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Can I Play Chess on Shabbas?

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Can I Play Chess on Shabbas?

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Can I Play Chess on Shabbas?
The Do's and Don'ts of Shabbas, Made Simple!
By Joe Bobker
Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem and New York, (2008 / 5768)
ISBN: 978-965-229-422-7

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - October 27, 2008

Can I Play Chess on Shabbas? is a joyous introduction to the halacha, lore, and beauty of Shabbas. The book is written in a question and answer format, with the questions organized into nineteen thematic chapters. This educational and entertaining book was written by Joe Bobker. He is also the author of many other books such as Torah News U Can Use, Torah with a Twist of Humor, the BIG BOOK of Chassidic Wit and Wisdom, Pirkei Avos with a Twist of Humor, and many more. Boker, who studied at the Mercaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva in Kiryat Moshe (Jerusalem) is also a popular speaker and the author of numerous articles and columns on Jewish subjects.

This book is written for both those who are well versed in the law and lore of Shabbas, as well as for those just starting to observe Shabbas (the Sabbath). Topics in this book run from the mundane such as: to more tricky questions such as: If you are new to Shabbas observance, you might find this book a bit confusing at first glance. However, the more you learn, the easier it will be to make sense of all the do's and don'ts. The reason that newcomers to Shabbas observance might find this book confusing is that when relevant, Bobker provides answers from multiple sources and some of the answers are contradictory. Therefore, it is wise to always consult your Rabbi whenever there is any question about what you should or should not do. This also applies to those who have been scrupulously observing Shabbas their entire lives. In addition to simply answering the various questions, and explaining the basis for each answer, Bobker also delves into the history and lore associated with many of the observances and customs associated with Shabbas.

This combination of frank answers put within the context of traditional Jewish folklore and practice makes this book not only educational, but also entertaining to read. Can I Play Chess on Shabbas? is also a book that will encourage you to delve deeper into the meaning and practices associated with Shabbas. This is also a book that you can read straight through, or you can skim through it hunting for exciting tidbits of information. From questions about Shabbas candles and Pets to Prayers and the ins and outs of an Eiruv, this book has a little something for everyone. In short, Can I Play Chess on Shabbas? presents a delightful and edifying overview of the do's and don'ts of Shabbas and a copy of this book belongs in every Jewish household as both a reference book and a study aid!

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