Learning the Laws of Shabbat

I am new to observing Shabbat, and am a bit overwhelmed by all the rules. Is there a systematic way to get all this straight?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

First of all, congratulations on your new-found connection with Shabbat. As you will see, Shabbat is the highlight of every week and provides a crucial base for the family structure, the community, and a link to the Almighty.

The best course of study I can recommend is . This is a comprehensive online curriculum which explores hundreds of practical, common cases; the principle behind each of the 39 labor categories.

For a self-check of understanding, this course has interactive online testing: 10 questions based on the class material. Students automatically receive a test score, along with the correct answers. And all your test results are stored in your personal online account, so you can track your progress as you study the material.

Each Aish Academy class is also available either online or as a user-friendly PDF version (coming soon), so you can print out the material and study at your own pace -- anywhere, anytime. And finally, there are dynamic video segments that present common scenarios, and help you work through the practical halacha in each case.

Also, I could suggest these fine books:

"Laws of Shabbos" - by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen

• "39 Melochos" - by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat (

• "Shemirath Shabbath" - by Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth (

One final thing: The best way to learn is by example. Spend Shabbat with observant Jews whom you like and respect. This will give you hands-on experience with various laws, plus a balance of joyful time connecting with God, others, and yourself.

More Questions

Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

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