throughout the West by the early twentieth century was to lower the social acceptability of work among young people. Though teenagers in most of the United States may legally work many hours a week in so-called safe industries, few do. This is a shame since work is uplifting and stabilizing.

Consider the first time Scripture discusses the relationship between man and work:

And no shrub of the field was yet on earth and no grasses of the field had yet sprouted, because the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth
and there was no man to work the ground.

(Genesis 2:5) [page 5*]

Not surprisingly, within no more than ten words, God was busy creating man. Clearly, in order to exist, creation needs man to work.  But does man need to work?

It would appear so because the Fourth Commandment could merely have prohibited work on the seventh day. It goes further, directing us indeed to work the other six days:

Six days you shall work and do all your work.
(Exodus 20:9) [page 225*]

The King James translation, recognizing that Hebrew has two different words for “work” translates Exodus 20:9 this way:

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work…

But what actually defines those two different words for work, AVoDaH and MeLaCHaH?

See both words and compare their appearance in the Hebrew [page 224, 7 lines up, 3rd last word and 7 lines up, 1st word*]

The first one, AVoDaH, means work in a more general sense. It is used extensively in describing the Egyptian servitude in Exodus.  See the same word in Genesis 2:5 [page 4 last line, 3rd word*. You’ll easily spot the same 3 letter root even if you don’t know any Hebrew. Yet!]

The second word for work used in Exodus 20:9, meaning a more specific work designed to attain an intended goal, is MeLaCHaH. For instance, general work like moving a table from one room to another is permissible on the Sabbath. However, specific work intended to increase my revenue is explicitly prohibited.

Six days should work (MeLaCHaH) be done and on the seventh,
a sabbath, a special sabbath holy to the Lord, all who do work (MeLaCHaH)
on the sabbath day shall die.
(Exodus 31:15)  [See the Hebrew word MeLaCHaH page 264, 9 lines down, 2nd word*]

In most parts of the world, ice cream is ice cream, but in Italy, there are many different names for different types of ice cream because Italians specialize in ice cream and love it.

In English work is work. Occasionally you might say labor, but it is all pretty much indistinguishable. However, in the Lord’s language, Hebrew, there are two important and distinctive words for work.  That is because the Hebrew culture specializes in work and loves it.  Doing one’s work when it should be done is an act of serving God and is an avenue to greatness.

See a man quick & diligent in his work (MeLaCHaH) he will stand before kings…
(Proverbs 22:29) [page 2010, 9 lines up, 3rd last word*]

At speeches and appearances, when I have the privilege of greeting families who come to hear me, I nearly always smilingly ask the teenage children what work they do. I can’t stop myself from breaking into a broad grin when the youngster enthusiastically tells me about his job.

In some countries today,  we’ve made a terrible mistake by making it possible, no, we’ve made it easy, for so many to live without working. Work was needed to make the garden grow and it is still needed today.

* all page and line references are from Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s recommended Hebrew/English Bible.

Recommended Hebrew/English Bible ON SALE: Dear Rabbi and Susan: 101 Ask the Rabbi Questions and Answers.

16 thoughts on “Trust Folks with Jobs”

  1. Thank you. I find it interesting that those who have little resent those who have worked and become financially successful. Seldom does someone who views “work” as doing exactly what their job description says and nothing more (a horrible employee) ever realize those who pass them by see their work as their life’s purpose. Elder’s who live in poverty blame their lack of success on bad luck and the success of other on luck or favoritism. I’m not Jewish; however, I love the old testament and love reading your writing.

  2. Rabbi,
    In INDIA there is no welfare check and the poor, KISAN(farmer) and middle class get up each day to earn a living. From Dhobi(Washes clothes) to Dai( Sweeps and cooks) all work and take care of the family. Work, Family and Hindu culture binds us. I am a Christian but follow Hindu culture even in Chicago, IL.
    It is sad to witness the great city being burned and looted, of course the carjacking and killings. May God have Mercy on USA……..David

  3. Thank you Rabbi, It’s good to know.
    I recently wrote to Hillsdale College and asked them to consider you as one of their future speakers. Dr. Arnn wrote that you had indeed spoke there and that they appreciated your work.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      That’s so very kind of you, Mark,
      I’ve been a long-time supporter of Hillsdale, and we even considered sending some of our children there. I’ve also enjoyed a long time friendship with Dr Larry Arnn and admire his leadership there. Yes, I have spoken there, but I agree with you! It’s time for a second visit! Thanks for trying.

  4. I cannot thank you enough, Rabbi, for maintaining your voice of reason. I especially love this column. I pray His continuing blessings on you and yours. Thank you so much!

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thanks Laurie-
      It pleases me no end to know that you, accustomed to the high standards of Z.Z., enjoy my work.

  5. Oh my – I can’t tell you how much I love this piece. So insightful about the role of “work” in our lives as physical and spiritual people. How could have strayed this far from the original intent of meaningful work?

    Thank you for your continued wisdom on this very important topic. We must join forces to stop the insanity we’re seeing regarding work and privilege today.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you Dan–
      It means so much to me that you read these offerings.
      Of course, real work brings independence which is why all those who believe in salvation through government despise work since nobody should ever be independent of government.

    2. Nice to see another individual here who has influenced my life in such a positive way. Thank you Dan and Daniel!

  6. I love it Rabbi … just like the Soviet menace, cut off the funds and the beast will starve until it collapses.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Paul,
      Yes, defund the Left which mostly operates on monies confiscated from hard working families and funneled through government agencies to community “activists” and social organizers.

  7. Wm. Zmistowski, Jr.

    Right Rabbi!
    And America’s major holiday, Labor Day, celebrates “work” (and freedom and “theAmerican Way” based on Biblical truths)… not “free stuff”.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Right, William,
      The irony of Labor Day now being used as a day to celebrate the system of extorting ever more pay for ever less value wasn’t lost on me. The United States Post Office is really a schematic for all American industry.

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