Chapter: 16 – Mav’ir and Mekhabeh

01. The Melakha of Hav’ara

The Torah states: “But the seventh day is Shabbat of the Lord your God; you shall not do any melakha” (Shemot 20:9). The Sages explain that the intent of this verse is to forbid all 39 melakhot that were instrumental … Continue reading

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02. The Laws of Hav’ara

One who lights a fire of any size that meets some need violates a Torah prohibition. It makes no difference whether he starts the fire by rubbing stones together, using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays on straw, … Continue reading

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03. Reading by Candlelight

The Sages ordained that one may not read by the light of an oil lamp on Shabbat, lest the flame become dim and the reader absent-mindedly tip the lamp so that more oil reaches the wick, thus transgressing the Torah … Continue reading

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04. Shabbat Candles

While a candle is burning at home, one must be careful not to open a window or door facing it, as the wind may blow out the flame. Even if the wind outside is currently too weak to put out … Continue reading

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05. The Melakha of Mekhabeh and the Meaning of Melakha She-eina Tzerikha Le-gufah

Extinguishing a fire in order to produce charcoal is one of the 39 melakhot prohibited on Shabbat. In the Mishkan they would turn wood into charcoal by setting fire to wood and then extinguishing it. They would then use this … Continue reading

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06. Fire that Causes Property Damage

If a fire breaks out on Shabbat, the first question that must be addressed is whether it presents a danger to human life. If it does, there is a mitzva to do whatever is necessary to extinguish it. However, if … Continue reading

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07. Putting Out a Fire When There Is Danger to Human Life

In a situation where human life might be endangered by a fire, it is a mitzva for anyone who can put it out to do so as soon as possible, since danger to human life overrides Shabbat. Even if the … Continue reading

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08. Putting Out a Fire to Prevent People from Being Injured

As we have seen (section 5), one who puts out a fire only transgresses rabbinically, according to most poskim. Only one who extinguishes a fire in order to produce charcoal is doing so le-tzorekh gufo. When one puts out a … Continue reading

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