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How is turning on lights on Shabbat considered work?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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Here’s the short answer: By turning the lights on you are causing a fire right there in your home--there are sparks of fire created by the electricity.

Another school of thought explains as follows: The switch closes a circuit which allows the electricity to flow, and therefore falls into the category of “the final hammer blow” or completing something on Shabbat that was incomplete prior to Shabbat (the circuit).

Working on Shabbos... means doing creative acts that manipulate nature... When G-d rested on the seventh day... He rested in the sense that He ceased creating. We must do the same.
Yet another reason has to do with cooking: The electricity heats the filament in the bulb to the point of changing it, which is considered 'cooking metal'.

Remember, working on Shabbos does not mean doing strenuous labor. It means doing creative acts that manipulate nature. That's what is not allowed on Shabbos.

When G-d rested on the seventh day he was not suffering from over-exertion. He rested in the sense that He ceased creating. We must do the same.

[Ed. note: Also read 'What type of work is forbidden on Shabbat and holidays?']


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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.