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Friday, 14 Cheshvan 5778 / November 3, 2017

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Shabbat - Chapter Three, Shabbat - Chapter Four, Shabbat - Chapter Five

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Shabbat - Chapter Three

1

It is permissible to begin the performance of a [forbidden] labor on Friday, even though the labor is completed on its own accord on the Sabbath itself,1 for the prohibition against work applies only on the Sabbath itself. Moreover, when a task is carried out on its own accord on the Sabbath,2 we are permitted to derive benefit from what was completed on the Sabbath.

א

מותר להתחיל מלאכה בערב שבת אע"פ שהיא נגמרת מאליה בשבת. שלא נאסר עלינו לעשות מלאכה אלא בעצמו של יום. אבל כשתעשה המלאכה מעצמה בשבת מותר לנו ליהנות במה שנעשה בשבת מאליו:

2

What is implied?3 We may open an irrigation channel to a garden on Friday, causing it to continue to fill throughout [the Sabbath] day. We may place [burning] incense under garments, causing them to continue to be made fragrant throughout the entire Sabbath. We may apply salve to an eye or a bandage to a wound, causing them to continue to heal throughout the Sabbath.

We may mix ink with herbs before night and let the mixture soak4 throughout the entire Sabbath. We may place wool into a vat5 or strands of flax into an oven6 so that their [color] continues to change throughout the entire Sabbath.

We may lay out snares for wild beasts, birds, and fish at nightfall so that they continue being captured throughout the entire Sabbath. We may load the beams of an olive press or the round stones of a grape press7 at nightfall so that the liquids will continue to flow throughout the entire Sabbath. Similarly, we may light a candle or a fire [before] evening so that it continues to burn throughout the entire Sabbath.

ב

כיצד פותקין מים לגנה ערב שבת עם חשיכה והיא מתמלאת והולכת כל היום כולו. ומניחין מוגמר תחת הכלים והן מתגמרין והולכין כל השבת כולה. ומניחים קילור על גב העין ואספלנית על גבי המכה ומתרפאין והולכין כל השבת כולה. ושורין דיו וסמנין עם חשיכה והן שורין והולכין כל השבת כולה. ונותנין צמר ליורה ואונין של פשתן לתנור והם משתנין והולכין כל השבת כולה. ופורשים מצודות לחיה ולעופות ולדגים עם חשיכה והן ניצודין והולכין כל השבת כולה. וטוענין בקורות בית הבד ובעגולי הגת עם חשיכה והמשקין זבין והולכין כל השבת כולה. ומדליקין את הנר או את המדורה מבערב והיא דולקת והולכת כל השבת כולה:

3

A pot may be placed over a fire, or meat may be placed in an oven or over coals [on Friday], so that they continue to cook throughout the Sabbath [with the intent] that they be eaten on the Sabbath.8 With regard to this matter, however, there are certain restrictions that were enacted lest one stir the coals on the Sabbath.

ג

מניחין קדרה על גבי האש או בשר בתנור או על גבי גחלים והן מתבשלים והולכין כל השבת ואוכלין אותה בשבת. ויש בדבר זה דברים שהן אסורין גזירה שמא יחתה בגחלים בשבת:

4

What is implied? When food has not been cooked to the extent that it is ready to serve,

water has not been boiled,

or food has been cooked to the extent that it is ready to serve,9 but the longer it cooks the better it tastes,10

it may not be left over a fire on the Sabbath11 even though it was placed there before the commencement of the Sabbath, lest one stir the coals to complete the cooking process or to cause it to cook more thoroughly.

Accordingly, it is permissible to leave [food cooking] if one removed the coals one covered the coals in the range12 with ash or with thin chips from the combing of flax,

the coals burned low, for then they are covered with ash, or

the fuel used was straw, stubble, or the feces of a small animal, for then no coals will remain.

[In these instances, it is obvious that] the person has diverted his intention from this food. Hence, a decree was not [enacted forbidding food to be left on the fire] lest he stir the coals.

ד

כיצד תבשיל שלא בשל כל צרכו וחמין שלא הוחמו כל צרכן או תבשיל שבשל כל צרכו וכל זמן שמצטמק הוא יפה לו אין משהין אותו על גבי האש בשבת אע"פ שהונח מבעוד יום גזרה שמא יחתה בגחלים כדי להשלים בשולו או כדי לצומקו. לפיכך אם גרף האש או שכסה אש הכירה באפר או בנעורת פשתן הדקה או שעממו הגחלים שהרי הן כמכוסות באפר או שהסיקוה בקש או בגבבא או בגללי בהמה דקה שהרי אין שם גחלים בוערות הרי זה מותר לשהות עליה. שהרי הסיח דעתו מזה התבשיל ואין גוזרין שמא יחתה באש:

5

When does the above apply? With regard to a range13 whose heat is minimal. With regard to an oven,14 in contrast, even if one removed the coals,15 covered them with ash, or used straw or stubble as fuel,16 we are not allowed to leave food in it or on it. Similarly, one should not put food close to it.17

[This applies to] food that was not cooked to completion or was completely cooked, but will benefit from continued cooking. Since [an oven] is very hot, a person will not divert his attention [from the fire]. Hence, we suspect that he will stir the small fire that remains, even if it is straw or stubble, or even if it is covered.

ה

בד"א בכירה שהבלה מועט. אבל התנור אף על פי שגרף האש או כסה באפר או שהסיקוהו בקש או בגבבא אין משהין בתוכו ולא על גביו ולא סומכין לו תבשיל שלא בשל כל צרכו או שבשל כל צרכו ומצטמק ויפה לו. הואיל והבלו חם ביותר אינו מסיח דעתו וחוששים שמא יחתה בזו האש המעוטה אף על פי שהוא אש קש וגבבא או מכוסה:

6

Why did [the Sages] forbid leaving food in the oven even if the fire was removed? Because a person can remove only the majority of the coals and their most intense [heat]. It is impossible to remove the entire fire so that not even a spark remains. Since [an oven's] heat is very warm, we suspect that he will stir [the fire] so that the sparks that remain in the oven will burn more.

ו

ולמה אסרו לשהות בתנור אף על פי שגרוף. מפני שהגורף אינו גורף אלא רוב האש ועצמה. ואי אפשר לגרוף כל האש עד שלא תשאר ניצוץ אחת. מפני שהבלו חם שמא יחתה כדי לבער הניצוצות הנשארות בתנור:

7

A kopach18 is warmer than a range and not as warm as an oven. Therefore, if wood or gefet19 is used as fuel,20 it is considered equivalent to an oven, and we are not permitted to leave food within it, upon it, or next to it if it was not completely cooked, or even if it was completely cooked, but will benefit from continued cooking. This applies even if the fire was removed or covered with ash.

If straw or stubble was used as fuel,21 it is bound by the same rules as a range that was fueled with straw or stubble, and [food] may be left [cooking] on it. What is a range and what is a kopach? A range is a place with an opening for two pots. A kopach is a place with an opening for a single pot.22

ז

הכופח הבלו רב מהבל הכירה ומעט מהבל התנור. לפיכך אם הסיקוהו בגפת או בעצים הרי הוא כתנור ואין משהין בתוכו ולא על גביו ולא סומכין לו תבשיל שלא בשל כל צרכו או מצטמק ויפה לו אף על פי שגרף או כסה באפר. ואם הסיקוהו בקש או בגבבא הרי הוא ככירה שהוסקה בקש וגבבא ומשהין עליו. ומותר לסמוך לכירה מבערב ואף על פי שאינה גרופה וקטומה. ואיזו היא כירה ואי זו כופח כירה מקום שפיתת שתי קדרות. כופח מקום שפיתת קדרה אחת:

8

When food has not been cooked at all23 or has been cooked to completion, but will be impaired by further cooking,24 it is permitted to leave it cooking whether on a range, a kopach, or an oven. Similarly, even when food has been cooked, but has not been cooked to completion, or when it has been cooked to completion, but will benefit from further cooking, it may be left on the fire if one placed an uncooked piece of meat25 in it shortly before nightfall, for the whole dish is considered to be entirely uncooked. [This applies] although one has not removed or covered the coals, for he has diverted his attention [from this food] and will not stir the coals.

ח

תבשיל חי שלא בשל כלל או שבשל כל צרכו ומצטמק ורע לו מותר לשהותו על גבי האש בין בכירה וכופח בין בתנור. וכן כל תבשיל שבשל ולא בשל כל צרכו או בשל כל צרכו ומצטמק ויפה לו אם השליך לתוכו אבר חי סמוך לבין השמשות נעשה הכל כתבשיל חי ומותר לשהותו על האש אע"פ שלא גרף ולא כסה. מפני שכבר הסיח דעתו ממנו ואינו בא לחתות בגחלים:

9

[The following rules apply] whenever a person left food [on a fire] in a situation where he was prohibited against doing so: If he transgressed and left [the food cooking intentionally],26 he is prohibited to eat it27 until Saturday night, and must wait until enough time passes for it to have cooked.28 If he forgot [to remove it from the fire on Friday, greater leniency is allowed.] If the food was not completely cooked [before the commencement of the Sabbath], it is forbidden to eat it until Saturday night.29 If it was completely cooked, but further cooking will benefit it,30 it is permitted to be eaten immediately31 on the Sabbath.

ט

כל תבשיל שאסור לשהותו אם עבר ושיהה אותו אסור לאוכלו עד מוצאי שבת וימתין בכדי שיעשו. ואם שכחו. אם תבשיל שלא בשל כל צרכו הוא אסור עד מוצאי שבת. ואם תבשיל שבשל כל צרכו הוא ומצטמק ויפה לו מותר לאכלו מיד בשבת:

10

Whenever [food] is permitted to be left on a fire,32 if it was taken from [the fire] on the Sabbath, it is forbidden to return it to its place.33 [Food[34 may be returned only to a range from which the coals have been removed or covered35 or to a range or a kopach that was heated with straw or with stubble.36

[This leniency is granted] provided the food was not placed on the ground.37 If it was placed on the ground,38 it may not be returned even to a range whose coals were removed or covered. Similarly, [food] may not be returned to an oven39 or to a kopach that was heated with gefet or wood, despite the fact that one has removed or covered the coals, for they are very hot.

Whenever food should not be returned [to a cooking surface], it should also not be placed next to it40 [to warm].41

י

כל שמותר לשהותו על גבי האש כשנוטלים אותו בשבת אסור להחזירו למקומו. ואין מחזירין לעולם אלא על גבי כירה גרופה או מכוסה או בכירה וכופח שהוסקו בקש וגבבא. והוא שלא הניח הקדרה על גבי הקרקע אבל משהניחה על גבי קרקע אין מחזירין אותה. ואפילו על גבי כירה גרופה או מכוסה. ואין מחזירין לתנור ולא לכופח שהוסקו בגפת או בעצים אף על פי שגרף או כסה מפני שהבלן חם ביותר. וכל שאין מחזירין עליו אין סומכין לו בשבת:

11

It is forbidden to insert a ladle into a pot to remove [food] while it is on a fire on the Sabbath, because while doing so, one stirs it.42 [Stirring] is one of the activities necessary for cooking,43 and thus one will be cooking on the Sabbath.

It is permissible to shift a pot from one range to another,44 even when the heat of the first range is not as great as the heat of the second range. One may not, however, take food that was on a range and cover it to maintain its heat,45 or take food that was covered to maintain its heat and place it on a range.46

יא

אסור להכניס מגריפה לקדרה בשבת והיא על האש להוציא ממנה בשבת מפני שמגיס בה וזה מצרכי הבישול הוא ונמצא כמבשל בשבת. ומותר להחזיר מכירה לכירה אפילו מכירה שהבלה מועט לכירה שהבלה מרובה אבל לא מכירה לטמינה ולא מטמינה לכירה:

12

A person should not fill a pot with peas or beans or a jug with water and place them in an oven on Friday before nightfall and leave them [to cook]. Even when the above and other foods like them were not cooked at all, they are considered to be food that was not completely cooked, because they do not require a substantial [amount of time to] cook.47 Therefore, the person will continue to pay attention to them, for he intends to partake of them immediately. Accordingly, it is forbidden to leave them in an oven [unless they are completely cooked].48

If one transgressed and left them in an oven, it is forbidden to partake of them until Saturday night. [Even then,] one must also wait the amount of time necessary for them to cook.

יב

לא ימלא אדם קדרה עססיות ותורמוסין או חבית של מים ויתן לתוך התנור ערב שבת עם חשיכה וישהה אותן. שאלו וכל כיוצא בהן אף על פי שלא בשלו כל עיקר כתבשיל שלא בשל כל צרכו הן מפני שאינן צריכים בישול הרבה ודעתו עליהן לאוכלן לאלתר. ולפיכך אסור לשהותן בתנור. ואם עבר ושהה אסורין עד מוצאי שבת וימתין בכדי שיעשו:

13

[The following rules apply when] meat was placed in an oven before nightfall and left [to roast49] on the Sabbath: If the meat is from a kid or it is other [tender] flesh,50 it is permitted. [Such meat] requires only the warmth of the fire itself, and if one stirs the coals the meat will char. If the meat is from a goat or an ox, it is forbidden, lest he stir the coals to cause it to cook [faster].51

If, however, one sealed the opening of the oven closed with clay, [roasting even the latter meats] is permitted, for if one opens the oven to stir [the coals], the wind will enter and cause the meat to harden and spoil. The oven will cool [suddenly] and the meat will spoil.52

יג

תנור שנתן לתוכו בשר מבעוד יום ושהה אותו בשבת אם בשר גדי הוא וכיוצא בו מותר. שאם יחתה כגחלים יתחרך הבשר שאינו צריך אלא חמימות האש בלבד. ואם בשר עז או בשר שור הוא אסור שמא יחתה בגחלים לבשלו. ואם טח פי התנור בטיט מותר. שאם בא לפתוח התנור ולחתות תכנס הרוח ויתקשה הבשר ויפסד ויצטנן התנור ויפסיד הבשר:

14

Similarly, whenever something would be spoiled by the wind, we do not decree [against its being heated], because someone might open [the oven] and stir [coals]. For this reason, we may place strands of flax into an oven [to bleach] before nightfall, for if one opens the oven, they will spoil.53

יד

וכן כל דבר שהרוח מפסדת אותו אין גוזרין עליו שמא יגלהו ויחתה. ומפני זה נותנין אונין של פשתן לתוך התנור עם חשיכה שאם גלהו יפסדו:

15

If one placed an entire kid54 into an oven, [the situation] is governed by the laws applying to meat from a goat or an ox, and it is forbidden, lest one stir the coals, unless one seals the oven [closed].

[If the fourteenth of Nisan falls on Friday,] it is, however, permitted to hang the Paschal lamb into an oven directly before nightfall,55 even though it is not sealed closed. The members of the company [gathered to eat the sacrifice] are careful.

טו

נתן גדי שלם לתוך התנור הרי הוא כבשר עז או כבשר שור ואסור לשהותו שמא יחתה בגחלים אלא א"כ טח התנור. ומותר לשלשל כבש הפסח לתנור עם חשיכה ואע"פ שאינו טח מפני שבני חבורה זריזים הן:

16

Meat,56 onions, or eggs should not be roasted over an [open] fire,57 unless they can be roasted before nightfall to the point where they are fit to be eaten.58 [If they are roasted to this extent before the commencement of the Sabbath], it is permissible to leave them on the fire on the Sabbath to be roasted further.

[The rationale is] that [increased heat] will impair their taste. Since they are being cooked over a fire, if one stirs [the coals] they will char.

For this reason, we are allowed to leave incense under clothes before nightfall [to perfume them]. For if one stirs the coals, the incense will burn and the clothes will be [damaged by] the smoke.

טז

אין צולין בשר ובצל וביצה על גבי האש אלא כדי שיצולו מבעוד יום ויהיו ראויין לאכילה. ואם נשארו אחר כן על האש בשבת עד שיצולו הרבה מותר מפני שהן כמצטמק ורע לו שאם יחתה יחרוך אותן שעל גוף האש הם. ומפני זה מניחין מוגמר תחת הכלים עם חשיכה שאם יחתה בגחלים ישרף המוגמר ויעשן הכלים:

17

From the above, we can conclude that all the prohibitions mentioned in this context were not enacted because [the cooking] was completed on the Sabbath.59 Instead, they are Rabbinic decrees [enacted] lest one stir the coals. Accordingly, wool should not be placed into a vat [to dye] unless it was removed from the fire, lest one stir the coals. Similarly, the vat should be sealed close with clay, lest one stir [the dye] after nightfall.

יז

הא למדת שכל דבר שאנו אוסרין בענין זה אינו אסור משום שהוא נעשה בשבת אלא גזירה שמא יחתה בגחלים. לפיכך אין נותנין צמר ליורה אלא א"כ היתה עקורה מעל האש שמא יחתה בגחלים. והוא שיהיה פיה טוח בטיט שמא יגיס בה משחשיכה:

18

We should not place bread in an oven [directly] before nightfall, nor should we place a cake on coals unless [there is time] for the surface attached to the oven or [the side of the cake60] facing the fire to crust.61 [Should this be done,] it is permissible to leave it to continue baking afterwards, for if one stirs [the coals], one will spoil the bread.62

[The following rules apply when one places bread in an oven] before nightfall and there is not sufficient time for its surface to crust before nightfall. If one did so with a deliberate intent to violate [the above ruling], it is forbidden to partake of the bread until Saturday night, after sufficient time for it to bake has passed.63If one did so unknowingly, it is permitted to remove bread64 for the three Sabbath meals.65 When one removes the bread, one should not remove it using a baker's peel as one does during the week.66 Instead, one should use a knife or other similar utensil.

יח

אין נותנין את הפת בתנור עם חשיכה ולא חררה על גבי הגחלים אלא כדי שיקרמו פניה שהם מודבקים בתנור או באש. ואם נשארו אחרי כן עד שיגמור אפייתן מותר שאם יחתה יפסיד אותן. ואם נתן סמוך לחשיכה וחשכה ועדין לא קרמו פניה. אם במזיד אסור לאכול מהן עד מוצאי שבת וימתין בכדי שיעשו. ואם בשוגג מותר לו לרדות ממנה מזון שלש סעודות של שבת. וכשהוא רודה לא ירדה במרדה כדרך שהוא עושה בחול אלא בסכין וכיוצא בה:

19

A person may make a fire from any substance he desires,67 regardless of whether] he kindles it on the ground or in a torch holder. When he lights it before nightfall, he may use its light, or warm himself from it on the Sabbath.68

He must, however, kindle the majority of the fire before nightfall to the extent that the flame rises up on its own accord.69 If he did not kindle the majority of the fire, it is forbidden for him to benefit from it on the Sabbath, lest he stir or move the wood so the flame rises up.70 If he [desires to] burn a single piece of wood, he must kindle the majority of its thickness and the majority of its circumference before nightfall.

יט

עושה אדם מדורה מכל דבר שירצה בין על גבי קרקע בין על גבי מנורה ומדליקה מבעוד יום ומשתמש לאורה או מתחמם כנגדה בשבת. וצריך שידליק רוב המדורה קודם חשיכה עד שתהא שלהבת עולה מאליה קודם השבת. ואם לא הדליק רובה אסור ליהנות בה בשבת גזירה שמא יחתה בה ויניד העצים כדי שתעלה השלהבת. ואם הדליק עץ יחידי צריך להדליק רוב עביו ורוב היקפו מבעוד יום:

20

When does the above apply? Outside the Temple premises; but in the Temple, it is permissible to light a fire in the Chamber of the Hearth71 directly before nightfall.72 We do not suspect that anyone will stir the coals, for the priests are careful.73

כ

במה דברים אמורים בגבולין אבל במקדש מאחיזין את האור בעצים במדורת בית המוקד עם חשיכה ואין חוששין שמא יחתה בגחלים שהכהנים זריזין הן:

21

If a fire was made of reeds or of seeds, it is not necessary for the majority of it to be kindled before the Sabbath. Instead, since it caught fire before [the commencement] of the Sabbath, its use is permitted, for the fire will spread quickly through [these substances], and there is no necessity for one to stir it.

Therefore, if the reeds were bound together or the seeds were placed in palm baskets, the same laws applying to wood apply, and the flames must be powerful enough to rise up on their own accord before [the commencement] of the Sabbath.74

כא

היתה מדורה של קנים או של גרעינין אינו צריך להדליק הרוב אלא כיון שהתחיל בהן האש קודם השבת מותר להשתמש בה. מפני שהאש נתלית בהן במהרה ואינו צריך לחתות. לפיכך אם אגד הקנים או הניח הגרעינין בחותלות הרי הן כעצים וצריך שתעלה בהן שלהבת מאליה קודם השבת:

22

When a fire is fueled with tar, sulfur, oily substances, wax, straw, or stubble, it is not required that the majority be kindled before the commencement of the Sabbath, because these substances catch fire quickly.75

כב

מדורה של זפת או של גפרית או של רבב או של קירה או של קש או של גבבא אינו צריך להדליק רובה קודם השבת מפני שהאש מדלקת אותם במהרה

Footnotes
1.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 252:1) emphasizes that this leniency applies even when one is certain that the forbidden labor will continue on its own accord on the Sabbath, as mentioned in the examples cited by the Rambam in the following halachah.

Having outlined the general principles governing the Sabbath laws in the first chapter, and the situations when leniency can be permitted because of a danger to life in the second chapter, the Rambam begins his discussion of the Sabbath laws themselves. He starts with an explanation of activities that are begun before the Sabbath actually commences.

[Significantly, although the Mishnah (Shabbat, Chapter 1) starts with a different concept, it also mentions many of the laws quoted by the Rambam towards the beginning of its treatment of the Sabbath laws.]

2.

Shabbat 18a explains that these laws reflect a difference of opinion between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai. The School of Shammai maintains that just as a person is required to have his servants and livestock rest on the Sabbath, so, too, is he required to have his utensils rest. They may not be used for work on the Sabbath. The School of Hillel does not accept this thesis, and their opinion is adopted as halachah. (See Chapter 6, Halachah 16.)

3.

The Rambam exemplifies the principle mentioned in the previous halachah, describing forbidden labors that are initiated by a person before the commencement of the Sabbath and continue without additional input from the person on the Sabbath. These examples are taken from the Mishnah (Shabbat 1:5-9) and the explanation of these mishnayot in the Talmud.

4.

Note the Rambam's description of the preparation of ink in Hilchot Tefillin 1:4:

One collects the vapors of oils, of tar, and of wax..., [causes it to condense,] and kneads it together with tree sap and a drop of honey... . When one desires to write with it, one soaks [the ink] in gallnut juice or the like.

5.

To dye the wool another color. Note, however, the restrictions on this practice mentioned in Halachah 17.

6.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 1:5, the Rambam writes that flax would be soaked, mixed with ash, and then heated in an oven to bleach it. (See also Halachah 14.)

7.

The process of preparing both olive oil and wine involved crushing the fruit and then pressing heavy weights over the olives or the grapes to extract the remaining liquids.

8.

The Rambam is explaining that according to the Torah itself, leaving food over a fire to cook would resemble all the activities mentioned in the previous halachah. For although cooking is a forbidden labor, the cooking would continue without any further activity. Nevertheless, as is explained in the subsequent halachot, our Sages enacted certain restrictions because they were afraid that a person might stir the fire to cause the food to cook faster.

9.

The Rambam's view is also shared by Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi and other Sephardic authorities and is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 253:1). Rashi (Shabbat 37b) and the Ashkenazic authorities who followed him are more lenient and maintain that when half (or according to others, a third - see Chapter 9, Halachah 5 and notes) of the cooking process has been completed, food may be left on a fire even when its taste is improved by continued cooking. The Ramah (loc. cit.) states that it is customary to follow this view.

10.

Even according to the Rambam, if continued cooking will impair the taste of a food or if food was not cooked at all, we are allowed to leave it on a flame, for it is unlikely that the person will continue to stir the flames to make it cook more, as will be explained in Halachah 8.

11.

The contemporary Rabbinic authorities explain that these rules also apply to electric and gas ranges. In these instances as well, it is possible that a person may desire to turn the flame up to have the food cook faster or more thoroughly.

12.

In contemporary terms, covering a stove top with a blech, a piece of metal, serves this purpose. If this is done, food that has not been cooked thoroughly may be left to continue cooking throughout the Sabbath.

13.

We have used a contemporary translation for the word kirah. In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 1:3), the Rambam describes a kirah as "a place built into the ground with openings for two pots. The fire is placed under both of them in a single place."

14.

Rabbenu Nissim states that the ovens of his time were constructed differently from those of the Talmudic era. Their heat is not as intense, and they are governed by the rules that apply to a range. This leniency is also accepted by the Ramah. Although the construction of ovens has changed further in contemporary times, most authorities continue to accept his ruling with regard to household ovens. (With regard to commercial ovens, there is a difference of opinion.)

15.

The reasons why restrictions are mentioned even in such an instance are explained in the following halachah.

16.

There are authorities (see Mishnah Berurah 253:22) who maintain that the Rambam would allow food to be left in an oven if it was fueled with straw and stubble and the fire was removed. Although the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 253:1) do not make such a distinction, the Mishnah Berurah explains that there is room for leniency.

17.

The food may not be placed at any point where the heat is warm enough to scald a child's hand. In terms of modern measure, the Rabbis define this term as 107.8 degrees Farenheit.

18.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 1:3), the Rambam explains that a kopach is "built over the fire with a place for one pot. Fire is placed below it.... The heat of a kopach is greater than that of a kirah, because in a kirah the fire is dispersed beneath two pots and there is a greater exposure to the air."

19.

The residue remaining after olives were pressed (ibid.).

20.

These materials are substantial and will supply heat over a lengthy period of time.

21.

These materials are not substantial and will be consumed by the flames in a short period. Hence, there is no need to suspect that the person will stir the flames.

22.

See also Hilchot Keilim 16:13, 17:4,6,7.

23.

Since the food has not been cooked at all, stirring the coals to intensify the fire will not bring much immediate benefit. By the following day, the food will cook sufficiently even without stirring. Hence, there is no need for safeguards (Rashi, Shabbat 18b).

24.

In such a situation, the person will not desire to stir the coals to intensify the fire.

25.

If, however, one places vegetables in the food that is cooking, this leniency does not apply. Meat takes a long time to cook, while vegetables cook quickly (Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 253). See also the Kessef Mishneh.

26.

The Rambam's ruling is based on Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's interpretation of Shabbat 38a. Both the Ra'avad and the Tur (Orach Chayim 253) have different conceptions of that passage and hence raise objections. The Rambam's rulings are accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 253:1). The Ramah and the Ashkenazic authorities who follow prefer the Tur's interpretation, although as will be explained, in practice the differences between them concern only food that was not cooked to the point of completion before the commencement of the Sabbath.

27.

The Merkevet HaMishneh notes that the Rambam's wording implies that only the person who left the food cooking is forbidden to eat it, but others are permitted. Rabbenu Asher, however, rules that the food is forbidden to be eaten by others as well. His view is accepted by the Magen Avraham 253:11 and the later authorities.

28.

The requirement to wait until the food could have cooked on Saturday night was instituted so that the person would derive no benefit from the forbidden act. Therefore, he will have no motivation to do so again.

29.

Shabbat (loc. cit.) states that normally there would be no reason to forbid this food from being eaten. It transpired, however, that many people were intentionally leaving food to cook, and if admonished would excuse themselves by claiming that they forgot. Accordingly, the Sages placed restrictions on those who forgot as well, forbidding them to partake of the food until Saturday night. (See the exception to this rule mentioned in the notes on Halachah 18.)

There is a question whether it is necessary to wait until the food has time to cook on Saturday night or not. From the Rambam's wording, it appears that this is unnecessary. Rabbenu Asher, however, rules that it is necessary to wait. His view is accepted by Shulchan Aruch HaRav 253:12. (See the Mishnah Berurah 253:32.)

30.

Theoretically, according to Rabbenu Asher's interpretation of the passage in Shabbat cited above, such food should be prohibited until Saturday night. Nevertheless, Rabbenu Asher subscribes to the lenient view mentioned in note 9, which states that after food has been half- (or a third-) cooked, it may be left on a fire on the Sabbath even if it will benefit from continued cooking. Hence, in practice, he - and the subsequent Ashkenazic authorities - do not differ with the Rambam on this point.

31.

Rav Kapach notes that this word is not included in the authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah. The intent is also difficult to understand.

32.

The Ra'avad questions the appropriateness of the Rambam's choice of the word "permitted." The Maggid Mishneh states that this refers to foods that were totally uncooked, or foods into which an uncooked piece of meat was placed, as stated in Halachah 8. Although they are permitted to be left on a fire, once they are removed it is forbidden to return them. Surely this prohibition applies to foods that have not been cooked completely and, according to the Rambam, are forbidden to be left on a fire. Even the Ashkenazic authorities who allow such foods to be left on a fire, forbid their return if they were removed.

33.

Returning food to a cooking surface causes it to cook, and cooking is one of the forbidden labors. Therefore, if the cooking process of a food has not been completed, it may not be returned to a cooking surface even when that surface is covered (Ramah, Orach Chayim 253:2). Even when the food has already been completely cooked, there is a Rabbinic prohibition against cooking it further, as the Rambam writes in Chapter 9, Halachah 3.

Other authorities (Rabbenu Nissim, Sefer HaMaor) mention that it is forbidden to return food to a cooking surface, because of the impression it might create. An observer might think that one is cooking. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 253:15 also mentions the possibility that one may stir the coals.

34.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 253:2) mentions that the food must still be boiling hot. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 253:18-19 and the Mishnah Berurah 253:54 allow leniency, provided the food has not become cooled totally.

The Magen Avraham 253:20 also mentions that the food may not be returned to a range if it has been transferred from the pot in which it was originally contained.

35.

In contemporary situations, placing a piece of metal (a blech) on a stove-top causes the fires to be considered as covered. In such a situation, food may be returned to the blech if:

a) originally, it was placed on the blech in a manner that was permitted;

b) it is completely cooked;

c) one did not divert one's attention from it.

36.

According to the Rambam, food is allowed to be returned in these instances because there is no possibility of the food cooking more. Hence, there is no reason to suspect that one will stir the coals. Others explain that the leniency was granted, because this is not the normal manner in which food is cooked. One is liable for the performance of a forbidden labor only when it is performed in an ordinary manner. Hence, in this instance, there is no reason for a Rabbinic decree.

(According to Rabbenu Nissim who maintains that returning food is forbidden because of the impression it creates, the reason for this leniency can be explained as follows: Since one may return the food only when one does not release it from one's hands, the probability that an observer will think that one is cooking is lower.)

37.

Based on Shabbat 38b, the Tur emphasizes that one must have removed the food from the range with the intent of returning it. Otherwise, it is considered as if one is placing on the fire anew. The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) quotes the Rambam's view without mentioning this factor. The Ramah quotes the Tur's view. The Be'ur Halachah emphasizes, however, that there is room for leniency in this regard, even according to Ashkenazic authorities.

38.

Many contemporary authorities allow one to return a pot to a covered range if one placed it on a table, provided one held the pot at all times. See Mishnah Berurah 253:56.

39.

As mentioned in note 14, most contemporary authorities maintain that our household ovens are governed by the laws applying to ranges.

40.

The Magen Avraham 253:5 states that this refers to placing - or returning - food near a source of heat on the Sabbath itself (Rabbi Akiva Eiger). One may, however, leave food near a source of heat on Friday so that it will remain warm on the Sabbath.

The Ramah [based on the Tur (Orach Chayim 253:5)] allows one to place food near a source of heat on the Sabbath as long as it was completely cooked previously.

41.

This refers to a place which is יד סולדת בו (it is too hot to touch; alternatively, its heat could cause the food to become too hot to touch, see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 253:21 and the Kuntres Acharon).

42.

The Ra'avad protests against the Rambam's statements, for although stirring food is prohibited, here the person is merely removing food and he is not intentionally stirring. The Maggid Mishneh explains that if the food is not completely cooked, one is not allowed to stir the pot. Hence, removing food is forbidden. If, however, the food is completely cooked, there is no prohibition from the Torah in stirring it. Therefore, there is no Rabbinic prohibition against removing food.

In the Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo takes a much more stringent position. He accepts the Rambam's ruling without question. Furthermore, he adds that the same decision would apply even when the pot was removed from the fire as long as it is still boiling hot, and this is the ruling he states in his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 318:18). The commentaries (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 318:30 and the Mishnah Berurah 318:117), however, state that as long as the food has been cooked completely and it has been removed from the fire, one may remove it with a ladle.

43.

For by stirring, one speeds the cooking process. See Chapter 9, Halachah 4 and notes.

44.

The Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat 4:3, quotes Rabbi Yehoshua, "When I attended Rabbi Chiyya, the great, I would take hot water from the lower storey and bring it to the upper storey and put it on the range."

45.

One may place food in objects (e.g., pillows or blankets) that preserve its heat for the Sabbath before the Sabbath, but not on the Sabbath itself (Chapter 4, Halachah 3). In the instance at hand, even though the food was being heated on the Sabbath, covering it to preserve its heat is forbidden.

This applies only when one covers the food entirely. If one leaves the top of the pot uncovered, one may cover the bottom to preserve its heat.

46.

Even when the food is boiling hot, it is forbidden to put it on a source of heat on the Sabbath.

47.

According to the Rambam, the principles mentioned in Law 8 do not apply here, because these entities are different. That halachah pertains to foods that require substantial time to cook - hence, the person cooking will divert his attention and not stir the coals. In contrast, the entities mentioned in this halachah do not require substantial time to cook, and there is the possibility that one will stir the coals.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 254:8) quotes the Rambam's words almost verbatim, and this interpretation is accepted by the later authorities. Nevertheless, Rashi (Shabbat 18b) and many authorities differ in their interpretation of this passage, noting that Beitzah 25b states that these beans must be cooked seven times before they are prepared to eat.

See also the Bayit Chadash (Orach Chayim 254), which juxtaposes the Rambam's position with Rashi's, explaining that the Rambam is talking about an instance when the beans have already been cooked six times. Hence, only a slight amount of further cooking is necessary. Rav Kapach substantiates this interpretation, explaining that beans with a similar name are still eaten in Yemen today. After having been cooked several times, these beans cook very fast.

48.

As mentioned above, according to Ashkenazic authorities, it is sufficient that they be half (or a third) cooked.

49.

Previously, the Rambam had been speaking of meat that was cooked in a pot or roasted in a pan. This halachah describes meat roasted in an oven over a fire, which cooks faster. Hence, there is reason to suspect that one would stir the coals (Maggid Mishneh).

50.

Needless to say this leniency applies to fowl. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 254:1.)

51.

The ovens of the Talmudic period opened on top. At times, the opening was sealed closed to allow for faster and more effective cooking. According to the Rambam (and the Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.), the above clauses of the halachah deal with meat that is roasted with the oven open. Rabbenu Asher (in his gloss on Shabbat 18b) interprets these laws as applying when the oven is closed, but not sealed. According to his view, if the oven is open, there is always reason to suspect that one will stir the coals. The Tur and the Ramah follow this interpretation.

52.

The latter phrase is lacking in the authoritative Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah and appears redundant.

Because opening the oven will cause the meat to spoil, we do not suspect that one will do so to stir the coals.

53.

As mentioned in Halachah 2, this law follows the principles of the School of Hillel. In this halachah, the Rambam is clarifying that in contrast to food which is being cooked for the Sabbath, there is no need for a Rabbinic prohibition either.

54.

When the body of an animal or fowl is intact, the meat is not exposed to the heat of the fire on both sides. Therefore, its cooking process is slower, and there is reason to suspect that one will stir the coals.

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 254:1) states that the entire body of the animal need not be intact. This law applies even when the head and the internal organs are removed, provided its rib cage remains intact.

55.

The Paschal sacrifice is a lamb which must be roasted totally intact. Since this sacrifice could be offered only after midday on the fourteenth of Nisan, and many thousands of lambs were brought, when that date fell on Friday it is possible that a company would not have time to have their sacrifice roasted before nightfall. Nevertheless, since the sacrifice must be eaten by an entire company, we assume that all the members of the company will remind each other. Hence, there is no need for a safeguard (see Rashi, Shabbat 19b).

56.

This applies to all meat, even that of a kid or fowl.

57.

In contrast to the previous two halachot, this halachah speaks of roasting food over an open fire and not within an oven. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 254:2) explains that in such an instance, a person is primarily concerned that the food cook rapidly and does not care that some becomes charred.

58.

This does not mean completely cooked but rather cooked כמאכל בן דרוסאי - "as the food of ben D'rosai." Ben D'rosai was a notorious criminal who was constantly being chased and would eat his food before it had been completely cooked in his haste to avoid detection. As mentioned in Chapter 9, Halachah 5, according to the Rambam it must be half-cooked on both sides. According to Rashi, it is sufficient that it is one-third cooked.

Rav Moshe Cohen of Lunil questions why the Rambam differentiates between roasting - where he allows food that is partially cooked to continue cooking - and cooking in a pot - where he requires the food to be completely cooked and that further cooking will not benefit it. The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) explains that cooking in a pot requires more time and there is a greater possibility that one will stir the coals. See also the Merkevet HaMishneh.

59.

With this statement, the Rambam refers to the principles he had mentioned at the beginning of the chapter. There it was explained that the halachah follows the School of Hillel, which allows us to benefit from forbidden labors that are completed on the Sabbath on their own accord. Nevertheless, there are certain restrictions instituted against leaving food to cook, lest one stir the coals, as explained.

60.

The bracketed additions are made on the basis of the interpretation of the Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim, 254.

61.

In the Talmudic period, bread was baked by attaching a loaf to the side of the oven. This surface would crust first. Nevertheless, this is sufficient for the bread to be considered to be baked before the commencement of the Sabbath.

It must be emphasized that this ruling represents a reversal of opinion for the Rambam. In his Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 1:10, he rules that the outer surface must crust before the Sabbath. (The latter ruling also conforms to his thesis regarding cooked food: that it must be completely cooked before the commencement of the Sabbath.) It must be emphasized that the version of this halachah found in the authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah are in accordance with the ruling in the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 254:5) follows the more lenient ruling.

62.

I.e., cause it to burn.

63.

This resembles the ruling of Halachah 9 regarding food that was left to cook over a fire.

64.

Not only is the person who baked the bread allowed to remove it himself, he may invite others to remove bread as well, as stated in Chapter 22, Halachah 1.

65.

Here the ruling is far more lenient than the ruling in Halachah 9 regarding food. The commentaries (Rabbenu Nissim, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 254:8 and the Mishnah Berurah 254:33) explain that the fundamental element of all meals is bread, and if the person does not have bread he will not be able to fulfill the mitzvah of eating three Sabbath meals. From this, one can postulate that if a person has no food other than that which has been left on a fire on the Sabbath, he is allowed to partake of that food so that he will not be required to fast on the Sabbath.

66.

Since the removal of bread is forbidden, it should be done in an abnormal manner. The commentaries question whether one is required to remove the bread in an abnormal manner only when it was placed in the oven later than the desired time, or whether this is necessary even when the bread was permitted to be left baking.

From the Maggid Mishneh's notes on Chapter 5, Halachah 19, and from the simple interpretation of Chapter 22, Halachah 1, it would appear that one is always required to remove the bread in an abnormal manner. Nevertheless, Rabbenu Nissim maintains that this stringency applies only when one placed the bread in the oven after the desired time. If one placed the bread inside earlier, there is no necessity to deviate from one's ordinary practice. The Mishnah Berurah 254:36 accepts this ruling when there is no way that one can remove the bread in an abnormal way.

It must be emphasized that the above discussion applies only to the ovens of the Talmudic period. At present, our ovens are constructed in a different manner, and the loaves of bread are not stuck to the sides of the oven. Accordingly, any bread that is required for the Sabbath itself can be removed in an ordinary manner. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 254:9 and the Mishnah Berurah 254:42-43.)

67.

As is mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachot 5-8, there are certain substances that may not be used as wicks or fuel for a candle on the Sabbath. These restrictions apply only with regard to a candle, for it is a single light. (See Chapter 5, Halachah 7.) In contrast, greater leniency can be shown with regard to a fire. (See Rashi, Shabbat 21a and the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 255:1.)

68.

See the Turei Zahav 275:6, which states that even in such a situation, one should not sit very close to the fire, lest one tend to it.

69.

I.e., without the assistance of other fuels, blowing with a bellows, or kindling wood (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 1:11).

70.

This prohibition continues to apply even if the fire catches afterwards to the extent that there is no need to worry that a person will stir the coals. Since it was lit in a forbidden manner, one is forbidden to benefit from it (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 255:2 and the Mishnah Berurah 255:5).

71.

The Chamber of the Hearth was a large structure at one of the side entrances to the Temple Courtyard where the priests would sleep at night. (See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 5:10-11.)

72.

Even if there is not sufficient time for the fire to catch thoroughly.

73.

We do not suspect that they will stir the coals. See Halachah 15.

74.

The Rambam's rulings follow Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's interpretation of Shabbat 20a. Rabbenu Asher and the Tur (Orach Chayim 255) reverse the two decisions.

75.

Hence, there is no reason to suspect that one will stir the fire.

Shabbat - Chapter Four

1

There are substances which, if food is covered with them to preserve its heat,1 will raise its temperature and contribute to its being cooked as fire does2 - e.g., gefet, manure, salt, lime, sand; nor may we use grape skins, unprocessed wool,3 or grass4 [for this purpose] when they are damp, even5 when this is due to their natural moistness. These entities are referred to as substances that increase heat.

There are substances which, if food is covered with them to preserve its heat, will [accomplish that objective alone]. They will not contribute to the cooking process, but will merely prevent [the food] from cooling - e.g., grape skins, unprocessed fabrics, grass, when these are dry, garments, produce,6 pigeon feathers, thin chips from the combing of flax, carpenters' sawdust, pelts, and the shearings of wool. These entities are referred to as substances which preserve heat.7

א

יש דברים שאם טמן בהן התבשיל הוא מתחמם ומוסיפין בבישולו כעין האש. כגון הגפת וזבל ומלח וסיד וחול או זגין ומוכין ועשבים בזמן ששלשתן לחים ואפילו מחמת עצמן. ודברים אלו נקראין דבר המוסיף הבל. ויש דברים שאם טמן בהן התבשיל ישאר בחמימותו בלבד ואינן מוסיפין לו בישול אלא מונעין אותו מלהצטנן. כגון זגין ומוכין ועשבים יבשין וכסות ופירות וכנפי יונה ונעורת הפשתן ונסורת חרשים ושלחין וגזי צמר. ודברים אלו נקראין דבר שאינו מוסיף הבל:

2

[The Torah's definition of the Sabbath] laws would allow one to cover food with substances that raise its temperature before nightfall, and thus the food would be covered and its heat preserved on the Sabbath, for it is permitted to leave food cooking on a fire on the Sabbath.

The Sages, however, enacted a decree forbidding covering food with substances that raise its temperature before nightfall,8 lest the pot boil on the Sabbath and it be necessary to uncover it until its boiling ceases. If one would then cover it again on the Sabbath, one would be covering food with a substance that increases its heat on the Sabbath, and this is forbidden.9

Accordingly, it is permitted to cover food with substances that increase its temperature beyn hash'mashot,10 since at that time most pots have already boiled, and they [have cooled, so that] they cease boiling. Since they have already ceased boiling, it is unlikely that they will boil again.

ב

מן הדין היה שטומנין בדבר המוסיף הבל מבעוד יום וישאר התבשיל טמון בשבת. שהרי משהין על גבי האש בשבת. אבל אסרו חכמים להטמין בדבר המוסיף הבל מבעוד יום גזירה שמא תרתיח הקדרה בשבת ויצטרך לגלותן עד שתנוח הרתיחה ויחזור ויכסה בשבת ונמצא טומן בדבר המוסיף הבל בשבת שהוא אסור. לפיכך מותר להטמין בדבר המוסיף הבל בין השמשות שסתם קדרות בין השמשות כבר רתחו ונחו מבעבוען וכיון שנחו שוב אינן רותחין:

3

Similarly, [the Torah's definition of the Sabbath] laws would allow one to cover food with substances that do not raise its temperature on the Sabbath itself. The Sages, however, enacted a decree forbidding this, lest a person cover food with a mixture of ash and coals that has sparks of fire, and stir the coals.11 [As a safeguard against this,12 the Sages] forbade covering food with any substance13 on the Sabbath, even when it will not raise the food's temperature.

ג

וכן מן הדין היה לטמון התבשיל בדבר שאינו מוסיף הבל בשבת עצמה. אבל אסרו חכמים דבר זה גזירה שמא יטמין ברמץ ויהיה בו ניצוצות של אש ונמצא חותה בגחלים. לפיכך אסרו להטמין דבר חם בשבת ואפילו בדבר שאינו מוסיף הבל:

4

If one is unsure whether it is before or after nightfall,14 one may cover hot food.15 Similarly, it is permitted to cover cold food with a substance that will not raise its temperature, to prevent it from becoming colder or to remove its chill.

When hot food that was covered before the Sabbath becomes uncovered16 on the Sabbath,17 it may be covered again, since one is not increasing its temperature. It is permitted to change the covering of food on the Sabbath - e.g., one may replace clothing with pigeon feathers or replace pigeon feathers with clothing.18

ד

ספק חשיכה ספק אינה חשיכה מותר לטמון את דבר חם. ומותר לטמון את דבר הצונן בשבת בדבר שאינו מוסיף כדי שלא יצטנן ביותר או כדי שתפוג צנתן. חמין שטמנן מערב שבת ונתגלו בשבת מותר לכסותן. שהרי אינו מוסיף. ומותר להחליף הכיסוי בשבת. כיצד נוטל כסות ומניח כנפי יונה או נוטל כנפי יונה ומניח הכסות:

5

Should one transfer hot food or water from the vessel [in which it was cooked]19 into another vessel, it is permitted to cover the second vessel with a substance that does not raise its temperature on the Sabbath, as one is permitted to cover cold food.20 The prohibition against covering [food] on the Sabbath applies only to hot food in the vessel in which it was cooked. If it was transferred, it is permitted.21

ה

פינה התבשיל או המים החמין מכלי לכלי אחר מותר להטמין הכלי האחר בשבת בדבר שאינו מוסיף. כמו הדבר הצונן. שלא אסרו להטמין בשבת אלא דבר חם שהוא בכלי ראשון שנתבשל בו אבל אם פינהו מותר:

6

One may place one metal pot on another metal pot, an earthenware pot on another earthenware pot,22 an earthenware pot on a metal pot, and a metal pot on an earthenware pot, and one may seal [either an earthenware pot or a metal pot] closed with dough - one's intent being not that they should be heated more, but that their heat should be preserved.23

The [Sages] forbade only covering [food] with other substances on the Sabbath. It is, however, permissible to place one vessel on another vessel so that they remain hot.24 In contrast, we may not place a vessel containing a cold substance on a hot vessel on the Sabbath, for by doing so one introduces heat to it.25 It is permissible, however, to place [cold food on a hot pot] before the Sabbath commences.26 It is not considered analogous to covering food with a substance that raises its temperature.27

ו

מניחין מיחם ע"ג מיחם בשבת וקדרה על גבי קדרה וקדרה ע"ג מיחם ומיחם על גבי קדרה וטח פיהם בבצק לא בשביל שיוחמו אלא בשביל שיעמדו על חומם. שלא אסרו אלא להטמין בשבת אבל להניח כלי חם על גבי כלי חם כדי שיהיו עומדין בחמימותן מותר. אבל אין מניחין כלי שיש בו דבר צונן על גבי כלי חם בשבת שהרי מוליך בו חום בשבת. ואם הניחו מבערב מותר ואינו כטומן בדבר המוסיף

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam (following the order of the Mishnah, Shabbat, Chapters 3 and 4) continues to explain the possibilities for serving hot food on the Sabbath. In the previous chapter, he spoke about leaving food in an oven or on a range. In this chapter, he describes the possibilities of insulating food with other substances to preserve its heat. Among the other reasons for mentioning these laws in this place is that the activities mentioned must be performed before the commencement of the Sabbath.

2.

The Rambam explains the rationale for this prohibition in the following halachah.

3.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 4:1). Rashi (Shabbat 47b) offers a more inclusive interpretation.

4.

The Mishnah (Shabbat 4:1) also mentions hay. The Rambam omits it, probably on the basis of the Jerusalem Talmud, which maintains that this substance will not increase a food's temperature.

5.

The word "even" has raised many problems, for it implies that these substances will generate more heat when they are moistened from an outside source than when their dampness is a result of their natural moisture. Rashi (Shabbat m49a) states the converse, and this appears to be the opinion of other authorities.

Significantly, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam does not mention the word "even." Similarly, his grandson, Rav Yitzchak HaNagid, writes in a responsum that the inclusion of this word in some manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah was a scribal error.

6.

Rashi (loc. cit.) explains that this refers to grains - e.g., kernels of wheat, barley, and the like. Larger produce would not be an effective insulating agent.

7.

The Rambam describes the laws pertaining to these substances in Halachot three and four.

8.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 257:1) states that if one violates this prohibition and covers food with these substances, it is forbidden to partake of the food until Saturday night. The Ramah, however, permits the food to be eaten on the Sabbath if one covered it without knowing of the prohibition.

9.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 4:1), the Rambam explains that covering the food with these substances does not violate the prohibition against cooking. The prohibition against cooking involves only cooking with fire and heat that results from fire (see Chapter 9, Halachah 2), but not cooking substances with other sources of heat.

The Rabbis, nevertheless, forbade such an act, because it resembles cooking. Furthermore, as a safeguard to insure that this prohibition is not violated, the Sages also forbade covering food before the commencement of the Sabbath with substances that increase its heat.

The Rambam's interpretation is based on Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's version of Shabbat 34a,b. The Ra'avad, Rashi, Tosafot, and many others follow a different version of that passage, which explains that the reason it was forbidden to cover food with these substances is a safeguard against a person covering food with a mixture of ash and coals. (See the following halachah.) This view is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 257:1).

10.

The time between sunset and the appearance of three stars. The status of this time is a question of doubt: is it considered part of the day or the night? (See Chapter 5, Halachah 4.)

The Maggid Mishneh finds this law one of the more difficult aspects of the Rambam's explanation of this halachah, for there is no other instance where the laws that apply beyn hash'mashot are more lenient than those that apply before sunset.

11.

As mentioned in note 9, the Rambam's interpretation is based on Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's version of Shabbat 34a,b, while other authorities have a different version of that passage. According to those authorities, there is no comparison between these substances, which do not raise the temperature of food, and a mixture of ash and coals. Nevertheless, our Sages forbade covering food with such substances to preserve its temperature on the Sabbath, because they suspected that a person may find the food he desires to cover cold, and put it on the fire to warm.

(It must be noted that according to the Rambam's interpretation, a mixture of ash and coals is considered somewhat analogous to substances that do not raise the temperature of food. The Maggid Mishneh considers this one of the major difficulties with the Rambam's interpretation. Rav Kapach justifies the Rambam's position with a reference to Beitzah 8a, which appears to indicate that such a mixture is not hot.)

12.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 4:1), the Rambam notes that this explanation appears to contradict one of the principles of Rabbinic law. Our Sages taught (Shabbat 11b), אין גוזרין גזירה לגזירה, "We do not enact a decree to safeguard the observance of a decree that is itself a safeguard." The prohibition against covering the food with a mixture of ash and coals is itself a Rabbinic decree enacted lest one stir the coals. To uphold this decree, the Sages forbade covering food even with substances that will not increase its temperature.

In resolution of this difficulty, the Rambam implies that the principle mentioned above applies only when the two decrees are enacted in different times. When the two decrees are enacted simultaneously, there is no such difficulty (see Beitzah 3a). Since the Rabbis appreciated that the first element of the decree depends on the second, they enacted two safeguards at the same time.

13.

In this instance, the Mishnah Berurah 257:8 states that if a person covered a food with these substances on the Sabbath, he may partake of them on the Sabbath.

14.

The Rambam is using the wording of the Mishnah (Shabbat 2:7). In his Commentary on the Mishnah, he explains that this refers to the period known as beyn hash'mashot. Since the prohibition against covering food is only a safeguard for a Rabbinic prohibition, it does not apply at this time.

15.

According to the Rambam, this applies regardless of whether one uses a substance that will merely preserve the food's heat or a substance that will increase its heat. According to the other authorities (whose opinion is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 257:1), the leniency applies only to substances that merely preserve heat.

16.

The use of the passive voice by the Rambam (and by the Mishnah, Shabbat 4:2, his source) should not be interpreted to mean that this leniency is granted only when the food is uncovered accidentally. On the contrary, a person may recover the food even if he intentionally uncovered it, for example, he uncovered it to serve a portion (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 257:8 and the Mishnah Berurah 257:25).

17.

If, however, the food became uncovered before the Sabbath, it is forbidden to cover it again on the Sabbath (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 257:8 and the Mishnah Berurah 257:25).

18.

I.e., regardless of whether the second covering is more or less effective than the first, it is permitted to exchange them. Note the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 257:4), which states that a more effective covering may be placed on food only when it has been thoroughly cooked. If the food is still in need of further cooking, this is forbidden.

19.

The vessel in which an object is cooked is referred to as a כלי ראשון, "a primary vessel." This term is relevant to the discussion of the Sabbath laws and the laws of Kashrut.

20.

Note Shulchan Aruch HaRav 257:9 and the Mishnah Berurah 257:28, which state that this leniency applies even when the food is still scalding hot. They also state that if the food has cooled totally, it may be covered so that it does not chill even when it has not been removed from the pot in which it was cooked.

21.

The transfer of the food to a different pot cools it. Accordingly, the Sages did not consider it necessary to enact a decree as a safeguard to prevent a person from heating the pot in such a circumstance (Shabbat 51a).

22.

Our translation is based on the commentary of the Maggid Mishneh.

23.

The Mishnah Berurah 318:51 extends the scope of this leniency, stating that it applies even when one pot is covered with insulated substances to preserve its heat. The other pot may be placed on the pot and under the substances. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 318:14, however, forbids such an act, since by doing so, a person will be insulating food on the Sabbath and that is forbidden.

24.

Note the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:7-8), which questions whether this leniency applies when the lower pot is cooking on a fire or not. One opinion maintains that if the food in the upper pot has been thoroughly cooked, there is no prohibition in placing it on a pot that is cooking on the fire. Since only a Rabbinic prohibition is involved and this does not resemble the normal manner of cooking, there is no reason for stringency. Another opinion maintains that placing food on such a pot is like placing it on the fire itself and is forbidden. The Shulchan Aruch favors the more lenient opinion, as do the later authorities.

25.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc cit.:6) explains when this prohibition applies: If the food can become hot enough to scald a child's hand, it may not be left on the other vessel.

26.

See the Beit Yosef (loc. cit. 258) which explains that one is not permitted to leave food that is covered with insulating materials on a fire even if this is done before the Sabbath.

27.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit. 257:8) which differentiates between this law and the other laws mentioned in this chapter, explaining that the prohibition against covering food with substances that insulate it and preserve its temperature applies only when the substances cover the food entirely without leaving a portion of the food exposed.

Shabbat - Chapter Five

1

The kindling of a Sabbath lamp1 is not a matter left to our volition - i.e., [it is not a matter about which,] if one desires, one may kindle it, but if one does not desire, one need not. Nor is it a mitzvah that we are not obligated to pursue2 - e.g., making an eruv for a courtyard or washing one's hands before eating. Instead, it is an obligation.3

Both men and women are obligated to have a lamp lit in their homes on the Sabbath.4 Even if a person does not have food to eat, he should beg from door to door and purchase oil to kindle a lamp,5 for this is included in [the mitzvah of] delighting in the Sabbath.6

One is obligated to recite a blessing before kindling7 [the Sabbath lamp], as one does before fulfilling any of the obligations incumbent upon us by virtue of Rabbinic decree.8 [The blessing is:] Blessed are You, God, our Lord who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the Sabbath lamp.

א

הדלקת נר בשבת אינה רשות אם רצה מדליק ואם רצה אינו מדליק. ולא מצוה שאינו חייב לרדוף אחריה עד שיעשנה כגון עירובי חצרות או נטילת ידים לאכילה אלא זה חובה. ואחד אנשים ואחד נשים חייבין להיות בבתיהן נר דלוק בשבת. אפילו אין לו מה יאכל שואל על הפתחים ולוקח שמן ומדליק את הנר שזה בכלל עונג שבת. וחייב לברך קודם הדלקה ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר של שבת. כדרך שמברך על כל הדברים שהוא חייב בהם מדברי סופרים.

2

It is permissible to make use of [the light of] a Sabbath lamp,9 provided that the matter does not require careful scrutiny.10 If, however, a matter requires one to look precisely, it is forbidden to use the Sabbath lamp to inspect it, lest one tilt [the lamp].11

ב

מותר להשתמש בנר של שבת. והוא שלא יהא הדבר צריך עיון הרבה. אבל דבר שצריך לדקדק בראייתו אסור להבחינו לאור הנר גזירה שמא יטה:

3

The person who lights the Sabbath lamp should light it while it is still day, before sunset.12

Women have a greater obligation in this regard than men,13 for they are normally at home and are involved in the household tasks. Nevertheless, a man should alert them concerning this matter and check that they have done so. He should tell14 the members of his household on the Sabbath eve before nightfall, "Kindle the lamp."

If there is a question whether night has fallen and the Sabbath has commenced or whether the Sabbath has not commenced,15 the lamp should not be kindled.

ג

המדליק צריך להדליק מבעוד יום קודם שקיעת החמה. ונשים מצוות על דבר זה יותר מן האנשים לפי שהן מצויות בבתים והן העסוקות במלאכת הבית. ואף על פי כן צריך האיש להזהירן ולבדוק אותן על כך ולומר להן ולאנשי ביתו ערב שבת קודם שתחשך הדליקו את הנר. ספק חשיכה ונכנס השבת ספק לא נכנס אין מדליקין:

4

The time from sunset until the appearance of three middle-sized stars is universally referred to as beyn hash'mashot.16 There is a doubt whether this time is considered as part of the day or as part of the night. [Accordingly,] it is accepted to rule stringently concerning [this time] in all places.17 Therefore, one should not kindle [a lamp at this time]. A person who performs a [forbidden] labor beyn hash'mashot [both] on the Sabbath eve and on Saturday night is required to bring a sin offering.18

The stars mentioned are not large stars that can be seen during the day or small stars that are seen only at night, but of moderate size. When such three medium-sized stars are seen, it is surely night.

ד

משתשקע החמה עד שיראו שלשה כוכבים בינונים הוא הזמן הנקרא בין השמשות בכל מקום והוא ספק מן היום ספק מן הלילה ודנין בו להחמיר בכל מקום. ולפיכך אין מדליקין בו. והעושה מלאכה בין השמשות בערב שבת ובמוצאי שבת בשוגג חייב חטאת מכל מקום. וכוכבים אלו לא גדולים הנראים ביום ולא קטנים שאין נראין אלא בלילה אלא בינונים. ומשיראו שלשה כוכבים אלו הבינונים הרי זה לילה ודאי:

5

The wick used for the Sabbath lights should not be made from a substance that causes the light to flicker - e.g., wool, goat's hair, silk, cedar fiber, uncarded flax, palm bast, various types of soft trees,19 and the like. Instead, [we should use] a substance that burns steadily - e.g., carded flax, [remnants of] linen clothes, cotton,20 and the like.

The person kindling [the lamp] should make sure that the fire has caught on the major portion of the wick that emerges [from the lamp].

ה

פתילה שמדליקין בה לשבת אין עושין אותה מדבר שהאור מסכסכת בו כגון צמר ושער ומשי וצמר הארז ופשתן שלא נופץ וסיב של דקל ומיני העץ הרכים וכיוצא בהן. אלא מדבר שהאור נתלית בו. כגון פשתה נפוצה ובגדי שש וצמר גפן וכיוצא בהן. והמדליק צריך שידליק ברוב היוצא מן הפתילה.

6

[The following rules apply when] one winds a substance that one may use as a wick around a substance that one should not use as a wick: If one's intent was to make the wick thicker and thus increase its light, it is forbidden.21 If one's intent was to make the wick firmer so that it will stand erect and not hang downward, it is permitted.22

ו

הכורך דבר שמדליקין בו על גבי דבר שאין מדליקין בו. אם להעבות הפתילה כדי להוסיף אורה אסור. ואם להקשות הפתילה כדי שתהא עומדת ולא תשתלשל למטה מותר:

7

One may place a grain of salt23 or a bean24 at the opening of a lamp on Friday so that it will burn [better] on the Sabbath.

All [the substances] that may not be used as wicks on the Sabbath may be used in a large fire [that was kindled] either for warmth or for the purpose of light whether the fire is within a holder or on the ground. The prohibition against using them applies solely in regard to their use as wicks for a candle.25

ז

נותנין גרגיר של מלח וגריס של פול על פי הנר בערב שבת שיהיה דולק בליל שבת. וכל הפתילות שאין מדליקין בהן בשבת עושין מהן מדורה בין להתחמם כנגדה בין להשתמש לאורה בין על גבי מנורה בין על גבי קרקע. ולא אסרו אלא לעשותן פתילה לנר בלבד:

8

The fuel26 used for kindling a Sabbath lamp must be drawn after the wick. Fuels that are not drawn after the wick may not be used. [These include] [molten] tar, [molten]27 beeswax, gourd oil,28 [fat from a] sheep's tail, or tallow.

Why may we not kindle with wicks that do not catch the fire well and with fuels that are not drawn after the wick? This is a decree [enacted] lest29 the light of the candle be dim and one tilt it in order to carry out an activity by its light.

ח

שמן שמדליקין בו לשבת צריך שיהא נמשך אחר הפתילה אבל שמנין שאין נמשכין אחר הפתילה כגון זפת ושעוה ושמן קיק ואליה וחלב אין מדליקין בהן. ומפני מה אין מדליקין בפתילות שאין האור נתלית בהן ולא בשמנים שאין נמשכים אחר הפתילה גזירה שמא יהיה אור הנר אפל ויטה אותה בשעה שישתמש לאורה:

9

One may use tallow or fish entrails that have been boiled [as fuel for a Sabbath lamp] provided that one mixes a minimal amount of oil with them.30 [Other] fuels that may not be used [as fuel for a Sabbath lamp] may not be used even when they are mixed with fuels that may be used, since they are not drawn [after the wick].31

ט

חלב שהתיכו וקרבי דגים שנמוחו נותן לתוכן שמן כל שהו ומדליק. אבל שמנין שאין מדליקין בהן אפילו ערבן בשמנים שמדליקין בהן לא ידליק מפני שאין נמשכין:

10

We may not use pine sap32 as fuel [for the Sabbath lamp], because it produces an unpleasant fragrance, lest one leave [the room] and [on the Sabbath,] there is an obligation to sit [in a room] illuminated by the light of a lamp.

Similarly, we may not use balsam oil, because it is very fragrant and it is possible that one will take some of the oil in the lamp [for use as perfume].33 Also, [balsam oil] is extremely flammable. For the latter reason, one may not use white naphtha [as fuel for a lamp] even during the week. It is extremely flammable and may cause a danger.

י

אין מדליקין בעטרן מפני שריחו רע שמא יניחנו ויצא וחובה עליו לישב לאור הנר. ולא בצרי מפני שריחו טוב שמא יקח ממנו מן הנר ועוד מפני שהוא עף. ולא בנפט לבן ואפילו בחול מפני שהוא עף ויבא לידי סכנה:

11

At the outset, one is permitted to use other oils - e.g., radish oil, sesame oil, turnip oil, or the like.34 It is forbidden to use only those which were explicitly mentioned by our Sages.

יא

מותר להדליק לכתחלה בשאר שמנים כגון שמן צנון ושומשמין ולפת וכל כיוצא בהן אין אסור אלא אלו שמנו חכמים בלבד:

12

A person should not place a container with a hole filled with oil above the opening of a lamp so that the oil will drip in.35 Similarly, he should not fill a bowl with oil, put it next to a lamp, and place the end of the wick in it so that it will draw oil.36 [These were both forbidden as] a decree lest one remove the oil in the vessel37 which has not become repugnant in the lamp.38

It is forbidden to derive benefit on the Sabbath from oil that was used for kindling, even when the lamp has become extinguished or it has dripped from the lamp [into another container].39 [This is forbidden,] because the [oil] is considered muktzeh because it was set aside to be used for a forbidden [labor].40

[In the instance mentioned in the first clause,] if one attached the container to the lamp with cement, clay, or the like, it is permissible [to be used].41

יב

לא יתן אדם כלי מנוקב מלא שמן על פי הנר בשביל שיהא מנטף. ולא ימלא קערה שמן ויתננה בצד הנר ויתן ראש הפתילה לתוכה בשביל שתהא שואבת. גזירה שמא יקח מן השמן שבכלי שהרי לא נמאס בנר. ואסור ליהנות בשבת מן השמן שהודלק בו ואפילו כבתה הנר ואפילו נטף מן הנר מפני שהוא מוקצה מחמת איסור. ואם חיבר הכלי שיש בו השמן אל הנר בסיד ובחרסית וכיוצא בהן מותר:

13

We may not place a container under a lamp to collect [the drippings of] oil, for by doing so, one nullifies the possibility of using that container.42 If, however, one placed it there before the commencement of the Sabbath, it is permitted.43

One may place a utensil beneath a lamp on the Sabbath to collect the sparks, because they have no substance and thus, one does not nullify the possibility of carrying [that utensil]. It is forbidden, however, to place water within it, even if one does so on Friday, since by doing so, one causes the sparks to be extinguished sooner.44

יג

אין נותנין כלי תחת הנר לקבל בו שמן בשבת שהרי מבטל הכלי מהיכנו. ואם נתנו מבעוד יום מותר. ונותנין כלי תחת הנר בשבת לקבל בו ניצוצות מפני שאין בהן ממש והרי לא בטלו מלטלטלו. ואסור ליתן לתוכו מים ואפילו מערב שבת מפני שהוא מקרב כיבוי הניצוצות:

14

A person may not45 check his garments for lice46 by the light of a lamp47 or read by the light of a lamp. [This applies] even if the lamp was two storeys high.48 Even when there are ten storeys one on top of another, a person living in the bottom storey should not read or check his garments for lice by the light [of a lamp] in the highest storey, lest one forget and tilt the lamp.49

If, however, two people are reading a single subject,50 they are permitted to read before a lamp, since one will remind the other if he forgets.51 This is not allowed when [they are concerned] with two [separate] subjects,52 for each one will be occupied with his subject.53

יד

אין פולין לאור הנר ולא קורין לאור הנר ואפילו גבוה שתי קומות ואפילו עשרה בתים זה על גב זה והנר בעליונה לא יקרא ולא יפלה לאורה בתחתונה שמא ישכח ויטה .ואם היו שנים קורין בענין אחד מותרין לקרות לפני הנר שכל אחד מהן מזכיר חבירו אם שכח. אבל לא בשני ענינים שכל אחד מהן טרוד בענינו:

15

Children may read in the presence of their teacher by the light of a lamp, for their teacher will watch over them.54 The teacher, by contrast, may not read, for he is not in fear [of his charges]. He may, nevertheless, look at a scroll by the light of a lamp to find the beginning of the passage that he needs to have them read. Afterwards, he should place the scroll in their hands and have them read for him.

טו

התינוקות קורין לפני רבן לאור הנר מפני שהרב משמרן. אבל הוא לא יקרא מפני שאין אימתן עליו. ויש לו לראות בספר לאור הנר עד שיראה ראש הפרשה שהוא צריך להקרותן. ואחר כך נותן הספר בידן והם קוראין לפניו:

16

One may not take articles that resemble each other and can be discerned from each other only after careful inspection to the light of a lamp to identify them, lest one forget and tilt the lamp.

For this reason, an attendant who is not permanently employed is forbidden to check cups and bowls by the light of a lamp, since he does not recognize them. This applies regarding both a lamp that uses olive oil and a lamp that uses kerosene although the latter produces much light.55

In contrast, an attendant who is permanently employed may check cups and bowls by the light of a lamp, since he does not need to check them closely. Nevertheless, if olive oil was used as fuel for the lamp, he should not be instructed56 to check objects by its light although he is permitted to do so. This is a decree [enacted], lest he take from the oil.

טז

כלים הדומים זה לזה ואינן ניכרין אלא בעיון הרבה אסור להקריבן לאור הנר ולהבחין ביניהן שמא ישכח ויטה. לפיכך שמש שאינו קבוע אסור לו לבדוק כוסות וקערות לאור הנר מפני שאינו מכירן. בין בנר של שמן זית בין בנר של נפט שאורו רב. אבל שמש קבוע מותר לו לבדוק לאור הנר כוסות וקערות מפני שאינו צריך עיון הרבה. ואם היה נר של שמן זית אין מורין לו לבדוק ואע"פ שהוא מותר גזירה שמא יסתפק ממנו:

17

When a lamp is burning behind a door,57 it is forbidden to open and close the door in one's ordinary manner, because one [might] extinguish it.58 Instead, one should open and close the door carefully.

It is forbidden to open59 a door opposite a fire on the Sabbath60 so that the wind will blow upon it [and fan the fire], even if there is only an ordinary wind.61 A Sabbath lamp may be placed62 on a tree that is attached to the ground; there is no need for anxiety.63

יז

נר שאחורי הדלת אסור לפתוח הדלת ולנעול כדרכו מפני שהוא מכבהו אלא יזהר בשעה שפותח ובשעה שנועל. ואסור לפתוח את הדלת כנגד המדורה בשבת כדי שתהא הרוח מנשבת בה ואע"פ שאין שם אלא רוח מצויה. ומניחין הנר של שבת על גבי אילן המחובר לקרקע ואינו חושש:

18

Six shofar blasts64 should be sounded in every Jewish city and town65 on Friday. These shofar blasts are sounded from a high place so that they can be heard by all the inhabitants of the city and its surroundings.

יח

כל מדינות ועיירות של ישראל, תוקעין בהן שש תקיעות בע"ש. ובמקום גבוה היו תוקעין כדי להשמיע כל אנשי המדינה וכל אנשי המגרש שלה.

19

When the first shofar blast is sounded, the people in the fields should halt plowing, digging, and performing other labors in the fields. Those who are close to the city are not, however, permitted to enter the city until those who are distant come, so that they all enter at the same time.66 The stores may still remain open with their shutters in place.

When the second shofar blast is sounded, the shutters should be secured and the stores closed. Hot water and pots may still be left [cooking] on the ranges. When the third shofar blast is sounded, one should remove those pots one intends to remove, cover those one wishes to cover with insulating materials,67 and light candles.68

One should wait the time it takes to roast a small fish or to stick a loaf of bread on [the side of the] oven,69 sound a teki'ah, a teru'ah, and a final teki'ah and cease activity.

יט

תקיעה ראשונה נמנעו העומדים בשדות מלחרוש ומלעדור ומלעשות מלאכה שבשדה. ואין הקרובין רשאין ליכנס לעיר עד שיבואו רחוקים ויכנסו כולם בבת אחת. ועדיין החנויות פתוחות והתריסין מונחין. התחיל לתקוע שניה נסתלקו התריסין וננעלו החנויות. ועדיין החמין והקדרות מונחין על גבי כירה. התחיל לתקוע תקיעה שלישית סלק המסלק והטמין המטמין והדליקו את הנרות ושוהה כדי לצלות דג קטן או כדי להדביק פת בתנור ותוקע ומריע ותוקע ושובת

20

The first teki'ah should be sounded at [plag] haminchah70 and the third [teki'ah] close to sunset.71 Similarly, the shofar should be sounded on Saturday night to [inform] the people that they are permitted [to tend] to their affairs.72

כ

תקיעה ראשונה תוקע אותה במנחה. והשלישית קרוב לשקיעת החמה. וכן תוקעין במוצאי שבת אחר צאת הכוכבים להתיר העם למעשיהן:

21

When Yom Kippur falls on Friday,73 the shofar is not sounded.74 [When Yom Kippur] begins on Saturday night, the shofar should not be sounded, nor should havdalah be recited.75

When a festival falls on Friday, the shofar should be sounded76 and havdalah should not be recited. When a festival begins directly after the Sabbath, havdalah should be recited,77 but the shofar should not be sounded.

כא

יוה"כ שחל להיות בע"ש לא היו תוקעין. חל להיות במוצאי שבת לא תוקעין ולא מבדילין. יו"ט שחל להיות בע"ש תוקעין ולא מבדילין. חל להיות לאחר השבת מבדילין ולא תוקעין

Footnotes
1.

Although the Rambam discusses the mitzvah of delighting in the Sabbath in Chapter 30, he mentions the kindling of the Sabbath lights in a separate chapter, for they require extensive discussion. He also positions this chapter relatively early in this set of Halachot, for the Sabbath candles are kindled before the Sabbath and bring the Sabbath into our homes. This also follows the pattern of the Mishnah which discusses the kindling of the Sabbath lamps in the first two chapters of the tractate.

2.

See Hilchot Berachot 11:2; the Rambam differentiates between mitzvot that are obligations that a person must endeavor to fulfill, mentioning tefillin which is a daily obligation and sukkah and lulav which are obligations that are incumbent on us at a certain time each year, and mitzvot "that are not obligations, but resemble voluntary activities."

In the latter category, he includes mitzvot that we are obligated to fulfill only when we put ourselves in a situation that require it - e.g., the mitzvah of mezuzah. A person is not required to live in a house that requires a mezuzah. If, however, he chooses to do so, he must fulfill that mitzvah.

Similarly, with regard to the mitzvot mentioned by Rambam in this halachah: There is no necessity to eat bread or other foods that require washing our hands, nor is it necessary to carry in a courtyard (or perform any of the other activities that require an eruv).

(Kinat Eliyahu comments that the Rambam chose the washing of the hands and eruv as examples in this halachah, because they - like the kindling of the Sabbath candles - are Rabbinic commandments.

See also Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor 3:10 which mentions another dimension of the obligatory nature of this mitzvah.)

3.

Note the Maggid Mesharim, which states that there is another dimension to lighting Sabbath candles. The Karaites did not accept the Oral Law including the Sages' explanation that one could leave a light burning on the Sabbath and by kindling Sabbath lights, one made a statement countering their doctrine. Since the Rambam also strove against these heretics, one may assume that part of his emphasis on the obligatory nature of this mitzvah is directed toward them.

4.

See Halachah 3.

5.

In Hilchot Chametz UMatzah 7:7 (based on Pesachim 10:1), the Rambam states that even a person who derives his income from charity should not drink less than four cups of wine on Pesach, we can conclude that the same concept applies with regard to the Sabbath lights. Indeed, as the Rambam explains in the conclusion of Hilchot Chanukah, the Sabbath lights receives priority over the recitation of Kiddush. See also Megillah 27b which mentions selling or pawning one's clothes to perform a mitzvah.

6.

See Chapter 30, Halachah 5, which explains that kindling a Sabbath lamp is an expression of honor for the Sabbath. See also the conclusion of Hilchot Chanukah which explains that the Sabbath lamps bring about peace in the home, safeguarding the inhabitants from "stumbling over wood and stones."

7.

Significantly, this blessing is not mentioned in the Talmud and even in Rav Sa'adiah Gaon's time was not a universally accepted practice. In the Rambam's time, however, it had been adopted already throughout the international Jewish community.

8.

See the Introduction to Sefer HaMitzvot (General Principle 1) and Hilchot Berachot 11:3, where the question is raised: How can we say that God has commanded us to perform these mitzvot, which are of Rabbinic origin? Seemingly, they were instituted by men.

The Rambam answers that since God commanded us to obey the decrees of the Sages, observing the mitzvot that they ordained is fulfilling His command.

9.

In contrast to the Chanukah candles, whose light we may not use (Hilchot Chanukah 4:6,8), we are permitted to use the light of the Sabbath candles. Indeed, Shabbat 23b associates the Sabbath candles with peace in the home, explaining that they prevent the members of the household from stumbling over obstacles, and also allow them to avoid the discomfort of sitting in darkness.

10.

See Halachot 14-16.

11.

Were one to tilt the lamp for it to burn brighter, one would be liable for the forbidden labor of kindling a fire.

12.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that the Rambam does not mention the obligation to add from the weekday to the Sabbath. Note the Maggid Mishneh (Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor, ch. 1) which states that although the Rambam maintains that we are obligated to make such an addition on Yom Kippur, he does not require such an addition to be made on the Sabbath. The wording of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 261:2) indicates that it does not consider the obligation to much such an addition on the Sabbath as an absolute requirement. Nevertheless, the later Ashkenazic authorities consider it as such.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:3) also mentions that it is customary to light candles before sunset when the sun is seen in the treetops.

13.

Bereshit Rabbah, ch. 17, associates the woman's responsibility to light the Sabbath lamp with the fact that, through the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, Chavah, the first woman, extinguished the light of the world. Shabbat 32a associates the lighting of the Sabbath candles with the woman's responsibility to insure the shining of (Proverbs 20:27) "the lamp of G‑d, the soul of man."

14.

Shabbat 34a emphasizes that this statement should be made gently. The Rambam does not mention this point explicitly, for in Hilchot Ishut 15:19, when he describes the nature of the husband and wife relationship, he stresses how a husband must relate to his wife with tender care at all times.

15.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 2:6), the Rambam interprets this as referring to beyn hash'mashot as described in the following halachah.

16.

There are three basic positions regarding the duration of beyn hash'mashot. Shabbat 34b relates that it refers to the time that it takes one to walk 3/4 of a mil after sunset. The other two positions are found in Pesachim 94a. One defines beyn hash'mashot as the amount of time needed to walk four mil after sunset, and the other, as the time necessary to walk five mil.

There are two different opinions concerning the duration of the time it takes to walk a mil. The Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 3:2), maintains that it takes 24 minutes to walk a mil. However, the most widely held opinion - and the opinion accepted regarding halachah l'ma'aseh, is that it takes 18 minutes to walk this distance.

The Rambam as well as many other Rishonim base their determination of beyn hash'mashot on Shabbat 34b. Thus in practice, the appearance of the stars is determined as 13 1/2 (3/4 x 18) minutes after sunset. Both the Vilna Gaon and Shulchan Aruch HaRav maintain that this is the duration of beyn hash'mashot. Thus, the proper local time may be calculated by extrapolation based on the amount of light visible 13 1/2 minutes after sunset in Eretz Yisrael on the day of the equinox. Generally, people wait up to 36 minutes after sunset on Saturday night in order to be certain.

According to Pesachim 94a, the appearance of the stars will be either 72 (4 x 18) minutes or 90 (5 x 18) minutes after sunset. Rabbenu Tam strongly suggests adhering to the position that צאת הכוכבים takes place 72 minutes after sunset. Though some authorities support the 90-minute position, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Iggerot Moshe, Orach Chayim, Vol. 1, Responsum 24), mentions only the position of the Vilna Gaon and Shulchan Aruch HaRav, on the one hand, and Rabbenu Tam on the other.

17.

I.e., we are prohibited against performing forbidden labors during this time on both Friday and Saturday nights.

18.

Had the person performed a forbidden labor during beyn hash'mashot on either Friday or Saturday, he would not be liable for a sin offering, since we are unsure whether beyn hash'mashot is day or night. If, however, he performed a forbidden labor at the same time beyn hash'mashot on both Friday and Saturday, he is surely liable, for at one of the two times, he performed a forbidden labor on the Sabbath day (Shabbat 35b).

19.

The definition of the last five substances is dependent on the Rambam's interpretation of the mishnah, Shabbat 2:1. See his Commentary on the Mishnah.

20.

Although Rashi, Shabbat 27b, excludes cotton, the Rambam's view is accepted by most authorities including the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 264:1).

Note the gloss of the Ramah (loc. cit.) which states that if a person used any of these substances for a wick he is forbidden to benefit from the light, lest he tilt it to cause it to burn brighter. He does, however, also mention the possibility of leniency in certain instances.

21.

Rabbenu Asher in his gloss to Shabbat 21a explains that this was prohibited lest this leniency cause one to think that one may light a Shabbos lamp with the forbidden substances alone at a later date.

22.

Shabbat 21a relates that in Rabban Gamliel's household a wick was wound around a portion of a nut shell.

23.

Rashi, Shabbat 67b, explains that this makes the oil burn brighter.

24.

The Tosefta, Shabbat 2:6, explains that this will cause the wick to burn slower.

25.

These substances were prohibited to be used as wicks lest one tilt the candle to produce a better light. When they are being used in a larger fire, the quantity of fuel will produce a steady light and there is no reason to suspect that one might tilt the fire. See Chapter 3, Halachah 19.

26.

We have used a non-literal translation for the Hebrew שמן, which literally means "oil," since some of the substances mentioned in this halachah are not oils.

27.

The word "molten" was added in both these instances on the basis of Shabbat 20b which notes that candles made of beeswax are acceptable. Rabbenu Asher states that the same principle applies regarding tar. The prohibition against using them applies only when they are molten and used as fuel for a lamp in the place of oil.

28.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 2:1, based on one of the opinion's in Shabbat 21a), the Rambam identifies kik oil with the kikayon plant mentioned in the Book of Yonah.

29.

Significantly, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam mentions a different reason, lest one be dissatisfied with the light and leave the room where it is burning.

30.

Shabbat 21a explains that these two fuels are fit to use for a Sabbath light when they are in a liquid state. Nevertheless, the Sages forbid their use lest one use them as fuel when they were solid. Accordingly, when another fuel is mixed together with them, there is no necessity for a further safeguard.

Rav Kapach explains the reason for the Sages' decree as follows: Although tallow and fish entrails are acceptable as fuels when they are in a liquid state, the possibility exists that they will harden as the lamp is burning. Hence, it is prohibited to use them alone. In contrast, when other fuels are mixed with these substances, they prevent them from hardening and therefore, such a mixture may be used for the Sabbath lights.

31.

The Rambam implies that even when these fuels are mixed with acceptable fuels they do not burn well. In contrast, Rashi, Shabbat 21a explains that when they were mixed with other fuels, they would burn well, the Sages, however, forbid the use of such mixtures, lest one use the unacceptable fuels alone.

32.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's version of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 2:2). A similar interpretation is attributed to Rav Sa'adiah Gaon.

33.

Removing fuel from a lamp is forbidden, for by doing, one causes the lamp to be extinguished sooner. This is included in the forbidden labor of extinguishing [Rav Kapach's translation of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 2:2,4); see also Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 264:3 and Beitzah 22a].

[Significantly, as Rav Kapach comments in his notes, the Rambam changed his mind concerning this matter several times (and thus there is a discrepancy between his version and the ordinary printed text of this work.]

34.

The Mishnah (Shabbat 2:2) relates that Rabbi Tarfon stated that olive oil is the only fuel acceptable for use in the Sabbath lamp. The Talmud (Shabbat 26a) relates that Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri protested this statement, "What shall the Babylonians do, for they have only sesame oil? What shall the Medians do, for they have nothing but nut oil? What shall the Alexandrians do, for they have nothing but radish oil?"

The Sages accepted Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri's view and accepted the possibility of using other oils. It is not merely after the fact that they are acceptable, but ab initio, they may be used. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 264:6) states that it is most desirable to use olive oil for this purpose.

35.

Lamps would be constructed in the following manner to prevent the flame from consuming a large quantity of oil. The wick would be placed inside a shallow dish that contained a minimal amount of oil. A container would be placed above the dish from which oil would flow into the dish (Shabbat 2:4). The Sages forbade using such a lamp on the Sabbath, even if the oil was placed in it before nightfall.

36.

This instance is also mentioned in the Mishnah (Shabbat 2:4). The Talmud (Shabbat 29a) explains why it is necessary to cite both instances.

37.

As mentioned in the notes to Halachah 10, removing oil designated to be used for a lamp from the lamp is forbidden and is considered equivalent to the forbidden labor of extinguishing a flame.

38.

Were the oil to be in the lamp itself, there would be no worry that one would use it, the smut from the wick would cause it to become repugnant. Since, however, it is in a container separate from the lamp, there is the need for a Rabbinic decree.

39.

In these instances, there is no connection between using the oil and the forbidden labor of extinguishing a flame. Nevertheless, doing so is forbidden, because of the prohibition of muktzeh.

40.

As will be explained in Chapters 24-26, the Sages forbade the handling of certain objects on the Sabbath because they were muktzeh, designated not to be used on the Sabbath. Among the categories of muktzeh are objects that are involved with a forbidden labor at the commencement of the Sabbath.

41.

The fact that the container is attached to the lamp will cause a person to remember the prohibition and refrain from taking oil from it on the Sabbath [Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 265:1)].

42.

In Chapter 25, Halachah 23, the Rambam explains the reason for this prohibition. Nullifying the potential to use a utensil is tantamount to breaking it and is, hence, forbidden on the Sabbath.

In this instance, it would no longer be permitted to use the container placed under the lamp for the following reason: As explained in Chapter 25, Halachah 17, when an article that is not forbidden to be moved is used as a container for an article that is forbidden, the container becomes forbidden. Accordingly, since the oil is muktzeh as explained in the previous halachah, it causes the container used to collect it to become forbidden as well. (See the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 3:6.)

43.

If the container was placed there on Friday, the activity that causes the container to be forbidden is not being carried out on the Sabbath itself. Hence, there is no reason for it to be prohibited. It must be emphasized that the oil that collects in the lamp on the Sabbath may not be moved and this in turn causes the moving of the container to become likewise prohibited (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 265:3, Mishneh Berurah 265:10).

44.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit., Rav Kapach's version), the Rambam writes that by placing the water there, it is considered as if he extinguished the fire with his hands. Although this activity is performed before the Sabbath, the Rabbis forbade it. Unlike the activities mentioned at the beginning of Chapter 3, they considered that in this instance, if a person was allowed to place a dish with water under the lamp before the Sabbath, he might do so on the Sabbath as well. See also Chapter 12, Halachah 4, and notes.

45.

In this and the following halachot, the Rambam elaborates on the principle he stated in Halachah 2, that activities that require careful discernment cannot be performed by the light of a lamp on the Sabbath, lest one tilt the lamp so that the light shines brighter.

46.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 1:3). The Ramah (Orach Chayim 275:1) interprets the phrase to mean "remove lice from his garments."

47.

This refers to an oil or kerosene lamp. There is a debate among the halachic authorities (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 275:1 and commentaries) if it also applies to wax candles. Today, most authorities do not forbid using the lights of the paraffin candles common today for such activities. Needless to say, there is no prohibition with regard to electric lights.

48.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) states that this prohibition applies even when the lamp is fixed in the wall.

49.

The Rambam's intent is that the Sages enforced this decree universally even in situations where it is impossible that the person would tilt the lamp so that a person would never be motivated to do so.

50.

The Ramah (loc. cit.) states that this leniency does not apply when the two people are studying from two separate texts even when they are studying a single subject.

51.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:3) states that if a person has someone else watch him, he is permitted to read by the light of a lamp.

52.

Furthermore, when two people are studying separate subjects, they are forbidden to use a lamp even when they are studying from a single text (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 275:3).

53.

And will not pay attention to the activities of the other.

54.

The Rambam appears to limit this leniency only to a situation where the teacher is actually present and is watching his students' conduct. The Rashba, by contrast, states that a child may read by a light even when his teacher is not in the room, for he is constantly worried that he may enter. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 275:6) appears to accept this view.

55.

This halachah is based on the Rambam's interpretation of Shabbat 12b. The Ra'avad, Rashi, and others interpret that passage differently. The Rambam's perspective is followed by the Shulchan Orach (Orach Chayim 275:12), while the Ramah mentions that of Rashi.

56.

I.e., although the attendant need not be prevented from checking the utensils by the light of the lamp if he does so on his own accord, if he asks whether it is proper to use the light of the lamp, he should be counseled against doing so.

57.

Commenting on Shabbat 120b, Rabbenu Chanan'el interprets this as referring to a lamp fixed on the wall behind the door. Tosafot, by contrast, interprets this as referring to a lamp affixed on the door itself. Seemingly, the Rambam follows Rabbenu Chanan'el's view. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 277:1) mentions both opinions.

58.

Shabbat (loc. cit.) explains that although one has no intention of extinguishing the flame (and thus one would not be held liable, as explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 5), in this instance, unless one opens the door carefully, there is a certainty that the light would be extinguished. Therefore, on the basis of Chapter 1, Halachah 6, opening the door in one's ordinary manner is forbidden.

59.

One may, however, close a door in such a situation (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 277:2).

60.

The Merkevat HaMishneh notes that the Rambam mentions the Sabbath in this clause and not in the first clause. The laws in the first clause also apply on the festivals, while the laws in the second clause apply only on the Sabbath.

61.

Shabbat (loc. cit.) explains that this was a Rabbinic decree enacted lest one open a door when a strong wind is blowing.

62.

Needless to say, the lamp must be placed there on Friday; on the Sabbath itself a lamp may not be moved.

63.

This represents a contrast to the laws of the festivals. As mentioned in Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 4:5, it is forbidden to make use of a tree on a festival, but it is permissible to move a lamp. Therefore, it is forbidden to place a lamp in a tree, lest one make use of the tree. Since moving a lamp on the Sabbath is forbidden, there is no need to worry that one will make use of the tree.

64.

As obvious from the following halachah, the Rambam is referring to three series of blasts in which a teki'ah - a single long blast - a teru'ah - a series of short staccato blasts - and a final teki'ah were sounded. (See also Rashi, Shabbat 35b.)

65.

When mentioning this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 256:1) states that it applies "when Israel dwelled in its land." The Ramah, however, suggests that when possible announcements should be made in Jewish communities of the diaspora to inform the people of the advent of the Sabbath. (Note the Or Sameach, who brings support for this practice from Avodah Zarah 70a.) Accordingly, it is customary for a Sabbath alarm to be sounded in many communities.

66.

Rashi, Shabbat 35b, states that this practice was adopted lest the workers in the outlying areas be suspected of continuing their activities past the desired time.

67.

As explained in Chapter 4.

68.

As mentioned, it is customary at present to light candles 18 minutes before sunset.

69.

The commentaries, beginning with the Maggid Mishneh, note a difficulty with the Rambam's statements, since his wording appears to indicate that, ab initio, it is acceptable to stick dough on the side of the oven to bake at this time, even though it will have to be pealed off on the Sabbath itself. As mentioned in Chapter 20, Halachah 1, peeling bread off an oven wall does not constitute a forbidden labor. It is, however, forbidden on the Sabbath on the basis of a Rabbinic prohibition. Note the resolutions offered to this difficulty in Chapter 3, Halachah 18.

(Significantly, the Hagahot Maimoniot and others interpret this as an indication that the Rambam allows forbidden labors to be performed after candle-lighting.)

It must be noted that Rav Kapach offers a different interpretation of the Rambam's words. He explains that the Rambam is not saying that one should actually roast a fish or bake dough. Instead, he is merely giving a measure of time.

70.

One hour and fifteen minutes before sunset. This refers to sha'ot zemaniot, i.e., the term "hour" refers to one twelfth of the daytime period.

71.

Eighteen minutes earlier.

72.

This law is derived from the concluding Mishnah of the first chapter of Chulin. As the Maggid Mishneh mentions, not all authorities agree that the shofar was sounded on Saturday night. Moreover, even with regard to the Rambam's intent, the commentaries are not in universal agreement. The Or Sameach, basing his statements on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Chulin, loc. cit.), explains that the shofar was sounded only in the Temple and not in the Jewish community at large.

The Halichot Olam, by contrast, basing his statements on Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 7:5, maintains that the shofar was sounded at this time only in the community at large and not in the Temple.

73.

According to the fixed calendar employed at present, Yom Kippur cannot fall on Friday or on Sunday. Nevertheless, when the calendar was established according to the testimony of witnesses, it was possible for the holiday to be celebrated on either of these days.

[In this context, note the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Menachot 11:7, which emphasizes the potential for such a possibility, negating the opinion of prominent sages (apparently Rav Sa'adiah Gaon and Rabbenu Chanan'el), who maintained that the oral tradition prohibits Yom Kippur's being celebrated on either of these days (Rav Kapach).]

74.

For it is forbidden to sound a shofar on the Sabbath or on Yom Kippur.

75.

Havdalah is recited to mark the transition from holiness to the mundane, and this is not relevant on such an occasion (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Chulin, loc. cit.).

This applies not only to the recitation of havdalah over a cup of wine, but also the mention of havdalah in our Yom Kippur prayers.

76.

This applies only in the Temple. Elsewhere, the shofar is not sounded on festivals.

77.

For the festivals reflect a lower level of holiness than the Sabbath. Havdalah is recited both in our festival prayers and in our recitation of Kiddush.

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