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 Toldos

If one knows that one will or might have to go to hospital on Shabbos, is there anything one must do to prepare beforehand?

The general concept would be to try and minimize the chillul Shabbos by preparing as much as possible beforehand. We have mentioned in previous shiurim that the reason for this is that there is a machlokes Rishonim (a dispute between the early authorities) whether Shabbos is (totally waived aside) or (may be violated but not waived aside). It is accepted amongst the majority of poskim [1] that Shabbos is only and therefore one must try and minimize the chillul Shabbos.

But even if Shabbos is , one may violate the Shabbos for the sake of pikuach nefesh, so what is the difference?

There are several differences, but what concerns us now is that although one is obligated to violate the Shabbos for pikuach nefesh, whatever can be prepared before Shabbos, would serve to minimize chillul Shabbos and should therefore be done.

For example: the Chofetz Chaim writes [2] that if a soldier was ordered to prepare something for Shabbos afternoon, he must prepare it before Shabbos and not rely on the fact that he may violate the Shabbos in order to prepare it.

The Chasam Sofer writes [3] that we are obligated to prepare before Shabbos all that is necessary for a woman in labor and for a dangerously ill person and not rely on the fact that we may violate the Shabbos in a situation of pikuach nefesh

Do you have some practical examples?

The ambulance service completes a form that requires the patients details. When one knows that one might have to be admitted on Shabbos, before Shabbos one should type or write out a form that includes all of ones details and hand it to the ambulance service. This averts the necessity of them having to fill out the form on Shabbos. (This does not apply to a gentile ambulance service).

If one has to use an inhalator on Shabbos, one should set it on a Shabbos clock to go on and off at specific times and thus avoid the necessity of switching on Shabbos. Obviously if one has an attack on Shabbos and one must use it immediately, one must not wait for the Shabbos clock to switch it on, rather it must be switched on and used.

            A person in a situation of pikuach nefesh who will require hot food and water on Shabbos must not rely on the fact that he will be permitted to cook or heat food on Shabbos, rather he must arrange his food before Shabbos like everyone else does. If he requires freshly cooked food on Shabbos and placing cooked food on a hotplate etc. is detrimental for his health, a rav must be consulted.

            When a bandage or gauze must be changed on Shabbos, one should precut the strips of bandage or gauze before Shabbos and thus avoid the cutting of the gauze on Shabbos, which probably involves an issur doraisso of Tearing .

The list is endless and one must plan ahead and prepare whatever is necessary. If one did not prepare and the need arises to violate the Shabbos, one must not hesitate, and the Shabbos must be violated for the sake of pikuach nefesh

Does that mean that a woman in her 9th month of pregnancy must move into the hospital or be next to a hospital before Shabbos?

The Mishna Berura [4] cites the Sefer Chasidim [5] saying that it is worthy for a woman in her 9th month to prepare her needs before Shabbos, in case she will give birth on Shabbos, and thus avoid having to violate the Shabbos.

We see that it is only worthy for a woman to prepare herself before Shabbos and not an obligation.

But did you not write beforehand that one is obligated to prepare? 

The difference is [6] between whether one knows that Shabbos will need to be violated for the sake of pikuach nefesh, in which case one must prepare as much as possible to minimize the chillul Shabbos, and when it is not definite that Shabbos will need to be violated. Notice that the Sefer Chassidim wrote a woman in her 9th month in case she will give birth on Shabbos, i.e. it is not definite that she will go into labor on Shabbos or that she will give birth on Shabbos.

[1] See Chasam Sofer yoreh Deah simon 338 " ".
[2] Shaar Hatsiun 344:9.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Simon 330:1.
[5] Written by R YEHUDA BEN SHMUEL HACHASID - Born: Speyer, Germany, c. 1150. Died: Regensburg, Germany 1217. A Tosefist. Rosh Yeshiva in Regensburg. Son and student of R Shmuel HaChassid. Author of Sefer Chassidim/Book of the Pious, on ethics and moral teachings and laws and customs as well as Shir HaKavod. He was the main teacher of the religious ethical movement Chasidei Ashkenaz/The Pietists of Germany. Among his students are the Smag and the Ohr Zarua. (Adapted from the biographical notes written by Rav Shlomo Pereira).
[6] SSK 32 footnote 104. See also footnote 100.


Food For Thought

If a woman is in labor before Shabbos, must she go to hospital before Shabbos, or can she wait until she is ready and go in on Shabbos?

What if one must sign ones consent for surgery on Shabbos?

How is one to walk through the electronic doors?

When is one permitted to take tablets on Shabbos?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Possuk says that Avraham came and eulogized Sarah, and Rashi says that he came from Har Hamoriah. Why is it important to know where he came from?

Rav Binyomin Shakovitsky ztzl explains that it was the basis for Avrohoms eulogy. Avrohom expounded on Sarahs virtues by pointing out how she raised a son who was ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of Hashem. It is through her righteousness that he was able to do so and thus Har Hamoriah was the foundation of is eulogy.

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.