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 Vayeitzei


In the previous sheet we mentioned that there are certain concerns using baby wipes on Shabbos.

How then is one supposed to clean a baby on Shabbos?

            As in the case of the injection, one can pour baby lotion or oil onto the babys body and gently wipe it up with tissue paper or pre-cut cotton wool.

            Is one permitted to add food coloring to food on Shabbos?

            One of the 39 prohibited labors on Shabbos is or Coloring because in the process of the building of the Mishkan we find that they would dye wool that was used for making the coverings of the Mishkan.

With regards to food however, the halacha is that the actual translation of which states that coloring does not take place in edibles, which in turn means that one may blend foods and liquids even though one food item will color another.

It is therefore permitted to add ginger to food, pour raspberry syrup into water, mix red and white wine and pour tea essence [1] into hot water. [2]

            Am I permitted to add food coloring solely for the sake of coloring the food?

            The halacha is that even adding coloring for the sake of coloring is permitted but the Mishna Berura writes that it is better not to do so. [3] This does not mean that one may dye foods at whim. One is prohibited to dye food or liquids for marketing purposes. For example, one who sells liquor may not dye the liquor in order to make it more appealing to customers. Even though one is dying a food product and we could say that , it is not so, because that is only true when the sole purpose is to whet an appetite. When the purpose is other than eating it takes on the regular laws of dyeing and coloring. [4]

The Mishna Berura adds from the Pri Megadim that one who dyes water and places it in the sun will in all likelihood have to bring a korban as atonement.

            Is there an issue of Coloring when wiping stained hands on a napkin on Shabbos?  

            This halacha might seem a bit foreign to us because we are not accustomed to dyeing clothes and fabrics. Nevertheless, since it is normal to dye fabric and cloth, coloring a napkin with ones red hands must be avoided. [5] It appears from the Shulchan Aruch that this halacha applies to substances that are regularly used for dyeing, such as fruit extracts. However, soiling a napkin with gravy would not be a problem because one does not usually dye fabric or clothing with gravy.

Therefore, after eating raspberries, strawberries and any other colored fruit one should rinse ones hands and lips with water before wiping them on a towel or napkin.

Is there a difference between a paper napkin and a material one?

            Yes there is because a paper napkin is discarded subsequent to its use and therefore its coloring is not called dyeing. One only dyes items that are intended for later use whereas paper napkins are soiled not dyed. [6]         

            What if I only have cloth napkins and I cannot rinse my hands or lips?

            The Mishna Berura writes [7] that others disagree and say that wiping soiled hands on a napkin is not called rather it is something known as soiling - and is not subject to the restrictions of . Therefore when one is in a situation where there is no other option one may rely on this opinion and wipe ones hands and face even on a cloth napkin.

I heard something about not using a tissue to stop a nosebleed. Is this correct?

            One may not use a cloth napkin or towel to stop or absorb blood because it dyes the cloth as mentioned. [8] Even though it is soiling the towel nevertheless according to some opinions it is called dyeing and is prohibited. One opinion holds [9] that using a red napkin is worse than using a white one, because the blood strengthens the existing red dye and another opinion holds [10] that it is better to use a red cloth than a white one because it is less noticeable.

One may use a tissue because it is discarded after use.

The Mishna Berura writes that when hard-pressed one may rely on the opinions that say it is but when possible the blood should be washed away before applying a towel or cloth. Gauze that is discarded after use is similar to a tissue and may be used. [11]

            Is a woman permitted to apply makeup on Shabbos?

            The Shulchan Aruch [12] teaches us that it is prohibited for a woman to apply blush to her face on Shabbos.  He continues that for this reason she may not apply blue coloring to her eyes.

It is immaterial whether the makeup lasts for a day or for a few hours; it is all included in the prohibition of coloring. [13]

Is this true for all kinds of makeup? 

R Moshe Feinstein ztzl writes that a woman may not apply makeup but he adds that white powder that is thrown on the face may be used because it has no permanency whatsoever. He is probably referring to the type of powder blown onto the face with a small blower, but all other types of makeup are prohibited.

On the other hand Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl says that all types are prohibited since the purpose of makeup is to color regardless of how long it clings to the face. [14]

However it follows that even R Moshe does not permit the use of white powders that are applied with a brush or that are oil based because these cling to the face and are considered coloring. Colored powders are prohibited according to both opinions.

[1] The 318:65 says that putting the water into the essence, i.e. the non-colored into the colored will avoid the problem of .

[2] Siman 320:19 and MB 56.

[3] MB 320:56 and SSK 11:38.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Siman 320:20.

[6] SSK 14:19.

[7] MB siman 320:59.

[8] Siman 328:48 and MB 146.

[9] MA mentioned in MB 320:59.

[10] Elya Raba ibid.

[11] SSK 35:18.

[12] Siman 303:25.

[13] Based on the SSK 14 footnote 151 and the Shaar Hatsiun 68.

[14] SSK 14 footnote 158.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh

One should not speak once the mezamen has lifted the cup for bentching. The importance of the is to lend importance to the bentching and from when it is lifted one should not speak until one recites after bentching. [1]

[1] See MB siman 183:22 who says that this is a chumra.

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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.