Orach Chayim Index | Melacha - Creative Act
The Torah tells us not to do "melacha" on Shabbat. Melacha is sometimes defined as "work," but that's not a good definition.
What is melacha?
Melacha means "creative act."
By refraining from creative acts, we recognize G-d as the Ultimate Creator. Melacha is any act which represents the uniquely human ability to put our intellect to work and shape the environment. Thus, switching on a light is a melacha. Among other things, it can be considered "building" a circuit. Specifically, a melacha is anything that fits into one of 39 categories of activities listed in Tractate Shabbat page 73a. This list includes activities such as seeding, uprooting, building, writing and burning.
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