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 Nasso/Beha'aloscha

I heard something about not using a tissue to stop a nosebleed. Is this correct?

One may not use a cloth napkin or towel to stop or absorb blood because it dyes the cloth as mentioned in the previous sheet. [1] Even though it is soiling the towel nevertheless according to some opinions it is called dyeing and is prohibited. One opinion holds [2] that using a red napkin is worse than using a white one, because the blood strengthens the existing red dye and another opinion holds [3] that it is better to use a red cloth than a white one because it is less noticeable.

One may use a tissue because (as mentioned in the previous sheet), it is discarded after use.

The Mishna Berura writes that when hard-pressed one may rely on the opinions that say it is derech l'chluch but when possible the blood should be washed away before applying a towel or cloth.

Gauze that is discarded after use is similar to a tissue and may be used. [4]

Is a woman permitted to apply makeup on Shabbos?

The Shulchan Aruch [5] teaches us that it is prohibited for a woman to apply blush to her face on Shabbos.  He continues that for this reason she may not apply blue coloring to her eyes.

It is immaterial whether the makeup lasts for a day or for a few hours; it is all included in the prohibition of ‘coloring’. [6]

Is this true for all kinds of makeup?

R’ Moshe Feinstein ztz”l writes that a woman may not apply makeup but he adds that white powder that is thrown on the face may be used because it has no permanency whatsoever. He is probably referring to the type of powder blown onto the face with a small blower, but all other types of makeup are prohibited.

On the other hand Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz”l says that all types are prohibited since the purpose of makeup is to color regardless of how long it clings to the face. [7]

However it follows that even R’ Moshe does not permit the use of white powders that are applied with a brush or that are oil based because these cling to the face and are considered ‘coloring’. Colored powders are prohibited according to both opinions.

What about removing makeup on Shabbos?

According to  the poskim this is problematical, as will be explained. The Chayei Adam [8] holds that on Shabbos one is not permitted to remove a stain from ones’ hands etc. on account of Erasing. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz”l rules [9] that we do not follow this ruling and one may remove stains etc. from one’s body on Shabbos. Nevertheless he writes that it is a problem to remove nail varnish on Shabbos because for women who paint their fingernails, removing old varnish paves the way for a new painting and it is similar to erasure for the purpose of writing.

One cannot apply this reasoning to blush that is applied to the face because often it is removed without intending to renew it and is merely removed for cleanliness purposes.

The conclusion is that removing nail varnish on Shabbos is a problem and when necessary for the sake of a mitzvah it should only be removed by a gentile.[10] Removing other makeup should also only be done before Shabbos but when necessary and it is in a place where it is not automatically reapplied, it may be removed.

Is removing a stain from one’s body a problem of erasing (mochek)?

The accepted custom, as mentioned above, is to permit it.

Is a girl permitted to eat a red ice-lolly on Shabbos when after all it paints her lips red?

Obviously accidentally painting one’s hands red while eating berries etc. is not a problem because one has no intention to dye one’s hands and it is done in a detrimental manner. [11] Painting lips however, is common amongst women and would appear to be a problem; [12] nevertheless, since it is not done intentionally and the results are not pleasing, women may eat red ice lollies on Shabbos as well.

[1] Simon 328:48 and M”B 146.

[2] M”A mentioned in M”B 320:59.

[3] Elya Raba ibid.

[4] SS”K 35:18.

[5] Simon 303:25.

[6] Based on the SS”K 14 footnote 151 and the Sha’ar Hatsiun 68.

[7] SS”K 14 footnote 158.

[8] Hilchos Netilas Yadayim 40:8.

[9] ?????? ??????? ??"? ???? ??"?, and in the ??? ??? ?"? ???? ?"?, ?"?.

[10] See the Shulchan Shlomo page 431.

[11] M”B 320:58 and M”B 303:79.

[12] The Sha’ar Ha’tsiun 303:65 seems to say that women do not paint lips.

Food For Thought

May one use a toilet freshener that colors the water on Shabbos?

What about wearing ‘photogray’ lenses on Shabbos?

Is one permitted to prepare a saline solution on Shabbos?

Are there any limitations as to salting vegetables on Shabbos?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The halacha is that only people who are t’horim – spiritually clean can offer and partake of the Korban Pesach. As there were some men who felt left out by not being able to participate because they were unclean by reason of contact with a corpse, they approached Moshe Rabeinu asking as to why they were barred from partaking in the korban.

The reply they received from Hashem was the parsha of Pesach Sheini.

We must realize that Hashem did not ‘invent’ Pesach Sheini because it was asked for. Rather Hashem only granted the mitzvah to them because they felt a tremendous loss at being left out and not being able to participate in the great Mitzvah.

This is the correct attitude to the mitzvos. Not to feel that ‘hurrah’ - I am exempt from a certain mitzvah, but to the contrary, missing a mitzvah is a great loss.

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.