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Negative Commandment #6

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

Second Section – the Negative Commandments

6. It is a negative commandment not to do work on Shabbos

As it states in Shemos (Exodus) 20:10, "Do not do any work". The Sages counted 39 major categories of work which are taught in the Gemara Shabbos on page 73a. If a person transgresses any of these major categories of work or anything that is a derivative of them, he deserves the death penalty of stoning. If he did it knowingly without any warning, he gets Kares (premature death). If he did it on accident, he is required to bring a sin offering [when the Temple stood]. The difference between the major categories of work and their derivatives is only in the type of offering to be brought. If a person breaks a category of work that the Sages required to be kept to guard a person from breaking a Torah law, he gets Rabbinic lashes.

All of these laws must be kept by one's animal also. According to Rabbinic law, a person may not tell a non-Jew to do these types of work. The Shabbos laws are to be broken if there is danger to life. Shabbos is equal to all of the other commandments because it is a sign between G-d and the Jews. If a person breaks Shabbos in public, he is considered a non-Jew in all matters. The prophet praises one that keeps Shabbos, as it says in Yi'shia (Isaiah) 26:2, "Happy is the person that does this... keeps Shabbos from desecrating it."

This applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.

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