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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 Lech Lecho subscribe


If a child got locked in a room is one permitted to break the door?

The gemora Yuma 84b says that if a child got locked behind a door one may break down the door even if it involves a biblical prohibition. The gemora says that even if one needed the splinters for firewood and is cutting the door in a manner which will thus benefit him, it is permitted. The Sha’ar Ha’tsiun 328:17 says that obviously one must break the door in the quickest method possible. He may therefore not cut the door in a manner benefiting him if it requires doing more actions.

The Aruch HaShulchan asks how the gemora can permit such a method of cutting when one can simply break down the door. He answers that it would frighten the child.

We see from here that leaving a child behind a locked door involves pikuach nefesh and everything must be done to release him from his prison. 1

A door came off its hinges into my hands, am I permitted to return it?

Although a door revolves on its hinges, in the eyes of the halacha it is static, being that it is not carried from place to place. 2 That does not mean that one is forbidden to open or shut a door, it means that if it came off it is hinges it is muktze.

Removing the door from its hinges on Shabbos is forbidden because of Soter – Dismantling, but if it did happen, then A) one is forbidden to place it on its hinges, due to the biblical prohibition of Boneh – Construction, B) the door is muktze. 3

What then, am I supposed to do with the detached door?

Since it is muktze it may not be moved from place to place and ideally it should be left exactly where it is. However, if it poses a threat because either people might trip over it or it might fall onto someone; it may be relocated elsewhere until out of harm’s way. 4

If the mechitza – screen between the men and the women fell down, is one permitted to stand it up again?

This halacha is based on a few factors. One is biblically forbidden to erect a permanent tent on Shabbos, even if he does not thrust pegs into the ground or knot rope to hold up the tent. The prohibition is based on the melacha of Boneh – Construction and tent building is included. Chazal were afraid that if one were to erect a temporary tent it would lead him to construct a permanent one, and hence instituted a g’zeira (rabbinical prohibition) forbidding the erection of even a temporary tent. 5

Tosefos, in Shabbos 125b, says that a screen or partition does not fall into this category unless it creates a halachik wall (which will soon be explained). The Mishna Berura 6 teaches us that one may erect a screen used for separating between men and women at a shiur, provided that it is temporary, otherwise it will fall into the category of Boneh.

What is the halacha with regards to setting up a screen to block out the sun?

If the erected screen is temporary and no nails/screws etc were employed to set it up, it is permitted. Blocking out the sun is not a halachik screen either.

What then, is a halachik screen?

A halachik screen creates an entity where without this partition a certain halachik requirement would be lacking. 7

For example: a kosher succah is comprised of three walls. One is forbidden to add a third wall to two existing ones, even if the third wall would be a temporary screen, because the third wall ‘creates’ a succah and without this wall the succah is not a kosher succah.

[1] See M”B 328:38.
[2] Simon 308:9.
[3] M”B simon 314:35.
[4] See simon 308:6 which deals with broken glass.
[5] Shabbos 125b.
[6] Simon 315:7.
[7] See simon 315:1.

Food For Thought

If a baby’s crib is outside and the sun is disturbing him am I permitted to cover the crib with a blanket? 

What is the correct method for covering a crib? 

Is one permitted to open the canopy attached to a baby’s stroller (pram)? 

I want to prepare a tarpaulin to cover my succah to prevent rain from entering, how is it done?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says that Avraham Avinu performed his very own circumcision in the middle of the day (17:26). Would it not have been more significant to have performed the Bris at sunrise, to demonstrate his eagerness to perform the mitzvah?

Rav Sternbuch Shlita answers that a Bris is different from other mitzvos in a way that our covenant with Hashem should be done with as much publicity as possible. We are not ashamed of our heritage and it is through the Bris that this is firmly established.

This will explain why Hashem appeared to Avraham in the Plains of Mamreh, because it was he that advised Avraham to perform the Bris publicly, being that a covenant with Hashem must not be concealed, unlike the advice given by Avraham’s other friends who advised him either not to listen to Hashem or at least keep it a secret.

 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.