|There is a famous
statement, which says ein binyan bkeilim there is no
prohibition with regards to the construction of items. Does this hold true?
Although the gemora in Beitza 10a says that ein
binyan bkeilim there is no prohibition with regards to the
construction of items, the Rishonim explained that this statement is referring to
some very specific cases. For example, Tosefos 1says that assembling the
various parts of a kli are permitted unless force and craftsmanship are
required. (One cannot deduce from this that every assembly of keilim, unless force
is used, should be permitted, because there are many restrictions, as we will BH see).
In such a case the assembly would be a Torah transgression of Building A Kli.
The Ramban, in the beginning of the 12th perek
of Shabbos says that ein binyan bkeilim refers to the assembly of keilim
that have come apart, but making a kli from scratch is definitely Boneh.
2He adds, that according to this opinion, if a kli came apart in
such a way that it requires a craftsman to reassemble it, the assemblage would be
classified as Boneh, because subsequent to its detachment it lost its status as a kli,
and its assembly is the making of a kli. The Maggid Mishne explains
the Rambam (10:13) in this fashion as well.
Is one permitted to erect a babys
crib on Shabbos?
We first have to realize that the poskim regard the
tightening of nuts and screws as a full-blown prohibition.3 Therefore the
answer would be that it depends on the type of crib it is. If it is a folding crib and its
assembly does not require any screwing or forcefully attaching pieces together, it is
permitted. If, however, the pieces are screwed or fastened tightly to each other, it is
forbidden to assemble the crib. 4
In addition, it is forbidden to raise or lower the base of
the crib, if this is accomplished by firmly inserting a rod into a hole in the frame. If
however, the rod is made to slip easily into the hole in the frame it would be permitted.
If screwing pieces together is
forbidden, how is it that we screw shut a babys bottle?
There is a vast difference between the crib and a
babys bottle. A babys bottle is continually opened and closed as part of its
use, whereas the crib does not need to be dismantled as part of its use.
The gemora says 5that if one were to
assemble on Shabbos a traveling salesmans bed he would be liable to bring a korban,
i.e. he would have transgressed a biblical prohibition. The explanation being that
although the bed is not assembled for permanency, but since it does need to be dismantled
as part of its use, it is deemed as making and completing the kli. Whereas a
babys bottle cannot be seen as complete when the top is screwed on and
broken when it is not, because it is made to open and close continually.
The same would apply to a saltshaker (salt cellar, in
English) and to lids that are screwed on. 6
The screw at the base of a thermos
flask became loose, am I permitted to tighten it on Shabbos?
A thermos flask is made in such a way that the inner,
insulated bottle is inserted within an outer shell and screwed into place. This bottle is
not intended to be unscrewed and therefore if it came loose, tightening it would be
Conversely the screw on the top of the flask, even though
it is shut tightly so as not let the hot water escape, since a sealed flask is useless,
its shutting cannot be called making a kli and therefore it is
 Shabbos 102b hai man.
 The Ramban differentiates between binyan bkeilim adding or
assembling an existing kli, and Osseh making a kli,
where the latter is Boneh.
 The Shaar Hatsiun in simon 313:32 says that according to the
MA it is tantamount to an issur doraisso and according to
the Taz it is an issur drabanan. They would both agree that screwing a
screw into wood would entail an issur doraisso.
 SSK 24:23.
 Shabbos 47a.
 MB simon 313:45, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in the Minchas Shlomo
 The words of the Chazon Ish in simon 50:10 vha
Food For Thought
Am I allowed to raise and lower
a shtender on Shabbos?
What about raising and lowering a fan
head, which involves opening and tightening a screw?
The eyepiece of my glasses came out of
the frame, am I permitted to return it on Shabbos?
A kiddush cup contraption, which is
assembled with screws and is frequently assembled and dismantled, may it be done on
Answers coming next week.
Vort on the Parsha
The Parsha commences with the permission
granted to soldiers in war to take home a woman of the conquered nation. The gemora
says that the Torah permitted it because Hashem understands the nature of
human beings, and appreciates that men cannot withstand such a devastating assault of the yetser
We must not forget that in the previous parsha we
saw that only people who were complete and strong in their faith and observance of the mitzvos
were allowed to go into battle, and yet here we see that these very people were granted
permission not to have to fight the yetser hara. The soldiers in battle, who are
engaged in fighting the enemy, are not within their usual self-control, and therefore
there is a possibility that they might succumb to the yetser hara. In such a
situation Hashem did not demand of them something above their power.
The message to us all is that the Torah does not
demand of us to do more than we can, and therefore if we are tempted to sin, it must be
that we could persevere if we wanted to.
In the month of Elul, where Hashem offers
special assistance, we must reinforce this idea and do our utmost to triumph over the yetser