Chapter: Shabbat

Laws of Shabbat

08. Those Who Live in Dormitories and Those Who Are Ill

Boys learning in yeshiva, who live in a dormitory most of the time, are considered independent as far as candle lighting is concerned, and have a personal obligation to light candles to honor Shabbat. This is the case even if … Continue reading

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01. Studying Torah on Shabbat

It is a mitzva to study a great deal of Torah on Shabbat. The Sages stated: “Shabbat and Yom Tov were given solely to study Torah on them” (y. Shabbat 15c). The Sages also stated: The Torah said to God: … Continue reading

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02. What to Study on Shabbat

Torah study on Shabbat should be a joy and a pleasure. Therefore, some poskim advise against studying difficult and complicated subjects, because when one does not understand what he is studying he becomes tense and aggravated. Therefore, it is proper … Continue reading

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03. Sleeping on Shabbat

Included in the mitzva of oneg Shabbat is sleeping soundly, as the popular proverb has it: “Sleeping on Shabbat is a pleasure.” But it is not proper for one to sleep on Shabbat in order to work Saturday night. Doing … Continue reading

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04. The Shabbat Sermon

It has long been customary for rabbis to deliver important derashot (sermons or homilies) on Shabbat, in which they deal with halakhic and theological matters. These would be attended by the entire community. This important practice has its foundation in … Continue reading

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05. Women and Torah Study on Shabbat

There is a fundamental difference between men’s and women’s obligation to study Torah. Men, even after they have learned all of halakha and the fundamentals of faith, are still obligated to set aside time to study Torah and to review … Continue reading

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06. Reading the Torah on Shabbat

An ordinance tracing back to Moshe mandates that Jews read from holy Torah scrolls written in ink on parchment every Shabbat, Monday, and Thursday (BK 82a). Due to the holiness and exaltedness of Shabbat, the Sages instituted that seven people … Continue reading

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07. The Haftara

The Sages instituted that in addition to the Torah reading, there should also be a public reading from the Prophets on a topic related either to the Torah reading or to the time of year. One berakha is made before … Continue reading

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08. Torah Reading at Minĥa on Shabbat

In addition to ordaining the reading of the parsha on Shabbat morning, Ezra the Scribe also instituted that the Torah be read at Minĥa. Three people are called up at Minĥa and the beginning of the next parsha is read. … Continue reading

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09. Shnayim Mikra Ve-eĥad Targum

In addition to the communal Torah reading in shul, the Sages also mandated that each week every man should read shnayim mikra ve-eĥad targum (lit. “twice Scripture, once translation”), that is, the parsha twice and the Aramaic translation once. He … Continue reading

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10. Different Customs Relating to Shnayim Mikra Ve-eĥad Targum

Some customarily read shnayim mikra ve-eĥad targum on Friday and try to do the entire reading without stopping (Arizal; Shlah; Kaf Ha-ĥayim 285:3; Tur). Others follow the custom of reading one aliya each day of the week, so that on … Continue reading

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11. Shabbat Prayers

The Amida on Shabbat is made up of seven berakhot. The formulation of the first and last three berakhot is identical to their weekday versions, but in place of the thirteen berakhot in the middle we recite one special berakha … Continue reading

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12. Va-yekhulu

In the Amida of Ma’ariv on Friday night we recite the “Va-yekhulu” passage, the three verses that recount the first Shabbat of creation: The heaven and the earth were finished (va-yekhulu), and all their array. On the seventh day God … Continue reading

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13. Magen Avot – A Concise Recap of the Amida

The Sages ordained that the ĥazan recite the berakha known as “Me’ein Sheva” on Friday night. This berakha is like a ĥazan’s repetition, as it is a synopsis of the seven berakhot of the Shabbat Amida. The reason for this … Continue reading

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14. Kabbalat Shabbat and Other Additions to the Prayers

More than 400 years ago, kabbalists in Tzefat began to usher in Shabbat with the recitation of psalms and liturgical poems. Since Jews desire to give expression to their neshama yeteira, this custom was accepted throughout the Jewish world; this … Continue reading

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15. The Custom of Wishing One’s Rabbi “Shabbat Shalom

“R. Yitzĥak stated: One must visit his rabbi on the three pilgrimage festivals” (RH 16b). This is in order to strengthen his connection to the rabbi, as a result of which he will strengthen his commitment to Torah and mitzvot. … Continue reading

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01. Zakhor and Shamor

As we have seen above (1:8), there are two crucial mitzvot that form the backbone of Shabbat: Zakhor and Shamor. Shamor instructs us to refrain from all labor. In this way we clear space in our soul, which we are … Continue reading

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02. Fulfilling the Mitzva of Zakhor

One fulfills the Torah obligation of Zakhor by invoking the sanctity of Shabbat and specifying that it commemorates the creation of the world and the Exodus from Egypt. However, the Sages wished for everyone to fulfill this mitzva using a … Continue reading

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03. Kiddush over Wine

The Sages instituted the recitation of kiddush over wine because it is the most dignified beverage, as it provides both nourishment and good cheer. They similarly instituted that a berakha be recited over a cup of wine at other joyful … Continue reading

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04. Acceptable Kiddush Wines

The laws of acceptable kiddush wines are derived from the laws governing which wines could be used on the altar in Temple times. Any wine that was deemed unacceptable because of its repulsiveness is also pasul (ritually unfit) for kiddush. … Continue reading

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05. The Required Amount of Wine

In order to fulfill the mitzva of kiddush there must be enough wine in the cup to be considered significant, so that the berakha is recited over something. This amount is the volume of an egg and a half (one … Continue reading

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06. The Laws of Kos Shel Berakha

The Sages ordained that a number of berakhot be recited over a kos (goblet) of wine, such as the berakha over betrothal, marriage, Birkat Ha-mazon (Grace after Meals), kiddush, and havdala. Since these berakhot are made over a kos to … Continue reading

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07. Distributing Wine to All Present

In order to fulfill the mitzva of kiddush, a melo lugmav of wine must be drunk by the person making kiddush or a member of his audience (as explained in section 5 of this chapter). The rest of the listeners … Continue reading

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08. Kiddush Customs and Covering the Challah

There is a widespread custom to stand during the Friday night kiddush because it attests to the creation of the world, and witnesses must stand when giving testimony. The Arizal, basing himself on mystical considerations, also recommends standing; this is … Continue reading

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09. The Prohibition of Eating and Drinking before Kiddush

Once Shabbat has begun, it is a mitzva to fulfill the Torah mandate of Zakhor as soon as possible by making kiddush. The Sages ordained that nothing should be eaten before kiddush. One may not even drink water before kiddush, … Continue reading

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010. Reciting Kiddush at the Place of the Meal

The Sages ordained that kiddush be made at the place of the meal (“be-makom se’uda”), for Scripture states: “Call Shabbat ‘delight’” (Yeshayahu 58:13), teaching us that specifically where one delights in Shabbat with bread or pastries he must proclaim Shabbat, … Continue reading

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01. The Mitzva of Se’udot Shabbat (Festive Shabbat Meals)

The Sages state: “One who eats three festive meals on Shabbat is spared from three misfortunes: the birth-pangs of the Messiah, condemnation to hell, and Armageddon” (Shabbat 118a). The Sages also state: “Whoever delights in Shabbat is spared from imperial … Continue reading

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02. The Parameters of the Mitzva

There are two mitzvot pertaining to the Shabbat meal. One is oneg, the mitzva to delight in Shabbat, as it is written: “Call Shabbat ‘delight’ (oneg)” (Yeshayahu 58:13). Oneg is fulfilled primarily through the meals, but snacks and a Shabbat … Continue reading

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03. Leĥem Mishneh (Two Loaves) and Cutting the Bread

There is a mitzva to use two loaves of bread on Shabbat, to commemorate the double portion of manna that fell on Fridays when the Jews were in the desert and that was referred to as leĥem mishneh (Shabbat 117b). … Continue reading

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04. The Importance of the Shabbat Day Meal

The daytime meal is more important than the Friday night meal, so the best foods should be saved for this second meal. Regarding kiddush, however, Friday night is more important, because we are meant to sanctify the day as close … Continue reading

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05. Se’uda Shlishit

If one does not have bread for se’uda shlishit or finds it difficult to eat bread, be-di’avad he may fulfill his obligation by eating mezonot. Although one may not use mezonot for the first and second meals (SA 274:4), when … Continue reading

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06. Birkat Ha-mazon

The Sages instituted a special passage to be inserted into Birkat Ha-mazon on Shabbat: “Retzei Ve-haĥalitzenu” (“Favor and strengthen us”). In it we ask that our Shabbat rest and our fulfillment of Shabbat mitzvot find favor with God, and that … Continue reading

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07. The Significance of Melaveh Malka

The Sages state that it is a mitzva to set the table on Saturday night for the melaveh malka (lit. “accompanying the queen”) meal, with which we honor Shabbat at its departure (Shabbat 119b). When one must say goodbye to … Continue reading

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08. The Laws Pertaining to Melaveh Malka

Since the melaveh malka is meant to extend the Shabbat experience to the weekdays, it is comparable to the other Shabbat meals. Thus it is appropriate to put a tablecloth on the table and set it nicely. It is also … Continue reading

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01. The Basic Principles of Havdala

It is a mitzva to conclude Shabbat with havdala, in which we give verbal expression to the difference between the sanctity of Shabbat and the ordinary weekdays. The laws pertaining to havdala are similar to those pertaining to kiddush. Just … Continue reading

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02. Havdala over Wine

The procedure for making havdala over wine is as follows. It is customary to begin with a series of verses from the Prophets and Writings to serve as good omens and start the week off on a positive note. This … Continue reading

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03. Customs Related to Havdala

Since the Sages ordained that havdala be recited over wine, the cup should be held during havdala. It is held in the right hand, as it is the more important one. This preference for the right hand is true for … Continue reading

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04. Using Beverages Other Than Wine

Ideally one should make havdala over wine, which is the most dignified beverage, as it nourishes and gladdens, so when it is enjoyed in the service of a mitzva, it has the unique capability to reveal the inner goodness of … Continue reading

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05. Besamim (Fragrance)

The Sages enacted the recitation of a berakha on smelling fragrance on Saturday night, because after Shabbat our spirits are despondent over the departure of the neshama yeteira. In order to revive them, we smell fragrance, which, according to the … Continue reading

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06. The Candle

The Sages instituted making a berakha over a candle on Saturday night, to commemorate God’s granting Adam the insight to strike two stones together to produce fire. Ideally, one makes the berakha over an avuka (lit., “torch”), that is, a … Continue reading

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