Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 287:

יכולים לנחם אבלים בשבת וכן יכולים לבקר את החולה ולא יאמר לו כדרך שאומר לו בחול אלא אומר לו שבת היא מלזעוק ורפואה קרובה לבא ורחמיו מרובים ושבתו בשלום הגה וי״א דאין צריך לומר ורחמיו מרובים וכו׳ וכן נהגו.

If I understand it correctly, this means:

One may console mourners on Shabas, and one may likewise visit the sick. But he should not say to him as he does on a weekday, telling him rather "It is Shabas, preventing crying out; healing is soon to come; His mercies are great; spend Shabas in peace". Hagaha: But some say it's unnecessary to say "His mercies are great", etc., and [omitting it] is the custom.

Indeed, the prevalent custom when wishing sick people well on Shabas is to say "שבת היא מלזעוק ורפואה קרובה לבא / It is Shabas, preventing crying out; healing is soon to come", as prescribed.

What's the point of saying "שבת היא מלזעוק / It is Shabas, preventing crying out"? Why not just say "רפואה קרובה לבא / healing is soon to come" as a way of obliquely praying for the patient, if that's the purpose of speaking? What does saying "שבת היא מלזעוק / It is Shabas, preventing crying out" accomplish, and how does it do so?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27485.
    – msh210
    Apr 3, 2013 at 15:22
  • It's not clear to me how these are not the same question.
    – Seth J
    Apr 3, 2013 at 15:32
  • @SethJ, the other question asks about the referent of the phrase (what it's referring to): who is crying out? what sort of crying out is it? The current question asks about the phrase itself and why we say it.
    – msh210
    Apr 3, 2013 at 15:43
  • Ah, I need to read more slowly.
    – Seth J
    Apr 3, 2013 at 16:13
  • Maybe it's so the patient isn't offended when you don't pray for him more directly.
    – Double AA
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:39

4 Answers 4


The Gemara in Shabbos 113a–b interprets the passuk in Yishaya 58

ודבר דבר - שלא יהא דבורך של שבת כדבורך של חול. דבור - אסור, הרהור - מותר

Your manner of speech on shabbos should not be the same as the week. speech is forbidden, but thinking is permitted.

Rashi says it means no discussing business:

שלא יהא דבורך של שבת כדבורך של חול — כגון מקח וממכר וחשבונות.

Tosfos disagrees with Rashi, and say the point is reduce the amount of talking altogether. Tosfos quotes the Yerushalmi, that “they barely permitted greeting people on Shabbat”:

שלא יהא דבורך של שבת כדבורך של חול — פי' בקונטרס כגון מקח וממכר ואין נראה לר"ת דהא כבר נפקא ממצוא חפצך אלא אומר ר"ת כדאמר בויקרא רבה (פ' לד) ר"ש בן יוחי הוה ליה אימא סבתא דהות מישתעיא סגיא אמר לה אימא שבתא הוא שתקה משמע שאין כל כך לדבר בשבת כמו בחול ובירושל' אמרי' בטורח התירו בשאלת שלום בשבת.

The Shulchan Aruch codifies this with a short, with a focus on not discussing business, and the Rema cites the Terumas Ha'Deshen (307:1):

ודבר דבר (ישעיה נח, יג): שלא יהא דבורך של שבת כדבורך של חול; הלכך אסור לומר: דבר פלוני אעשה למחר או סחורה פלונית אקנה למחר, ואפילו בשיחת דברים בטלים אסור להרבות. הגה: וב"א שסיפור שמועות ודברי חדושים הוא עונג להם, מותר לספרם בשבת כמו בחול; אבל מי שאינו מתענג, אסור לאומרם כדי שיתענג בהם חבירו (ת"ה סי' ס"א).

Says Rav Herschel Schachter that although technically there is no problem with being Mevaker a Choleh or being Menachem Avel, however, because inevitably you will come to discuss things that are Divrei Chol (ie. Details of the sickness, the details of the death) you should add or change when saying either Hamakom Yenachem Eschem or Refuah Shleima one must add "Shabbos Hi M'liztok U'refuah Krova Lavo" for health and "Shabbos Hi L'Nachem" for a mourner, as if to say that although we shouldn't visit Hashem should give you.

  • When you posted this elsewhere, you attributed the final paragraph to R. Herschel Schachter IIRC. Did you mean to here also?
    – msh210
    Mar 9, 2015 at 13:22
  • The attribution was in regards to the mekor for saying nisht shabbos geredt Mar 9, 2015 at 13:25

I believe that if one was to say only רפואה קרובה לבא it would seem as a prayer, but when he begins with שבת היא מלזעוק he is emphasizing that it is not a prayer but rather a blessing. (Something like a disclaimer.)


I think you are translating it wrong, hence the confusion.

שבת היא מלזעוק ורפואה קרובה לבא means:

On Shabbat one is forbidden from crying out [as in praying], (yet, your) healing is (surely) about to happen soon.

Essentially, instead of a direct prayer as in the classic רפואה שלמה - [Hashem grant you ] a full recovery, you are blessing them with a רפואה קרובה לבא - may you be granted a swift recovery. But who am I to give blessings? שבת היא מלזעוק since on Shabbat I can't pray for your recovery, I shall bless you instead.

  • Related: yodeya.com/q/27485.
    – msh210
    Mar 9, 2015 at 13:48
  • Any source for your explanation that "שבת היא מלזעוק" is a response to an implied "who am I to give blessings?" or is it your own chidush?
    – msh210
    Mar 9, 2015 at 13:49
  • @msh210 - that occurred to me while I was writing the answer. Pure conjecture or divine inspiration? IDK. Mar 10, 2015 at 8:11

שבת היא מלזעוק Shabbat herself is the force /the energy that 1.) is stopping "judgment", stopping shouting ורפואה קרובה לבא And 2.) Causing healing to come quick

It is the light of shabbat that banishes all harsh words and shouting, and it is the light of Shabbat that bathes us all in health.

Any words that are grammatically clumsy point towards us looking behind the stilted meaning to see what hidden meaning hashem has injected into those words.

שבת היא מלזעוק The first letter of each word ש ה מ It is even more hidden: unravel another layer by reversing the letters = מ ה ש Men hei shin is one of the combinations in the ע"ב שמות 72 names of hashem This combination is attributed to healing

Look at the words שבת היא מלזעוק See the letters מ ה ש Feel that the light of shabbat removes all anger ... Allow hashem to pour healing light and love in and around us So shabbat brings healing.

So now the meaning of the whole verse may be clearer: שבת היא מלזעוק ורפואה קרובה לבא Shabbat stops/banishes anger/shouting And healing comes in

My thanks to hashem for allowing these words to flow through me... Directed by the Angel raziel, Moshe rabeinu (משה = מהש), rabbi shimeon bar yochai, and the Ariz"l

May refua come now to all... every moment of every day that we are connected to hashem, and even more on shabbat

  • Your answer will be much more helpful to people if you include a source.
    – nosh
    Aug 11, 2020 at 9:42

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