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The 39 Melachot

The 39 Melachot


There are thirty-nine general categories of labor that are forbidden on Shabbat. Each of these categories include a range of derivative laws and activities, some of which are described in "The Shabbat Laws." The melachot are generally divided into six groups, classified according to the Mishkan's activities with which they are associated.

Field Work

  • Sowing
  • Plowing
  • Reaping
  • Binding Sheaves
  • Threshing
  • Winnowing
  • Selecting
  • Grinding
  • Sifting
  • Kneading
  • Baking

Making Material Curtains

  • Shearing Wool
  • Cleaning
  • Combing
  • Dyeing
  • Spinning
  • Stretching the Threads
  • Making Loops
  • Weaving Threads
  • Separating the Threads
  • Tying a Knot
  • Untying a Knot
  • Sewing
  • Tearing

Making Leather Curtains

  • Trapping
  • Slaughtering
  • Skinning
  • Salting
  • Tanning
  • Scraping
  • Cutting

Making the Beams of the Mishkan

  • Writing
  • Erasing

The Putting up and Taking down of the Mishkan

  • Building
  • Breaking Down

The Mishkan's Final Touches

  • Extinguishing a Fire
  • Kindling a Fire
  • Striking the Final Hammer Blow
  • Carrying
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Discussion (16)
April 2, 2014
Not in Israel-Adam from Toronto's reply
I dont' know what is happening in the States and Canada, but here in Israel gentiles are not driving the Jews back. They drive themselves back which is the reason for my orignal post.
April 1, 2014
You all make wonderful points. Hashem loves you all. Have a great day!!
February 28, 2014
Adam from Toronto's argument
I don't understand what you mean by "so all other arguments are irrelevant." What arguments concerning gentiles are you referring to since nothing I said concerning gentiles were against the discussion of my arguments that ambulance workers and doctors are going beyond saving lives when it comes to what they do on shabbat like answer phones, carry/use beepers (if there was a saving life issue, why are they using beepers on the other end?), returning home from an emergency, etc.? I think what they are doing is like me grabbing a cigarette from a Jew who in smoking on yom tov, and putting it out "to save his life."
February 21, 2014
@ Mati
Mati, Shabbat is a gift to Jews only,from HaShem. All others work all 7 days. So all other arguments are irrelevant. That said, you are allowed to break the Shabbat for one thing only-to save a life. Simple like that, you may do everything to work towards it. And after you save it? No more allowance. Hence Jewish EMS has Gentiles to drive them back ☺ Shabbat Shalom
Adam from Toronto
February 19, 2014
Miriam evidently doesn't like to keep judgments to herself (though claiming so)
since she judged my statement as "being judgmental" rather than "a statement of judgment." Of course we all are not interested in having need of such services nor are we interested in getting rid of such. But why is using Jews the answer? Why not use b'nei noach? And why, once the emergency is over, are the allowed to perform other melacha not related to the service they rendered? The answer is money and convenience.
February 19, 2014
Mati, I have a brother who is an EMT and one who is a paramedic. Both work for ambulance companies, though neither (officially) volunteers for Hatzolah. many of their friends do work for hatzolah & they hear many of their stories & then share them with us, their lucky (occasionaly bored) family members. I don't know the details but i know that the Hatzala system is incredibly intricate and thought out. There is a book just for hatzala members about all the halachos for the special situations they may encounter! As lay people, it's easy for me and you to speculate about their operations and assume things like, "What it all comes down to is convenience and money." Personally, I prefer to keep my judgments to myself, to trust Hatzala and their rabbis & to pray that I never need their selfless, professional services!
brooklyn, ny
January 2, 2014
Adam's response
It is interesting the idea that it "may" save a life. In America, the dr's answer phones on shabbat when they are at home because it "may" save a life. They also carry beepers. I asked my rav about this and he said such is not permitted. That being said and the comment you gave, it is easy to "plan" for a woman in labor "just in case" and even so, such can still be deemed and unexpected saving of a a car wreck or heart attack. Seems to me that ambulance drivers can still be scheduled to save a life by having non jews as back up and having other jews as backup should a driver end up being stuck at the hospital. What it all comes down to is convenience and money.
January 1, 2014
Saving a life supersedes the Shabbat
The Talmud (Yuma 84b) states that "An uncertainty whether the situation is life-threatening supersedes Shabbos. Not only if it is an uncertainty whether the situation is immediately dangerous, but even if there is no danger now and the situation may create a danger for the future, it still supersedes Shabbos."

Based on this, in a situation where the ambulance driver may be needed again for another emergency, he is permitted to drive back on the Shabbat (See Igros Moshe Orech Chaim 4:80).

Yehuda Shurpin for
December 31, 2013
The 39 melachot
Mati, please read "Driving-a-Woman-in-Labor-on-the-Sabbath" on it may give you better understanding

Professional ambulance drivers schedule their shift accordingly.
The Jewish Paramedic Service , Hatzolah, has always a goy on staff to drive them on Shabbat
Adam from Toronto
December 28, 2013
I have a problem with Adam's response
Ambulance drivers are not only exempt from malachot such as driving the ambulance, but even after they deliver their victim, they are permitted to drive home. There is no "saving lives" involved in "driving home".
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