Judaism (340-20300 & 344-20300)
Spring 2006

Mishnah Shabbat 7:2

The chief categories of acts of labor [prohibited on the Sabbath] are forty less one:

  1. one who sows,
  2. ploughs,
  3. reaps,
  4. binds sheaves,
  5. threshes,
  6. winnows,
  7. selects [fit from unfit produce or crops],
  8. grinds,
  9. sifts,
  10. kneads,
  11. bakes,
  12. one who shears wool,
  13. washes it,
  14. beats it,
  15. dyes it,
  16. spins,
  17. weaves,
  18. makes two loops,
  19. weaves two threads,
  20. separates two threads,
  21. ties,
  22. unties,
  23. sews two stitches,
  24. tears in order to sew two stitches,
  25. one who traps a deer,
  26. slaughters it,
  27. flays it,
  28. salts it,
  29. cures its hide,
  30. scrapes it,
  31. and cuts it up,
  32. one who writes two letters,
  33. erases two letters in order to write two letters
  34. one who builds,
  35. tears down,
  36. one who put out a fire,
  37. kindles a fire
  38. one who hits with a hammer
  39. one who transports an object from one domain to another:

    These are the forty categories of labor less one.

Mishnah Shabbat 12:1

One who builds—how much does he build so as to be liable (to punishment for violating the prohibition)?
One who builds in any measure at all.
One who hews stone, hits with a hammer or adze, or bores—in any measure at all is liable.
This is the governing principle: Whoever on the Sabbath performs a forbidden act of labor and [the result of] his act of labor endures is liable.


One who plough in any measure whatsoever, is liable.
One who weeds, one who cuts off dead leaves, and one who prunes, in any measure whatsoever, is liable.
One who gathers branches of wood: if to improve the field—in any measure at all; if for a fire—a measure of wood sufficient to cook a small egg—is liable.
One who gathers herbs, if it is to improve the field—in any measure at all; if it is for cattle to eat—in the measure of a lamb’s mouthful, is liable.


One who writes two letters, whether with the right hand or with the left, whether the same letter or two different letters, whether with different pigments, in any alphabet—is liable.


One who writes two letters at one time, inadvertently, is liable.

If one wrote with ink, caustic, red dye, gum, or copperas, or with anything that leaves a mark, on two walls forming a corner, or on two leaves of a tablet, which are read with one another—is liable.

One who writes on his flesh is liable. One who scratches a mark on his flesh—Rabbi Eliezer declares him liable to a sin offering [he must bring a sacrifice in the Temple to atone for his sin], while Rabbi Joshua declares him exempt.


If one wrote with fluids, fruit juice, dirt from the street, writer’s sand, or with anything that does not leave a lasting mark, he is exempt (from punishment).

If one wrote with the back of his hand, with his foot, mouth, or elbow; if he wrote one letter alongside a letter already written; if he wrote a letter on top of a letter [already written]; . . . if he wrote one on the ground and one on the beam; if he wrote two letters on the two walls of the house, on the two sides of a leaf of paper, so that they cannot be read with one another, he is exempt.


This page maintained by: Rebecca Lesses
Last revised January 12, 2006