Chapter: 15 – Boneh and Soter

01. The Principles of Boneh, Soter, and Makeh Be-fatish

The melakha of Boneh (building) is the melakha through which the Mishkan was constructed. The melakha includes leveling the ground in preparation for erecting the Mishkan upon it and so that people can walk easily in its courtyard. It also … Continue reading

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02. Boneh on the Ground, and Safeguards against it

As we have seen, Boneh includes the prohibition of leveling the ground, whether in order to make it easier to walk on, enable chairs and benches to be placed upon it, or to build upon it. Therefore, one who levels … Continue reading

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03. Attaching Things to a House or the Ground

Permanently affixing something useful to a house or the ground violates the Torah prohibition of Boneh. Removing such fixtures violates the Torah prohibition of Soter. This is the case even if the attachment is not tight and the objects can … Continue reading

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04. Making a Tent (Ohel)

Making an ohel is a tolada of Boneh. In contrast to the melakha of Boneh, which involves attaching different components, such as stone, wood, cement, and metal, to construct a house or implement, making an ohel does not involve the … Continue reading

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05. Additional Laws Pertaining Ohel

As we have seen, making even a temporary ohel is rabbinically prohibited. Included in this prohibition is placing a wide board or a sheet across vertical supports to protect oneself from the elements. However, when the supports are not permanent, … Continue reading

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06. Permitted and Prohibited Implements

Just as Boneh and Soter apply to building or demolishing a house, the ground, or an ohel, they also apply to building or demolishing an implement.[5] Therefore, one may not insert the handle of a hammer into the hammer head … Continue reading

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07. Permissible Assembly and Disassembly of Implements

There is a difference between attaching things to a house and attaching things to an implement. One may not add anything to (or remove anything from) a house even if it is attached loosely, since the house is considered permanent. … Continue reading

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08. Fixing Broken Implements

Some items are sturdily assembled initially but loosen over time. If people are used to using these items in their loosened state, it is not prohibited to assemble or disassemble them. As noted, assembling implements loosely is not considered Boneh. … Continue reading

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09. Cleaning the Floor and Making Repairs

If the floor is dirty, and leaving it in such a state dishonors Shabbat, one may sweep the floor. A yard, though, may not be swept, because one may end up leveling the ground and thus transgressing Boneh (see section … Continue reading

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10. Meĥatekh

The melakha of Meĥatekh is instrumental in transforming raw material into houses, implements, clothing, etc. For example, if one wishes to make leather clothing, he must first cut the leather to the right size. If one wishes to build a … Continue reading

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11. Opening Cans

One may open cans on Shabbat in order to eat the food inside them. Since cans are disposable and meant for single use, they are not considered true receptacles and are more akin to shells that are broken to get … Continue reading

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12. Opening Bags and Wrappers

Many dairy products are sold in plastic containers. One may peel the cover of such a plastic container. Similarly, packages of wafers and chocolate bars may be opened. Since the wrapper is meant to be disposable, it is secondary to … Continue reading

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13. Opening Bottles

Poskim disagree about whether one may open a wine bottle that has a metal screw cap. Some prohibit opening it, maintaining that before the bottle is opened, the cap is simply a cover, but after it is opened and separated … Continue reading

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14. Opening Soda Cans and Separating Attached Plastic Containers

Some forbid opening a pop-top can on Shabbat. They are concerned that this action may constitute Boneh, because it creates a neat opening that allows one to drink. They are also concerned that one may be transgressing Meĥatekh, because the … Continue reading

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