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'eschanan

What exactly is permitted on Shabbos, when buying a house in Eretz Yisrael?

The gemora in Gittin 8b says that even though one is rabbinically prohibited to tell a gentile to violate an issur on Shabbos, nevertheless, when it comes to buying a house in Eretz Yisrael it is permitted. The case involved in the gemora concerns the person who had already purchased a house from a gentile, but the deed had not yet been certified in court. The gemora says that since it involves the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael (settling the land of Israel) one may instruct a gentile to draw up the contract and have it certified in a gentile court. The only prohibition involved is 'amira l'akum'  (instructing a gentile) which may be waived in face of the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael.

I have heard though that much more is permitted when it concerns the purchase of a house in Eretz Yisrael?

It is a fallacy. The Mechaber [1] says that one may purchase a house from a gentile in Eretz Yisrael and have the deed signed and certified in court. The Mishna Berura [2] explains that one may direct the gentile to where the Jew’s money is and the gentile can sign and certify the sale but the Jew may not handle the money and give it to the gentile.

We see that even though handling money is only an issur of muktze, nevertheless one may not handle money in order to make the purchase.

But is the writing not an issur d’oraisso (biblical)?

Indeed it is, but since it is not the Jew who is doing the writing but rather the gentile it is permitted. This is one of the unique cases where we may instruct a gentile to violate an issur d’oraisso, as explained in the Mishna Berura. [3]

Is every purchase in Eretz Yisrael called yishuv Eretz Yisrael?

It is not so simple. Rashi in Gittin says that the mitzvah is to relocate the gentiles from the land and settle Jews in their place. The Mechaber also writes “One may purchase a house from a gentile”. This would mean that to buy a house from a Jew in Eretz Yisrael does not fall into this category. This does not demote the actual residing in Eretz Yisrael, which according to the Rambam is a Mitzvas Aseh, but buying a house from a Jew (according to these poskim) will not allow the instructing of a gentile to do anything.

When is one permitted to violate the Shabbos in order to prevent a fellow Jew from doing a greater sin?

In the yesteryear ovens, bread dough was pasted on the side of the oven and removed with a special spatula. The halacha is that it is ossur to use this spatula on Shabbos being that it is an ovda d'chol'. [4] The Shulchan Aruch [5] talks about a case where someone pasted dough inside an oven with the deliberate intention of baking the dough, and says that he is permitted to peel the bread from the oven (even though an issur is being violated by doing so). This was permitted in order not to create a much more severe issur of baking the bread.

The Mishna Berura [6] says that only the baker who pasted the bread in the oven may remove it and not someone else, even though the intention is to prevent the baker from violating a very severe issur. Peeling the bread is an issur and we do not say that one should violate even a small issur in order to prevent another person from violating an issur, even though it is a more severe issur.

What if the person pasting the bread is unaware that it is an ossur - for instance, he thought it was not yet Shabbos. May I remove it from the oven?

The Mishna Berura says [7] that the same halacha applies when the person pasting the bread is unaware that he is violating an issur. The Magen Avraham explains [8] this applies even when it is done unknowingly. As there is an element of carelessness involved, as one should have taken more care, one may not violate an issur for the sake of another person.

[1] Simon 306:11.

[2] Simon 306:45-46. His explanation is based on the Yerushalmi, see the Sha’ar Hatsiun 35.

[3] Ibid.

[4] M”B simon 254:35.

[5] Simon 254:6.

[6] Simon 254:40.

[7] Ibid.

[8] See Sha’ar Hatsiun 254:40.

Food For Thought

Would this issur apply to regular ovens?

What if someone placed food on the fire b’issur? May or must I remove it from the fire before it cooks?

What if a person is coerced to violate an issur? May or must a lesser issur be violated in order to prevent the greater issur?

I see someone about to turn on a light, not realizing that it is already Shabbos? Can I attract his attention by throwing a stone next to him?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says 'shamor es yom hashabbos l'kadsho'  which is a continuous verb, telling us that a person must continuously have Shabbos in mind, even during the week. One must make sure on Sunday and on Monday and on each day of the week that no matter what happens, one will not cause Shabbos to be violated. One might conclude a business deal which would require equipment to be delivered on Shabbos, for example. The Torah tells us - 'shamor' , guard the Shabbos now.


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 083-714-3166 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.