Note: It should be stressed that the statements in a summary must not be interpreted as halachic rulings no matter how definitively they are worded. When such rulings are needed a qualified rabbi must be consulted.
Chapter 26 – OTHER ACTIVITIES ON THE SABBATH
A person should not run or take long steps, but walks are permitted, and a person may run to fulfill a Commandment or to do something enjoyable (301:1-3). It is forbidden to swim in a non-enclosed pool (339:2), or to float objects on the water (339:6), but it is permitted to enter a ship that is grounded or tied up (339:7).
It is forbidden to play a musical instrument or to make non-musical sounds with an instrument (see 338:1); on dancing and clapping see 338:2,4 and 339:3. It is permitted to set a clock before the Sabbath to strike the hours (338:7). A person should not engage excessively in idle talk, but enjoyable conversation is permitted; see 307:1. Commercial public announcements are forbidden; see 306:12-13.
It is permitted to read a letter that has just arrived if its contents might be urgent(307:14), but a person should not look at other secular documents (see 307:12-13,15-16); on reading books see 307:17. Children should not be taught new things, but reviewing is permitted (Yoreh De’ah 245:14). Mental calculations about things that have not yet been completed are forbidden (307:6) unless they are for religious purposes (306:6). It is permitted to specify numbers of objects that are to be acquired, but not to measure (see 324:2) or to specify quantities or prices (see 306:3;323:1-4), except for religious purposes (see 306:6-7). A person should not be paid for doing things on the Sabbath, but may be paid for doing things in a period that includes the Sabbath (306:4-5). It is forbidden to prepare to go outside the Sabbath boundary immediately after the Sabbath except for religious purposes or to prevent loss (306:1,3), but it is permitted to prepare to do other things immediately after the Sabbath (307:9). It is forbidden to discuss plans for doing things after the Sabbath that are forbidden on the Sabbath (307:1). It is forbidden to make an agreement to do work or business after the Sabbath (see 307:2), but it is permitted to ask someone to do things after the Sabbath that could also be done on the Sabbath (see 307:7-8,10).
A person must not inspect his property (306:1), and should not even think about his affairs (306:8). It is permitted to borrow something for a short period, and to leave a security deposit, but longer-term loans should not be made or repaid (307:11). It is forbidden to play games of chance for profit (see 338:5), and things should not be divided by casting lots (see 322:6). It is forbidden to arrest, judge, or punish, to marry or divorce (except on a deathbed), to sanctify or redeem, to inspect a first-born for blemishes (see Yoreh De’ah 312:3), or to set aside offerings (339:4-5). It is permitted to release a person from a vow that interferes with observance of the Sabbath, and for a husband to annul a wife’s vow (341:1- 2; Yoreh De’ah 234:24). It is permitted to annul community bans (341:3), or to impose bans involving matters related to the Sabbath (306:12). On the penance for violating the Sabbath see 334:26.
Shulchan-Aruch, Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld and Torah.org. The author is Director of the Center for Automation Research at the University of Maryland in College Park.