Sixty-Minute Hours: Using Time on the Job
A real bonus of my family’s recent move in Jerusalem was meeting “Jonathan,” a native of Los Angeles currently employed by the company which handled our move. He had earphones in his ears the entire time he hauled our boxes,
appliances and furniture. I had no idea what he was listening to, and thought the earphones might be for a cellphone. As it turned out, Jonathan was listening to a variety of shiurim on the upcoming Yom Tov of Pesach. I struck up a conversation, and he very politely told me that we could talk during the movers’ break, while the others smoked. He didn’t smoke, and would be free to talk then. I was truly impressed with this young man on two counts. He was working hard, but he would not take even a few extra minutes off to converse with the customer. In addition, although the work was physically demanding, it left his mind free, and he used those hours to listen to shiurim. How hard do we have to work at our jobs? Does halachah allow us to use any salaried time for personal needs? Are quick errands, phone calls to check on the kids, or online shopping and news updates permitted at work, or must they be confined strictly to personal time?