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 Va'era

May an adult hand a child food that is not kosher?

In three different cases the gemora in Yevamos 114a [1] teaches us that an adult may not hand a child an issur, regardless of the child’s age. [2]

The first case deals with handing a child something forbidden to eat. The possuk in Vayikra (11:42) says lo sochlum ki sheketz hem, and the gemora teaches that the Torah is telling us lo sachilum  – we must not feed a child an issur. This has nothing to do with the mitzvah of chinuch – educating a child to perform and heed the mitzvos, rather it is a negative commandment prohibiting adults from feeding a child an issur.

The second case refers to the issur of drinking blood. The possuk in Vayikra (17:12) says kol nefesh mekem lo sochal dam, and since this issur was written previously, the gemora understands that it is teaching us that an adult may not feed blood to a child.

The last case deals with tum'ah – impurity. The possuk in Vayikra (21:1) says emor al hanehenim bnei Aharon v'amarta, from the seemingly superfluous word v'amarta – you shall say to, the gemora understands that we are prohibited from handing a child-Cohen something that will cause him to be defiled.

The poskim learn [3] that these three halachos teach us that one may not hand a child any issur, even if it is only an issur d’rabanan.

What if I am merely placing it in his hand, or placing him next to the issur or the issur next to the child?

The gemora Shabbos at the end of the 9th perek says that one may not hand a child a non-kosher grasshopper, lest it dies and the child will eat it. (I suppose that this exact scene would not take place nowadays but the ramifications of this case are definitely pertinent). Rashi there explains that placing the issur in the child’s hand is akin to feeding him the issur. It follows that placing the issur in front of the child, in a way that the child will certainly take it, is similar to handing it to him and if through one’s action the child can partake of the issur, one may not do it.

What if the child is ill and requires the issur for his health?

We must differentiate between an issur d’oraisso (biblically forbidden) and an issur d’rabanan. One may not hand or feed the child an issur d’oraisso (such as chametz on Pesach) unless it is pikuach nefesh – the child’s life is in danger. [4]

An issur d’rabanan is different as there are poskim [5] who hold that one may hand a child an issur d’rabanan when he requires it, even if he is not ill, and therefore when ill one may rely on those poskim. [6]

Normally one may not instruct a gentile to feed a child an issur, even if the issur is only ossur mid’rabanan such as food cooked on Shabbos, [7] but when a child is ill and he requires that particular food, one may instruct a gentile to feed it to him. [8]

It is important to note that nowadays it is quite rare that one has to rely on the heter to feed a child an issur d’oraisso, as many items are kashrus supervised and are relatively easy to obtain.

May an adult instruct a child to turn on the lights?

Accordingly an adult may not instruct a child to turn on a light on Shabbos because telling him or instructing is similar to handing an issur to him, [9] and is forbidden.

If a child turned on the lights may adults benefit from them?

If the child turned on the lights for the benefit of others it is forbidden to benefit from those lights until after Shabbos. [10] If the child turned the lights on for his own benefit an adult may benefit from them as well.

We will discuss b’ezras Hashem - the issue of preventing a child from performing an issur in the next shiur.

[1] 6 lines from the bottom of the amud.

[2] Shulchan Aruch HaRav 343:5, M”B 343:3 and Sha’ar Ha’tsiun 6.

[3] M”B 343:4 and Sha’ar Ha’tsiun 12.

[4] Shulchan Aruch HaRav 343:5.

[5] The Rashba and the Ran, see the Bi’ur Halacha simon 343 ă"ä îă"ń.

[6] Shulchan Aruch HaRav 343:6

[7] It is ossur mid’oraisso to cook on Shabbos but the prohibition not to eat that food is only an issur d’rabanan.

[8] Shulchan Aruch HaRav 343:5 and M”B 343:5.

[9] M”B 343:5.

[10] Bi’ur Halacha simon 325:10 ă"ä ŕ"é ůîéěŕ. One must also wait before benefiting the time of áëăé ůéňůĺ, i.e. the time it takes to do the issur.  Lights are not an issue because one can turn the lights off and turn them on again. In any case the time it takes to turn lights on is negligible.

Food For Thought

If one forgot to turn out the refrigerator light may one ask a child to open the refrigerator door?

If I see that my child is about to do an issur must I prevent him from doing so?

Does it make a difference whether the child is about to do an issur for my benefit or for his?

What is the halacha with regards to other people’s children?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Paroh declared that he had sinned and that Hashem is the righteous one, while he and his people are the wicked ones. Rashi later explains that it was due to this honest declaration that the people of Egypt were fortunate and worthy of burial.

It is amazing, points out Rav Sternbuch shlita, that due to a momentous declaration and understanding that Hashem is righteous and that their behavior and conduct was wrong, they merited a burial.

This is true for each time that we reflect upon our ways and realize that we are not perfect and an improvement of our ways is necessary.

One must not underestimate such thoughts as we see that they carry a tremendous reward and kal vachomer if we continue in that path and perfect our ways.

For a printed version, click here.


One may receive and distribute these weekly shiurim by calling or writing: Office 99 Rechov Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim,
Phone Numbers:U.S. and Canada 732-370-3344 Israel 972-3-616-6340
 South Africa 2711-728-4275 England 44161-792-2492 Australia 61-296835626 Switzerland 01141430288
e-mail:, or, weekly sponsorships are available as well. 

If you would like to send a question to Rav Ostroff, you can write to him at

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.