permanency a criterion with Hilchos Shabbos?
For a melacha do be
considered a melacha d'oraisso it must have
some durability. The general rule for most melachos
is that a melacha that has permanence is ossur
mid'oraisso, a melacha that is not permanent is
ossur mid'rabanan and one that has no
permanence at all, is permitted.
you please provide examples?
It is biblically prohibited to write with
ink or a pencil on paper, because both leave permanent
impressions. It is a rabbinical prohibition to write letters
or draw pictures on a frosted window. It is not biblical
because it is not permanent and will disappear after a short
One may "draw" letters in plain air using one's finger etc.
because nothing is being done.
One should not decide on
one's own what is permanent and what is not, because as we
will see, permanence can be for a short while as well.
long is permanent?
The Mishna in
Shabbos 102b states: Whoever performs a melacha
and his melacha lasts, on Shabbos, is chayav
(violated a biblical prohibition).
understands that the words "on Shabbos" refer to the person
doing the action, thus the Mishna would read: Whoever
performs a melacha on Shabbos and his melacha
lasts..." implying that for the melacha to be
biblically liable it must last indefinitely or at least for
a long time.
discusses the issur of painting on Shabbos and writes that
one is only liable if the paint is durable. He concludes the
halacha saying and if his melacha does not
last for the Shabbos one is not chayav –
וכל שאין מלאכתו מתקיימת בשבת פטור.
learn that the Rambam does not require the melacha
to last longer than the Shabbos.
The Rambam would understand the words 'on Shabbos' in the
Mishna to refer to the melacha, thus the
Mishna would read: Whoever performs a melacha,
and his melacha lasts on Shabbos, is chayav.
The Rambam requires
much understanding, because we know for example that for a
knot to be permanent it must last for a very long time, if
not indefinitely. We will not deal with this issue in this
capacity, but you may further investigate at your
One may not scribble or write on an
eraser board – the type where one writes and lifts the top
sheet to erase the letters, because until one raises the top
sheet the letters are permanent.
Writing on such a pad would be an issur d'oraisso.
One may not fashion
a toothpick by breaking a cocktail stick in half, even
though it will be used once and discarded. It is ossur
mid'oraisso on account of makeh b’patish.
One may tie a bow
(without a single knot beneath it) for an indefinite amount
of time, because a bow has no permanence whatsoever.
The melacha of Construction –
בונה is divided into three
parts, permanent, temporary and time limited.
structure, such as a building, a large cupboard, a wall
or tent are all acts of boneh d'oraisso. The
definition is construction of a structure that will
remain standing for a very long period.
structure such as a flimsy tent or a wall comprised of
stones without cement that will not last very long, is
ossur mid'rabanan. Chazal
instituted a g'zeira prohibiting temporary
construction lest one inadvertently constructs a
A time limited
construction is defined as one that could last for a
long period but that is not the intention.
various degrees of time-limited construction, where some
cases are ossur mid'oraisso, some are ossur
mid'rabanan and some are permitted.
Chasam Sofer and Tiferes Yisrael learn that a
construction deemed for demolition that same day is not
boneh, whereas Nodah Bihuda and Ohr Sameach
learn that such a construction is Boneh.
poskim held a dispute over the temporary nature of an
umbrella, as to whether it is boneh or not.
It is interesting to note
that we learn the 39 melachos from the construction
of the Mishkan, which was often constructed and
demolished that very day. To complicate matters, the
Mishkan was never intended to be permanent, because they
were constantly told by Hashem to demolish the
Mishkan and move on.
We can either say that a time
limited binyan is boneh and bring perfect
proof from the Mishkan. We can also say that they
were not told in advance when the Mishkan needed to
be demolished and thus it is not "time-limited" and is a
Yerushalmi Shabbos 7:2.
The Yerushalmi (7:2) begins by
saying that constructing the Mishkan was not
לשעה (time-limited). R'
Yossi says it was permanent because their travels were
according to the words of Hashem. R' Yossi bar Bon
says it was time-limited because Hashem promised them
entry to the Holy land.