Related to this M.Y. question, which I relayed to a friend, he suggested asking this related question:

Deuteronomy 5:14:

וְי֙וֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜֔י שַׁבָּ֖֣ת ׀ לַיהוָ֖֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑֗יךָ לֹ֣א תַעֲשֶׂ֣ה כָל־מְלָאכָ֡ה אַתָּ֣ה וּבִנְךָֽ־וּבִתֶּ֣ךָ וְעַבְדְּךָֽ־וַ֠אֲמָתֶךָ וְשׁוֹרְךָ֨ וַחֲמֹֽרְךָ֜ וְכָל־בְּהֶמְתֶּ֗ךָ וְגֵֽרְךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בִּשְׁעָרֶ֔יךָ לְמַ֗עַן יָנ֛וּחַ עַבְדְּךָ֥ וַאֲמָתְךָ֖ כָּמֽ֑וֹךָ׃

but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou.

Note: - The English translates וְכָל־בְּהֶמְתֶּ֗ךָ as "thy cattle". This may be a loose / vague translation. In particular, Meshech Chochma commentary states that this phrase includes birds, which are certainly not cattle.

According to Rabbi Ishma'el's 13 Hermeneutical principles, we have in this verse a case of פרט וכלל - a specific list, vis., "Ox and ass" followed by a generalization, vis., וְכָל־בְּהֶמְתֶּ֗ךָ. When this situation occurs, the rule is that the generalization comes to include all other animals in the same category.

So, considering this rule in combination with what Meshech Chochma included, would horses, or any animal, for that matter, be prohibited from ding melacha on Shabbat?

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    Why not? A horse is a domisticated nonKosher animal that is used to do work, just like a donkey. Why should it not be in the same category? Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:43
  • @sabbahillel - To you and me, that may sound logical. It would help to source that horses are included in the definition of "behema". That's mainly what I am seeking. I'm not sure that "domesticated" would be a good def., here, as that would include dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, fish, parrots and anything kept as a pet, perhaps. I would have a follow up, as to what is considered "melacha" for an animal.
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:47
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    See the first mishna of chapter Bameh B'heima (Shabbos 51b) which mentions a horse in the discussion of animals there as it pertains to what they may carry on Shabbos. See also Rashi s.v. במה בהמה יוצאה, who specifies that the issue is שביתת בהמתו, as in the verse you quoted.
    – Fred
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:49
  • @Fred Ah! Worth looking through, B"N. Do you think that you can excerpt an answer?
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:51
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    Also, the mishna in Bava Kamma (54b) is explicit that this applies to all animals and birds, and the exegetical reasoning is discussed in the gemara there. The Rambam rules accordingly (Hil. Shabbos, 20:1).
    – Fred
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Yes, the Issur involves any "Behema", including horses. See the Shulchan Aruch siman 246, a horse is explicitly mentioned in the Mishna Berura there, 33-34.

The "Cattle" translation is a good example why you should try your best to avoid translations if possible...

  • Actually it's a good example of why you have to think in the dialect of the intended audience of a text when interpreting it. Cattle need not only refer to cows.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 12:38
  • Re translation problem - agreed. I got the translation from Sefaria. Since it's a "wiki", it has numerous translation problems, as we see, here. A better word for "cattle" would have been "bakar".
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:46
  • FYI - since you linked to the Mishnah Brurah, he seems to address topics related to selling the horse and having it do work on Shabbat. Someof these points may be useful for answering my linked question (See above) about the horse race. Think about it!
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:51

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