Chapter: 19 – Agricultural Melakhot (Ĥoresh, Zore’a, Kotzer, and Me’amer)

01. Ĥoresh

The melakha of Ĥoresh refers to preparing ground for sowing or planting, by making furrows or holes in the soil in order to plant seeds or seedlings. Plowing also loosens and softens the soil, making it easier for roots to … Continue reading

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02. Dragging Objects and Pushing a Baby Carriage

One may drag a bed, chair, or bench on the ground, since it is not certain that doing so will make a furrow. Even if the item could easily be lifted off the ground, thus avoiding the possibility of creating … Continue reading

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03. Zore’a

The melakha of Zore’a refers to causing plants or trees to grow by, for example, planting seeds or saplings or by grafting trees. All actions that improve the growth of branches or fruit are forbidden by Torah law as well. … Continue reading

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04. Irrigation

One may not water plants, as it helps them grow and thus constitutes Zore’a. However, one may open irrigation pipes or turn on sprinklers before Shabbat even if they will water plants during Shabbat. Similarly, one may program a computer … Continue reading

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05. Using a Sink Whose Water Drains into the Yard

If a sink’s drainpipe empties onto soil where plants grow, it may not be used on Shabbat by anyone who has an interest in the plants being watered. It goes without saying that one may not use this sink on … Continue reading

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06. Kotzer

Kotzer refers to cutting something off from its source of growth, and it includes harvesting grain, picking grapes, dates, olives, or figs, and pulling off any other fruit or branch from a tree. Cutting down trees to use for heating … Continue reading

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07. Using a Tree

As a precaution, the Sages prohibited using a tree on Shabbat, out of concern that one may end up breaking off a branch or leaf. Therefore, one may not climb or lean against a tree[6] and may not place items … Continue reading

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08. Additional Laws

The Sages’ enactment against using trees applies to shrubs and vines that have hard branches or yield hard fruit, like pumpkins. However, the enactment does not include soft weeds, bushes, or branches. Therefore, one may sit on a lawn on … Continue reading

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09. Flowers and Branches in a Vase

Flowers, branches, or stems that were picked before Shabbat for their beauty or fragrance, are not muktzeh on Shabbat. Therefore, a vase containing branches that are used for their beauty or fragrance may be moved. Similarly, they may be removed … Continue reading

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10. A Flowerpot

Just as one may not break off a branch or leaf from a plant growing in soil, so too one may not break off anything from a potted plant. If the flowerpot has holes in the bottom, it is considered … Continue reading

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11. Me’amer

Me’amer refers to gathering harvested grain into sheaves or piles. Similarly, one who gathers picked fruit and places them in boxes or piles transgresses Me’amer, as does one who gathers cut branches or reeds to use as fuel. This melakha, … Continue reading

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