Shabbat is an island in time. From sundown Friday until nightfall Saturday, we transcend the worries and cares of material life. G‑d created for six days and rested on the seventh; by resting on Shabbat, we attest to G‑d’s creation of the world, and bring our lives into sync with the divine cycle of creation and rest.
“Work,” as it relates to Shabbat, is not physical exertion, but what the Torah considers to be creative work. For example, writing or cooking is forbidden; carrying a piece of furniture across the room is not.
On Shabbat, your job doesn’t existWhether you are a manual laborer or a businessperson, on Shabbat your job doesn’t exist. Also, no shopping or any other business transactions on this day.
The phone, TV, computers, microwave and dishwasher fall silent, as no electrical devices are operated on Shabbat. Lights, heaters and air conditioners are turned on before Shabbat (timers can be used to turn them on or off at preset times). All cooking and baking is done before Shabbat, and food is kept warm on food-warming devices.
Heavy cleaning, gardening or making repairs are also off limits. We also avoid handling objects associated with weekday activities, such as money, matches and pens.
We don’t ride in cars, buses, trains or planes. We also don’t carry an object from an enclosed area, such as a house or a fenced yard, into an unenclosed area, or vice versa, or four cubits (approx. 6 feet) in an unenclosed area.
All of the laws of Shabbat are suspended in case of a life-threatening emergency. For example, if a person falls ill and there is even the slightest chance that the condition is life-threatening, we call a doctor, drive to the hospital, and so on.
The spirit of Shabbat rest is no less important than its technical observance. Avoid talking about business or other weekday matters. Shabbat is a time for spiritual pursuits—Torah study, prayer, and quality time with the family. A time to touch base with your soul.
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