|Am I allowed to raise and
lower a shtender on Shabbos?
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 kli 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 kli rather as using a kli.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 ones needs, because the screws are not making
a kli, 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 fans 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 gzeira
(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 Bpatish Fashioning a kli. This gzeira
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 screws 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 gzeira 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 gzeira 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
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 babys
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 kli. 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.
 Shaar Hatsiun simon 313:32.
 Binyan Shabbos page 47, 63 etc. Meor HaShabbos Vol.II 32:3. Shevet
HaLevi vol. VI simon 33. HaRav Ezriel Auerbach heard from his father
in-law Harav Eliashiv Shlita.
 Simon 308:16 and 313:8.
 Biur Halacha simon 313:6 darca.
 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 dolls 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
The time of Elul is just right for breaking
ones 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.