shabbos candles

Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Parshas Behar


The laws of making an Ohel on Shabbos

If a baby is lying in a crib outside in the sun and the sun is disturbing him am I permitted to cover the crib with a blanket?

Covering a crib with a blanket or shade involves the prohibition of tent erecting, which is a part of the melacha of Boneh – Construction. Even if one were to erect the shade temporarily it would involve a rabbinical prohibition.

The same would apply to covering a pram or stroller in order to block out the sun

What is the correct method for covering a crib?

There are quite a few ways with which to correctly shield a crib etc.

  1. Was covered a tefach [1] before Shabbos. [2]

The halacha says that if an area was covered at least a tefach before Shabbos one may complete the covering on Shabbos. Therefore the first suggestion is to place a sheet/blanket/canopy on the crib before Shabbos in a way that it covers a tefach and on Shabbos continue and cover according to one’s need.  The same applies to a baby carriage or stroller.


  1. Two items, which are within 3 tefachim of each other and the gap between the two cover an area of at least a tefach, constitute a tent and permit covering the remainder of the area. [3]

The Mechaber presents this halacha in the form of beams covering a boat deck where for this reason one is permitted to cover the entire deck. This option is more presentable in the case of a crib then a carriage, where one may position two beams or poles above the crib before Shabbos in the required manner mentioned, and cover the entire crib on Shabbos.

This case applies itself to a porch covered with a pergola where there is less than three tefachim between each beam. Often these beams may already be a tefach wide which would sanction covering the porch even if the beams were more than three tefachim apart from each other.


  1. A canopy was attached to the crib or carriage before Shabbos.

The Rama in Hilchos Succah [4] says that one is permitted to open and shut hinged flaps that are used for covering the succah when raining. The Chazon Ish [5] learned from here that this would likewise apply to a canopy connected to a baby carriage. Since the canopy is attached to the baby carriage before Shabbos, it has the same status of being open a tefach before Shabbos and one is permitted to fully open the canopy on Shabbos. The same would apply to a canopy covering a porch or balcony and accordingly one is permitted to extend such an awning on Shabbos.

There are poskim [6] however who do not agree to this analogy and in order to permit the extending of a carriage’s canopy on Shabbos they require the canopy open a tefach before Shabbos. As usual one should therefore ask one’s rav as to how to conduct oneself on Shabbos. Rav Sternbuch Shlita said that the custom is to be lenient.

I want to prepare a tarpaulin to cover my succah to prevent rain from entering, how is it done?

One is permitted to cover an already existing “tent” even though the new covering will protect against things the first covering did not. For example, a sunshade, as its name suggests, protects against the sun but does little to protect against rain. Nevertheless, since the particular area is already covered by a “tent” one may cover the sunshade with a tarpaulin protection against the rain. [7]

Therefore one may spread a tarpaulin over the schach of the succah even though it will now prevent rain from entering the succah, which the schach did not prevent.

However, precaution must be taken that the tarpaulin lies within a tefach of the schach and not above that, because if a tefach is formed between the tarpaulin and the schach it constitutes a new “tent” and is forbidden.

I heard that when setting up a ping-pong table on Shabbos one must reverse the order, i.e. first hold the board in the air and then position the legs, is this true?

No, it is false and the following will explain why.

The gemora in Beitza 32b teaches us that certain keilim when erected on Shabbos must be erected in a backhanded manner, i.e. different to the way it is normally set up. This is because when erecting these particular keilim it appears as if one is making a tent – first the legs and then the roof or cover – and therefore a variation from the norm is required.

However, this only applies to keilim whose function is similar to a tent’s. Just as a tent’s inside is utilized for living in, usage etc, so to keilim whose ‘inside’ or ‘underside’ is used require a deviation when setting up.

A table, Tosefos [8] tell us, is not an item whose underside is used and therefore it would not require deviation from the norm and may be set up in the regular manner.

Therefore when setting up a ping pong table one may first position the legs and then place the board on top of the legs.

[1] There is a machlokes as to the measurement of a tefach: Rav Chaim Na’eh – 8cm (3.14in) and the Chazon Ish – 9.6cm (3.77in).

[2] Siman 315:2.

[3] Siman 315:2.

[4] Siman 626:3.

[5] Siman 52:6.

[6] See the Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. IV page 194. Ohr LeTsion.

[7] SS”K 24:10. Obviously the cover spread above the boat’s beams form a superior sunshade than the beams do and one is permitted to do so.

[8] Tosefos in Beitza 32b ‘milmata’.


Vort for the Z'man

One of the prerequisites for Torah is a lev tov. We usually translate that as good-hearted, but that would then read – tov lev, rather the correct p'shat seems to be one with a good heart. A person who seeks to find good in others, he seeks to do good to others. One who has changed his inner feelings to be on the lookout where he can better other people's lives.

R' Yonah in Sha'arei Teshuva says that one of the basics of bein odom lachaveiro is lishkod b'tovas chaveiro, which means to be a masmid (sh'kida) with regards to doing good for others.


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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.