Rambam in Modern English


Shabbat – Chapter Thirty

  1. There are four aspects to Shabbos:
    Two mentioned in the Torah, and two from our prophets.
    The two of the Torah are “Zachur” (Remember the Shabbat) and Shamur (Protect the Shabbat).

The two from the prophets are, “Honor” (the Shabbos) and “Pleasure” (Enjoy the Shabbos.)


  1. How do we honor the Shabbos?
    We take a shower (etc.) in preparation.
    We then await it, as we await the arrival of a King.


  1. We also dress in out finest clothing.
    Our clothing on Shabbos should not be the same as the weekday.
    If one has nothing to change into, they should at least wear something a little bit more luxurious.


  1. We do not make an official meal or party on Erev Shabbos (Friday) in respect of the Shabbos.

    Though it is not prohibited, one should minimize their food intake from Friday afternoon, so as to enter into Shabbos eager (for the Shabbos meal.)


  1. One should prepare a set table prior to the entry of Shabbos and at its exit (namely after) even if one is going to eat little, for this the honor of Shabbat (like having a prepared meal for a king, both as he arrives, and when he departs.)

    Additionally the home should be clean, and whatever lights should be on (should be done so – as we don’t turn on lights on Shabbos.)


  1. One must personally – even if one is so unaccustomed – do things for the Shabbos.

    Some of the earlier sages would cook, salt the meat, braid the candles, go shopping, though they wouldn’t normally do this (on weekdays.)


  1. How do we have Pleasure (on Shabbos)?
    We prepare the most delicious foods and drinks.

    The more the merrier.

    However if one cannot afford delicacies, one need not do so – even one nice dish.

    One need not borrow in order to cause Pleasure.


  1. One who is wealthy and always eats delicacies, should eat different foods (specifically for Shabbos.)

    If this is impossible, he should at least change the scheduled eating time.


  1. One must have three meals on Shabbos (unless the third causes discomfort.)

    At each one should have both wine and at least two challos.


  1. One should endeavor to have wine and meat at their Shabbos table.

    The practice of the pious in previous generations was to Daven (pray) in Synagogue in the morning, come home to eat, and then go to the Synagogue to study, until the afternoon / evening meal, and thus conclude the Shabbos.


  1. One may not travel Erev Shabbos (Friday) rather one must be home (to prepare for the meal – this law applied before one could inform one’s family that one would be there, hence currently, the family can ensure this.)

    One should not suddenly arrive at someone’s home on Erev Shabbos, as perhaps they haven’t prepared (for a guest.)


  1. We do not offer pleas relating to physical matters in our prayers on Shabbos.

    The exception is if there is imminent danger (when one may in any event violate the Shabbos.)


  1. One does not lay siege (begin a war) three days prior to Shabbos so that the soldiers should not be upset (as Shabbos approaches – but once they are in middle and accustomed to battle, it’s different.)

    One does not set sale three days before Shabbos.
    One may set sale on Friday if one asks the Captain to stop on Shabbos (if he reneges, this is o.k.).

    If the journey is one which will be complete before Shabbos this is o.k.
    if the custom in an area is that one sets not sail before Shabbos, then this should be followed.


  1. Marital intimacy is considered part of Pleasure (on Shabbos).
    Hence scholars (and laypeople) should such engage (obviously when permitted.)


  1. Both Shabbos observance and not worshiping idols is compared to keeping the whole Torah.

    Shabbos is the symbol of the special love between God and the Jewish people.

    Whoever observe the Shabbos according to its laws, as well as honors and has pleasure in it, will be rewarded, both in this and the next world.

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