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 Beha'aloscha/Shelach

A growing trend is to have permanent makeup applied and thus avoid the prohibition of applying makeup on Shabbos. Is there any problem with this?

As far as Hilchos Shabbos is concerned there is no problem with having permanent makeup applied. However, permanent makeup is applied in a manner very similar to tattooing [1], which raises a serious problem of tattoo making. A competent rav must be consulted as to whether it is permitted.

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

This is a complicated issue and is subject to a machlokes (disagreement) amongst the poskim. As such, we will not render a halachik ruling rather we will present the various problems involved and as for personal conduct one must receive a ruling from one’s rav.

1) Coloring – The first problem is that the soap colors the water. As we have learnt in previous sheets it is prohibited to dye any substance other than food (even foods some say may only be dyed by-the-way, but not solely for the color).

The water in the toilet bowl is colored on purpose with the intention of giving the water a fresh and disinfected appearance. [2]

2) Fragrance – The second problem is adding fragrance to the water. The Mishna Berura in Hilchos Yom Tov [3] says that it is forbidden to introduce a fragrance into water intending that the water smells nice. One cannot say that it is done by-the-way because one’s intention is to have the water appear fresh and clean.

3) Nolad – a new substance. Some authorities are concerned with the fact the soap-like substance is transformed from a solid into a liquid, which is a problem of Molid, as mentioned in the Rama. [4]

What about wearing ‘photogray’ lenses on Shabbos?

Photogray lenses darken when in sunlight and return to become clear when out of the sunlight. No coloring is physically added to the lenses in the process. What happens is that a certain substance in the lens changes color when in the sunlight. When back indoors the normal coloring returns to the lens and the color disappears. Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz”l ruled that it is not a problem of ‘coloring’ because nothing is in fact being colored. The proof is that after a few minutes indoors the color disappears. This process is continues ad infitum.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz”l adds that since one does not do anything in particular towards coloring the lenses it is permitted. See the following paragraph. [5]

What about the use of celluloid strip that is used to measure one’s temperature. Is it a problem of ‘coloring’ due to the color change in the process?

There are various types on the market and the halacha varies accordingly. Here too there is a machlokes amongst the poskim with regards to its use on Shabbos. We will merely present the issues, but for a ruling one must approach one’s rav.

Type I: certain squares change color when placed on the forehead indicating whether the person has a fever. It would appear that it shares the same status as the photogray lenses, however in this case one is actively causing the color to change adding a certain measure of stringency to the issue. [6]

Type II: Digits or letters are visible even before applying heat to the celluloid strip and when heat is applied the digits become colored. This type is a bit more problematic than the previous type because one is coloring letters and making them more visible. [7]

Type III: Nothing is visible on the celluloid strip and when heat is applied to the strip letters or digits become visible. This is far worse than the previous types because one is executing temporary writing. Even though no ink is added in the process, nevertheless we find that the P’ri Megadim writes that it is prohibited to place a piece of paper with invisible ink over a flame thereby exposing the hidden letters. Rav Shlomo Zalman rules that our case is of a similar halachik stature and is forbidden to use.

[1] A pen-like instrument comprised of very thin needles is used to lift the outer skin layer (epidermal layer) thus enabling the dye and pigments to enter beneath that layer and dye the second skin layer (dermal layer).

[2] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was stringent because of coloring, see the SS”K 23:14 and footnote 44. See also the ??????? ????????.

[3] ???? ???"? ???"?. Although in simon 128:23 he mentions that it is a machlokes, in Hilchos Yom Tom he concludes that it is ossur.

[4] Simon 326:10 and M”B 30.

[5] Many other poskim also permit the use of these glasses, see the Piskei T’shuvos simon 320 footnote 38.

[6] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach rules that since it is used for a sick person one may be lenient. He says that it is worse than the photogray lenses due to the reason mentioned that one is actively coloring the strip. See the SS”K 40 footnote *8.

[7] Ibid.

Food For Thought

Is one permitted to prepare a saline solution on Shabbos?

Are there any limitations as to salting vegetables on Shabbos?

May one crush peppercorns on Shabbos?

Is one permitted to use a salt grinder on Shabbos?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The two esteemed Torah giants R’ Akiva Eiger, the Rav of Poznan, and R’ Yaakov, the Rav of Lissa happened to be one Shabbos in the same town. R’ Akiva Eiger was known for his incredible humility in spite of him being one of the most outstanding sages of his generation. When he was called up to the reading of the Torah for sh’lishi (the more honorable aliya), he all but fainted. The people present were alarmed without knowing the cause for his faintness but R’ Yaakov realized that R’ Akiva Eiger was shocked by the lack of Torah respect for not having bestow upon R’ Yaakov the honor of sh’lishi.

R’ Yaakov knew that the only way to restore his well-being was to appease his mind and approached R’ Akiva Eiger whispering, your honor should realize that Poznan is a bigger city than Lissa and as such the sh’lishi is awarded in honor of the larger populace. Hearing this, R’ Akiva Eiger’s strength slowly returned and he was able to approach the sefer Torah.

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.