there a problem scraping mud off ones shoes on Shabbos?
The Shulchan Aruch mentions various problems related
to scraping mud from ones shoes on Shabbos, namely: breaking up dried mud the
prohibition of Tochen (grinding), filling in crevices in the ground Boneh
(construction), smoothing the jagged pieces of leather on ones shoes memachek
Grinding once the mud has caked up, one is
forbidden to pry it off ones shoes in such a way that the mud would break up into
small pieces. 1 Therefore, scraping it on the sidewalk would be prohibited. The
only option is to continue walking, hoping that the dried mud will come off. 2
Construction Imagine yourself walking on a
dirt road, and upon noticing a crack in the ground, you scrape off the mud clinging to
your shoe into the crack. You have just committed a heinous act of chillul 3
Shabbos. For this reason we find in the gemora 4 various opinions
as to whether one is permitted to scrape mud on ones shoes onto the ground or onto a
wall. Their concern is lest one repairs the ground or improves the cement on the wall.
According to the halacha one may scrape shoes onto a
wall. As for the ground, if it is a dirt track, there is room for stringency (Mishna
Berura 28), but onto a tarred road or asphalt, since the mud does not unite with the
tar, no real repairing takes place, and therefore one is permitted to scrape mud onto the
pavement or sidewalk.
May one not scrape shoes with a
This brings us to the third problem smoothening.
Chazal taught us that by scraping shoes onto a sharp edge, one inadvertently would
smoothen out jagged parts of the shoe. Contemporary poskim say that this factor
does not apply to our shoes (which are manufactured with precision) and if anything, the
scraping is detrimental. Therefore one may scrape shoes onto a mud-bar, and if done
gently, there is no problem at all. 5
Cholent splashed onto
my shirt, what am I supposed to do?
Change your shirt, there is not much you can do. It is
permitted to remove whatever is sticking to the outside of the garment, but to remove the
remnants of the stain that penetrate the garment is much more of a problem, as we will
It is strictly forbidden to sprinkle water, saliva
or any other cleaning agent onto a stain. The maximum one may do is gently scrape the mess
sticking to the shirt.
Accordingly, it is forbidden to sprinkle salt onto spilled chrain
etc. even though the salt will not get rid of the stain, but since it is part of the
cleaning process, it is forbidden.
Is it permitted to remove the stain
with ones fingernail?
The Taz is of the opinion that one may scrape away a
stain with ones fingernail (as long as the stain is not made of a substance that
breaks up due to the prohibition of grinding 6). The Mishna Berura 7
however, strongly opposes his position, and says that it is strictly forbidden to totally
scrape away a stain that has penetrated the cloth, and only dirt sitting on top of the
cloth may be scraped away. Accordingly, one must refrain from cleaning any stain that has
penetrated garments, tablecloths etc. As for using a non-Jew to clean the garment, a Rav
should be consulted, as there is room for leniency. Water, however, may not be used under
 Simon 302:7 and MB 36.
 There is another option soaking the mud in water. This is halachikally
complicated (see SSK 15-40, footnote 137) and a Rav must be consulted.
 Desecration of the shabbos.
 Shabbos 141.
 MB 26.
 Products made of ground substances biscuits, bread are not subject to
this prohibition, because a ground item cannot be ground again (ein tochen achar tochen).
For some reason, this rule does not apply to mud.
 Simon 302:36 and Biur Halacha dhavi.
Food For Thought
Is one permitted to wet a clean
Would it be permitted to make a
compress on Shabbos?
How come I am allowed to dry my hands
on a towel on Shabbos, am I not wetting the towel?
If a garment catches fire, may water be
poured onto the section that has not yet caught on fire?
Answers coming next week.
Vort On The Parsha
Al pi Hashem isu val pi Hashem
Yachanu (Bnei Yisrael traveled at the word of Hashem and they encamped at the
word of Hashem). Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz of Mir explained that wherever Bnei Yisrael
were, they felt as if they were in the bosom of Hashem. If you would ask a baby, which is
carried in the arms of its mother from home to work to town, where are you? The baby would
answer, I am in my mothers arms. So too Bnei Yisroel, even though
they traveled in the desert from place to place, they were always in the arms of
We should also bring ourselves to the realization that
wherever we are and whatever we do, we are in the arms of Hashem.