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 Matos/Maseisubscribe


Does the tablecloth become a basis l’davar ha’assur as well?

Two rules apply to this particular question. Rule 1: the gemora in Shabbos 47a says that because a flame is muktze, the wick, the oil and the lamp all become a basis l’davar ha’assur.1 In other words, anything placed beneath the muktze becomes muktze as well, not only the item directly beneath the muktze.

Rule 2: When the item beneath the muktze is not there to serve the muktze but for another purpose, it does not become a basis l’davar ha’assur.

Application: A table serves everything placed above it and therefore the table becomes a basis to the candles. Even though the candles might be placed on a tray, nevertheless the table becomes a basis.2 However, the tablecloth was not placed to hold up and be a base to the candles rather to cover and decorate the table, and just as we find that a turnip buried in the ground does not become a basis l’davar ha’assur to the muktze-soil covering it, for this very reason – the turnip 3is not there to hold up the soil – so too the tablecloth is not there to serve the candles.4 Accordingly the tablecloth would not be muktze at all. 5

However, we find poskim who say that the entire tablecloth does become muktze,6 and others 7who say that only the section of the tablecloth beneath the candles becomes muktze. The Mishna Berura says 8that when necessary one may rely on the lenient poskim who do not consider the tablecloth muktze at all.

Is a drawer with money, or other muktze items, muktze?

Since the drawer’s purpose is to store items, it becomes a basis l’davar ha’assur. A drawer will not become a basis when items that are not muktze are in the drawer as well and are more important than the muktze items.

How does one determine which item is more important than the other?

In the Sefer Muktze 9we find two definitions:

HaRav Moshe Feinstein Ztz”l: the evaluation is made according to one’s present needs. Therefore, if on a tray or in a drawer there are money and plates, since one has no need for the money on Shabbos and the plates are needed, they are considered more valuable.10 Accordingly the tray and drawer are a basis for the heter and not muktze.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Ztz”l: is quoted as saying that it must be an overall estimation of what a person would surrender if he had to. 11Therefore, in the above case of money and plates, if the money were a substantial sum, a person would prefer to relinquish his hold on the plates and not surrender the money. Accordingly the money would be the important one and the tray or drawer a basis l’davar ha’assur.

If Reuven placed money on Shimon’s table before Shabbos, does it render the table a basis l’davar ha’assur?

Another rule is that a basis l’davar ha’assur can only be instigated by the owner or his agent of the permitted item. Therefore, when Reuven placed money or other muktze items on Shimon’s permitted items without Shimon’s consent or knowledge, it will not become a basis, and the muktze may be tilted off the heter.

The Mishna Berura says 12that many poskim agree that if Reuven placed a muktze item on Shimon’s heter for Shimon’s benefit it becomes a basis, even though Shimon knew nothing about it.

For example: If Reuven placed a plate beneath a burning candle in order to prevent a fire, and the candle fell into the plate from before bein hashmashos (twilight) until nighttime,13 since it is obvious that Shimon would have wanted Reuven to place it there, the plate becomes a basis l’davar ha’assur.

[1] As was explained in the previous sheets, a permitted item beneath a muktze item becomes muktze when certain rules are complied with.
[2] Unless the measures in sheet #29 were taken to counterbalance the candles.
[3] Simon 311:8.
[4] Sha’ar Ha’tsiun 309:24 in the name of the Bais Meir.
[5] The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 309:9 rules according to this opinion.
[6] Levushei S’rad on the Taz.
[7] P’ri Megadim.
[8] Simon 309:18.
[9] Written by Rav Pinchas Bodner
[10] If he had other plates and the money was a substantial sum, the money would take precedence.
[11] See also the Shulchan Shlomo Simon 310:28/3, and not as it says in the SS”K 20 footnote 203.
[12] Simon 309:27.
[13] Shulchan Aruch HaRav. Otherwise the plate would not be a basis.
[14] The Torah has many reasons for mentioning certain events, but at face value – p’shat it appears only to be a historical event.

Food For Thought

Is fruit sold as merchandise muktze or not?

Is there a difference between food products and other merchandise? I.e. if I can obtain paper and plastic plates from a local storeowner on Shabbos it is muktze?

If I placed apple pieces on my porch to dry before Shabbos, may I eat them on Shabbos?

If one erroneously believed that a certain item was muktze and subsequently learned that it is not. May he handle that item on Shabbos?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Why is it that when B’nei Yisroel arrived at Eilim the possuk says that “they found 12 springs…” and when they arrived at Refidim “there was no water” and yet when they arrived at Midbar Sinai (33:15-16), where the most paramount event in the history of the Jews took place, it does not mention “the acceptance of the Torah”?

Rav Dov Eliezrov Ztz”l says that at face value 14these events took place in the past and are only mentioned historically, whereas the acceptance of the Torah is an everyday commandment and occurrence and was not a one time, historical event. Therefore it would be incorrect to say that the Torah was accepted in Midbar Sinai, because it is, and must be, accepted everyday, always!

For a printed version, click here.

Dedicated in memory of Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 26th Tamuz
and Reb Zohar Harary, 24th Tamuz.

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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.