Guide To Sabbath Observance
By: Rabbi Eli Pick (Targum Press, book link)
Reviewed by: Rabbi Ari Enkin
Rabbi Pick does an excellent job in presenting the major concepts, principles, and practices of Shabbat observance. Entries include topics such as: Kiddush, Havdala, Muktza, Amira La’akum, and more. The material is accessible, readable, and retainable. Every halacha is categorized numerically which allows advanced readers to reference each halacha with the Hebrew sources section in the back of the book. Although the sefer is written in a brief, somewhat ‘point form’ style, it adequately details what may and may not be done on Shabbat. It includes many practical examples and applications. There are illustrations sprinkled throughout the text. There is also a brief chapter discussing the halachot of Yom Tov.
Among the more thorough chapters is that on the thirty-nine melachot. The author goes through each of the melachot and gives modern day and practical examples for each one. Similarly, the Appendix II section goes through the principles of melechet machshevet, such as pesik reisha, gramma, mitasek, and mitkaven explaining what each one means and how they are applied today. The section on Eruv is also a little more elaborate and quite educational as well, including diagrams illustrating how to properly carry a key in a place where there is no Eruv.
The Guide to Sabbath observance is a wonderful work for ba’alei teshuva and others who require an introductory primer on the laws of Shabbat and how it is to be properly observed. It would make an outstanding curriculum resource for NCSY and other similar Torah outreach groups. While I would have enjoyed a more comprehensive and thorough treatment of the topics covered, there are certainly many in klal Yisrael who are better serviced by more concise works of this nature. As such, I would encourage the author to consider additional volumes in this series covering Shabbat and other day-to-day halachic matters, as well.
Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of “The Dalet Amot Halacha Series” (4 Vol) and is General Editor and Halacha columnist at Torahmusings.com. He welcomes books of a halachic nature for review on the Torah Musings website. [email protected]