Shabbat Laws #5

Translated/adapted from "A Summary of the Shabbat Laws" (published by Machon Ohaley Shem)
Laws 1-21

Laws 22-53

Laws 54-103

Laws 104-149

Laws 167-170:
Grace after Meals on Shabbat
Laws 171-173:
By the Light of the Candles
Laws 174-187
Work by a Gentile
Laws 188-195
'Muktzeh' (objects forbidden
to move on Shabbat)
Laws 150-166
Shabbat Meals

Law # 150
Both men and women are obligated to eat three Shabbat meals (on holidays, only two meals are required). The three meals correspond to the three times the word "today" is mentioned in the Torah about the mannah being eaten on Shabbat: "And Moshe said, 'eat it today, because today is Shabbat to G-d, today you will not find it..." (Ex. 16/25). If someone has enough food for only two Shabbat meals, and dividing it to three portions will not leave him enough food to be satiated at any meal, it's better that he should eat only two meals and be satisfied at each of them.

Law # 151
At each Shabbat meal, one must eat bread. Eating other types of cooked foods does not count because the requirement to eat three meals is learned from the mannah, which is called 'bread': "And Moshe said to them, this is the bread which was given, etc." (Ex. 16/15). Also, bread is the main part of a meal, from which man is sustained. A person should eat a 'beitzah' (approx. 2 oz.) of bread (less than this is considered 'chance' eating), but if one cannot, a 'k'zayit' (approx. 1 oz.) will suffice.
Law # 152

It is a requirement for both men and women, when eating bread on Shabbat, to make the blessing on two complete loaves. This ruling is more important than other Rabbinic directives because the Torah hints to it in the verse about manna on Erev Shabbat, "and they collected a double portion (Ex. 17/22)". It is necessary only to hold both at the time of the blessing Hamotzei, but only one need be cut. This is because it only says that they collected two, but not that they ate both together.

Law # 153

No matter how many meals a person eats on Shabbos, he should take care that for each sitting he has two whole loaves of bread. If many people are sitting together each individual does not need a double portion; all of them together fulfill their obligation by hearing the head of the family (or whoever is leading the meal) say the blessing HaMotzi on the double loaves. It is best if everyone eats from the bread that was cut. In order to avoid a long lapse of time between hearing the blessing and actually eating, in many circles it is customary that each individual recite his own HaMotzi blessing when he receives his portion of bread.
Law #154

In a case where a person does not have a complete loaf, but rather two halves, he should attach them with a stick or some other instrument that is not muktza in such a way that the connection is not visible. The bread is then considered whole for purposes of the Shabbat meal. If the loaf was not cut completely but only partially, it is still viable as Lechem Mishna because if you can lift a piece and the rest of the loaf comes up with it, it is considered a complete bread for all intent and purposes.
Law #155

There is a custom from Kabbala (and cited by Rabbi Yosef Caro) at the Shabbat meal, to hold the two loaves of bread one above the other and to cut the lower of the two breads on Friday night and upper of the two breads at the Shabbat day meal. So as not to bypass the upper bread in order to cut the lower bread, it is further customary at the evening meal to arrange that the lower bread sticks out a bit, and is therefore closer.

Law #156

After reciting the blessing over the chalot on Shabbat, a piece of bread large enough for the entire meal should be cut. This demonstrates that the person views the Shabbat meal as important, and so, in its honor, he wants to eat a lot. Conversely, it is not customary to cut a large piece of bread during a weekday meal because it would appear as if the person was starving. And since we cut large pieces of bread only on the Shabbat, it is recognized that it is not out of hunger but rather in order to honor the Shabbat. Prior to making the blessing, we customarily make a mark on the bread with a knife, but not actually cutting it, to know where we will be cutting after the blessing is made.

Law #157

The bread cutter gives a piece of bread to each person who partakes in the meal after the washing of the hands. A piece of bread is then put in front of the person and not directly in his or her hand, as taught by our Sages that this is preferred table manners. One must also be careful not to throw the piece of bread to the person, even if it will land in front of him or her and not in the hand.

Law #158

Others are not allowed to eat from the bread until the one who broke bread has eaten from it after his blessing. And it is proper that the head of the table, the one who makes the blessing on other people's behalf, should eat a piece of bread himself right away, before serving others, as not to interrupt between the blessing and the eating of the bread. But if others also have two whole loaves before them, then they may eat from what is in front of them and not wait to be served by the head of the table.

Law # 159

On Shabbat we eat meals for enjoyment, as we are commanded to delight in the Shabbat. Accordingly, the meals should be larger than usual, including liberal amounts of food and drink. The foods and drinks should be both special and pleasurable (meat, wine, spices, and more).

Law # 160

At every Shabbos meal, it is commendable to eat fish, unless one dislikes it or can be harmed by it. We eat fish on the Shabbat only to derive enjoyment, in honor of the day.

Law # 161

One should eat his Shabbat meal with an appetite, and therefore it is advisable not to eat before the main Shabbat meal on Friday night, especially bread.

Law # 162

Honoring the Shabbat during the day takes precedence over doing so at night. Therefore, one who does not have sufficient food for both meals should use what he has for the day-time meal.

Law # 163

If one has only a few candies or sweets, they should be saved for Shabbat day, for the reason we mentioned earlier-namely, honoring the Shabbat day takes precedence over honoring of the Shabbat night.

Law # 164

If someone is even slightly prevented from having his or her Shabbat meal on Friday night (example: if one had eaten a large meal for the purpose of a mitzvah, like a brit milah, and was too stuffed to eat on Friday night), it may be delayed until the next day, when it will be one of the required three Shabbat meals. However, if one was not prevented from eating at night, then the meal should not be postponed; it is even a mitzvah NOT to overeat on Friday, so as to have an appetite to eat the Shabbat meal at night. Even if one postpones the Friday night meal until the next day, he still must make kiddush at night and eat a k'zayit (about 1 oz) of a food made from grain, or drink another rivi'it (about 3 fl oz) of wine.

Law # 165

If one accepted Shabbat earlier in the day (that is, before sunset, but after 'plag hamincha'), he may also have his Shabbat meal then, even while it is still daylight, and even if he did not yet pray the Shabbat evening (ma'ariv) prayer. This is because, once Shabbat has been accepted, one is obligated to honor and keep it in every way. Yet, he should not begin the Shabbat meal in the half an hour before dark (tzet hakochavim) but should wait until after reciting the 'Shma' prayer once it is actually dark. However, it is preferable to be stringent and have at least a k'zayit of food once it is dark outside, so that he will fulfill eating 3 meals on actual Shabbat and not rely on the meal which he 'added' to the day.

Law # 166

One should eat the Friday night Shabbat meal where the Shabbat candles are lit, even if it is still daylight outside. Even if one prefers to eat outdoors, because of the fresh air, or to get away from the flies inside, he should still eat indoors near the Shabbat candles. However, if it is truly agitating to someone to eat inside because of the stifling heat or flies, then eating outdoors is permissible even if one cannot see the candles, because the candles are meant to be enjoyable and not to cause anguish. One should make sure, though, that the candles will burn into the night, so that upon returning indoors and at night, he will still be able to benefit from them.

Laws 167-170
Grace after Meals on Shabbat

Law # 167

On Shabbat and Yom-Tov, many people are accustomed not to cover the knives on the table while reciting "Birkat HaMazon". During the weekday we do cover them, because the knife represents the strength of Eisau. But on Shabbat and Yom-Tov there is no evil spirits or evil occurrences, so there is no need to cover the knives. And a Jewish custom is considered a part of Torah.

Law # 168

In the recitation of Grace after Meals on Shabbat one should mention the holiness of the day in the third blessing, "build Jerusalem". The phrasing for this rememberance is "re'tzeh v'ha'cha'litztenu, etc."

Law # 169

If in the Grace after Meals one forgot to recite the paragraph for Shabbat (Ritzai) and only remembered after the blessing "build Jerusalem", one can compensate by mentioning Shabbat before beginning the blessing "HaTov V'haMeitiv". One should say: "Baruch Ata HaShem, Elokeinu Melech HaOlam, sh'natan shabatot l'menucha l'Amo Yisrael b'ahava l'ot v'l'brit. Baruch Ata HaShem, m'kadesh haShabbat.

Law # 170

If in the Grace after Meals one forgot to recite the paragraph for Shabbat (Ritzai), and only remembered after beginning "HaTov V'haMeitiv" (even if he just said the word 'Baruch'), he must recite Grace again from the beginning.

Laws 171-173
By the Light of the Candles

Law # 171

It is forbidden to use an oil light on Shabbat for things that require visual attentiveness such as reading. This is so that one will not come to tilt the candle, causing the flame to burn better and help one see more easily, and lighting or adjusting a flame on Shabbat is forbidden. This law applies even if the oil candle is connected to the wall or too high up to reach.
However, if two people read together from the same book, using an oil light is permissible, because if one would try to adjust the light, his fellow reader would notice and stop him (but not if they are reading the same thing from two different books or the same book but different sections).
It is also permitted to use the oil light to read if one asks someone who is not reading to pay attention and prevent the him from adjusting the light. There are other exceptions to this halacha such as reading the prayers or other things that one basically knows by heart and only needs to glance at occasionally, or to use the light for cleanliness (such as checking vegetables for insects) or safety.

Law # 172

Some Rabbis permit using a (bees) wax candle (that the wax surrounds the wick) because one does not tend to tip it to get better light. Other Rabbis forbid use of this type of candle so that someone will not come to trim
and thereby snuff the wick. One should try to apply the more stringent opinion except in cases of great need such as to learn Torah. A gas lamp may be used because its light is so strong that one will not come to adjust
it (this includes the paraffin candles we use nowadays). One may use electric lights as long as their light is constant. For the rule regarding electric lights which have a dimmer, one should ask a qualified Rabbi.

Law # 173

One should not allow small children to be fully undressed next to the Shabbat candles, because it is disgraceful to the mitzvah. Even during the week, one should not be undressed next to candles, so as not to be afflicted with epilepsy-though this restriction may not apply to electric light.

Laws 174-187
Work by a Gentile
Law #174

The Rabbis prohibited asking a gentile to do labor forbidden to Jews on Shabbat. Likewise, it is forbidden to benefit from such acts, and in a case where a gentile performs labor for a Jew, he should be told not to complete the act. If a gentile kindled a light or a fire (also electric lights or heaters) for a Jew, with or without being asked, one may not benefit from the light or be warmed by the fire, even if it was not lit for oneself. This is so that one will not come to violate the prohibition of asking a gentile to perform forbidden acts on Shabbat. The Rabbis, however, did differentiate between Biblical and Rabbinical prohibitions. NO ONE may benefit from the former, but in the regards to the latter, ONLY the person for whom the act was performed may not benefit.

Law #175

A Jew is forbidden to benefit on Shabbos from the light of a candle a non-Jew lit for him. Even if the non-Jew lit it intending for his own benefit, that the Jew should appreciate him or even reward him because he the non-Jew helped him, still, it is forbidden for the Jew to benefit from the light because it was ultimately done for the Jew's physical benefit, while the non-Jew is not benefiting directly from the light at all. Nevertheless, since in such a case there is some benefit for the non-Jew, the rabbis did not insist that the Jew leave his house.

Law #176

If a gentile performed a forbidden Shabbat labor for a Jew, but there was no specific benefit to the actual body of the Jew, but rather a financial benefit, (such as gathering hay for the Jew's livestock) the Jew is not required to refuse the benefit.

Law #177

If of his own accord a gentile lit a flame or fire for a Jew, the Jew does not have to leave home (or hotel, as the case may be), but he should not specifically utilize its light or warmth, and should even turn his face away to demonstrate this. Additionally, a Jew should not enter a dwelling in which a fire was lit for him, even if he did not ask it be done.

Law # 178

Even if of his own accord a gentile wanted to light a flame or fire for a Jew, the Jew should try to verbally stop him from doing so. This must be done if the candle belongs to the Jew, and he sees the gentile about to do so (-'silence is consent'). The reason for this stringency is based on the principle that 'a person's emissary is like himself'.
Law # 179

If of his own accord a gentile lit his own candle or fire for the sake of a Jew, one does not have to verbally stop him from doing so (except in a case where the gentile has no personal benefit). If the gentile paid no heed, the Jew may benefit from the light or heat, regardless of the candle or fire's owner-as long as the Jew's protest was sincere.

Law # 180

If a gentile lit a candle for his own sake or that of another non-Jew, a Jew is permitted to make use of the light. Also, if a gentile kindled a light for a sick Jew (even only slightly sick) or for a minor (even if only out of fear of the dark), healthy and adult Jews may use the light. If a gentile turned on a heater in a house for his own sake or that of a sick person, a (healthy) Jew may warm himself, as well. However, if he lit a bonfire out in the open, which only heats those nearby, a Jew may not warm himself by it, so that the gentile will not add wood to the fire to increase heat for the Jew's sake. In a pressing moment, one can rely on other Rabbinic authorities who are lenient in this matter.

Law # 181

If a gentile lit a candle for a group of Jews and gentiles sitting together, one may not use the light if the majority of the group is Jews, but one may use the light if most are gentiles. This is because the light is most likely being lit for the sake of majority of people there. If the group is half Jewish and half gentile, using the light is forbidden, because the light was lit for both their sakes. If it is clear that the gentile lit the light for himself (as when he immediately sits and uses the light) or specifically for the use of another gentile(s), using the light is permissible even if most of the group are Jewish. On the other hand, if it is clear that the light was lit for a Jew, or for a gentile and a Jew(s), using the light is forbidden, even if most if the group are gentiles.

Law # 182

If a Jew asked his gentile servant to accompany him outside in the dark, and the servant lit a flame so they can see, it is forbidden for the Jew to use the light. Even though the gentile would also need the light to see in the dark, the motivation to light the flame was based upon the Jew's need to go out in the dark. Also, if the candle belongs to the Jew, he is required to tell his servant not to light it, but if the servant did not listen, the Jew may use the light to go outside. If after lighting it, the candle was placed inside, the Jew may use its light to see.

Law # 183

A Jew may use a light that was lit for his or her servant to be able to do their duties, such as a maid who washes dishes for the Jew. Also, the Jew is not required to try to prevent the servant from kindling that light. This is because the Jew's benefit from the light is only circumstantial-the light was not lit for his bodily benefit (to see better or warm himself), but rather for the gentile's sake, to complete tasks.

Law # 184

If there was a fire which was lit in a permitted way, or was burning since before Shabbat, and a gentile added fuel to the fire for the sake of a Jew, it is forbidden to use the fire's heat except in extreme situations. If a gentile added oil to a candle which was lit in a permissible way or from before Shabbat, a Jew may use its light. If however, at some point, the only fuel or oil burning is that which was added by the gentile for the Jew's sake, it is forbidden to make use of its heat or light, unless it would ruin someone's enjoyment of Shabbat, such as if one would not eat the Shabbat meal due to darkness or cold.

Law #185

Even if a Jew's candles all blow out and he will be in total darkness unable to eat his Shabbat meal, it is forbidden to ask a gentile to kindle a light. If a Jew did ask a gentile, or the gentile did so of his own accord for the sake of the Jew, it is forbidden to eat using that light.

Law # 186

If a Jew needs a candle moved, either to use its light, or to move it away from its place (however, NOT for the sake of protecting the candle from breaking), he may ask a gentile to do so, even if the gentile will carry the candle in the usual manner. This leniency exists because, although a Jew may not carry the candle in the normal way, he or she may do so in an altered manner (such as between the backs of his palms). This leniency should not be allowed except for Torah scholars, since an unlearned person might become accustomed to asking a gentile to do labor on Shabbat and accidentally ask for things which are not permitted..

Law # 187

In places with very cold climates, if it a very cold Shabbat, one may ask a gentile to light a fire for a Jew. The reason is that when it is so cold, everyone is considered sick, and halacha allows for a fire to be lit for a Jew who is even only mildly sick, and in such a case even those who are healthy may benefit from the heat. Even if it is not so cold and a Jew asks a gentile to light a fire, one should not prevent him from asking, so that the Jew will not go from accidentally to intentionally sinning. For children who are uncomfortable, one may ask a gentile to light a fire even if it is not very cold. However, even if it is very cold, one may not light the fire a second time if the first time generates enough warmth-all this is dependent on how cold it is, and "a wise man's eyes are in his head" (he will plan properly).
Laws 188-195
'Muktzeh' (objects forbidden to move on Shabbat)

Law #188

An oil lamp (and a wax candle)-not including Shabbat candles-which was lit before Shabbat and blew out sometime after dark, attains the status of 'muktzeh'-forbidden to move. This is so, even though the flame is no longer lit, because the oil vessel or wax candle was a base for the lit flame for the duration of time from candle lighting until dark (bain hashmashot), thereby becoming muktzeh. The prohibition of muktzeh applies when someone needs to make use of the now unlit oil vessel or candle, or use its place for something else. However, one who is really disgusted by the earthenware vessel, may move it away. A large candelabra upon which only one candle was lit and then went out, and any left over oil, wax, or wick from a flame which blew out also enter into the category of muktzeh. If one wishes to move a (unlit) vessel or candle from a previous week, this is permitted only if it would still be possible to rekindle the flame at some future point, but if there is nothing left to burn, it may not be moved at all. Shabbat candles are always muktzeh since they are a mitzvah object.

Law #189

If a candle was lit after Shabbat began, that is if sunset only just began, through permissible-as by a gentile for a child or a mildly ill person-or prohibited means, it does not become muktzeh (forbidden to move). Therefore, if one needs to use the lamp or candlestick or its place, one may remove it once the flame has blown out. One may also move an extinguished light that was lit before Shabbat which was permitted to be moved during bain hashmashot (between sunset and nightfall), as for the needs of a very ill person

Law #190

If someone placed a candle on a table or tray intending that it remain there when Shabbat begins, the tray or table become a 'base' for the candle, and secondary to it. Because of this, the tray or table becomes forbidden to carry, and it is likewise forbidden to shake them, so the candle will fall off. If, however, the candle is on a tablecloth which is on the table, it is not forbidden to move the cloth. One may even remove the tablecloth from under the candle, as long as one does not also move the candle. This is because one really needs the table to support the candle and not the tablecloth whose purpose is to cover the tabletop, and there is no place to put the candle on the table without it also being on the cloth

Law #191

If from the onset of Shabbat, there were on the table both a candle (or oil light) as well as bread or some other non-muktzeh object which is of greater value than the flame (that is, one would give up the candle-light, in place of the other object), then the table is considered to be a base for both permitted and forbidden items. As such, one may move the table (but not just for the sake of the candle) if one needs to use it elsewhere or to use the place in which the table is located. If possible, one should first shake off the candle onto the floor by tilting the table, and only then move the table (however, this is forbidden to do with an oil lamp). If one does NOT want to shake off the candle, as in a case where the candle might break, or one wishes to use the candle-light, one may carry the table. These rules apply even if the bread or other object was removed from the table sunset.

Law #192

According to some, an object can only become the 'base' if it was one's intent that a muktzeh object remain upon it throughout the entire Shabbat. If one intended to remove the candle (in a permissible manner) after Shabbat began, then the object upon which the candle rests never attains the status of a 'base' and may be moved at any time(though the candlestick remains muktzeh the whole Shabbat). One may rely upon this halachic opinion in a case of monetary loss, such as if the lit candle fell on the table which could burn; one may shake the table (which never became a 'base') which will cause the candle to fall and burn out on the floor. However, in a case where one would not suffer a loss, one should not rely on this opinion

Law #193

Some authorities rule that it is permissible to make a condition before Shabbat that once the candle burns out, he or another Jew will move the candlestick. In this way the candlestick does not become muktzeh for the entire Shabbat. Nevertheless, we should act according to those authorities who do not rely on this condition. However, one may rely on having made such a condition to ask a gentile to move the candle once the flame blows out (and even for the sake of the candlestick itself that it shouldn't be stolen or broken). One should make this condition verbally, and before Shabbat.

Law #194

While there is an allowance for letting a gentile move a lit candle to a place where a Jew needs it (or needs to remove it from the current location), this should be only permitted for Torah scholars and not the unlearned.

Law #195

A candle or oil lamp that was not lit during that Shabbat may be moved elsewhere if one needs to use the place where the candle is located or to use the physical body of the candle for a permitted use. However, a very expensive candelabra may not be moved even in these situations since it is muktzeh due to fear of monetary loss. Also, it is forbidden to move a candelabra which is composed of different parts and could fall apart upon being dropped, because if so, he would likely work to re-attach the parts, and this would entail the forbidden labor of building.

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