Orthodox Judaism/Sabbath


Rabbi, it is said that a Jew is not allowed to work on the Sabbath (isn't the Rabbi working on the Sabbath?). It's said that a Jew should rest on this day. Does that mean that Jews also rest from mental works, eg studying?

Hank, shalom!

Your observation is correct-- it is not 'work' that is fundamentally forbidden on Shabbat, rather "creative labor" is what is forbidden. 'Mental work' is essentially permitted.

Hope this helps!

Rabbi Ari Enkin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What is the Hebrew word used in the Torah when speaking about works? And doesn't the Torah see mental works as creative?


Good question!

The Torah uses the word "melacha" to indicate forbidden work on Shabbat. However, the normative word for "work" is "avoda".

So you see, "work" as we used the word, and "work" as it relates to Shabbat are two different things.

Hope this helps!

Rabbi Ari Enkin

Orthodox Judaism

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Rabbi Ari Enkin


Specialization in Jewish Law and Customs


Rabbi Ari N. Enkin originally from Montreal fulfilled his life-long dream of making aliyah in July 2004 after serving for seven years as a congregational and community rabbi in Montreal, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. Rabbi Enkin holds both Yoreh-Yoreh and Yadin-Yadin semichas as well as a Masters Degree specializing in Informal Adult Education. He is the author of several seforim including most recently "Dalet Amot - Halachic Perspectives" which discusses over 100 contemporary halachic issues. The first printing quickly sold out and a second revised edition is underway (Gefen Publishing House), as is a second volume in this series. Rabbi Enkin is also a frequent contributor to a number of publications on mostly Halachic topics. Since making Aliyah Rabbi Enkin has taught at a number of Yeshivot and Seminaries and is currently working as the manager of Cheerfully Changed Financial Services in Modiin. He also serves as the General Editor of the highly acclaimed Hirhurim Website as well as rabbinical advisor to Judaism.about.com. His lectures are known to be fun, informal, and enlightening appropriate form both laymen and scholars alike.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.