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 Learning Project

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


Questions for the Week of Parshas Ki Savosubscribe


Am I allowed to raise and lower a shtender on Shabbos?

In the previous sheet we learned that there are basically two types of utensils where screwing is implemented. When a screw is used to fasten items together on a permanent basis, it is categorized as tikun manna – creating or repairing a k’li and is forbidden on Shabbos.1 However, when a screw is tightened as part of its day-to-day function, it is permitted because one does not see the fastening of the screw as creating a k’li rather as using a k’li.2

Accordingly, the screws attached to a shtender frame which are used to tighten the frame after lowering or raising the shtender, may be unscrewed and tightened according to one’s needs, because the screws are not making a k’li, they are merely being used as part of their function.

What about raising and lowering a fan head which involves opening and tightening a screw?

The same rule applies to the screw on the side of the fan. Since that screw is tightened and loosened as an integral part of the fan’s use it is permitted. If, for example, the front panel of the fan would fall out of its place (or any other unit for that matter) it would be forbidden to insert a screw and screw it back into place, because it is not intended to become loose as part of its regular use and screwing it back into place would be tikun manna.

The eyepiece of my glasses came out of the frame, am I permitted to return it on Shabbos?

This case is more problematic and depends on quite a few factors. We had mentioned in the past that Chazal instituted a g’zeira (a Rabbinical decree) that says that one may not attach or reassemble items for fear that one might screw or glue it into place and thus transgress a prohibition of either Boneh – Building or Makeh B’patish – Fashioning a k’li. This g’zeira is called shema yitka. Accordingly, if a broomstick detached from the brush one normally may not reinsert it, lest he tightens it with screws or nails.

There are two types of common eyeglasses – metal frames and plastic frames.

Metal frames – The glass piece in this frame is usually tightened in place with a screw. If the glass fell out, it could either mean that the screw is loose and in such a case it is forbidden to reinsert lest one tighten the screw,3 or it could mean that the screw’s bearings are worn and cannot be tightened. In the latter case it may be permitted to reinsert the glass because the screw cannot be tightened. The reason being that the g’zeira is ‘lest one tightens’ and when the screw is worn it cannot be tightened.

Plastic frames – The common plastic frame is such that the glass is inserted with pressure and no screwing is done at all. Inserting professionally and with pressure also involves a Biblical prohibition4 and is forbidden. However, if the glass fell out because the frame has widened and as such the glass is easily inserted (and it has happened a few times in the past so that we are sure that it is easy to insert), since it is not possible to tighten it in place there would be no g’zeira involved.

Notwithstanding the above, one should ask a rav as how to conduct oneself on Shabbos, because the borderline between a permitted action and a prohibited one is very thin.

A kiddush cup contraption, which is assembled with screws and is frequently assembled and dismantled, may it be done on Shabbos?

This new item is comprised of spouts from which spews forth wine or grape juice into small cups positioned beneath the protruding spouts. This utensil is made of pieces screwed together and is taken apart after use in order to clean it.

We cannot compare it to a saltshaker or a baby’s bottle which are opened as part of their use, because this item does not need to be taken apart in order to use. However, if it would not be taken apart on a regular basis5 it would become dirty inside and eventually unusable. Therefore there is room to say that dismantling it is also called part of its use, since it is common to assemble and take apart, and therefore its screwing would not be called making a k’li. If it is dismantled only for storage, it is forbidden to reassemble. Rav Sternbuch Shlita stipulates that the screwing not be too tight. If it is a rav should be consulted.

[1] Sha’ar Ha’tsiun simon 313:32.
[2] Binyan Shabbos page 47, 63 etc. Me’or HaShabbos Vol.II 32:3. Shevet HaLevi vol. VI simon 33. HaRav Ezriel Auerbach heard from his father –in-law Harav Eliashiv Shlita.
[3] Simon 308:16 and 313:8.
[4] Bi’ur Halacha simon 313:6 ‘darca’.
[5] If it is not taken apart regularly it is forbidden to reassemble.

Food For Thought

Are children, or anyone for that matter, permitted to build Lego on Shabbos?

If a doll’s leg came out is it permitted to reinsert?

If my backyard was flooded with rain, am I permitted to place boards to flatten the surface?

What may be done on Shabbos with regards to icy sidewalks? May salt or sand be spread over the ice?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says that “you and the levi should be happy with all the good…”. Rav Sternbuch Shlita points out that a person must look upon his good fortune and the kindness Hashem bestowed upon him as an opportunity to benefit others.

The Levites did not really possess land of their own and because they were involved with the service of Hashem they were often in need of other people’s chessed.

The time of Elul is just right for breaking one’s bad habits and traits, which in turn will cause Hashem to look upon us favorably during the course of judgment, and sign His people in the Book Of Life.

For a printed version, click here.

Dedicated in memory of our beloved Bubby, Esther Grossbard, 17th of Elul.

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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.