shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Tetzavehsubscribe


If someone carelessly scraped his shoe on my Shabbos trousers, may I dust it off?

The gemora Shabbos 147a says that one who shakes his garment on Shabbos violates a Torah transgression, and is required to bring a sacrifice. Rashi 1 explains the gemora to be referring to one who shakes dust off one’s clothes. The Rama quotes this opinion and is the accepted halacha.2 Therefore one may not dust jackets, hats, and trousers, or any clothing. It is irrelevant whether one dusts his clothing with a brush, a rag or with one’s hand, the point is that one is cleaning clothes. There are other criteria involved, see further. The Mishna Berura suggests that one be careful, on Shabbos, not to place one’s hat on a dusty surface, because it might easily lead to the desecration of the Shabbos.

Is there a difference whether they are Shabbos trousers or regular trousers?

The gemora continues that this prohibition only applies to new and dark clothing, and to clothing one is meticulous about being dirty. New is defined as a garment that still looks fresh and new, see footnote.3 Dark is a criteria; because dust on a light colored-garment goes unnoticed, and hence dusting it is not considered cleaning.

Clothing which one normally wears without bothering to dust off, may be dusted on Shabbos, because it is not considered being “dirty”, and hence the dusting is not called cleaning. Clothing which one would not wear without carefully dusting it beforehand, may not be dusted and cleaned on Shabbos, even without the aid of water.

Therefore, Shabbos trousers, suits and hats – dark clothing which usually looks new, may not be dusted on Shabbos, because one is makpid – meticulous about their appearance, and dusting them would involve a Torah prohibition.

Even though the Mechaber did not prohibit the dusting of clothes, nevertheless Sephardim should also refrain from dusting clothes on Shabbos. 4

Shaking off dandruff, feathers?

We must differentiate between dirt that has penetrated a garment, where the laws of libun (cleansing of garments), are applicable, and dirt that sits atop the garment. “Cleaning” a garment applies to cloth which has become dirty: feathers and straw may even be stuck between the threads, but they do not “dirty” or soil the garment, and therefore removing feathers and straw from a garment is not called “cleaning” it. One may even remove dust sitting on top of a jacket, because in such a case the jacket is not “dirty”. Therefore, a dusty sleeve or trouser leg may be lightly dusted to remove the outer layer of dust that has not penetrated the garment, but extreme care must be taken not to overdo it, because there is only a fine line between dust which has penetrated the garment and the dust which has not.

Dandruff also rides ones shoulders and may be gently patted off one’s clothes.

Is one permitted to shake out a wet raincoat or a wet sweater?

Other Rishonim 5 explain the above-mentioned gemora as referring to clothing which is wet from dew. The Shulchan Aruch explains that the shaking of such a garment is as effective as laundering, and therefore one would be violating the transgression of libun. All the same criteria apply as were mentioned with dusting, i.e. new, dark and meticulous. Therefore, when one takes in a jacket, which was left in the open overnight and is drenched with dew, or if after one comes in from the rain and removes his rain-drenched suit, one must take care not to shake out the dew/rain, as it involves a Torah prohibition.

[1] Other Rishonim explain the gemora as referring to shaking dew off one’s clothes. See further.
[2] M”B 302:6
[3] M”B 302:1. The Bi’ur Halacha quotes the Chayei Adam who says that we do not know until when a garment is considered new. The B”H concludes that therefore it is advised to brush the dust with a shinui – in a back-handed manner.
[4] Ohr Letsion vol.2 24-1.
[5] Tosefos and others.

Food For Thought

Is one really not allowed to fold one’s tallis on Shabbos?

What is all the talk about not making beds on Shabbos?

Is there a problem scraping mud off one’s shoes on Shabbos?

Cholent splashed onto my shirt, what am I supposed to do?

Answers coming next week.

Vort On The Parsha - Zachor

Hashem said that His Name and His Chair are not complete until Amalek is eradicated. His Chair represents Hashem’s purpose in this world, and His wish is that everyone and everything will realize His supremacy and control over everything in this world. Amalek’s presence is a contradiction to Hashem’s presence, because Amalek declare that everything happens by chance, and nothing is supervised or controlled. (Their existence, of course is also Hashem’s will, which is part of the great plan).

In some of us lurks the shadow of Amalek, and until we eradicate the doubt we have in Hashem’s power and intervention, His Name and Chair will not be complete.

So when we hear on Shabbos the words: “eradicate the memory of Amalek”, we should invert the cry to our inner self and push away any heretic thoughts we might have.

We should all merit seeing the heralding of the Moshiach speedily in our days.

For a printed version, click here.

A Refuah Shelema to Yosef Chaim ben Simcha Sitruck,Chief Rabbi of France.

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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.