A Matter Of Intention? ‘The Primary Labors Are Forty Less One…’ (Shabbos 73a)
Using one’s creative powers seven days a week may lead one to believe in oneself as a Creator. This danger is averted in Judaism by the institution of Shabbat, during which one refrains from melachot. Melachot are defined by my father, Dayan Grunfeld, zt”l, in his book on the Sabbath, as acts that demonstrate one’s mastery of the world by means of the constructive exercise of one’s intelligence and skill. For just one day a week, we are asked to lay aside our skills and acknowledge the real Creator.
Question: Why does Al HaNissim not mention the mitzvah to light nerot Chanukah?
For Whom The Bell Tolls ‘Royal Children May Go Out With Bells’ (Shabbos 66b)
Certain activities – such as building, tying, weaving, writing, dyeing and sewing – are not prohibited on Shabbat unless they are made to last. For example, one may tie a knot that is not tied in a professional manner and will be untied within seven days, such as shoelaces or the ribbon around the Torah scroll, on Shabbat afternoon. So too a safety pin may be used on Shabbat since it is not a form of permanent sewing.
Yosef, Gad and Benjy headed down to the dining hall in their high school. As they walked along the corridor they noticed a new vending machine had been installed. The three admired the machine, and eyed its beckoning display of treats.
Do Not Add To Them! ‘Shabbos is not a Time for Tefillin’ (Shabbos 61a)
"Hi, Levi," said his friend Moshe. "I've got a project to work on for the next two months. By any chance, do you have a spare laptop you're willing to lend for the duration?"
You arrive home after shul on Friday night. All the dishes washed before Shabbat are locked in the dishwasher. You have no other eating utensils and you want to retrieve them for the Friday night meal. In order to take them out you have to unlock the door by turning the lever lock to the left. The action of the lever to unlock the door automatically turns off the panel indicator lights that advise you the dishwashing cycle is complete. So you cannot open the door without turning off the lights. What do you do?
A week after Hurricane Sandy, the Blums still had no electricity. They had run extension cords to a neighbor's house to power some basic items, like the fridge and telephone, but the protracted living without power was taking its toll on the family.
Ball And Bat Substitutes 'Cut Palm Branches' (Shabbos 50a)
The link between the laws of Shabbat and the Mishkan not only defines the 39 Melachot but also determines the conditions for liability. One of these conditions is intent. The other is purpose.
The juxtaposition in the Torah of the laws of Shabbat and the Mishkan, the Sanctuary, not only serves to identify the 39 melachot prohibited on Shabbat but also determines the conditions that must exist before one can be held liable for performing a melachah. One of these conditions is intent.
Children And Corpses ‘A Body Lying In The Sun…’ (Shabbos 43b)
Hurricane Sandy had knocked down the power lines to Noach's house. After three days with no electricity, he heard that a neighbor had a spare generator.
Hurricane Sandy ploughed through the eastern seaboard, leaving devastation in its wake: mandated evacuation, flooded houses, power outages, uprooted trees, and smashed cars. The storm also raised serious questions regarded rented properties: Does a tenant have to pay rent for the time his house was affected by the storm?
Enjoying A Hot Dish ‘What Was Really Meant Was Replacing It…’ (Shabbos 37a)
“G-d formed man from the earth and breathed into him a living soul.” The greatest achievement of the biological sciences since that moment in creation...
Rabbi Feld headed out to the airport early in the morning. He was flying to the wedding of one of his congregants, Mr. Krauss, who had purchased him a complimentary ticket. Although the wedding was scheduled for late afternoon, they had booked an early flight to allow ample time.
When Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, the redactor of the Mishnah known as “Rebbi,” lay dying, he made his sons promise him that after his death they would set the Shabbat table and light the candles for him every Friday night.