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 Behar/Bechukosai

What about taking a cold shower during heat spells?

The previous shiur stated the reasons not to bathe in hot water on Shabbos. None of the reasons are applicable to cold showers or bath   s, and yet people refrain from that as well. What is the reason for this?

It is customary to refrain from cold showers and baths and the Magen Avraham [1] lists several reasons for this.

  • Squeezing wet hair. Squeezing water from wet hair is rabbinically forbidden and were it permitted to take a cold shower one might squeeze wet hair.
  • Carrying water. It was normal to bathe in rivers, and emerging from a river with water on ones body and walking four amos in a carmelis involves a rabbinical prohibition.
  • Floating. It is rabbinically prohibited to swim on Shabbos lest one fashions a raft. [2]

Do these reasons mentioned apply nowadays?

Firstly, all reasons mentioned in Chazal almost always apply; and if not in one location then in another. For example, one would not necessarily jump into a river on Shabbos in the city, but when vacationing in the mountains during a hot summer, one might.

Secondly, squeezing wet hair certainly applies and is the main reason nowadays.

And during a heat spell?

Many poskim [3] are of the opinion that there is no difference between a bathtub, mikveh and shower even as far as washing in cold water is concerned. Rav Moshe Feinstein ztzl writes [4] that one should refrain from taking a cold shower unnecessarily even though it is not brought down in the earlier seforim to prohibit a shower.

And yet Rav Moshe writes that when suffering from heat one may take a cold shower. [5]

But the problem of squeezing wet hair remains?

Indeed it does and great caution is needed not to violate an issur drabanan.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl writes [6] that squeezing water from hair directly into a towel is permitted, just as we find that one may squeeze a lemon onto fish; in both cases a liquid is not produced. The way to do it is to place a towel on ones hair and slowly and gently rub the towel on the hair. Rubbing hard or quickly can cause water to drip from the hair onto the floor etc. which is prohibited.

Rav Sternbuch shlita pointed out that custom is nevertheless to be stringent because it is hard to make sure that water not drip onto the floor.

What other issues are related to showering on Shabbos?

Sponges or cloths are prohibited on account of squeezing. [7] This applies to washing hands and face as well, which is always permitted, albeit not with water heated on Shabbos.

Soap is forbidden to use. Several prohibitions are associated with using soap on Shabbos although not all reasons are always applicable.

  • Molid creating. The Rama explains [8] that transforming the solid soap into liquid is molid similar to transforming ice into water.
  • Memareach smoothing. [9] The soap might have rough edges and rubbing it between ones palms smooths it back into shape.

What about using liquid soap?

It is customary to use liquid soap on Shabbos because both problems mentioned do not exist. However, Rav Moshe Feinstein ztzl is stringent even with liquid soap, [10] because the bubbles produced demonstrate that the soap can be spread even thinner than it is, which involves memareach. Consequently, many dilute liquid soap before Shabbos in order to use it on Shabbos.

May one warm wet hands next to a heater on Shabbos?

Seemingly, if one is careful that the water on ones hands does not cook i.e. it does not attain the temperature of yad soledes bo [11] it is permitted. It is not so.

The Rosh (perek 3:9) learns that warming water on ones body next to a fire is equivalent to bathing in hot water that was heated on Shabbos and therefore he writes that one may not even warm ones hands next to a fire subsequent to washing. (This is how the MA explains the Rosh).

One should first dry ones hands and then stand next to a heater. [12]

[1] Simon 326:8.

[2] There are cases where swimming would be permitted but that is not the subject in discussion.

[3] 326:6 in the name of the Chazon Ish. and others.

[4] Igross Moshe Orach Chaim vol. IV simon 74 page 145 and simon 75.

[5] See also SSK 14:11.

[6] SSK 14 footnote 64.

[7] MB simon 326:6

[8] Simon 326:10 and MB 30.

[9] MB ibid.

[10] Igross Moshe Orach Chaim vol. I simon 113.

[11] Above 40C.

[12] Simon 326:5 and SSK 14:24 and footnote 74.


Food for Thought

What are the laws related to bathing on Yom Tov?

May one heat water for bathing on Yom Tov?

Are there leniencies on Yom Tov Sheini?

Vort on the Parsha

First the possuk says (25:18) you will sit safely in the land and the next possuk continues and the land will give its fruit and you will sit safely on the land, why the repetition?

The Ksav Sofer explains that a country can be in turmoil when riddled with dissention, which most often happens from lack of sustenance and source of income. People are jealous of each other, as some have and others do not. Consequently, neighboring countries would not invade because they have nothing material to gain. On the other hand, a prospering country can be continually at war with countries who covet those resources.

The possuk tells us that if you keep Hashems laws you will not have inner strife you shall sit safely in the land. As a result you will prosper, but need not worry; you will also be safe from outside enemies and sit safely in the land.

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
078 1655 242 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.