Chapter: 22 – The Spirit of Shabbat

01. The Mitzva to Preserve Shabbat as a Day of Rest

The Torah commands us to refrain from melakha on Shabbat: “But the seventh day is Shabbat of the Lord your God; you shall not do any melakha” (Shemot 20:9), that is, any of the 39 types of melakha done while … Continue reading

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02. Business

One may not engage in commerce on Shabbat. One who opens his store, buying and selling on Shabbat just as he does on weekdays, negates a Torah commandment. This prohibition applies even if he is careful to avoid transgressing any … Continue reading

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03. Obtaining Products from Stores

One who finds himself short of food on Shabbat for the Shabbat meals, whether on account of poor planning or the arrival of unexpected guests, may approach the owner of a store and ask him for food from his store, … Continue reading

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04. Lending, Borrowing, and Giving Gifts

Just as one may not buy and sell on Shabbat, one may not lend anything or repay a loan. Since these activities often involve writing contracts, there is a concern that engaging in them may lead one to write. Therefore, … Continue reading

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05. Court Activity, Weddings, Teruma and Ma’aser

The Sages forbade rabbinical courts to sit in judgment or mete out punishment on Shabbat. Similarly, they prohibited betrothals, marriages, divorce, yibum (levirate marriage), or ĥalitza (levirate divorce) out of concern that people would end up writing (Beitza 37a). It … Continue reading

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06. Immersing and Measuring on Shabbat

As is well known, a Jew who bought or received an eating utensil or receptacle from a non-Jew may not use it for food until it has been immersed in a mikveh. If one did not immerse it before Shabbat, … Continue reading

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07. Walking, Running, and Jumping

The world we live in is full of shortcomings. To perfect it, we rush around all week long, working and exerting ourselves in a variety of ways. However, on Shabbat, which is like the World to Come, we are commanded … Continue reading

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08. Working Out and Riding a Bicycle

One may not run for exercise on Shabbat, because it is burdensome rather than pleasurable. Even though people who work out enjoy it, this enjoyment derives from their awareness that they are taking care of their health and physical fitness, … Continue reading

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09. Walking for Non-Shabbat Purposes

Even when one takes a relaxed walk, he may not walk to his fields or factory in order to plan out his workweek. Doing so is included in the category of “your affairs,” which may not be addressed on Shabbat, … Continue reading

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10. Talking about Work and Business

It is a mitzva to honor Shabbat in the way one speaks, as it is written: “and if you honor it, and not go in your own way, nor look to your affairs, nor speak of them” (Yeshayahu 58:13). The … Continue reading

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11. Walking and Talking for the Sake of a Mitzva

One may speak about activities that are prohibited on Shabbat if it is for the sake of a mitzva. In such a case, one may also examine sites where melakha must be done or make financial calculations for the sake … Continue reading

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12. Permitted and Forbidden Reading Material

One may not read contracts and financial documents on Shabbat, such as loan and purchase contracts, bank statements, phone and electric bills, and prices on flyers or in shop windows. Reading them is considered dealing with mundane affairs (ĥeftzei ĥol), … Continue reading

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13. Games on Shabbat

Poskim disagree whether one may play games on Shabbat. Some say that since Shabbat is meant for Torah study, one may not play games, as that would be wasting time that could be used to study Torah. Accordingly, one may … Continue reading

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14. Payment for Work Done on Shabbat (Sekhar Shabbat)

The Sages prohibited accepting payment for work done on Shabbat, because this is included in the prohibition on commerce. Even if the “work” is intrinsically permissible on Shabbat (such as guard duty or waiting tables), one may not accept payment … Continue reading

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15. Preparing on Shabbat for Weekdays, and Cleaning Up the House and Table

Shabbat is meant to bring holiness and rest into our lives. Making efforts on Shabbat to prepare for the week belittles its honor, and therefore the Sages forbade doing so. Thus, one may not make the beds on Shabbat in … Continue reading

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16. When Preparation on Shabbat for the Weekday Is Permitted

The prohibition of preparing on Shabbat for the weekday is limited to activities that require effort. However, easy, effortless activities that people routinely undertake are permitted. This is true even if the activities are useful for the weekday, as doing … Continue reading

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17. Playing Musical Instruments and Producing Sound

The Sages prohibited playing instruments on Shabbat and Yom Tov, lest the instrument break and the player fix it, thus violating Torah law (MT 23:4). In contrast, in the Temple, rabbinic Shabbat prohibitions (shvut) did not apply; therefore, even on … Continue reading

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18. Clapping and Dancing

The Sages’ prohibition of playing instruments includes dancing, clapping, and slapping one’s thigh with one’s hands to accompany singing out of concern lest one play an instrument and fix it (Beitza 36b). However, one may clap with a shinui, such … Continue reading

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19. Music and Films on Electronic Devices

There is a clear consensus among poskim that one may not listen to the radio or watch television on Shabbat. Even if the radio or television is turned on before Shabbat so that no melakha is performed on Shabbat, it … Continue reading

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