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 Bereishis

May one walk or sit on grass on Shabbos?

Everybody sits or walks on grass on Shabbos and it is permitted. The question though is why is it permitted? Are we not afraid that one might uproot the grass while walking or sitting on it?

The gemora in Eiruvin 100b actually deals with this issue and concludes that one may walk on grass with [1] or without shoes; on wet [2] grass and dry; tall grass and short. The reason it is permitted is because the halacha is in accordance with R Shimon who holds that a melacha that is performed unintentionally and in passing on Shabbos is permitted ( ). The poskim add that this is on condition that it is not clear-cut that the melacha will be done ( ).

In simple language this means that since it is not clear-cut that sitting or walking on the grass one will uproot it, it is permitted.

The Mishna Berura adds that if after walking through grass one finds grass between ones toes, they are muktze and should not be removed with ones hands.

Is it permitted to run on grass on Shabbos?

Following the above, the Biur Halacha [3] says that one may not run in tall grass because it is a psik reisha (definite) that one will uproot the grass. He adds that one should even take care not to walk too quickly in tall grass in such a manner that it is very probable that one will uproot the grass.

Accordingly we can apply this halacha to other instances and when in given circumstances we know that ones action will surely uproot the grass, one would be prohibited to proceed.

May one smell a myrtle branch (hadas) that is attached to the ground on Shabbos?

One may smell a rose or a hadas on Shabbos even though the stalk or shoot is attached or planted in the ground. [4] A brocho must be made when taking such plants to smell, see your siddur for the correct brocho.

The same applies to hadasim or roses placed in a vase on the table.

What about smelling a red, rosy apple attached to the tree?

Chazal differentiated between the smelling of edible fruit and fragrant plants. Plainly there ought not to be a difference between the two. However, Chazal were concerned that were one permitted to smell an edible fruit on Shabbos one might easily pick the fruit to eat it and transgress an issur doraisso of picking on Shabbos. Although there is also room for concern that one might pick a fragrant plant when smelling it on Shabbos, since one can benefit from the plant when it is attached and smell it thus without picking it, Chazal were unafraid that one would pick it on Shabbos.

One may smell a detached apple or etrog on Shabbos; only one should make the brocho  "hanosen re'ach tov b'peiros.

What about smelling the hadasim on Sukkos that are used for the mitzvah of netilas lulav?

Weve missed the boat this year, but the halacha is that on Sukkos one may not smell the hadasim that are being used with the lulav. [5] The reason is because hadasim are usually designated as fragrant and when used for the mitzvah of lulav one designates it for the mitzvah and disassociates it from its regular use. [6]

The Etrog, on the other hand, is not usually designated as fragrant, being that it is an edible fruit. As such one disassociates it from its regular use, i.e. eating and designates it for the mitzvah, but it is not removed from smelling because it is not intended for smelling. However, the Shulchan Aruch says that one should not smell an Etrog on Sukkos because there is a dispute as to the correct brocho made when smelling it on Sukkos. [7]

Is one permitted to make the brocho over the blossoming of the trees on Shabbos?

It is customary around the month of Nissan to praise Hashem with the recital of the brocho of tree blossoming. The Kaf haChaim [8] writes that one should refrain from the recital of this brocho on Shabbos lest one handles a tree or lest one picks from the tree. The question is that we learnt that when one merely wishes to smell a branch etc. Chazal were not afraid that one will pick the branch. The same logic should apply here as well. Here too one does not smell a fruit and it should be permitted to recite this brocho. For a valid psak one should refer to a rav.

[1] There is more room to prohibit walking barefoot on grass because the grass gets caught between the toes. The gemora concludes though that it is permitted.

[2] Wet grass is soft and weak and easily uprooted or broken (Meiri). Rashi explains it differently.

[3] ' " " " .

[4] As for handling the flower or plant, see the MB 336:48 and the SSK 26:22.

[5] Simon 653.

[6] MB simon 653:1.

[7] See the MB 653:3 who brings one opinion who holds that one must only refrain from smelling the etrog while fulfilling the mitzvah and another opinion who holds that one should refrain from smelling the etrog for  the entire Sukkos.

[8] Kaf haChaim Simon 226:4.

Food For Thought

May one make a picnic lunch in ones garden on Shabbos?

Is it permitted to transfer a vase of flowers from the table to the sideboard?

What about moving a pot-plant from one location to another?

If the flowers fell from the vase on Shabbos may one return them?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

'B'tzelem Elokim bara oso' (1:27)

Man was made in the form of Hashem. Obviously this has a metaphorical meaning, what is it?

Hagaon Rav Aharon Kotler quoted his rebbe the Saba of Slabodka saying that a person often alters and beautifies his exterior but does not alter his inner self. Rav Aharon concludes that Man has the capability for change and inner creation just as Hashem is a Creator. It is this aspect that Man was given for the purpose of self-perfection.


For a printed version, click here.


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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.