What not to talk about on Shabbat
It is not enough to leave the computer and other accessories of weekday life untouched on Shabbat. “It is forbidden . . . even to talk about them; for instance, to discuss with his partner what to sell on the morrow” (Rambam, Hilchot Shabbat 24:1).
That can be a tall order when so much of our everday conversation is about money, work and buying stuff. Talk about schools, for example, leads to a discussion on tuition fees etc. Sharing highlights of a recent holiday moves easily into the details of how much it cost.
However, the challenge to raise the level to more meaningful and less socio-economically defining topics is well worth it. According to Isaiah (chapter 58), it is a key to redemption. In a tirade condemning the hypocrisy of adhering to ritual while ignoring the poor, Isaiah concludes by admonishing us to honour the Shabbat by not speaking of weekday subjects.