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 Beshalach

Is retail-selling included in this prohibition of working after mincha ketana?

In the previous shiur we learned that certain melachos and work may not be done after the time of mincha ketana, which is 2.5 provisional hours before sunset.

Regular selling and buying may be done after mincha ketana. However, one should make sure that one closes shop at least an hour before Shabbos. [1] The MB warns us against closing shops too close to Shabbos as this can lead to violation of the Shabbos by the sellers and the buyers.

Are there any differences between erev Shabbos and erev Pesach?

Shabbos and Yom Tov share the same status and whatever applies to Shabbos applies to Yom Tov. However, Erev Pesach has a unique status being that the korban Pesach was sacrificed on Erev Pesach and therefore it is a mini Yom Tov in its own right, [2] even nowadays, when unfortunately we are not yet bringing the korban Pesach. Accordingly one may not work after chatzos midday (not 12:00 noon, rather the provisional midday) on Erev Pesach.

Rashi says [3] that the reason one may not work after midday is because one must be available to prepare the matzos for the seder night and to dispose of all the chometz. [4]

What specifically is prohibited after midday on Erev Pesach?

One may not sew a new garment, even without pay, after midday as it is a complete melacha. One may however mend clothing, and therefore one may mend a hem, sew on a button, mend a tear etc. even for someone else, provided that it is without pay. [5] Doing the laundry is also a melacha and forbidden after midday.

One may take a haircut from a non-Jewish barber after midday but not from a Jew, and fingernails should be cut before midday, but if one forgot, then one may cut them after midday. [6]

May a gentile perform a melacha for me after midday on Erev Pesach?

Yes, the accepted custom is that a gentile may perform melacha for me after midday even in my home. One may also hand ones laundry to a gentile after midday. [7] In general, Erev Pesach after midday is more lenient than Chol HaMoed, which is the basis for these leniencies.

May I start a wash in the washing machine or dryer before Shabbos?

Before we deal specifically with a washing machine we must ask whether one may begin anything before Shabbos knowing that the melacha will run into Shabbos.

The basis of this halacha is a machlokes between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel in mesichta Shabbos, where Beis Shamai say that ones keilim may not work on Shabbos and Beis Hillel hold that ones keilim may work on Shabbos provided that one does not take part in the melacha.

Their dispute would manifest itself for example when placing garments on Friday in dye and they absorb the dye on Shabbos. [8] According to Beis Hillel it is permitted because one is not involved with the dyeing on Shabbos as it takes place automatically.

One may place food on the fire before Shabbos (in the permitted manner, i.e. on a hotplate or blech etc.) and it continues to cook or heat on Shabbos.

Why then would there be a problem with a washing machine?

There is a machlokes (dispute) between the Mechaber and the Rama in this matter. [9] The Mechaber holds that one may place wheat in the mill before Shabbos even though the mill will grind on Shabbos and everyone will be able to hear the grinding. The Mechaber is not concerned by the fact that people might say that one is grinding on Shabbos because everyone knows that it is possible that one placed the wheat in the receptacle before Shabbos.

The Rama is of the opinion that unless a loss is involved, we are afraid that people will say that one placed the wheat in the mill on Shabbos itself. In other words we are afraid of something called maris ayin people might think that it is being done on Shabbos [10] or it is a degradation of the Shabbos. [11]

There is an opinion who holds that a washing machine can often be heard and would be subject to this issue. Accordingly one (Ashkenazim) should not operate ones washing machine before Shabbos even though it turns itself off on Shabbos, [12] and yet others hold that it does not attract publicity like the mill does, and thus it is not prohibited. [13]

[1] MB simon 251:1 and MB simon 256:1.

[2] MB simon 468:1.

[3] See the Biur Halacha meichatzos.

[4] This reason would seem to apply to the morning of Erev Pesach, as that is the time the chometz is burned.

[5] imon 468:2 and MB 8.

[6] MB simon 468:5.

[7] Mechaber simon 468:1 and MB 468:5 and 468:7.

[8] Simon 252:1.

[9] Simon 252:5.

[10] Rama in simon 252:5 and MB 50.

[11] Rama in simon 252:5 and MB 48.

[12] SSK 42:43.

[13] Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlita.


Food For Thought

What about setting a timer on the irrigation system in my garden?

What are the reasons for lighting candles for Shabbos?

How many candles should one light?

What happens if one forgot to light Shabbos candles?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says 'Ashira la'Hashem ki gaoh gaah, sus v'rachvo rama bayam' which literally means that I will sing praise to Hashem who is highly exulted because He cast the horse and the rider into the sea. What is the connection between the two sections of the possuk?

HaRav Simcha Bunim of Farshischa explains that each plague served two purposes, it was a punishment to the Egyptians and a healing potion to the undesirable traits of the Bnei Yisroel. A horse represents haughtiness and when Hashem cast down the horse with its rider, the trait of 'gaiva'  - haughtiness was removed from the hearts of the Bnei Yisroel, which led to them singing praise. Praise to Hashem can only be sung from a heart free of gaiva', as one must realize Hashems total rule and ones absolute helplessness in order to sing sincere praise. That is what is implied by the possuk: I will sing to Hashem, who is the true exalted one, because my haughtiness was cast into the sea together with the horse and its rider.

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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.