Shabbat Laws

Translated/adapted from "A Summary of the Shabbat Laws" (published by Machon Ohaley Shem)

Laws 1-21

Laws 25-28:
Preparing Shabbat Meals
Laws 29-33:
Working on Fridays
Laws 34-39
Final preparations
Laws 40-47
Putting food back on heat source during Shabbat
Laws 48-53
Honoring Shabbat
Laws 22-24
Erev Shabbat Meals
Law # 22
On Friday, even in the morning, one should not have a large meal, as this may take away one’s appetite for the Shabbos meal on Friday night. However, for a meal that is a Mitzvah, like the meal accompanying a Bris Mila or Pidyon Haben, it is allowed, as it is a Seudas Mitzvah, even though one may then not be able to properly partake of the Friday night meal. However, the meal should be eaten before the tenth hour (dividing the hours between sunrise and sunset into twelve), and apart from family and close friends, there should only be a Minyan present. At a Bris, the minyan is in addition to the Mohel and the Sandek.
Law # 23
A small meal, the same as that eaten during the week, may be eaten on Friday, even up until sunset. However, it’s a Mitzvah to refrain from eating after the tenth hour, (dividing the hours between sunrise and sunset into twelve), so that one will have a hearty appetite for the Shabbos meal. One may eat snacks up until sunset. However, after dark it is a Mitzvah not to eat at all, until we begin the Shabbos meal, with the blessing of Hamotzi on the bread. However, those who are lenient allow food to be eaten after the blessing over the wine, before eating the bread, as according to the law one does not have to eat the Shabbos meal with an appetite.
Law # 24
One should not fast on a Friday. If he has not eaten, he should at least taste something before Shabbos, so that he is not fasting at the start of Shabbos. The Tenth of Teves is the only public fast that may be done on Friday. All other fasts which fall on a Friday, are postponed to the following Sunday or done the preceding day, Thursday.
Laws 25-28
Preparing Shabbat Meals
Law # 25
One should prepare for Shabbos on Friday morning. In any case, it is obligatory to finish all preparations before sunset. If one will no longer be able to buy provisions after praying, one should buy provisions first, and then pray. Provisions which do not require preparation, e.g. drinks, should preferably be bought on Friday and not on Thursday. However, food which requires preparation should be bought on Thursday.
Law # 26
Even one who has many servants should try and do preparations for Shabbos himself, as this is a bigger Mitzvah than if someone else were to do it for him. Even one who is an honored person, who is not accustomed to do the shopping or housework, should try to do some as it is in honor of Shabbos,as did the great sages of the Talmud.
Law # 27
One should spend a little less time with his studies on Friday, and also with his business, and give priority to preparation for Shabbos, unless he has already prepared for Shabbos, or someone else is doing it for him. Some people do not go to the Beit Midrash on a Friday, as study there often leads from one topic to the next, thus leaving little time to prepare for Shabbos. However, the study of subjects which are time-related, ie. the daily portion of the Parasha, or scheduled group study, should be done on Friday. In any case, one should not study first thing in the morning, at a time when he should be buying Shabbos provisions.
Law # 28
There are those who are careful to sharpen their knives on Friday, because one honors Shabbos in this way. When buying provisions for Shabbos, it is good to say l'shem shabbat kodesh - “This is in honor of Shabbos”. It is also good to say this over every step of  preparation for Shabbos. There are those who taste the food prepared for Shabbos on Friday. Some taste from every dish that has been prepared.
Laws 29-33  Working on Fridays Law # 29
The sages have forbidden work to be done on Friday afternoon, so that one will have time to prepare for Shabbos. Even one who is ready for Shabbos must not work, as the sages did not allow exceptions. Those who do work will not benefit from it, as they will lose out in another area. However, one may work as a one-off, for example, if one needs to write a bill or something like that. It is only time-consuming work which is forbidden.
Law # 30
Work which is necessary to be done for Shabbos, like sewing clothes to be worn on Shabbos, may be done all day Friday, because one may do all that is necessary towards preparation for Shabbos. If one is sewing for a friend, one should do it for nothing, otherwise it could be considered as though one were sewing for profit, and not in order to honor Shabbos. One may copy text needed to learn from, as this is for a Mitzvah, and can be used on Shabbos. One may cut hair on Friday, even for payment, as this is in honor of Shabbos. A poor man who wants to work so as to buy his Shabbos needs, may do all kinds of work all day.
Law # 31
It is permitted to begin work on Friday close to nightfall, even if it will not be completed before Shabbos, as long as one doesn’t complete the work himself on Shabbos. It is therefore permitted to soak ink or spices before Shabbos, and leave it soaking during Shabbos. One may also leave a water sprinkler running from before Shabbos, so that it waters the garden during Shabbos, though one cannot drink from it during Shabbos. It is permitted to bandage a wound before Shabbos and leave it in place throughout Shabbos, even though one may not apply a bandage on Shabbos.
Law # 32
One may begin work before Shabbos, even if it will continue by itself  on Shabbos, because one is not actually working with it himself. For example, one may set a trap before Shabbos, and even though it will trap an animal on Shabbos, this is still permitted.
Law # 33
Work which can be set in motion before Shabbos, but which makes a noise, should not be done. For example, grain should not be put in a watermill before Shabbos, as this makes a noise which will lead people to think that the work was begun on Shabbos. However, one may set an alarm clock to ring on Shabbos, as everyone knows that this was set before Shabbos.
Laws 34-39
Final preparations
Law # 34
It is a mitzvah to check one’s clothing close to Shabbat to make sure that there are no objects in his or her pockets and sleeves, and also to remove things that hang from one’s belt. This is so one will not commit  carrying in a public domain. In fact, even when carrying things indoors on Shabbat , it should be with one’s hands, and not in one’s pocket in order to avoid this transgression. In a city with an ‘eiruv’ making it permissible to carry outdoors, one may put objects into his or her pocket on Shabbat.
Law # 35
Immediately preceding Shabbat, it is forbidden to start cooking uncooked food. This is because it may lead someone to increase the heat (move coals, turn up the gas or temperature) to ensure that the food cook completely. However, if someone raked away, covered with ash, or partially put out the coals (in our day covered the burner) it is permissible to put on the coals, even if the food will not be cooked when Shabbat starts. This is because he or she has significantly shown that the heat source is not needed to cook the food to be ready for Shabbat. This same reason applies if coals were put out and then rekindled themselves.
Law # 36
In a case where food is half cooked, and therefore, one may leave it to complete its cooking on Shabbat. So, too with baking, if the surface of the bread or cake, etc. has hardened, it may finish baking on Shabbat. However, one may NOT hurry the food to finish baking or cooking by any of the following or similar actions: Cover the pot with towels or clothing to insulate it, put on a pot’s lid, close an oven door which has a pot inside, move a pot closer to its heat source. If someone did one of these actions to hasten cooking, it is forbidden to eat the food.
Law # 37
Raw meat may be put to cook on Friday, so that it can fully cook overnight for the next day. It will still be too raw to eat at supper, and therefore one is in no way tempted to adjust coals to hasten its cooking by night. However, the raw meat should be put to cook closely preceding Shabbat. It may put to cook earlier only if it will already be half cooked by Shabbat’s start. If the meat was only slightly cooked, a person might accidentally attempt to increase the heat to cook it for supper. Also, if a person put a piece of raw meat into a pot of cooked meat, this is enough to make the whole pot inedible until the next day and therefore permissible. However with other foods and liquids (dough, water, and vegetables which are not eaten raw, etc.) which can be cooked quick enough to be edible by the night, one may not put them on the fire too close to Shabbat so as to avoid accidentally hastening their cooking. They must already be at least half cooked when Shabbat enters.
Law # 38
Fruit such as apples, which are eaten raw, may be put to roast or cook even immediately preceding Shabbat, and even if they will not be half cooked by the beginning of Shabbat. But foods which are not good raw, even if they are occasionally eaten so, should not be left to cook on Shabbat, unless they are already half done by the beginning of Shabbat. Water—even if its purpose is just to wash dishes and not for drinking—must be half heated by Shabbat’s start. This is despite the fact that the water is drinkable when cold.
Law # 39
An oven which opens from the side, as we use these days, has the same laws as leaving food on a burner.  If someone forgot or accidentally violated the laws of cooking, the food involved may not be eaten on Shabbos, and is only permissible Saturday night after the amount of time passed that was needed to cook it. This is so that someone would not come to cooking on Shabbos in order to have food ready for eating right after Shabbos. In all cases discussed that food was supposed to be at least half cooked when Shabbos started. After-the-fact, the food is permissible if it was at least one third cooked when Shabbos began.
Laws 40-47 
Putting food back on heat source during Shabbat
Law # 40:
One may return a food—only a fully cooked one—to the fire during Shabbos only under the following circumstances:
1) the coals have been rakes or covered with ash, i.e. the heat source and its controls are covered.
2) One hand remained holding the pot (it is permissible to lean the pot onto a counter or table while holding it with one hand).
3) the food was not transferred to a different pot that had not been on the fire.
4) he or she had the intention of returning the food when it was taken off.
5) the food is still at least slightly warm.
6) it is preferable that he or she return the pot only on top of the range not in it
If these conditions are fulfilled, one may return the food, even to a different burner, and even if it is a warmer burner. However, it is forbidden to return food in any case to a ‘Shabbos oven’—even one that maintains a constant heat. NOTE: If someone adds boiling water from his or her Shabbos kettle into hot cholent, it must be direct, with no intervening vessel (see condition 3).
Law # 41
Some opinions say that one is not required to have the intention to return the pot to the heating element and to hold the pot while off the heat. This is excepting the case when the pot was removed from the heat before Shabbat, and is to be returned once Shabbat begins Therefore, according to this opinion, once Shabbos began and a food is removed from the heat, it can even be returned with just the conditions of being 100% cooked and not cold. However, this is only a minority opinion, and one should be strict and follow all the conditions. (See last week’s halacha).
Law # 42
A pot of dry, fully cooked food may be placed next to the heat source. It may also be placed indirectly on the heat source with a separating object between them--for example, to put a pot on another pot that is already on the heat. These placings are permissible even without the other halachic conditions, because one will not come to increase the heat, nor does it appear as cooking since the pot is not directly on the heat.
Law # 43
All of the conditions for returning a pot are required when the heat is such that ‘the hand withdraws from it’ (approx. 43 Celsius and above). As long as the heat can never reach this and the coals are raked or covered, one may return food to the heat with no other conditions (though not inside the heat source).
Law # 44
If food was not on raked or covered coals (it was on a direct heat source) and began to burn, we may put the filled pot into an empty pot, and put them back on the stove, adhering, of course, to the conditions regarding returning food to the heat surface. This is because the bottom of the empty pot blocks the heat making it considered as raked or covered coals. This law is the source for the dividing surface (typically a sheet of metal known as a ‘blech’) which lies on stove tops and also covers heat adjustment knobs. This surface serves the dual purpose of separating the pot and heat source, and preventing heat adjustment.
Law # 45
Before Shabbos it is permissible to return a pot of at least half-cooked food to the heat. This is permissible unless it is so close to Shabbos that the food will not be boiling by the time Shabbos begins. In such a case, it is proper to be stringent and refrain from putting the food on the heat except as in ways that are permissible on Shabbos.
Law # 46
If someone accidentally returned a pot to the heat in a forbidden way, and the contents cooked to his or her liking, the food is forbidden to that person, his or her family, and anyone intended to eat from it. For everyone else, it is permissible. The food only becomes permissible to all after Shabbos, when the amount of time has passed that it took to make the food edibly cooked. If the pot was returned in a way that some authorities permit, in most cases the food is permissible on Shabbos. If someone intentionally returned a pot in a forbidden way, the contents are forbidden to all until after Shabbos when the amount of time has passed that it took to make the food edibly cooked. If the food cooked to one’s dislike, it is permissible to all, because one did not benefit through his or her violation of Shabbos.
Law # 47
If a pot of fully cooked food that was still warm enough to be edible was returned to the heat in a forbidden way by a gentile, it is permissible. This is because the food was edible anyway. Also, if the Jew did not know that the food was totally cooled, or that the gentile was putting the pot on the heat, the food is permissible because the Jew did not intend for the chilled food to be reheated. However, if the Jew observed that the gentile was putting cold food back on the heat, and remained silent, the food is forbidden to everyone until after Shabbat. This is because the gentile’s deed consciously benefited the Jew.
Laws 48-53   Honoring Shabbat Law # 48
In order to honor Shabbos, it is a mitzvah on Friday to wash one’s body (or at least one’s face, hands, and feet) in warm water. This is not an obligatory, but one who does so will be rewarded. it is also a mitzvah to wash one’s hair for Shabbos. According to the Ba’al Shem Tov, it is customary for men and boys to immerse in a ritual bath (mikveh) before Shabbos. One should be careful to dry off afterwards. However, those who follow in the Ari Zal’s tradition, should not dry a part of their body after immersion, so that this ‘Shabbos water’ will be absorbed and spread throughout the entire body.
Law # 49
A haircut, when necessary, should be especially performed on Friday, so as not to enter Shabbos with unseemly overgrown hair, and so that it will be obvious that the haircut was for the sake of Shabbos. If on Friday one will be too rushed to have time for a haircut it should be done on Thursday, or at least as close to Shabbos as possible, to show one’s honoring Shabbos.
Law # 50
There is a special mitzvah in preparing for Shabbos—paring nails. Tradition teaches that this should be done in a certain way so as to prevent possible spiritual damage. It is customary not to cut both finger and toenails on the same day, nor on Thursday, because the nails would start to grow back on Shabbos, which is not desirable. There is a special order for cutting nails: Start with the left side and trim the ring finger’s nail, then the index finger, small finger, middle finger, and thumb. Then the order on the right side: index finger, ring finger, thumb, middle finger, small finger. A Chassid burns his nails, a tzaddik buries his, and a wicked person throws his on the ground.
Law # 51
We should have special clothes for Shabbos that are nicer than our weekday clothes. It is preferable to dress in them after bathing, as close to Shabbos as possible, with the attitide that we were preparing to meet someone important. We should wear such clothes throughout Shabbos until after havdala (ceremony at the end of Shabbos). Some people try not to wear any garment on Shabbos that they wear on weekdays. For whom it is possible, it is also proper to have a separate Shabbos tallit (prayer shawl).

Law # 52
The house should be cleaned in honor of Shabbos, so that when returning from the synagogue, we will enter a neat and orderly home. It is customary to set the table with a special Shabbos tablecloth. One should be careful at mealtimes on Shabbos, in order not to dirty the house by spilling food on the floor.

Law # 53
On Friday afternoon it is customary to ask family members if they have completely prepared for Shabbos: have they done necessary acts in preparing for Shabbos that are forbidden to do on Shabbos itself. This could include separating challah from dough, taking tithes on fruit (in Israel) and checking pockets for items forbidden to use on Shabbos, as well as many other such actions.

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Laws 54-103

Laws 104-149

Laws 150-195


Laws 196-219

Laws 220-240

Laws 241- 309

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