There are four [dimensions] to the [observance of] the Sabbath: two originating in the Torah, and two originating in the words of our Sages, which are given exposition by the Prophets. [The two dimensions originating] in the Torah are the commandments "Remember [the Sabbath day]"1 and "Observe [the Sabbath day]."2

[The two dimensions] given exposition by the Prophets are honor and pleasure3, as [Isaiah 58:13] states: "And you shall call the Sabbath 'A delight, sanctified unto God and honored.'


אַרְבָעָה דְּבָרִים נֶאֶמְרוּ בְּשַׁבָּת. שְׁנַיִם מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וּשְׁנַיִם מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וְהֵן מְפֹרָשִׁין עַל יְדֵי הַנְּבִיאִים. שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה (שמות כ ז) "זָכוֹר" וְ (דברים ה יא) "שָׁמוֹר". וְשֶׁנִּתְפָּרְשׁוּ עַל יְדֵי הַנְּבִיאִים כָּבוֹד וָעֹנֶג שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נח יג) "וְקָרָאתָ לַשַּׁבָּת עֹנֶג וְלִקְדוֹשׁ ה' מְכֻבָּד":


What is meant by honor? This refers to our Sages' statement that it is a mitzvah4 for a person to wash his face, his hands, and his feet5 in hot water on Friday in honor of the Sabbath. He should wrap himself in tzitzit and sit with proper respect, waiting to receive the Sabbath as one goes out to greet a king.

The Sages6 of the former generations would gather their students together on Friday, wrap themselves [in fine robes] and say, "Come, let us go out and greet the Sabbath, the king.7


אֵיזֶהוּ כָּבוֹד זֶה שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁמִּצְוָה עַל אָדָם לִרְחֹץ פָּנָיו יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו בְּחַמִּין בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת וּמִתְעַטֵּף בְּצִיצִית וְיוֹשֵׁב בְּכֹבֶד רֹאשׁ מְיַחֵל לְהַקְבָּלַת פְּנֵי הַשַּׁבָּת כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא לִקְרַאת הַמֶּלֶךְ. וַחֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הָיוּ מְקַבְּצִין תַּלְמִידֵיהֶן בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת וּמִתְעַטְּפִים וְאוֹמְרִים בּוֹאוּ וְנֵצֵא לִקְרַאת שַׁבָּת הַמֶּלֶךְ:


Among the ways of honoring the Sabbath is wearing a clean garment.8 One's Sabbath garments should not resemble one's weekday clothes. A person who does not have a different garment for the Sabbath should allow his robe to hang low,9 so that his [Sabbath] clothing will not resemble the clothes he wears during the week.

Ezra ordained that the people launder their clothes on Thursday10 as an expression of honor for the Sabbath.


וּמִכְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת שֶׁיִּלְבַּשׁ כְּסוּת נְקִיָּה. וְלֹא יִהְיֶה מַלְבּוּשׁ החֹל כְּמַלְבּוּשׁ הַשַּׁבָּת. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ לְהַחֲלִיף מְשַׁלְשֵׁל טַלִּיתוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא מַלְבּוּשׁוֹ כְּמַלְבּוּשׁ הַחל. וְעֶזְרָא תִּקֵּן שֶׁיְּהוּ הָעָם מְכַבְּסִים בַּחֲמִישִׁי מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת:


In respect for the Sabbath,11 it is forbidden to plan a meal or a winefest for Friday.12

[According to the letter of the law,] one may eat or drink until nightfall. Nevertheless, as an expression of honor for the Sabbath, a person should refrain from planning a meal13 for [mid]afternoon on,14 so that he will enter the Sabbath with an appetite.


אָסוּר לִקְבֹּעַ סְעֻדָּה וּמִשְׁתֶּה בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת. וּמֻתָּר לֶאֱכל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת עַד שֶׁתֶּחְשַׁךְ. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן מִכְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת שֶׁיִּמָּנַע אָדָם מִן הַמִּנְחָה וּלְמַעְלָה מִלִּקְבֹּעַ סְעֻדָּה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס לְשַׁבָּת כְּשֶׁהוּא מִתְאַוֶּה לֶאֱכל:


A person should prepare his table on Friday, even if he is [to partake] only [of an amount of food] equivalent to the size of an olive.15 Similarly, a person should prepare his table on Saturday night,16 even if he is [to partake] only [of an amount of food] equivalent to the size of an olive. [In this manner,] he shows his respect for the Sabbath when it enters and when it departs.

One should prepare one's house while it is still day as an expression of respect for the Sabbath.17 There should be a lamp burning,18 a table prepared [with food] to eat, and a couch bedecked with spreads.19 All of these are expressions of honor for the Sabbath.20


מְסַדֵּר אָדָם שֻׁלְחָנוֹ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ אֶלָּא לִכְזַיִת. וְכֵן מְסַדֵּר שֻׁלְחָנוֹ בְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ אֶלָּא לִכְזַיִת. כְּדֵי לְכַבְּדוֹ בִּכְנִיסָתוֹ וּבִיצִיאָתוֹ. וְצָרִיךְ לְתַקֵּן בֵּיתוֹ מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת. וְיִהְיֶה נֵר דָּלוּק וְשֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ לֶאֱכל וּמִטָּה מֻצַּעַת שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ לִכְבוֹד שַׁבָּת הֵן:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


Even a very important person who is unaccustomed to buying items at the marketplace or to doing housework is required to perform tasks to prepare by himself for the Sabbath. This is an expression of his own personal honor.21

The Sages of the former generations22 [would involve themselves in such activities]: There was one who would chop wood to cook with, one who would salt meat, one would braid wicks, and one who would kindle the lamps. Others would go out and purchase food and beverages for the Sabbath, even though this was not their ordinary practice. The more one involves oneself in such activities, the more praiseworthy it is.


אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיָה אָדָם חָשׁוּב בְּיוֹתֵר וְאֵין דַּרְכּוֹ לִקַּח דְּבָרִים מִן הַשּׁוּק וְלֹא לְהִתְעַסֵּק בִּמְלָאכוֹת שֶׁבַּבַּיִת חַיָּב לַעֲשׂוֹת דְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵן לְצֹרֶךְ הַשַּׁבָּת בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁזֶּה הוּא כְּבוֹדוֹ. חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מֵהֶם מִי שֶׁהָיָה מְפַצֵּל הָעֵצִים לְבַשֵּׁל בָּהֶן. וּמֵהֶן מִי שֶׁהָיָה מְבַשֵּׁל אוֹ מוֹלֵחַ בָּשָׂר אוֹ גּוֹדֵל פְּתִילוֹת אוֹ מַדְלִיק נֵרוֹת. וּמֵהֶן מִי שֶׁהָיָה יוֹצֵא וְקוֹנֶה דְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵן לְצֹרֶךְ הַשַּׁבָּת מִמַּאֲכָל וּמַשְׁקֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכּוֹ בְּכָךְ. וְכָל הַמַּרְבֶּה בְּדָבָר זֶה הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח:


What is meant by [Sabbath] delight? This refers to our Sages' statement23 that a person must prepare a particularly sumptuous dish and a pleasantly flavored beverage for the Sabbath. All of this must be done within the context of a person's financial status.

The more one spends [both financially,] in expenses undertaken for the Sabbath and [in effort,] in the preparation of many good foods, the more praiseworthy it is.24 If, however, this is not within one's [financial] capacity, even if one merely stews food or the like in honor of the Sabbath, this is considered to be Sabbath delight.

One is not obligated to strain oneself25 or to borrow from others26 in order to prepare more food for the Sabbath. The Sages of the former generations said,27 "Make your Sabbaths as weekdays, but do not depend on others."


אֵיזֶהוּ עֹנֶג זֶהוּ שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְתַקֵּן תַּבְשִׁיל שָׁמֵן בְּיוֹתֵר וּמַשְׁקֶה מְבֻשָּׂם לְשַׁבָּת הַכּל לְפִי מָמוֹנוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם. וְכָל הַמַּרְבֶּה בְּהוֹצָאַת שַׁבָּת וּבְתִקּוּן מַאֲכָלִים רַבִּים וְטוֹבִים הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. וְאִם אֵין יָדוֹ מַשֶּׂגֶת אֲפִלּוּ לֹא עָשָׂה אֶלָּא שֶׁלֶק וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם כְּבוֹד שַׁבָּת הֲרֵי זֶה עֹנֶג שַׁבָּת. וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהָצֵר לְעַצְמוֹ וְלִשְׁאל מֵאֲחֵרִים כְּדֵי לְהַרְבּוֹת בְּמַאֲכָל בְּשַׁבָּת. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים עֲשֵׂה שַׁבַּתְּךָ חֹל וְאַל תִּצְטָרֵךְ לַבְּרִיּוֹת:


A person who is indulgent and wealthy and conducts all his days as Sabbaths must also partake of different foods on the Sabbath from those of which he partakes during the week. If [his fare] cannot be changed, he should [at least] change the time at which he eats [his meals]. [For example,] if he usually eats early, he should eat later.28 If he usually eats late, he should eat earlier.


מִי שֶׁהָיָה עָנֹג וְעָשִׁיר וַהֲרֵי כָּל יָמָיו כְּשַׁבָּת צָרִיךְ לְשַׁנּוֹת מַאֲכַל שַׁבָּת מִמַּאֲכַל הַחל. וְאִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְשַׁנּוֹת מְשַׁנֶּה זְמַן הָאֲכִילָה אִם הָיָה רָגִיל לְהַקְדִּים מְאַחֵר וְאִם הָיָה רָגִיל לְאַחֵר מַקְדִּים:


A person is obligated to eat three meals on the Sabbath:29 one in the evening, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.30 One should be extremely careful regarding these three meals, not to eat any less. Even a poor man who derives his livelihood from charity should eat three meals [on the Sabbath].31

[Nevertheless,] a person who is sick from overeating, or one who fasts constantly is not obligated to partake of three meals.32

All these three meals must be significant [sittings] at which wine is served;33 at each,34 one must break bread on two full loaves.35The same applies regarding the holidays.36


חַיָּב אָדָם לֶאֱכל שָׁלֹשׁ סְעֻדּוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת אַחַת עַרְבִית וְאַחַת שַׁחֲרִית וְאַחַת בְּמִנְחָה. וְצָרִיךְ לְהִזָּהֵר בְּשָׁלֹשׁ סְעֵדּוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא יִפְחֹת מֵהֶן כְּלָל. וַאֲפִלּוּ עָנִי הַמִּתְפַּרְנֵס מִן הַצְּדָקָה סוֹעֵד שָׁלֹשׁ סְעֵדּוֹת. וְאִם הָיָה חוֹלֶה מֵרֹב הָאֲכִילָה אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מִתְעַנֶּה תָּמִיד פָּטוּר מִשָּׁלֹשׁ סְעֵדּוֹת. וְצָרִיךְ לִקְבֹּעַ כָּל סְעֻדָּה מִשְּׁלָשְׁתָּן עַל הַיַּיִן וְלִבְצֹעַ עַל שְׁתֵּי כִּכָּרוֹת. וְכֵן בְּיָמִים טוֹבִים:


Eating meat and drinking wine on the Sabbath is a form of pleasure for a person,37 provided this is within his [financial] capacity.38

On the Sabbaths and holidays, a significant meal at which wine will be served is forbidden to be scheduled for the time the house of study is in session.39 Instead, the practice of the righteous of the former generations would be as follows: A person would recite the morning service and the additional service in the synagogue. Afterwards, he would return home and partake of the second [Sabbath] meal. He would then proceed to the house of study, to read [from the Written Law] and to study [the Oral Law] until the afternoon, at which time he would recite the afternoon service. He would then [partake of] the third [Sabbath] meal, a significant [sitting] at which wine is served, and continue eating and drinking until the Sabbath passed.


אֲכִילַת בָּשָׂר וּשְׁתִיַּת יַיִן בְּשַׁבָּת עֹנֶג הוּא לוֹ. וְהוּא שֶׁהָיְתָה יָדוֹ מַשֶּׂגֶת. וְאָסוּר לִקְבֹּעַ סְעֻדָּה עַל הַיַּיִן בְּשַׁבָּת וּבְיָמִים טוֹבִים בִּשְׁעַת בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ. אֶלָּא כָּךְ הָיָה מִנְהַג הַצַּדִּיקִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מִתְפַּלֵּל אָדָם בְּשַׁבָּת שַׁחֲרִית וּמוּסָף בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת וְיָבוֹא לְבֵיתוֹ וְיִסְעֹד סְעֻדָּה שְׁנִיָּה וְיֵלֵךְ לְבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ יִקְרָא וְיִשְׁנֶה עַד הַמִּנְחָה וְיִתְפַּלֵּל מִנְחָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִקְבַּע סְעֵדָּה שְׁלִישִׁית עַל הַיַּיִן וְיֹאכַל וְיִשְׁתֶּה עַד מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת:


It is forbidden for a person to travel more than three parsa'ot from the beginning of the day on Friday. [This restriction was adopted] so that one will arrive home early in the day and prepare one's Sabbath meals. [One may not rely on] the members of one's household to prepare for him, [for they] do not know that one will arrive on this day.

Needless to say, [this restriction applies] when one is visiting others, since [by arriving unexpectedly,] one will embarrass them, for they will not have made the preparations appropriate for hosting guests.40


אָסוּר לוֹ לָאָדָם שֶׁיְּהַלֵּךְ בְּעַרְבֵי שַׁבָּתוֹת יוֹתֵר מִשָּׁלֹשׁ פַּרְסָאוֹת מִתְּחִלַּת הַיּוֹם כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לְבֵיתוֹ וְעוֹד הַיּוֹם רַב וְיָכִין סְעֻדָּה לְשַׁבָּת. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין אַנְשֵׁי בֵּיתוֹ יוֹדְעִין שֶׁהַיּוֹם יָבוֹא כְּדֵי לְהָכִין לוֹ. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם הָיָה מִתְאָרֵחַ אֵצֶל אֲחֵרִים שֶׁהֲרֵי מְבַיְּשָׁן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הֵכִינוּ לָהֶן דָּבָר הָרָאוּי לְאוֹרְחִין:


It is forbidden to fast,41 to cry out [to God], to offer supplication, or to entreat [His] mercy on the Sabbath.42 Even when [a community is beset] by a distressing circumstance that would ordinarily require the community to fast and sound the trumpets,43we do not fast or sound the trumpets on the Sabbath or holidays.

[There are, however, exceptions. They include] a city surrounded by gentiles or a [flooding] river, and a ship sinking at sea. We may sound the trumpets on the Sabbath to summon help for them, offer supplications on their behalf, and ask for mercy for them.44


אָסוּר לְהִתְעַנּוֹת וְלִזְעֹק וּלְהִתְחַנֵּן וּלְבַקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים בְּשַׁבָּת וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּצָרָה מִן הַצָּרוֹת שֶׁהַצִּבּוּר מִתְעַנִּין וּמַתְרִיעִין עֲלֵיהֶן אֵין מִתְעַנִּין וְלֹא מַתְרִיעִין בְּשַׁבָּת. וְלֹא בְּיָמִים טוֹבִים. חוּץ מֵעִיר שֶׁהִקִּיפוּהָ עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת אוֹ נָהָר אוֹ סְפִינָה הַמִּטָּרֶפֶת בַּיָּם שֶׁמַּתְרִיעִין עֲלֵיהֶן בְּשַׁבָּת לְעָזְרָן וּמִתְחַנְּנִין וּמְבַקְּשִׁין עֲלֵיהֶן רַחֲמִים:


We do not lay siege to gentile cities less than three days before the Sabbath, so that the minds of the warriors will become settled and they will not be agitated and preoccupied on the Sabbath.45

For this reason, we may not set sail on a ship less than three days before the Sabbath, so that one's mind will be settled before the Sabbath and one will not suffer excessive discomfort.46 For the sake of a mitzvah, however, one may set out on a sea journey even on Friday. One should enter into an agreement that [the ship] interrupt [its journey] on the Sabbath. [If, however,] this agreement is not kept [it is not of consequence].47

From Tyre to Sidon48 and the like, one may set out on Friday, even if the journey concerns one's personal affairs.49 In places where it is customary not to set out on a journey on Friday at all, one should refrain from travelling.


אֵין צָרִין עַל עֲיָרוֹת שֶׁל עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים קֹדֶם הַשַּׁבָּת. כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּתְיַשֵּׁב דַּעַת אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה עֲלֵיהֶן וְלֹא יִהְיוּ מְבֹהָלִים וּטְרוּדִים בְּשַׁבָּת. אֵין מַפְלִיגִין בִּסְפִינָה פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים קֹדֶם הַשַּׁבָּת כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּתְיַשֵּׁב דַּעְתּוֹ עָלָיו קֹדֶם הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֹא יִצְטַעֵר יֶתֶר מִדַּאי. וְלִדְבַר מִצְוָה מַפְלִיג בַּיָּם אֲפִלּוּ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת. וּפוֹסֵק עִמּוֹ לִשְׁבֹּת וְאֵינוֹ שׁוֹבֵת. וּמִצּוֹר לְצִידֹן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אֲפִלּוּ לִדְבַר הָרְשׁוּת מֻתָּר לְהַפְלִיג בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת. וּמָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ שֶׁלֹּא יַפְלִיג בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת כְּלָל אֵין מַפְלִיגִין:


Sexual relations are considered a dimension of Sabbath pleasure.50 Therefore, Torah scholars who are healthy51 set aside Friday night as the night when they fulfill their conjugal duties.52

At the outset, it is permitted to engage in sexual relations with a virgin on the Sabbath. It is not [forbidden because] one is creating a wound,53 nor because of the pain the woman [feels].


תַּשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה מֵעֹנֶג שַׁבָּת הוּא. לְפִיכָךְ עוֹנַת תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים הַבְּרִיאִים מְשַׁמְּשִׁין מִלֵּילֵי שַׁבָּת לְלֵילֵי שַׁבָּת. וּמֻתָּר לִבְעל בְּתוּלָה לְכַתְּחִלָּה בְּשַׁבָּת וְאֵין בָּזֶה לֹא מִשּׁוּם חוֹבֵל וְלֹא מִשּׁוּם צַעַר לָהּ:


[The observance of] the Sabbath and [the prohibition against] worshiping false deities are each equivalent to [the observance] of all the mitzvot of the Torah.54 And the Sabbath is the eternal sign between the Holy One, blessed be He, and us.55

For this reason, whoever transgresses the other mitzvot is considered to be one of the wicked of Israel, but a person who desecrates the Sabbath publicly is considered as an idolater. Both of them are considered to be equivalent to gentiles in all regards.56 Therefore, our prophets praise [Sabbath observance], saying [Isaiah 56:2]: "Happy is the man who does the following, and the mortal who holds fast to it, who keeps the Sabbath, without desecrating it...."

It is explicitly stated in our prophetic tradition that whoever observes the Sabbath according to law and honors it and delights in it according to his ability will receive reward in this world in addition to the reward that is preserved for the world to come,57 as [Isaiah 58:14]58 states: "'You will then delight in God. I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob your ancestor'; thus has the mouth of God spoken."


הַשַּׁבָּת וַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת כָּל אַחַת מִשְּׁתֵּיהֶן שְׁקוּלָה כְּנֶגֶד שְׁאָר כָּל מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה. וְהַשַּׁבָּת הִיא הָאוֹת שֶׁבֵּין הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּבֵינֵינוּ לְעוֹלָם. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל הָעוֹבֵר עַל שְׁאָר הַמִּצְוֹת הֲרֵי הוּא בִּכְלַל רִשְׁעֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֲבָל הַמְחַלֵּל שַׁבָּת בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא הֲרֵי הוּא כְּעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת וּשְׁנֵיהֶם כְּעוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת לְכָל דִּבְרֵיהֶם. לְפִיכָךְ מְשַׁבֵּחַ הַנָּבִיא וְאוֹמֵר (ישעיה נו ב) "אַשְׁרֵי אֱנוֹשׁ יַעֲשֶׂה זֹּאת וּבֶן אָדָם יַחֲזִיק בָּהּ שֹׁמֵר שַׁבָּת מֵחַלְּלוֹ" וְגוֹ'. וְכָל הַשּׁוֹמֵר אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת כְּהִלְכָתָהּ וּמְכַבְּדָהּ וּמְעַנְּגָהּ כְּפִי כֹּחוֹ כְּבָר מְפֹרָשׁ בַּקַּבָּלָה שְׂכָרוֹ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה יֶתֶר עַל הַשָּׂכָר הַצָּפוּן לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נח יד) "אָז תִּתְעַנַּג עַל ה' וְהִרְכַּבְתִּיךָ עַל בָּמֳתֵי אָרֶץ וְהַאֲכַלְתִּיךָ נַחֲלַת יַעֲקֹב אָבִיךָ כִּי פִּי ה' דִּבֵּר".

Blessed be God who grants assistance.

בְּרִיךְ רַחֲמָנָא דְּסַיְּעָן