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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 Emor


In the previous shiur we discussed removing items from trees, climbing trees etc.

Does this issur apply to all types of trees?

This issur only refers to trees and branches that are above 3 tefachim from the ground.  Anything below that is not labeled as a tree [1] and one may place things on such a branch. [2] If a certain section of a branch is above 3 tefachim and another section is below 3 tefachim, each section is treated differently. One may not place items or remove items from the section that is above 3 and one may remove and put items on the section that is below 3 tefachim. [3]

What about leaning on a tree?

  • It is ossur to lean heavily on a tree because that is called using the tree. [4]
  • A strong, healthy person may lean lightly on a sturdy tree, making sure that the tree does not move.
  • A weak person who needs to lean may not lean on a tree. [5]

The difference arises because a healthy person does not need to lean heavily on a tree in order to support himself whereas a weak, frail person does. In the latter case it is called using the tree.

May one hang a coat on a peg fixed to a tree?

We learned in the previous shiur that it is prohibited to hang or place anything on a tree on Shabbos. Chazal also prohibited using an item hanging or leaning on a tree, as an extension of the gzeira. This section is called , which literally means sides. [6]

Accordingly it is forbidden to hang a coat on a peg fixed to a tree because the peg is called an attachment to the tree, and one may not use .

  • Likewise, one may not climb a ladder leaning on a tree;
  • One may not place an item in a basket hanging from a branch, as the basket is .
  • One may not swing on a swing hanging from a branch.
  • One may not place an item in a coat pocket hanging from a tree, or remove something from that coat.

May one lie in a hammock tied between trees?

Accordingly, one may not swing in a hammock tied between two trees or between a tree and a wall because the hammock is tied to the tree and is .

What if the hammock is tied to a peg, which is fixed to the tree?

One step away from is called , or in other words, it is two steps away from the tree. This section was not prohibited by Chazal and one my use . Accordingly,

  • One may place an item into a pocket of a coat hanging on a peg that is fixed to a tree. The peg is and the coat is . The coat however may not be removed from the peg because then one would be using the peg.
  • One may swing on a swing tied to a pole that is tied between two branches or two trees. However, if the tree moves on account of one sitting on the swing one may not do so, as that is called using the tree. [7]
  • One may place fruit into a basket tied to a pole or peg that is fixed to the tree. The basket is .


To summarize: Using the tree itself is ossur. Using is ossur. Using is permitted provided that the tree does not move when doing so. 

What happens if a ball gets stuck in a tree, may one retrieve it?

            Removing something from a tree has the same law as using the tree and is forbidden. We learned that one may not remove a shofar from a tree on Rosh Hashanah, even though an entire congregation will forfeit the mitzvah of hearing the shofar. Therefore if a ball got stuck in a tree on Shabbos it may not be removed from the tree.

            May one walk or sit on grass on Shabbos?

            Everybody sits or walks on grass on Shabbos and it is permitted. The question though is why is it permitted? Are we not afraid that one might uproot the grass while walking or sitting on it?

The gemora in Eiruvin 100b actually deals with this issue and concludes that one may walk on grass with [8] or without shoes; on wet [9] grass and dry; tall grass and short. The reason it is permitted is because the halacha is in accordance with R Shimon who holds that a melacha that is performed unintentionally and in passing on Shabbos is permitted ( ). The poskim add that this is on condition that it is not clear-cut that the melacha will be done ( ).

In simple language this means that since it is not clear-cut that sitting or walking on the grass one will uproot it, it is permitted.

The Mishna Berura adds that if after walking through grass one finds grass between ones toes, they are muktze and should not be removed with ones hands. 

Is it permitted to run on grass on Shabbos?

            Following the above, the Biur Halacha [10] says that one may not run in tall grass because it is a psik reisha (definite) that one will uproot the grass. He adds that one should even take care not to walk too quickly in tall grass in such a manner that it is very probable that one will uproot the grass.

Accordingly we can apply this halacha to other instances and when in given circumstances we know that ones action will surely uproot the grass, one would be prohibited to proceed.

[1] Simon 336:2.

[2] MB simon 336:18.

[3] Simon 336:2 and MB 21.

[4] Simon 336:13 in the Biur Halacha " .

[5] MB 336:63. See also SSK 26:12.

[6] Simon 336:13 and MB 59.

[7] MB 336:63 and SSK 26:17.

[8] There is more room to prohibit walking barefoot on grass because the grass gets caught between the toes. The gemora concludes though that it is permitted.

[9] Wet grass is soft and weak and easily uprooted or broken (Meiri). Rashi explains it differently.

[10] ' " " " .


Orchos Chaim LaRosh

Always serve Hashem with love.

Much emphasis is placed on serving Hashem by being extremely particular about the finer details, and rightly so. We see from the Chazon Ish how meticulous his Avodas Hashem was, by making sure that every detail is carried out to the fullest, because the finer points show love. Our raison dêtre is to serve Hashem, but if we do it with a sour face and heavy heart, it shows that we would have preferred to spend our time doing something else. The biggest gift in our lives is the ability to get close to Him and every mitzvah, dvar Torah, chessed and much more are means to do so. We must perform them with gratitude that we have the opportunity to do so, with love, because we want to and bsimcha.

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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.