Every rascal is not a thief, but every thief is a rascal. –- Aristotle
When a person works for an hourly wage, with a set start time, finish time and lunch break, any time that he is not working, he is stealing from his employer. Of course, it is understandable to make some interruptions to handle necessary personal matters, but playing video games, reading articles with no direct relevance to ones work, or extensive messaging is criminal misuse of the workday.
The Sfat Emet on the portion of Naso for 5631 (1871) takes this idea a step further. He claims that anyone who commits a sin, who disobeys God’s commandments, is in fact stealing from God. God has granted each and every one of us our time in this world, to use as per his instructions. In a sense, God is our full-time, lifetime employer. When we don’t use the time He grants us as He would wish, then we are in fact no less guilty than an employee who ignores his employer’s directives.
If in fact, we continue to abuse the time and resources He grants us, God may deem that we are no longer worthy of remaining in His “employ” or of being granted the capacity and resources He provides for our “work.”
May we take our divinely-granted “job” seriously; may we familiarize ourselves with the “work manual” He has kindly given us; and may we perform our work well enough that He will wish to keep us on the job, with all of the time, resources and comfort we need to succeed.
To our son Akiva on receiving his job posting with the 51st Battalion.