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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
  • Tanning
  • Smoothing
  • Ruling Lines
  • 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 (20)
December 31, 2015
This was extremely helpful for my homework. The only thing it's missing (in my opinion) is the hebrew translations. If I know the hebrew of one of the melachos, but can't remember which one it is, that would make it easier.
November 22, 2015
This really helped my homework
March 13, 2015
I agree that Shabbat is given to all mankind but certainly the commandment was not. Gentiles don't observe it as a cessation of creation. Rather, if they observe it at all, they observe it as a cessation of work and a time for relaxation. Even Jews will add the concept of relaxation in doing the mitzvah, but it teaches cessation of malacha, creative work. This concept is throughout sefer Sh'mot and only sefer D'varim brings in a concept of rest. Shevat (שבת) is the same word as Sabbath (שבת) and the word does not mean "rest" as in "relax" (נך) but rather means 'rest' as in "a rolling ball finally came to a complete rest." (stop, cessation of motion) Shabbat's 39 divisions of melachot (forbidden "work") are derived in the creation and operation of the Beyt HaMikdash, ie., denotion of creation. For surely there are things permitted to do on the Sabbath that is work in the traditional sense while there are things not permitted to do which are not work in the traditional sense
March 12, 2015
The Shabbat was a gift of God to humankind, given by G-d at creation. It was meant for everyone. G-d asked us to remember it when we left Egypt, guiding our minds to creation as the origin of the Shabbat. By expecting gentiles to do work on the Shabbat when they themselves should be resting on that day, seems to be outside G-d´s original plan for us all, Jews and gentiles. A wise uncle of mine once told me, in regard to the keeping of the Shabbat, that I should be willing to do that which I expected (and hoped) others to do do for me, should I need it. I am an MD and only see absolute emergencies on the Shabbat. However, some people, anxious about their health, ask me questions outside the synagogue. It is a pleasure for me to help relieve their anxiety. Shabbat Shalom!
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