Halakhah הֲלָכָה

Dear Daniel,
Excellent question! And this is a great week to consider it, because at the beginning of the parashah, there’s a warning not to do מְלָאכָה (melakhah, productive work) on Shabbat, and the mitzvah to stop work on Shabbat comes up again at the end of the parashah.
Benefiting from breaking Shabbat
One kind of forbidden melakhah is carrying anything from a public space to a private space. Even if you live where there is an eruv (which mixes a whole bunch of private and public spaces into one private space), you can be pretty sure that your mail is being carried to you from outside the eruv.
You might think: “Well, that’s not a problem, because the postal worker is doing the carrying, not me!”
Actually, it’s more complicated. Another major principle in the rules of Shabbat is that we are not allowed to benefit from melakhah that is done on our behalf. Because of this, the Shulhan Arukh (Orah Hayyim 307:14) says that you shouldn’t even touch a letter that is brought to you on Shabbat from outside the eruv.
Is our situation different?
The Shulhan Arukh was written 500 years ago, when there wasn’t a whole mail delivery system. If someone got mail back then, it was almost always because all the work of bringing that mail was done specifically for them. Some modern rabbis think that today’s system of postal workers is completely different because they don’t work just for you. Even if you weren’t getting any mail at all, they would still be doing a lot of work to make deliveries all over your neighborhood. Based on this thinking, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shulhan Shlomo 308 4:3) says that, today, you are allowed to read mail that arrives on Shabbat, especially if it will enhance your Shabbat experience—which we are sure Devash will!
However, other modern rabbis, such as Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, think that the Shulhan Arukh’s rule still applies today. According to this position, mail that arrives on Shabbat should not be read until after Shabbat (Iggerot Moshe OH 5 21:5).
So there you have it, a firm maybe! Next week, we’ll continue with a different aspect of this question: when is tearing open envelopes and packages allowed?