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 Shelach

We stated in the previous shiur that all the halachos mentioned here deal with public domains that do not have an eiruv, or they have an eiruv which one does not wish to rely upon.

May a woman wear a plastic sheitel cover?

In the previous shiur we mentioned the problem of wearing a plastic hat cover on Shabbos. Certain poskim hold that since it is only intended to prevent the hat from getting wet and not to prevent the body from getting wet it is not a garment.

Rav Weiss ztz”l writes [1] that the advantages of the plastic sheitel cover are that it covers part of the face, is not only worn to prevent the sheitel from getting wet but is also worn as clothing. The problem is, that it is only worn when raining and removed as soon as the rain ceases. As such, Chazal were concerned that a person would remove the covering and carry it in a pocket, which invokes a severe prohibition of carrying.

Rav Weiss concludes that a woman may not wear such a plastic covering on Shabbos.

May one wear jewelry?

Background: although jewelry and ornaments are not ‘clothing’ nevertheless they serve a function and wearing them on Shabbos is not considered carrying, provided that they are worn in the regular manner. [2] Chazal however were concerned that one would remove one’s jewelry to show to a friend and carry it in a reshus harabim (a public domain) and transgress the issur of carrying. They therefore prohibited wearing most jewelry.

Most jewelry and ornaments may be worn nowadays because the Rama writes [3] that women do not remove their jewelry to show their friends and therefore the major concern is removed. The explanation being that in former times pieces of jewelry were not common and women would wear them only on Shabbos, thus they would show their trinkets to friends. As jewelry is much more common nowadays and worn all the time, this no longer applies.

As mentioned, the prevalent custom is to wear jewelry but there is room to be mehader and not to rely on the various leniencies, [4] especially in big cities that are likely to be a reshus harabim d’oraisso.

May one wear a watch?

It depends on how a watch is defined. If a watch is a piece of jewelry it may be worn, based on the above halacha. We might say that a simple, cheap watch is not jewelry but a gold watch is. The problem is that one cannot resolutely declare that one’s watch is jewelry, because if it stops or is broken it would not be worn. [5]

There is leeway to say that since the watch is worn on the arm like any other clothing it is not called carrying and permitted. [6]

Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz”l instructed his pupils not to rely on this leniency and they should avoid wearing watches on Shabbos. Others were more stringent and prohibited it altogether. [7]

Accordingly one must ask one’s rav as to the correct conduct, especially in big cities that are likely to be a reshus harabim d’oraisso.

What about wearing glasses when there is no eiruv?

Glasses that are continually worn may be worn on Shabbos even where there is no eiruv, as they are considered clothing. [8] The Chayei Adam [9] was stringent with glasses, because they were not fastened around the head as ours are and there was concern that they would fall and be carried.

Reading glasses may not be worn because they are not considered clothing.

What about wearing sunglasses when there is no eiruv?

Even if there is scope to say that sunglasses are worn on one’s body like any other clothing, nevertheless we are concerned that one might remove them when in the shade. Accordingly one may only wear sunglasses outdoors within an eiruv.

Medical sunglasses, which one wears even indoors are different, because one would not remove them. [10]

[1] Minchas Yitzchak vol. III simon 26-8.

[2] Based on many se’ifim in simonim 310 and 303. See also SS”K 18:12.

[3] Simon 303:18.

[4] Bi’ur Halacha simon 303:18 ã"ä ëé áæä, Shulchan Aruch HaRav simon 303:23, SS”K 18:12.

[5] See the SS”K 18:27 and footnote 109.

[6] Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim 1 simon 111.

[7] Minchas Yitzchak vol. I simon 67. See SS”K 18:27.

[8] SS”K 18:16 and footnote 71.

[9] See M”B 301:44.

[10] SS”K 18:18.


Food For Thought

May one wear contact lenses when there is no eiruv?

What about wearing a bandage or cast?

May a physically disabled person be wheeled in a wheel chair?

What about using a walking stick on Shabbos?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Moshe Rabeinu beseeched Hashem to forgive Am Yisroel and Hashem replied “I forgive as you ask”. Rav Sternbuch explains that the spies desecrated Hashem’s name (chilul Hashem) by saying that He cannot conquer the land, which in turn caused them to be punished to die in the midbar. Moshe then said to Hashem that this will also be a chilul Hashem because everyone will say that Hashem killed in the midbar because He could not overpower the kings in the land of Israel.

To this Hashem replied that He forgives as you say – as you pointed out that it will be a chilul Hashem.

On Yom Kippur night we reiterate Moshe Rabeinu’s prayer – s’lach no la’avon, just like Moshe said that we do not merit your forgiveness, but you should forgive us because of the chilul Hashem to Your name – the fact that we suffer so intensely should be the cause for your forgiveness. We beseech Hashem to have mercy and save the grace of His name.

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.