What not to talk about on Shabbat

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, April 27, 2013

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.

Last updated: 2:45pm, April 27 2013