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39 labors forbidden on Shabbat

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Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Shevat 30, 5782
Question
Where in the Torah would one find the 39 labors forbidden on Shabbat?
Answer
ב"ה The 39 Melachot -labors are not written explicitly in the written Torah. What is written explicitly are the prohibitions of plowing and reaping (Shemot 34: 21 and the prohibition of lighting fire (Shemot 35:3). The prohibition to do any of the 39 Melachot on Shabbat are learned from the building of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. The Torah commands the Jewish people to build the Mishkan (Shemot 31 :1-11) but then immediately commands us "You must still keep My Sabbath…." (Shemot 31 :1-12) to teach us that although we were commanded to build the Mishkan, its construction does not supersede Shabbat and its construction is forbidden on Shabbat. (Mechilta Vayakhel Masechta d'Shabbta 1, Rashi, Rashbam, Ramban. (Shemot ibid) From here, the Rabbis derived that the labors which were needed to construct the Mishkan are forbidden on Shabbat. ( Talmud Shabbat 49b). The exact 39 melachot which are forbidden on Shabbat were told orally to Moshe at Sinai. (Talmud Shabbat 70a) and are enumerated in the Mishna(Shabbat 73a). May the zechut =merit of keeping Shabbat watch over us and all of Israel. All the best
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