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.
A good course of study is the series of article in this section. This is a comprehensive (albeit incomplete) online curriculum which explores the principles behinds many of the 39 types of labor together with dozens of practical applications. There are also 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 (Feldheim.com)
• "Shemirath Shabbath" - by Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth (Feldheim.com)
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.