Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shabbat basics

While I'm indulging Sabrina in ill-advised Diego watching (a consequence of my banged head and some thank-G_d-for-happy-pills-because-without-them-I'd-be-a-disaster minor depression), I figured I'd follow up on the kashrut primer with a Shabbat primer.

Shabbat lasts for 25 hours, from 18 minutes before the sun dips below the horizon on Friday night to the time when 3 medium sized stars would theoretically be visible in the sky if it weren't cloudy or the city on Saturday night.

During that time (with some more caveats that extend this time), there are 39 categories of "work" that aren't permitted to be done. I don't actually know all 39. But they include things like:

My favorite prohibited work on Shabbat is winnowing. I have no idea what winnowing is, but I think it has to do with wheat. It's not really a part of my every day life!

As a practical matter, here are a number of things that ARE a part of day to day life that are prohibited on Shabbat:
  • turning lights on and off
  • driving
  • using the computer
  • writing
  • using money
  • cooking
  • bathing
And here's one thing that people THINK are prohibited, but isn't:
  • washing dishes
And then there are complicated issues:
  • carrying things from one place to another (which includes pushing strollers)
  • playing sports
  • using the electronic keys that a lot of apartment buildings have
I like to view Shabbat as a kind of houseguest. You want to make sure your house is clean, that you are clean and wearing nice clothes, and that you have everything ready for her stay before she comes. You don't want to leave her while you run errands, check email, and the like. You want to be able to dedicate her entire visit to her. So you make nice meals that you prepare in advance, invite friends and family, and treat the day as something special.

I hope this is a good explanation; if I'm leaving things out, please ask more questions!

1 comment:

  1. I just left a long comment but it got eaten! I always forget to do the word-verification thingie. Anyway, great job with the primers. My comment was just to say that I think you need to do a follow-up with all the FUN stuff about shabbos. My friends seem to think it's all about what you can't do, but for me it's about the long naps, the good food, the singing, the candles, etc. Except, you know, when it feels like total deprivation. Which happens on (rare) occasions.

    We had our first PRIDE class tonight, btw. Progress!