Hebrew Voices #35 – How to Keep Shabbat (Rebroadcast)

How to Keep ShabbatIn this episode of Hebrew Voices, How to Keep Shabbat, Nehemia Gordon discusses what it means “not kindle a fire on Shabbat”, where the Rabbinic tradition of lighting “Shabbat candles” come from, and a reminder to show grace to those who don’t keep Shabbat the same way you do.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Podcast Version:

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Hebrew Voices #35 - How to Keep Shabbat (Rebroadcast)

You are listening to Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Le ma’an Zion lo ekhesheh, u’l’ma’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot. (For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1)

Michael: Here we are, ladies and gentlemen. You get to be involved in some of the most exciting stuff on earth, because we have Nehemia Gordon, the Karaite scholar from Israel with us, and we’re going through our questions from cyberspace.

Nehemia, you have some more that have come up. Let’s get into it.

Nehemia: I have a question from my friend in Pennsylvania, Perry Gerhardt. He writes, “Wanting to know what the ancient scrolls and manuscripts really say about keeping Shabbat. Nothing added, nothing taken away. How do we keep it holy?”

It’s such a simple and innocent question. The rabbis have this statement about Shabbat. They say, “The laws of Shabbat are like a mountain hanging by a thread.”

What they mean by that is, there are very few verses, very few words that say, “Remember the Shabbat to keep it holy.” It says, “In plow time, in harvest time, you shall rest,” and a few other very small verses. And out of that, I guess they quite literally get a mountain not only out of a molehill, they get a mountain out of a piece of string.

And this is where things get confusing. I’ll deal with a lot of Hebrew Roots folks and even a lot of Jewish folks even more, I have to admit - this is more on my side - where we’re dealing with people where they’ve got books and volumes on what you can do on Shabbat and what you can’t do on Shabbat.

Ironically, work is often not in those volumes. What I was taught growing up is that there were specific things that are forbidden on Shabbat, like you can’t tear your own toilet paper on Shabbat, it has to be torn before Shabbat. And I’m not joking about that.

Michael: Oh, no. I know it’s true.

Nehemia: You know that in Israel, people have their toilet paper pre-torn before Shabbat. But you can carry your couch up and down your stairs all day within your house. That’s permissible, because it’s not work.

Michael: Right. It’s inside the eruv.

Nehemia: Right. What we’ve done in Judaism, is we’ve created… the rabbis said it best. We’ve created this mountain hanging by a string. I say, “Let’s go back to the string. That’s the string of truth. That’s the blue thread of the tzitzit. Let’s go back to it and not make it complicated. If God says to rest, then rest. Why do we have to make it complicated?”

Where things do get more complicated is in addition to what the Torah says, you’ve got the Torah police. Have you encountered these guys, Michael?

Michael: Oh, yeah. Absolutely vicious. They are the end-all and be-all of judgment.

Nehemia: They’ve decided for themselves, “This is what we’ve been convicted, based on our understanding of the Torah, working it out in fear and trembling, of prayer and study, and having all the answers and revelations. This is what you’re allowed to do.”

Michael: Being as anal as possible.

Nehemia: I didn’t say that. [laughing] Now we’ve got to impose that on everybody else, and if they don’t live up to our standard, we need to judge them. I want to confess something, Michael. There was a time when I was the religious police. I don’t know if you knew that. I was the gatekeeper in the Karaite community. I would literally put people through interrogations - not with bright lights, but just about! I was a gatekeeper.

Michael: [laughing] Sodium pentothal.

Nehemia: Not that bad. But really, I was a gatekeeper, and if somebody didn’t toe the line and line up, it was, “We can’t have that person involved here.” And at some point in my ministry, I was humbled and had to come before the Creator in humility and say, “Father, I just want You to accept me. It’s not for me to now go and decide who the other people that you’re going to accept are.”

And really, it’s what Yeshua taught. Like, wow, what an amazing teacher you have, Michael, this rebbe of yours, Yeshua, who taught, judge not, lest you be judged. The measure that you judge another is what you’re going to be judged. That’s the Torah concept of “midda kenegged midda, measure for measure.”

I talk about this in my book, A Prayer to Our Father, and bring a bunch of verses from the Tanakh. The way you treat somebody else, that’s the way God will treat you, and I realized, coming before the Creator in humility, that I’m not perfect. If I’m the judge of other people, boy, when it comes time for judgment, am I going to be deserving of mercy and the Creator’s grace if I don’t extend that to others?

Michael: Right. In A Prayer to Our Father, you are doing that prayer, and Yeshua’s explanation, that “If you don’t forgive others, your Heavenly Father won’t forgive you.”

Nehemia: Right. Yeshua teaches that, yeah.

Michael: Most Christians don’t even look at that. No, He won’t forgive you if you don’t forgive others. The case is closed.

Nehemia: Well, that was done away with on the cross. Everything he taught…

Michael: Oh, everything Jesus said was done away with on the cross.

Nehemia: I’ve actually had Christians tell me that. Everything Jesus taught in his ministry…

Michael: And He was just talking to Jews. They didn’t accept Him, so you just throw all that stuff in the trash.

Nehemia: Right. Then why wasn’t it left on the cutting room floor? Why was it put in the Gospels? The bulk of the Gospels are the things he actually taught. But in any event, clearly in the Tanakh, and even what Yeshua taught, is don’t judge others. And this is what I tell people when it comes to Shabbat. “I could give you my opinion on things, but ultimately, work it out for yourself in fear and trembling, with prayer and study before the Creator of the Universe. And what you’ve worked out, don’t then go and impose on everybody else.”

I’ll just give you a really simple example. In Exodus 35 it says, “Lo tev’aru esh bekol moshvoteychem beyom haShabbat.” “Don’t kindle a fire in all your habitations on the day of Shabbat.” In the Karaite Jewish community, this verse has been the subject of entire books that have been written – literally…

Michael: Really? All right.

Nehemia: …on this subject. And there are three main opinions out there in Karaite Jewish history, going back over 1,000 years. Number one is, that means you can’t even have a fire on Shabbat that you lit beforehand. That “kindle” means not just start the fire, not just feed the fire, it means it can’t even allow it to burn. And there is one translation by a man named Everett Fox, who’s a Rabbi, actually, not a Karaite, and he says, “You shall not burn a fire in your habitations on the Sabbath day,” a Rabbinical Jew who writes this. So it’s not an impossible interpretation. It’s one of the interpretations.

Another one is, don’t feed the fire or start a fire, but you can leave it burning from before Shabbat. That’s the opinion of some Karaites and all Rabbinical Jews.

The third opinion is, the issue here is the labor involved in building the fire. What we’re talking about is going around and gathering the wood, chopping the wood, and striking the flint against the other flint, if you’ve ever seen the television show Survivor or have been in the Boy Scouts, you know what building a fire is. Today, we don’t know. We push a button.

Those are three historical opinions that existed within the Karaite Jewish community. The second opinion is definitely the opinion of Rabbinical Judaism, that it’s adding to the fire or starting the fire, but you can leave it. People say, “Nehemia, what’s the answer?” And I say, “You don’t need the answer from me. I’m not Yehovah. I’m not the Creator of the Universe. Those are the possibilities. Study the Scripture, study the language, pray about it and ask the Creator for guidance. Work it out for yourself, in fear and trembling, and prayer and study before the Creator. You don’t need me to give you the answer. You really need to work it out for yourself. Then, when you’ve figured it out, don’t go judge your neighbor, who’s trying to keep the Torah, who has figured out something else.”

Michael: Right. And it’s doing what you were doing last week.

Nehemia: Probably. Right, right.

Michael: Now you’re going to judge them for doing what you did last week. That’s usually what happens.

Nehemia: Exactly, right.

Michael: I’ve stepped up on a higher level of holiness. You were where I was…

Nehemia: Now I’ve figured it out, and now I need to condemn the other person who did what I used to do. There’s something in psychology, I think, that’s going on here, that somebody that makes themselves feel holy needs to condemn the other person. I jokingly said in the past that I wonder if, in the Christian version, in some Christian versions, instead of Yeshua saying, “Judge not lest he be judged,” that in their version it actually says, “Judge first lest others judge you.”

I was sharing this with a Christian guy, and he says, “No, but that’s actually what it means.” And he was dead serious.

Michael: Yeah, beautiful. We’re talking about within the Karaite movement, the Scripturalist movement, we have these different concepts here.

Nehemia: Right. And we’re talking about all people who could read Hebrew perfectly. This isn’t even a translation issue. Meaning there’s this…

Michael: Right, okay. We see that there are vastly different ways of this being understood.

Nehemia: Very much so.

Michael: So now, let’s get into something, a Rabbinic tradition – lighting the candles on the Sabbath. Because the Karaites have a different position there, and let’s go right to the prayer. We’ve got just a few moments here.

Nehemia: Where that comes from originally is in the 900s AD, the Karaites were about 50 percent of the Jewish population, and the predominant opinion among Karaites was that you can’t even have a fire left burning from before Shabbat. And in response to that, the Rabbis created this tradition. And they admit - this came in response to this Karaite view that you’re required to light candles…

Michael: You’re required to have them burning on the Sabbath.

Nehemia: …and to say the blessing, “Blessed art Thou, o Lord, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, commanding us to light the Shabbat candles.” That blessing came in response to this Karaite position, which was one of three positions, but it was the dominant one at that time and that place, in Israel.

And so the rabbis now have changed the dynamic altogether. Now we’re saying, not only can you leave it burning before Shabbat, but God commanded us to do so. Where did He command us to do that? He didn’t. That’s takanot. They’ll tell you, “This is something the rabbis enacted in response to the Karaites. They made these takanot in response to the Karaites.” Now, we’re just adding to the Torah with these Shabbat candles.

Michael: That’s right. And so if there’s anything that a follower of Yeshua doesn’t do, it is takanot. He says, “Do not follow the takanot of the Pharisees and sages.” He said, “Don’t do it. Do not do it.”

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  • TLC says:

    Exodus 35:3 I had a friend who looked up this verse on biblehub.com, and the interesting thing that he found was the word fire can mean Gods anger. So for me, the spiritual meaning of not kindling a fire on the sabbath is do not make God angry, do the things that you know are pleasing to the Father on that day. Isaiah 58:13-14 is additional information that is helpful in how to keep the sabbath holy.

  • wordslea says:

    may i venture an idea: the primary aim of Shabbat being Rest might we look at “do not kindle a fire…” in a spiritual sense, i.e. do not kindle the fire of your passions, engage in furious debate, or fire up your opinions — let all those tangents lie? After all, the passage means something — let us, as you say, come before our Creator in humility and lay to rest, at least for a day, those ideas the stir up passions and divisions.

  • Beverleyann says:

    Shabbat there’s my understanding of the biblical calendar was a lunar calendar and it had to do with the full moon was Shabbat. Which the new moon lands on different days every week if you want to follow the real Sabbath which is difficult to do when you have to work so how do you keep the Sabbath lose your job for the lunar calendar the lunar calendar thefar understands biblical calendar which is the real Sabbath on the full moon. I would love to keep the real Sabbath and the feast days, Dec 29 is real Shabbat. Am I wroung or right

  • Karen Deloge says:

    As “newbies” to Torah observance (only 2 weeks now!) we’ve been wondering about what is and isn’t appropriate for Shabbat. And where we are living now in an old rented house, we are not even allowed to light candles! However, as “oldies” to faith and love of God (for 45 years), we sense Him leading us as newly adopted children, step by step. We have a lot to relearn, and unlearn, but stressing over heat, light switches, or driving, certainly robs the joy and shalom of Yahovah. He knows who wants to “get it right” and who sincerely honors Him. When I was in Israel in 97, I remember a woman asking my then Reformed Jewish husband to carry her groceries and push the elevator buttons on the Sabbath, which seemed hypocritical. (Aside from the point that you shouldn’t ask your servants or animals to work in Deut 5, why did she buy food on that day in the first place?) That being said, I appreciated Nehemiah’s comment about being unwilling to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. He rightly sidesteps the role of Torah police! And he also commented that we should be seeking Yahovah to learn what pleases Him. So, based on Ex 16, 31, 34, 35, Deut 5, and Is 58, it makes sense that we should savor the day, honor it, ceasing from our ordinary affairs IN ORDER to refresh ourselves spiritually and to be nourished in study and conversation about God with our families. REST, don’t WORK is loud and clear. Like the vessels in the Tabernacle, we will keep it holy, sanctified, or set apart for a sacred purpose. I hear the invitation of Rabbi Yeshua whispering to our hearts, “Come away with me and REST,” and “you shall find rest for your soul.” We are learning so much and appreciate the comments and thoughts shared here, as well as Nehemiah’s rich teaching with such sweet humility! Shabbat Shalom everyone!

    Reply ↓

  • Misty Byrd says:

    I enjoy your teachings very much. If you are ever near Florence SC I would love to meet and have a cup of tea over a spiritual conversation. I would love to pick your brain about some things. Being a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, I would love to get your insight on a few things. Be blessed brother. Shalom!

  • Carvel Rider says:

    I seen this episode on Shabbat Night Live. I listen to Torah Pearls every morning.

  • Beverley A Kazmierczak says:

    Fire lighting or start a fire, to me it about being argument, with another , or fight with a person .Keep peace on the Sabbath

  • Beverley A Kazmierczak says:

    How can I keep it, when I have work , I cannot ask to have Friday Saturday off , I did that and I need my job, boss told me ,either coming in to work or get fired, so I guest either keep my job and go to hall , or lose my job and become homelest .I am in my 54 years old .

    • Derrill says:

      Ask the Father to work it out for you. Just be patient and do what you can do until He delivers you.

    • Karen Deloge says:

      Sounds like you have a job that requires you to work a lot if it includes weekends. Most jobs I’ve had require Mon-Fri, and I would be through by sundown, which works. But rather than looking at it as a choice between “hell” or homelessness (both are horrible to think about), pray that Yahovah would make it plain for you. Is your job requiring more of you than He would? I’ve also held jobs that took more away from me than they were worth, and yet they were still difficult to leave! We get so comfortable with a familiar routine and way of living, BUT when we stop to ponder the truths of Matthew 6, not fretting over clothing and food and how to pay the bills, specifically 6:33, our Father takes over and shows us some simple steps to establishing our lives in his shalom. Dear sister, try not to fret about it, but ask Him to guide you to a job that won’t require you to work Saturdays–at least until sundown. I believe our Father is also patient with us as we endeavor to change direction and get back on track with Him. But bottom line, the maker of heaven and earth always makes a way for us and He wants you to have peace as you seek to follow Him. Shalom.

    • Nancy Fisher says:

      You do not go to hell because you work on Shabbat. You might be struck dead, as happened to some of the Israelis in the Wilderness, but if you aren’t dead yet, that probably isn’t a threat, either!
      I was in a similar position at about your age! When I was 47, I become a widow, and was free for the first time ever to make my own decisions. I had found a job I loved, a house I could afford to rent and had worked through the transition of moving from out of state, I felt that God had helped me through many very hard years and was guiding me as to each next step. My 4 children had all left home and I was ready to commit to a few years of (emotional) rest and starting over. After my trial period at work, my employer said she would like to have me to commit to working for them for 20 years, but although she couldn’t make me do that, she would like me to commit to two things. One was to be available to work weekends as was needed and the second was not to tell anyone the company’s business or secrets of how we did things. (There was no dishonesty here, it was about efficient trade procedures and sourcing.) At the time these seemed like very reasonable requirements. I was a Christian, going to a Community Church, but looking for a deeper understanding of God. A few years later I discovered Michael Rood, Nehemia Gordon and Kieth Johnson, and my whole world changed! Unfortunately, my employer’s need for Saturday work did not! I prayed about this for a year before I worked up the courage to tell my boss about my change in belief.They were an active Christian Family and did not share my new ideas as to the true Shabbat, so I asked them to pray about it. Eventually they hired part time help to work Saturdays, so I was not called on, except in emergencies, to work Saturdays, and I continued to work Sundays if needed. Then I got old enough to retire and they were going to have to find someone to do all of my job anytime, and they quickly decided I didn’t have to work Saturdays ever again! As it was it took them three years to fully replace me, and now I have Shabbat for a real day of rest and I am so Thankful for being able to stay in that job, doing work that I enjoyed, with honest, God Fearing people, and being able to add to my Social Security benefits enough that I could afford to retire! We serve a God of Love.

  • Rebekah Holton says:

    My question is how can you even obey the Sabbath Commandment when clearly the true Sabbath is not recognized on the Gregorian Calender? Saturn Day which is named after Greek Gods and every other day on the Gregorian Calender is as well for me is not the Sabbath and while I am still searching for truth on this matter I know that YeHoVaH said the sighting of the New Moon in ISRAEL would be when the New Month would start, wouldn’t seven days from that be the Sabbath? I suggest we stop going by a Calender that was created to honor idols and other gods and all get us a Hebrew Calender and pray for truth on this matter as we do on all other matters. If anyone can answer this for me, why we follow a pagan Calender please let me know.

    • Warren says:

      I think depending on whether you believe in lunar Sabbaths or not will make a huge difference on what you believe about whether or not the Sabbath is on “Saturday”. So far, I have found no reason to believe that Shabbat is always the 7th day after a new moon.

      From my research I’ve found that the days of the week have not changed since the time of Yeshua. We went from the Julian calendar (first century B.C.E) to the Gregorian calendar (1500’s) and that’s it. No historical evidence I’ve found has shown that the days of the week were altered, but basically the day of the month (i.e. February 17th) was put on hold for a day so that it would get back in line with a more accurate solar calendar. Sorry, I might not have explained that well.

      Keep studying, and I will a little more on this subject as well.

    • Margaret Denise Walker says:

      We are not required to follow any pagan calendar; God appointed the sun and moon for His calendar, 2 days before man was created; follow that, and when you do keep in mind that God planted on Day 3 of Creation Week and then “set the clock” at sundown at the beginning of Day 4, which was Abib 1. Why? Because the vegetation required a Festival of Ingathering in the 7th month. At Sinai Moses was instructed to say that even the NAMES of the pagan gods was not to come out of our mouths. God is “abundant in goodness and truth” as He told Moses in Ex.34, so seek to God for His Truth, and do ALL He says. Be separate from the world in all their ways, not to be partakers of their sins. 🙂

    • gene corpus says:

      the world follows pagan calendars because the whole world is pagan….the only exception was israel….whom god gave them a distinct calendar of his own which made israel a distinct nation…those who observed god’s calendar and his laws made israel a distinct nation…and that’s what god wanted….he wanted the pagan world to see a nation (israel) who follows his rules not the rules of the world thus they would see the blessings that follow god’s observances….but of course we know that did not happen as planned…because israel wanted to be like the rest of the world so they rebelled and followed the pagan world….many countries had their own calendar during the centuries….egypt had their own calendar then when rome came along they too had their own calendar and imposed it upon egypt and the world…then julias caesar came along and imposed his own calendar known as the julian calendar….many years later…when rome turned into the catholic church via constantine…pope gregory modified the julian calendar to which the whole world follows now…..the only ones who dont follow the pagan calendar…are those who have either always kept the god’s holy calendar and those who have recently learned about the big lie about false/pagan calendars and have rediscovered the delight in god’s true holy calendar…and have abandoned their pagan practices in favor of god’s true customs….which are few and far in between….

      • Karen Deloge says:

        Very interesting historic review, thank you! But how do we find and reconnect to the original Hebrew calendar? I’m not thinking of the feasts but the year. Do Orthodox Jews follow it still and what year would it be now? I remember hearing 5800 something at one point, not sure where it is now. I also heard that there are discrepancies with this too (do you know why?), but it’s especially intriguing thinking about the 6-day, 6000 yr plan of Yahovah!

    • Nancy Fisher says:

      There are probably a lot of reasons, added by lots of civilizations and political and religious institutions. Mostly “they”. Why did they go to “New Math”? Why do we say “God Bless You” when some one sneezes? Why do they think people don’t need to learn to write or compose complete sentences? These are the questions they will be asking in the future! Check out Michael Rood’s calendar based on the New Moon and the Bible.

  • clarkrion says:

    You didn’t answer the question. Your to say at your home. For your appointment with the father.

  • Evelin Carr says:

    Nehemia, could you show us (maybe in the Mishnah) where the origin of the shabbat candles is?

  • Great Teaching! shabbat shalom

  • Thanks for addressing this issue Nehemia. There is still an aspect I wish you had touched on though, namely; why is “thvaaru” although translated kindle, generally recognized as having additional implications of removal and lack of intellectual requirements, beside the primary meaning of “burn”. I have tentatively concluded that the word “incinerate” might have more merit than “kindle” as incinerate shares all the aspects of the three generally recognized meanings of “ba’ar” of burning(diligently in piel?), removal, and lack of intellectual requirement. In other words, isn’t the verse(Ex35:3) telling us “don’t be a dummy by burning your trash on shabbath”? If a translation with this meaning is possible, I think it would completely remove controversy from the verse. Who could argue in favor of burning trash on shabbath?

  • Gnarlodious says:

    This is a much better presentation than the others, where Nechemia is pushed to the background and two other commentators capture the microphone. I would much rather listen to Nechemia.

  • 2 questions:

    1. is about judging. Why does Israel have the responsibility of dealing with sin if judging (of that same activity to determine whether its sin or not) is not to be done? Doesn’t that go against Lev 5:1, Lev 19:17, Ezek 33?

    2. how do we explain a Sabbath where preparing a meal is allowed and another Sabbath where it is not (Ex 12:16)? Couldn’t the kindling of a fire have to do more with the work (for provision/payment) that the israelites did during the other 6 days and not a fire to keep warm or eat? I know that Ex 16:23 gives an instruction about cooking today but isn’t the point of that verse about the going out and getting the food and not specifically about the cooking of that food? Doesn’t it say that there would be “some left over” but it doesn’t specify that it’s only the cooked portion. Why can’t it be “some left over” of the uncooked that may also be cooked the next day just like Ex 12:16 says may be done? I guess I go back to why cook on one Sabbath and not on another Sabbath? Wasn’t a sacrifice made both morning and evening even on Sabbath and wasn’t that sacrifice cooked and consumed?

  • John says:

    The principle of Shabbat is simple and from the beginning. Yhvh created all things for Himself then He ceased. So when Shabbat rolls around, I cease from any activity that causes me to increase. Shalom.

  • Chris (בן הדר) says:

    My family keeps Shabbat in different ways. My dad and I are Jewish and my mother is messianic. My father takes a strictly scriptural approach to the Sabbath and has worked out what he believes should not be done based off reading the Tanakh. For instance a big thing for him is not to spend money based off the book of Erza-Nehemiah and the closing of the gates of Jerusalem on Shabbat to prevent commerce. He’d also rather not drive, but will if it’s to go to synagogue an hour away. My mother lights candles and enjoys participating in traditional Jewish activities and makes challah regularly. However she has no real scruples about prohibitions regarding the Sabbath. For myself, I am pretty traditional. I’ll break my own prohibitions but I don’t like to do it. I light candles to identify with the Jewish people and our interpretation of Sabbath observance. The custom of lighting oil lamps before the Sabbath (so one doesn’t sit in the dark) goes back to Roman times. However the traditional blessing, as Nehemia points out, comes from the Rabbinical vs. Karaite wars. So I change the words at the end. Instead of “and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights” I say in Hebrew “and commanded us to remember and keep the Shabbat.” The custom is pre-rabbinical, the blessing is not. Before changing the blessing, I used to enjoy singing Shalom Aleichem as I lit the candles. This is a song based off a midrash, and it’s generally acknowledged to be so.

    I know some are against all Jewish traditions. I think it’s important to remember that the traditions are Jewish and therefore represent the way Jewish people interpreted the commandments. We’ve been doing it longer than anyone else so it’s natural we have more traditions (both Karaite and Rabbunical Jews have many traditions). I think non-Jews who are joining themselves to G-d through the Torah can come up with their own interpretations of how to carry out the commandments too.

  • Nehemia,
    Great short discussion. I’d love to hear more, especially from you.

    Just thinking through all the “Rules”… kinda makes me smile. Just at President Trump’s inagural adress, I was really impressed with President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka’s interpretation of Shabbat for the media. Obviously her and her husband Jared are religious Jews under the definition of Rabbinic Judaism because they went so far as to ask permission to travel on Shabbat after her dad’s inauguration. (Who else would ask and respect the range of possible answers to traveling on Shabbat.) Ivanka did not go into explaining the “Rules” as she and her husband observe Shabbat, but she went to the heart of the issue. (I will bet after converting, she can reiterate hundreds of does and don’ts.)

    What I pieced together from various sources was that she responded that Shabbat was time their family spent with God and with each other. She presented that she and her husband spend time together. They each spend time with their children. Implied they spent time at a local synagog. She even made a point that they don’t answer the phone the phone on Shabbat. Wow. What a positive way to put observing the Shabbat!

    Nehemia… I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on modern practical application of what Shabbat limitations are in Torah. What are some things you do scripture and tradition?


    Fort Collins, CO

  • Sarah Yocheved says:

    When read in context, this particular detail of not kindling a fire (Ex. 35:2-3) seems to be in reference to work being done to build the tabernacle. Exodus 16:23 refers to the work involved in food preparation (and it is WORK–even though we now have all these modern conveniences). Isaiah 58:13-14 provides further insight as to how to keep the Sabbath Holy (set apart). When we purposely set aside all the mundane activities that we’re involved with during the week, and focus our attention on our Creator, we honor Him and
    His Gift (Instruction/Commandment) of rest, which He gives us for our benefit.
    I don’t know Hebrew, but that’s how I understand it.