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 Re'eh

How should one mix hot water and cold in order to wash one’s hands or face?

We learned in the previous shiur that one may wash limited areas of one’s body with hot water on Shabbos provided that a) one does not wash the majority of one’s body and b) that the water was heated before Shabbos. One of the methods is to take hot water from an electric Shabbos urn or to use some water from the kettle that is on the Shabbos hot plate or blech. This water is heated before Shabbos and may therefore be used for this purpose.

The problem is that this water is too hot to bathe with, and for practical reasons it must be mixed with cold water. Mixing hot and cold water can result in the ‘cooking’ of the cold water and therefore must be mixed in a permitted manner.

Two methods are feasible and permitted:

1)                   Pour hot water from the urn etc. into a dry vessel and add cold water to cool it. Since the vessel the hot water is now in is called a k’li sheini, one may add ‘uncooked’ water to a k’li sheini and it does not ‘cook’ in that k’li. [1]

2)                   Pour hot water from the urn etc. onto cold water making sure that only a small amount of hot water is poured thus ensuring that the mixture does not reach the temperature of yad soledes bo. [2]

If a gentile heated water on Shabbos for an ill person, may someone else wash with that water?

The Shulchan Aruch [3] teaches us that if a gentile cooked for a sick person on Shabbos, a healthy person may not partake of that food on Shabbos. [4] The reason is because Chazal were afraid that the gentile would purposely add food to the pot for the healthy person. [5]

The same reasoning is applied to our case. Were it permitted for a healthy person to bathe in the hot water heated for a sick person there is fear that the gentile would heat water specifically for the healthy person. Accordingly a healthy person may not wash with that water.

Is one permitted to take a cold shower on Shabbos?

The abovementioned problems pertaining to hot water do not apply to bathing in cold water. However there are other problems. The Shulchan Aruch [6] teaches us that when one washes in a river on Shabbos, when coming out of the river one must take care to dry himself before walking four amos, because he will be ‘carrying’ the water in a carmelis. [7]

The Mishna Berura, quoting the poskim, says [8] that the custom is not to bathe in a river on Shabbos at all because of the various pitfalls involved with such bathing.

Just to mention two: carrying the water more than four amos on the river banks and drying hair, which is a problem of squeezing. [9]

Many poskim are of the opinion that there is no difference between taking a cold shower and bathing in the river. Accordingly one must refrain from taking a cold shower or bath on Shabbos. [10]

HaRav Moshe Feinstein ztz”l writes [11] that although one ideally could make a distinction between a shower and bathing in the river, nevertheless one should not take a cold shower on Shabbos.

Does that mean that there is no heter whatsoever to take a cold shower even when necessary?

Rav Moshe writes that when necessary, such as during a heat wave etc. and one feels that a shower is of paramount importance, one may take a cold shower. [12] One should refer to a rav for guidance.

How is one to dry oneself after a cold shower?

The main problem is squeezing water from wet hair. This is an issur d’rabanan [13] and therefore when drying a beard or drying hair on Shabbos, care must be taken not to squeeze water from the hair.

However, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach writes [14] that when squeezed directly into a towel, it is permitted, i.e. by placing the towel over one’s hair or beard and gently rubbing the hair into the towel, thus ensuring that the water is not squeezed onto the floor.

[1] Simon 318:13. See also the SS”K 1:53.

[2] See the SS”K 1:51 based on the Bi’ur Halacha in simon 318:12. Yad soledes bo: 40-45C or 104 - 113F.

[3] Simon 318:2.

[4] Disregarding the issue of bishul akum - food cooked by a gentile.

[5] See the M”B 318:13 whether and when it is an issur d’oraisso or only a d’rabanan.

[6] Simon 326:7, and see M”B 22.

[7] A reshus harabim d’rabanan.

[8] Simon 326:21.

[9] Either under the umbrella of Libun or Dash.

[10] See the SS”K 14:11. The ???? ????? in the name of the Chazon Ish, the ???? ???? and others.

[11] Igross Moshe Orach Chaim vol. IV simon 74 page 145 and simon 75.

[12] See the SS”K 14:11.

[13] M”B 326:25.

[14] SS”K 14 footnote 64.

Food For Thought

May one use a sponge when washing oneself on Shabbos?

Is using soap a problem when washing hands and face, for example?

Is swimming in a pool permitted on Shabbos?

What is the halacha with regards to using a hot water bottle on Shabbos?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says that one must celebrate and be content with one’s earnings (14:17). Rav Sternbuch Shlita quotes a tzaddik who said that the time will come when our lips will be worn from saying to Hashem that we have enough - ?? ????? ???????? ????? ??. Chazal tell us that a person is never content, and when one has 100 one wants 200. The b’rocho is therefore that a person will reach saturation and say to Hashem that he lacks nothing; he has enough. Contentment is the biggest b’rocho because one can then begin to enjoy the fruits of his labors and not continue searching for more.

For a printed version, click here.


One may receive and distribute these weekly shiurim by calling or writing: Office 99 Rechov Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim,
Phone Numbers:U.S. and Canada 732-370-3344 Israel 972-8-974-4177
 South Africa 2711-728-4275 England 44161-792-2492 Australia 61-296835626 Switzerland 01141430288
e-mail:, or, weekly sponsorships are available as well. 

If you would like to send a question to Rav Ostroff, you can write to him at

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.