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 Vayeishev


A growing trend is to have permanent makeup applied and thus avoid the prohibition of applying makeup on Shabbos. Is there any problem with this?

            As far as Hilchos Shabbos is concerned there is no problem with having permanent makeup applied. However, permanent makeup is applied in a manner very similar to tattooing [1] which raises a serious problem of tattoo making. A competent rav must be consulted as to whether it is permitted.

            May one use a toilet bowl freshener that colors the water on Shabbos?

            This is a complicated issue and is subject to a machlokes (disagreement) amongst the poskim. As such, we will not render a halachic ruling rather we will present the various problems involved and as for personal conduct one must receive a ruling from ones rav.

1) Coloring The first problem is that the soap colors the water. As we have learnt in previous sheets it is prohibited to dye any substance other than food (even foods some say may only be dyed by-the-way, but not solely for the color).

The water in the toilet bowl is colored on purpose with the intention of giving the water a fresh and disinfected appearance. [2]

2) Fragrance The second problem is adding fragrance to the water. The Mishna Berura in Hilchos Yom Tov [3] says that it is forbidden to introduce a fragrance into water intending that the water smells nice. One cannot say that it is done by-the-way because ones intention is to have the water appear fresh and clean.

3) Nolad a new substance. Some authorities are concerned with the fact the soap-like substance is transformed from a solid into a liquid, which is a problem of Molid, as mentioned in the Rama. [4]

What about wearing photo gray lenses on Shabbos?

            Photo gray lenses darken when in sunlight and return to become clear when out of the sunlight. No coloring is physically added to the lenses in the process. What happens is that a certain substance in the lens changes color when in sunlight. When back indoors the normal coloring returns to the lens and the color disappears. Rav Moshe Feinstein ztzl ruled that it is not a problem of coloring because nothing is in fact being colored. The proof is that after a few minutes indoors the color disappears. This process is continued ad infitum.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl adds that since one does not do anything in particular towards coloring the lenses it is permitted. See the following paragraph. [5]

            What about the use of celluloid strip that is used to measure ones temperature. Is it a problem of coloring due to the color change in the process?

            There are various types on the market and the halacha varies accordingly. Here too there is a machlokes amongst the poskim with regards to its use on Shabbos. We will merely present the issues, but for a ruling one must approach ones rav.

Type I: certain squares change color when placed on the forehead indicating whether the person has a fever. It would appear that it shares the same status as the photo gray lenses, however in this case one is actively causing the color to change adding a certain measure of stringency to the issue. [6]

Type II: Digits or letters are visible even before applying heat to the celluloid strip and when heat is applied the digits become colored. This type is a bit more problematic than the previous type because one is coloring letters and making them more visible. [7]

Type III: Nothing is visible on the celluloid strip and when heat is applied to the strip letters or digits become visible. This is far worse than the previous types because one is executing temporary writing. Even though no ink is added in the process, nevertheless we find that the Pri Megadim writes that it is prohibited to place a piece of paper with invisible ink over a flame thereby exposing the hidden letters. Rav Shlomo Zalman rules that our case is of a similar halachic stature and is forbidden to use.

            Is one permitted to prepare a saline solution for a vegetable salad on Shabbos?

            At first glance one might ask what is wrong with mixing salt and water on Shabbos? The answer is that certain saline solutions are used for pickling vegetables etc. [8] and Chazal were afraid that if it was permitted to make certain saline solutions it would ultimately lead to processing items (other than food, such as leather etc. Pickling food is only an issur drabanan) which is an issur doraisso.

This applies to mixing vinegar and salt and any other type of pickling solution. Rav Sternbuch shlita pointed out that the prohibition only applies to saltwater that would be used for pickling but a small amount of salt in a large volume of water is not a problem at all.

            Which saltwater solutions are permitted?

The Mechaber [9] tells us that one must prepare a small quantity and not a large one. A small quantity is not usually used for pickling and thus the entire issue of pickling is avoided. If one needs to make a large quantity of salt water because one is catering for many guests, one should either prepare small quantities in several bowls or add oil to the water before adding the salt. The oil, according to some poskim, [10] will weaken the effect of the saltwater thus disabling its ability to be a pickling agent.

[1] A pen-like instrument comprised of very thin needles is used to lift the outer skin layer (epidermal layer) thus enabling the dye and pigments to enter beneath that layer and dye the second skin layer (dermal layer).

[2] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was stringent because of coloring, see the SSK 23:14 and footnote 44. See also the .

[3] " ". Although in siman 128:23 he mentions that it is a machlokes, in Hilchos Yom Tom he concludes that it is ossur.

[4] Siman 326:10 and MB 30.

[5] Many other poskim also permit the use of these glasses, see the Piskei Tshuvos siman 320 footnote 38.

[6] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach rules that since it is used for a sick person one may be lenient. He says that it is worse than the photogray lenses due to the reason mentioned that one is actively coloring the strip. See the SSK 40 footnote *8.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Siman 321:2 and MB 9.

[9] Ibid.

[10] MB siman 321:10.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh

, one should not speak in between Baruch Sheamar and Shemone Esre and during repetition of Shemone Esre. Speaking during tefilla shows disrespect to Hashem yisborach. Imagine standing before a king and holding conversation with a friend.

For a printed version, click here.



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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.