Chapter: Shabbat

Laws of Shabbat

01. Shabbat Rest – The Completion of Creation

It took six days for God to create the heavens, the earth, and all within them. At first glance, an additional day seems unnecessary. Nevertheless, God created the seventh day and designated it for rest and cessation of labor. As … Continue reading

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02. Shabbat and the Jewish People

The Sages ask: Why does the Torah’s description of the end of the sixth day of creation conclude with “And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Bereishit 1:31), with the definite article? They explain that the … Continue reading

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03. The Link Between the Exodus and Shabbat

During the first two millennia after creation, humans learned how to sustain themselves; to find food, clothing, and shelter; and to organize a society that could cope successfully with the challenges of their surroundings. Yet apart from a select few … Continue reading

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04. The Uniqueness of Israel and Shabbat

Shabbat reveals the special connection between God and Israel, as is stated: Nevertheless, you must keep My Shabbatot, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I the Lord have consecrated … Continue reading

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05. The Six Days of Creation and Shabbat

The six weekdays and Shabbat are interconnected. Just as every person has a body and a soul, so too the week has a body and a soul: weekdays are its body and Shabbat is its soul. Just as a wholesome … Continue reading

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06. Blessing and Holiness

Shabbat is a repository of blessing and holiness, as it is stated: “And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done” (Bereishit 2:3). Similarly we … Continue reading

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07. Manna on Shabbat

During the forty years that our ancestors wandered in the desert, God provided them with food from heaven. This food was known as man (manna), and through it God taught Israel how they should relate to food and to livelihood. … Continue reading

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08. Zakhor and Shamor

Two mitzvot constitute the basic elements of Shabbat: Zakhor (“commemorate”) and Shamor (“observe”). “Shamor” is a negative commandment to refrain from all labor. For six days, one must take care of his needs and productively engage the world, but on … Continue reading

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09. Zakhor – Foundations of Faith

With the commandment to “Commemorate the day of Shabbat to sanctify it” (Shemot 20:8), we are enjoined to recall the foundations of faith. This is why the mitzva of Shabbat is the fourth of the Ten Commandments. First we are … Continue reading

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10. Shamor – Cessation from Crafting the Mishkan

During the six weekdays, one must take care of his needs and productively engage the world. Most of his abilities and energies are directed toward working his fields, providing food, shelter, and clothing, and other productive activities. As much as … Continue reading

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11. Shabbat Is the Equivalent of All the Mitzvot because It Expresses Faith

Shabbat is endowed with an amazing capacity. It allows Jews to ascend to a level that is akin to the World to Come, transcend the barriers and masks that this world places between man and his Source of life, absorb … Continue reading

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12. The Temple Was Destroyed on Account of Shabbat Desecration

Before the destruction of the First Temple, God sent the prophet Yirmiyahu to tell the nation and the Kingdom of Judah that their future was dependent on their Shabbat observance: Thus said the Lord to me: Go and stand in … Continue reading

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13. Redemption Is Dependent upon Shabbat Observance

We see from Yeshayahu that the ultimate redemption depends upon doing what is right and just and observing Shabbat, as it says: Thus said the Lord: Observe what is right and do what is just; for soon My salvation shall … Continue reading

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14. The Severity of the Sin of Shabbat Desecration

Having learned of the tremendous value of Shabbat, we can understand why its desecration is such a severe sin. The Torah prescribes its harshest punishment for it: if one intentionally desecrates Shabbat in front of witnesses who forewarned him, he … Continue reading

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15. One Who Desecrates Shabbat Disaffiliates Himself from the Jewish People

We have seen that the desecration of Shabbat is exceedingly grave; one who publicly desecrates Shabbat, like the idolater, is viewed as having disaffiliated from the Jewish people and is treated as a non-Jew. As Rambam writes: Both Shabbat and … Continue reading

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16. Shabbat, Peace, and Unity

On Shabbat we connect with the Source of our life and thereby reveal that all creation has one root. Consequently, the world becomes more peaceful. The most profound opposition in the world is the dichotomy between the spiritual and the … Continue reading

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01. Shabbat Preparations

The six weekdays and Shabbat are interconnected. Just as one has a body and a soul, so, too, the week has a body (the work days) and a soul (Shabbat). Just as a wholesome person’s body and soul work together … Continue reading

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02. Friday

Although there is a certain amount of preparation for Shabbat that should go on all week, the primary time to prepare is on Friday, as is stated: “But on the sixth day, they prepare what they have brought in” (Shemot … Continue reading

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03. Buying Food for Shabbat

It is a mitzva to make Shabbat enjoyable through superior food and beverages, depending on one’s means. Spending generously and preparing many tasty foods is praiseworthy (MT 30:7) and a fulfillment of the verse: “Call Shabbat ‘delight’” (Yeshayahu 58:13). The … Continue reading

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04. Honoring Shabbat via Clothing

It is a mitzva to honor Shabbat, as it is written: “Call Shabbat ‘delight,’ the Lord’s holy [day] ‘honored’” (Yeshayahu 58:13). Part of honoring Shabbat is making sure that one does not dress on Shabbat as he would during the … Continue reading

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05. Honoring Shabbat by Preparing One’s Self and One’s Home

Just as one must prepare nice, clean clothing for Shabbat, so too, one must prepare one’s body for Shabbat. This is part of the mitzva of honoring Shabbat. Thus, the Sages state that it is a mitzva to take a … Continue reading

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06. The Mitzva to Take Part in Shabbat Preparations

The Torah states: “On the sixth day, they shall prepare what they have brought in” (Shemot 16:5). It is inferred from here that there is a mitzva to prepare for Shabbat on Friday. Even a rich and dignified person who … Continue reading

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07. The Prohibition of Eating a Large Meal on Friday

On Friday one is meant to be preparing for Shabbat. The Sages forbade sitting down to an unusually large meal on Friday, because doing so would spoil one’s appetite for Friday night dinner (SA 249:2). It also would be disrespectful … Continue reading

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08. The Prohibition of Doing Melakha on Friday

The Sages prohibit working on Friday afternoon, informing us that work undertaken then will not be blessed with success. The prohibition goes into effect at Minĥa ketana, which is two and a half (seasonal) hours before sunset (Rashi). There is … Continue reading

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09. Tasks that Begin before Shabbat and Continue into Shabbat

One may begin tasks on Friday that will automatically complete on Shabbat. For example, on Friday one may place a pot with uncooked food on the plata so that it will continue to cook on Shabbat, as long as from … Continue reading

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10. Taking a Boat Trip That Will Continue into Shabbat

The prohibitions of Shabbat apply only on Shabbat. Accordingly, at first glance it would seem permissible to go on a dangerous trip on Friday, keep traveling until a minute before Shabbat, and then when Shabbat begins, decide that one is … Continue reading

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11. Sailing for the Sake of a Mitzva and Traveling on a Boat Owned by Jews

The aforementioned prohibition on setting sail within three days of Shabbat in order to avoid its desecration or the negation of the mitzva of oneg Shabbat is limited to cases where the trip is not undertaken in service of a … Continue reading

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12. Traveling by Plane or Train on Friday

One may not board a train or plane on Friday if it will be traveling on Shabbat. This is the case even when the driver or pilot is not Jewish. There are several reasons for this: (1) It violates teĥum … Continue reading

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01. Shabbat times

In the Torah, night precedes day for all matters. This is derived from the description of the world’s creation, about which the Torah states: “And there was evening and there was morning, day one” (Bereishit 1:5). This tells us that … Continue reading

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02. The Mitzva of Tosefet Shabbat

The inherent sanctity of Shabbat is present only from the beginning of the seventh day, when Shabbat starts. However, the Torah commands that we extend the sanctity of Shabbat into the mundane week. That is, we are meant to accept … Continue reading

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03. How to Accept Tosefet Shabbat

One can accept tosefet Shabbat verbally by saying “I hereby accept upon myself the sanctity of Shabbat.” Some maintain that one can even accept tosefet Shabbat mentally (MB 261:21). Once one has accepted Shabbat, he must be careful not to … Continue reading

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04. Laws Pertaining to One Who Accepts Shabbat upon Himself

From the time one accepts tosefet Shabbat, he must refrain from all melakhot forbidden by Torah law. Rabbinically prohibited actions are also forbidden at this point, unless the melakha to be done is for a mitzva, for a Shabbat need, … Continue reading

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05. May One Pray Minĥa after Accepting Shabbat?

There are shuls where the weekday Minĥa on Friday is finished after shki’a, so that if the participants wait to accept Shabbat until after Minĥa, Shabbat in fact has already begun, and they are unable to fulfill the mitzva of … Continue reading

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01. The Mitzva of Lighting Shabbat Candles[1]

There is a rabbinic mitzva to light a candle to honor Shabbat. There are three reasons for this: 1) to honor Shabbat, as a banquet without light is of no significance; 2) for oneg Shabbat, because one who cannot see … Continue reading

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02. Where to Light and Who Must Light

It is a mitzva to have light in every room that will be used Friday night, so that people will not trip. However, the primary mitzva is to light the candles where the meal will be eaten, since by eating … Continue reading

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03. What May One Light With, and How Many Candles

The second chapter of Tractate Shabbat has an extensive discussion about what materials may be used for lighting Shabbat candles. The general principle is that the wick needs to be soft and absorbent so that it will draw the oil … Continue reading

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04. The Berakha Recited upon Lighting

There are two customs as to when the berakha over the candles is recited. Some say it prior to lighting, as the rule for all mitzvot is to recite the berakha before performing the mitzva. Thus, they first say “Barukh … Continue reading

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05. Fulfilling the Obligation via Electric Lights

If necessary, one may fulfill the mitzva by switching on an incandescent light bulb. A bulb is similar to a candle as the glowing metal filament is the equivalent of a wick and the electricity is the equivalent of the … Continue reading

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06. What Procedure Should Be Followed When Two Families Dine Together

When a family hosts another family for Shabbat, some maintain that only the hostess should light candles with a berakha, whereas the guest should light without a berakha since it is not clear whether there is a need for her … Continue reading

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07. The Status of Married or Single People Spending Shabbat Away from Home

The mitzva of lighting candles has two components. The first is connected to the place – there should be light in the place where one is eating, to make Shabbat enjoyable. Similarly, there must be light in other places that … Continue reading

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