Speech on Shabbat

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Planning for tomorrow

  1. One may not say “Tomorrow (or tonight) I’m going to do a Melacha (activity which is forbidden on Shabbat)”. [1]
    1. For example one shouldn’t say “I’m going to drive a car”, “I’m going to write a letter”, or “I’m going to buy a certain item”, [2] “I will fix the refrigerator door next week”, “I will wallpaper the room after Shabbat” [3]
    2. One may not plan specific details for a family vacation such as which hotel or airline to book. [4]
  2. One may speak about another prohibition other than prohibited melacha, for example on Yom Kippur one may speak about eating after Yom Kippur. [5]

Not explicit

  1. One may say “I will go to a certain place tomorrow” even if one plans on driving as long as he doesn’t mention how he will travel. [6]


  1. One may hint that one’s friend or a non-Jew should pick one up (in a car) after Shabbat even if it’s not a mitzvah need. [7] For example one may ask whether he is available to come after Shabbat or telling him that he’d be happy if he were able to come after Shabbat. [8]

To oneself

  1. One may not say these words to someone else or even to oneself. [9]

For a mitzvah

  1. Even for the purpose of a mitzvah one should refrain of speaking about a Melacha. Therefore one shouldn’t say “Tomorrow I’m going to write a Sefer Torah” unless there is a fear that one will become lazy about the project in which case it’s permissible to motivate oneself. [10]
    1. One may discuss plans for a fundraiser for a Shul or Torah institution as this effort is a Mitzvah. [11]
  2. One may not say “Pick me up with your car tonight (after Shabbat)” unless it is for a mitzvah reason. [12]
  3. One may speak for the purposes of a need for the community if that speech is necessary on Shabbat; for example, one may speak about the issues of a community to the government on Shabbat. [13]
  4. One may discuss financial aspects of a Shidduch (match) if it is necessary for the fruition of the Shidduch, however, specific details and agreement must wait until after Shabbat. [14]
  5. A father may look for a teacher for his son to teach him a trade and even pledge to him a salary as long as one doesn’t fix a price. [15]

Business speech

  1. One may not discuss or plan business agreements, transactions, deals, or strategies on Shabbat. [16]

Mundane speech

  1. One shouldn’t speak about something which causes a person sadness or agony. [17] Therefore, one should say bad news which causes aggravation. [18]
  2. One shouldn’t greet one’s friend the same way one does during the week (“good morning”, “hello”, “hi”) but rather “good Shabbos”, (or “Shabbat Shalom”). [19]
  3. Mundane speech, which doesn’t include (1) a plan to do a Melacha, (2) business speech, (3) degrading speech or (4) frivolity, may be spoken on Shabbat but one may not speak too much of this type of speech. Moreover, the righteous practice is to avoid this type of speech on Shabbat. [20]
    1. For example, describing one’s trip or summer camp experience, or saying how much one spent on a dress, car, or wedding is permitted if it is enjoyable to the group, however, one should be careful to limit such speech. [21]

Making calculations

  1. One may not speak about calculations for which one has not yet paid and will have to pay. However, once the amount is paid one may speak about it; for example, one may say “I spent $30,000 on my son’s wedding”. Nonetheless, a G-d fearing person would refrain from speaking about calculations for no purpose. [22]
  2. If one bought an object and didn’t pay for it one may not speak about the price, however, if one already paid or if there’s a fixed price one may speak about the price unless one is speaking to someone who is thinking (planning) to buy it in which case it’s forbidden to speak about the amount. [23]


  1. For charity purposes it is permitted to make calculations (orally). [24]
  2. The minhag is to permit those who are called up for an Aliyah (reading of the Torah) to donate money to charity and even mention the amount. [25]
  3. In some places the practice is to “sell” the honors of performing the מצות in Shul on Shabbat. If there is an alternative it is preferable not to record the sums of the amounts donated even using cards or slips of papers indicating those amounts, however, those who do so have what to rely on. The same applies to an appeal in Shul for a charity. It is the practice to hand congregants a card bearing his name in order to donate to the charity by folding down a tab or attaching a paperclip. [26]


  1. S”A 307:1
  2. Practical Laws of Shabbat (Rabbi Rafael Soae, vol 1, pg 377)
  3. 39 Melachos (vol 1, pg 103)
  4. 39 Melachos (vol 1, pg 105)
  5. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:61
  6. S”A 307:8, Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 2, 184), 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1 pg 105)
  7. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 2, 183)
  8. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:52. The S”A 307:7 writes that one may not hire someone for after Shabbat but one would be allowed to ask “do you think you would be available to work for me tonight?”.
  9. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 2, 172)
  10. Mishna Brurah 307:1
  11. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1, pg 106)
  12. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 2, 183)
  13. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:59
  14. S”A 306:6, 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1, pg 106). See also Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:56 who says that a shadchan may suggest a shidduch on Shababt but not fix a price to collect for making the match. Furthermore, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata seems to be strict not to speak about the financial aspects related to the shiddush itself or the obligations of each sides.
  15. S”A 306:6 writes that on Shabbat one may involve oneself in hiring a teacher for one’s son to teach him a trade because this involvement is a mitzvah, however, one may not fix the price with the teacher. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:56 concurs. Biur Halacha D”H VeLeLamdo expresses that it’s crucial to also teach one’s son Torah before finding him a profession and when he’s working, otherwise, one could come to severe violations of the law in one’s profession and a breach of the religion (Chas VeShalom).
  16. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1 pg 103-4)
  17. Mishna Brurah 307:3
  18. Practical Laws of Shabbat (Rabbi Rafael Soae, vol 1, pg 378)
  19. Mishna Brurah 307:5 in name of the Shlah explaining that through this one fulfills the mitzvah of Zechor Et Yom HaShabbat.
  20. S”A 307:1, Mishna Brurah 307:5, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:64
  21. 39 Melachos (vol 1, pg 104)
  22. S”A 307:6, Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 2, 180-1), Mishna Brurah 307:27
  23. S”A 307:6, Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 2 pg 180)
  24. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:55
  25. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:55
  26. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:56