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 Vayeishev


Folding a tallis on Shabbos.

In the previous shiur we concluded with the opinion of the Mordechai who holds that one may fold a garment not according to its original folds. 

Does everyone agree to this opinion?

The MB [1] quotes an opinion saying that if one prefers to be stringent in this matter and not fold clothes at all, it is definitely preferred to do so. However, many Sephardi poskim [2] say that even if there is room for stringency, with a tallis being a holy article one should at least fold it opposite to its original folds, and not leave it lying around. On the other hand, the Tosefos Shabbos [3] says that we see from another seif that the Mechaber did not agree completely with this Mordechai, and therefore there is room to be stringent and not fold ones tallis at all.

The bottom line is

        One should not fold ones tallis on Shabbos in the regular manner.

        One may fold it not on its original creases, and some poskim say that one should fold it so.

        There is room for stringency and not fold the tallis at all.

This does not mean that the tallis must be rolled up into a tight ball; one is permitted, of course, to fold it haphazardly and place it over a chair.

What about making beds on Shabbos? 

It is forbidden to prepare on Shabbos for after Shabbos. Therefore making beds on Shabbos in order to sleep in them after Shabbos is forbidden. [4] Accordingly, it is forbidden to change old linen with fresh ones, or to prepare a bed for sleeping in after Shabbos. On the other hand, one is permitted to tidy ones house for the sake of Shabbos itself. Therefore, if one makes the beds so that the house will not be untidy, it is permitted.

Consequently, if after a nap on Shabbos afternoon one wishes only to straighten out the bed sheets so that the room will look neat and tidy for Shabbos, it is permitted. [5]

Is there a problem scraping mud off ones shoes on Shabbos? 

The Shulchan Aruch mentions various problems related to scraping mud from ones shoes on Shabbos, namely: breaking up dried mud the prohibition of Tochen (grinding), filling in crevices in the ground Boneh (construction), smoothing the jagged pieces of leather on ones shoes memachek (smoothing), as we shall now explain:- 

Grinding once the mud has caked up, one is forbidden to pry it off ones shoes in such a way that the mud would break up into small pieces. [6] Therefore, scraping it on the sidewalk would be prohibited. The only option is to continue walking, hoping that the dried mud will come off. [7]

Construction Imagine yourself walking on a dirt road, and upon noticing a crack in the ground you scrape off the mud clinging to your shoe into the crack. You have just committed an act of chillul [8] Shabbos. For this reason we find in the gemora [9] various opinions as to whether one is permitted to scrape mud on ones shoes onto the ground or onto a wall. Their concern is lest one repairs the ground or improves the cement on the wall.

According to the halacha one may scrape shoes onto a wall. As for the ground, if it is a dirt track, there is room for stringency (Mishna Berura 28), but onto a tarred road or asphalt, since the mud does not bond with tar, no real repairing takes place, and therefore one is permitted to scrape mud onto the pavement or sidewalk. 

May one scrape shoes onto a mud-bar?

This brings us to the third problem smoothing. Chazal taught us that by scraping shoes onto a sharp edge, one inadvertently smoothes jagged parts of the shoe. Contemporary poskim say that this factor does not apply to our shoes (which are manufactured with precision) and if anything, scraping is detrimental. Therefore one may scrape shoes onto a mud-bar, and when done gently, there is no problem at all. [10] 

Cholent splashed onto my shirt, what am I supposed to do? 

Change your shirt, there is not much you can do. It is permitted to remove whatever is sticking to the outside of the garment, but to remove the remnants of the stain that penetrate the garment is much more of a problem, as we will soon see.

It is strictly forbidden to sprinkle water, saliva or any other cleaning agent onto a stain. The maximum one may do is gently scrape the mess sticking to the shirt. 

Accordingly, it is forbidden to sprinkle salt onto spilled chrain etc. even though the salt will not get rid of the stain, but since it is part of the cleaning process, it is forbidden. 

Is it permitted to remove the stain with ones fingernail? 

The Taz is of the opinion that one may scrape away a stain with ones fingernail (as long as the stain is not made of a substance that breaks up, due to the prohibition of grinding [11]). The Mishna Berura [12] however, strongly opposes this position, and says that it is strictly forbidden to totally scrape away a stain that has penetrated the cloth, and only dirt sitting on top of the cloth may be scraped away. Accordingly, one must refrain from cleaning any stain that has penetrated garments, tablecloths etc. As for asking a non-Jew to clean the garment, a Rav should be consulted, as there is room for leniency. Water, however, may not be used under any circumstances.


[1] Simon 302:19

[2] Kaf HaChayim 14:21-25, Ohr LeTsion vol.2 24:3.

[3] Simon 302:14.

[4] MB simon 302:19.

[5] Ktsos Hashulchan 117:9.

[6] Simon 302:7 and MB 36.

[7] There is another option soaking the mud in water. This is halachically complicated (see SSK 15-40, footnote 137) and a Rav must be consulted.

[8] Desecration of the shabbos.

[9] Shabbos 141.

[10] MB 26.

[11] Products made of ground substances biscuits, bread are not subject to this prohibition, because a ground item cannot be ground again (ein tochen achar tochen). For some reason, this rule does not apply to mud.

[12] Simon 302:36 and Biur Halacha dhavi.


Vort on the Parsha

Reuven was the rightful b'chor (first born) of Ya'akov Avinu, and it he was who was to lose the b'chora to Yosef. And yet it was he who saved Yosef from being killed by his brothers and it was he who pointed out to everyone that Yosef's blood is being accounted for.


For a printed version, click here.


Lezecher Nishmas Ovi Mori Yosef Zvi ben Osher Zeilig Lemishpachas Grosskopf



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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.