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Updated: 2013.09.20

person at work mᵊlakhah

mᵊlâkh•âh; worldly work (as contrasted with spiritual pursuits).

is effort or exertion expended in this-worldly (secular, profane, ordinary – khol) pursuits that can be done during week-days, in contrast to effort or exertion expended in spiritual (Qodësh) goals. includes income-related, occupational or non-imperative worldly work, including preparations that can be done during week-days. also includes work performed as a result of being dispatched or paid by, or in the employ of, human beings, including preparation, education and training for such work, all, lᵊ-hav•dil (as distinguished from), work for --, i.e., work that is Qodësh.

Notice, also, the combinative form, …-.

These are cognates, all deriving from the root verb . It is , i.e., -, not exertion or generally, that is prohibited on Shab•ât

is the fem. noun counterpart of . Compare and contrast with . All is , but not all is .

Qodësh is required on Shab•ât (e.g., carrying and lifting the Seiphër Tor•âh).

No is permitted on Shab•ât – except in cases of pi•quakh nëphësh, which transforms the from khol to Qodësh, thereby making it a mitz•wâh to perform even on Shab•ât!

Traditional Rabbinic Derivation

Which leads to all manner of absurdities in the modern world

The rabbinic definition of what comprises is based, firstly, on the non sequitur of the adjacency of the Scriptural passages (Shᵊm•ot 31.1-11) describing work on the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh being immediately followed by the prohibition against doing on Shab•ât. From this non sequitur, the rabbis of Tal•mud "identified" (Ma•sëkët Sha•bât 7b) 39 categories of labor that were employed in the building of the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh and, "therefore" (ex falso quodlibet) they ruled forbidden on Shab•ât:

1. Carrying8. Washing15. Planting22. Grinding29. Weaving36. Skinning
2. Burning9. Sewing16. Reaping23. Kneading30. Unraveling37. Tanning
3. Extinguishing10. Tearing17. Harvesting24. Combing31. Building38. Smoothing
4. Finishing11. Knotting18. Threshing25. Spinning32. Demolishing39. Marking
5. Writing12. Untying19. Winnowing26. Dyeing33. Trapping
6. Erasing13. Shaping20. Selecting27. Sewing34. Shearing
7. Cooking14. Plowing21. Sifting28. Warping35. Slaughtering

Recognizing the need to strengthen their non sequitur and ex falso quodlibet argument, the rabbis cited bᵊ-Reish•it 2.1-3 noting the -- "ceased" from of "creating." Hence, they argued, yet again non sequitur, that, since -- "ceased" both from "creating" and on Shab•ât, therefore (ex falso quodlibet), is equivalent to "creating." Consequently, whereas they originally prohibited electricity because they thought it was fire, now they argue that changing a flow of electrons (electric current) is an act of "creation." It's already absurd that elevators and card-key (electronic) locks in hotels are â•sur on Shab•ât; and rabbis are now forbidding turning on the water tap (since it causes the pump to switch on – don't even think about using an electric water heater). By this standard, walking across a rug, or through an electrical field (disturbing the magnetic field), even digesting food, moving a muscle or thinking becomes â•sur on Shab•ât. Any scientist recognizes that is an absurd claim. No man has ever created (or destroyed) anything in the sense that the Creator created matter and energy ex nihilo. Yet, these are the only pillars upon which the rabbinic arguments rest.

Notice that in the Scripture that is the basis for prohibiting "fire" (bᵊ-Mi•dᵊbar 15.32-36), the transgressor of Tor•âh never even kindled or ignited a fire! He was not executed for lighting a fire! He was executed for gathering kindling – that should have been completed before Shab•ât! There is no basis whatsoever for rabbinic arguments about "creating" since he never even lit the fire. The intelligent and logical analyst of Ha•lâkh•âh must reorient his or her thinking away from "magic" associated with fire (or electricity) and recognize that the transgression was the doing of – actual worldly-oriented, profane work – on Shab•ât. Most likely, the "lighting" of the fire would have been what is today called "transferring fire," from a next-door neighbor's fire. It's unlikely that everyone preferred to spend a half-hour rubbing sticks or hitting flint rocks together. In that sense, today's automatic switches and matches would probably not have qualified as . But medieval belief in "magic" predominated.

Logical Compared to Rabbinic

Most, perhaps 99%, of Ha•lâkh•âh remains unchanged by the logical definition. The proof, or confirmation, of the superiority of defining the principle – like defining every other word – is the contrast between

  1. the Nᵊtzâr•im definition, which reflects both the principle conveyed by Mosh•ëh at Har Sin•ai and reflects the identical principle equally as accurately today and into the future, versus

  2. the 5th century C.E. Talmudic-rabbinic opinion of the number of trades involved in a construction project a millennium and a half earlier – which is riddled with a long and always growing list of logical fallacies, self-contradictions, cognitive dissonance and utter chaos – quite the opposite of Divine Order.

The whole concept of "private domain" vs "public domain" was fabricated by reformers to enable Jews to – hypocritically – carry "in the private domain" without violating "carrying" in the "public domain," since, otherwise, they couldn't so much as carry even a napkin or a morsel of food to their table. This introduced hypocrisy, carrying while concealing it, early in the irrational (illogical) reasoning. Such hypocrisy would grow into a devouring giant overwhelming rabbinic thought.

One cannot burn, but the rabbis permit lighting a cigarette on Khaj•im from an already-burning source. One may not push a child's stroller on a wet sidewalk on Shab•ât – since a wheel, after going through a wet spot, might possibly make a wet track forming a letter – thus violating the prohibition against writing on Shab•ât. A Jew is prohibited from carrying an umbrella against rain on Shab•ât since opening the umbrella might be confused with building a tent – and building is â•sur on Shab•ât. Strangely, carrying – which is also â•sur on Shab•ât doesn't stop Orthodox Jews from shielding their heads from the rain with a magazine or newspaper. Grinding salt or pepper at the table would be â•sur on Shab•ât. If a fire breaks out, unless there is danger to life, one should allow the house to burn down rather than extinguish it. Writing notes in studying Tor•âh is â•sur on Shab•ât. Washing dishes, â•sur on Shab•ât. Tearing open a bag of potato chips or the seal of a bottle are â•sur on Shab•ât. Tying, and untying, shoes are both â•sur on Shab•ât. Arranging a plate of vegetables, â•sur on Shab•ât. "Harvesting" fresh herbs to top a plate of food, â•sur on Shab•ât. Selecting among foods, clothes, etc. is â•sur – no freedom of choice – on Shab•ât. Combing one's hair, â•sur on Shab•ât. Dropping a tomato or grape juice on a table cloth might dye it, â•sur on Shab•ât. Closing an umbrella is constructively demolishing, â•sur on Shab•ât.

When you investigate how these 39 categories can be "interpreted" into hundreds of others, the eventual and inexorable absurdity of trying to keep patching a 5th century C.E. perception in the modern world, rather than correcting the basic definition to conform to logic, cannot escape any intelligent, reasonable and rational reader.

Notice that under the rabbinic definition, it is permissible–and, indeed, often occurs even in Orthodox synagogues–for Jews to orally conduct business; to discuss, negotiate or close financial deals on Shab•ât. Children are permitted (provided they don't write) to study their school or university homework on Shab•ât. However, one can see that this is prohibited under a logical analysis of Tor•âh and Ha•lâkh•âh. Thus, unlike non-Orthodox thinking, the logical analysis, being scientific and mathematically precise rather than subject to whim or agenda, is sometimes more strict.

When it comes to electricity, however, a vast maze of increasingly absurd contradictions, all of which were fabricated based on ignorance of science, are eliminated entirely. This opens the door for Jews in hospitals, convalescent homes and invalids to join, via videoconferencing, in tᵊphil•ot on Shab•ât and other holy days.

The prohibition against music on Shab•ât, dating back to mourning the destruction of the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh, must be reviewed in consideration of the possibility that a physical Beit ha-Miq•dâsh may never be intended as the next Beit ha-Miq•dâsh of Yᵊkhëz•qeil.

Egyptian ''god'' emerging from false door in bedrock of ''Holy Mountain,'' Giza
False door in rock, into inner (3rd) sanctum, with god emerging from "holy" mountain, Mastaba (Tomb) of Idu, Giza
This realization (that the coming Beit ha-Miq•dâsh may be spiritual rather than physical) also meshes with the progress from the days in Egypt, when Ël•oh•im was thought to be beyond the stars (which were the Egyptian-claimed gods) and visit mortals occasionally in the bedrock of holy mountains, emerging through portals in the rock (see The Mirrored Sphinxes Live-Link), to the post-Ribi Yᵊho•shua era, in which --, the Shᵊkhin•âh, is understood to dwell within the hearts of His servants: Yi•sᵊ•râ•eil. This was announced in terms of the "Kingdom of Heaven" – "has converged [with His servants]" The Nᵊtzârim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matitᵊyâhu (NHM, in English) 4.17; "has come near" NHM 10.7; "has come" NHM 12.29). This core 180° reorientation in basic perception and relationship with --, was one of the revolutionary contributions of Ribi Yᵊho•shua that changed "Judaism," and the world, forever.

It must be noted that both physical Bât•ei-ha-Miq•dâsh were patterned virtually identical to the Egyptian pattern, which Mosh•ëh knew, of the Temple of his royal Egyptian princess step-sister, and later Pharaoh (Queen), Khat-shepset. (Her temple still stands; check the design for yourself.) Also like the Egyptian mortuary temples, both Bât•ei-ha-Miq•dâsh were, likewise, built on a "Holy Mountain."


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