|Is one permitted to use a
needle to remove a splinter?
A needle is a
classic example of a kli shemlachto lissur (an item used for a
prohibited act on Shabbos) and may be used ltsorech gufo, which in this case
is to remove a splinter. 1 The Shulchan Aruch adds an interesting halacha
saying, that if the eye of the needle broke, the needle is muktze, even though with
regards to removing a splinter it is irrelevant whether the needle has an eye or not. This
is because a broken needle is usually discarded, and as such it is not a kli.
The Mishna Berura writes that one should be careful
not to extract blood unnecessarily. If the splinter is causing pain, and blood will surely
be extracted during the process of removing the splinter, the splinter may nevertheless be
removed, because in this case Chazal did not institute a decree in place of
A leg of a chair came out. May one sit
on the chair?
Initially one might say that there could be nothing wrong
with sitting on a chair without a leg. However, Chazal were afraid that if one were
to sit on a chair whose leg became detached, being that it is uncomfortable and
impractical to maintain a proper balance, one would attempt to forcefully 4
reinsert the leg back into the chair. They therefore instituted a decree called shema
yitka lest it be reinserted forcefully. The chair is duly muktze, as one
is now forbidden to sit on it.
The simon we are now learning does not enter into
the intricacies of this decree. It only deals with the muktze aspect, and therefore
we will focus our concentration on muktze as well.
If the leg of the chair is broken and requires mending
before being reinserted into the chair, the chair is not muktze.5 This
is because we are not afraid that a person would go so far on Shabbos and mend the leg or
fashion a new one.
The same rule applies if the leg of the chair is not
present. Since the leg cannot be reinserted the chair is not muktze.
If the wheel of a baby carriage came
off, does the carriage become muktze?
The above rule applies itself to many items, and one must
be aware of it. If a wheel of a baby carriage comes off its axle, the carriage in certain
cases will become muktze. If the screw for tightening the wheel is present, or if
the wheel is usually rejoined with force, it would be forbidden to restore the wheel to
its original place, and the carriage would be muktze. If the screw got lost and no
other is available, one would be permitted to place the wheel on its axle, on condition
that it slips on and is not placed with force. This is because placing or restoring it
with force involves the melacha of either Boneh or Makeh Bpatish.
The stick of the broomstick came out,
is one permitted to put it back?
The same rule applies to a broomstick. When the stick
detaches from the brush, one is sorely tempted to reinsert it back into the brush. Since
the stick is screwed in place and screwing is equivalent to joining, 6 it is
forbidden to insert it and therefore the broom is muktze. 7 If the
broomstick frequently detaches itself, there may be what to rely to reinsert it, and
preferably a rav should be consulted.
This halacha may apply to the glass piece or handle
of eyeglasses and to other items that are composed of a few pieces. A rav should be
consulted at such an eventuality.
 Simon 308:11
 MB 308:48.
 MB 328:88 and Shaar Hatsiun 63. See also SSK
 As mentioned further on, joining parts of a kli with force involves
either the melacha of Boneh or Makeh Bpatish.
 MB 308:69.
 Shaar Hatsiun 313:32.
 Binyan Shabbos chapter 6:1 (page 55).
Food For Thought
If a rock or a piece of glass
pose as a hazard to the public, what may be done to remove it?
I would like to crack open a nut with a
rock on Shabbos, may I?
What about the using of a rock as a
When walking in the forest, may I plop
down onto any stone?
Answers coming next week.
Vort on the Parsha
The possuk says that Moshe Rabeinu was
commanded to count (raise) the heads of Bnei Yisroel, and Rashi
explains that Hashem counted the Bnei Yisroel on numerous occasions. He
counted us when we came out of Egypt, He counted us after the death of the sinners of the
Golden Calf and He counted us after the erecting of the Mishkan.
The famed Rav Moshe Shneider Ztzl commented
that the counting of Bnei Yisroel by Hashem is analogous to the gemora which
says that a person often counts his money due to ones attachment and fondness of it.
HaRav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita adds that it is therefore each
and everyones duty to do the utmost he can in the service of Hashem, in light of
the fact that Hashem is interested in his personal welfare and being, and not looked upon
simply as one of the crowd.