Mar 7, 2014

A Call for Reviewing Hilchos Shabbos

Daily review of the laws of Shemiras Ha'Lashon is pushed aggressively.  Indeed, speaking and listening to lashon hara and rechilus is a grave sin.

Women are urged to review the laws of Family Purity.  Indeed, it is vital to know and observe them meticulously.

However ... what about the Laws of Shabbos?

If you have gone through "Guard Your Tongue" or some such book, you get the idea.  Do not say or listen to anything derogatory, albeit true, about anyone.  That sums it up.  There are related laws, there are exceptions, but that's the basic idea. 

If you have gone through the laws of Family Purity, then you can sum them up in five to ten minutes, what to do, how, and when.  There are many possible questions and situations that can arise, but they are asked of a rav.

But Hilchos Shabbos, which apply every single week, consist of thousands of practical laws.  There is no way to sum them up briefly in a way that is meaningful to one's practical observance.  Yes, you can say there are 39 categories of work, this is what they are, but that tells you nothing about all the derivatives of these primary forms of work and their applications. 

You can summarize Muktza by stating the five categories, but that isn't a true summary of all the laws of Muktza.  It would just be the "headlines" without providing the information that is needed to observe these laws.  It's a vast study!

And even as it is vast, every layperson needs to know them.  At the very least, they need to have a good idea of what constitutes a questionable area, even if they are not familiar with every relevant law.  And yet, those who have always been religious, rely on their knowledge and Shabbos observance of many years.  If they start to study the laws systematically, they discover that they did not actually know all the categories of muktza, or just how to deal with the food on the blech, or all the applications of borer or asking a gentile to do something for you. 

There are very many books on Hilchos Shabbos available, detailed, with and without the reasoning behind the laws, with and without illustrations.  Check this out:
and the one at the head of this post.  Find the ones that appeal to you and you're more likely to learn them.

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