Author Archives: מנהל האתר

13. A Commanding Officer’s Authority During Wartime and Normal Times

During a war, one must do everything possible for the sake of victory, on Shabbat as well. One may not delay matters by referring questions to rabbis, nor should he bother commanding officers by asking them what is or is … Continue reading

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12. Fighting Wars on Shabbat

It is a mitzva to wage a defensive war against Israel’s enemies. This mitzva is even greater than the mitzva of saving human life, as one is not required to risk his own life in order to save the life … Continue reading

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11. Scheduling Surgeries and Circumcisions on the Days Preceding Shabbat

Sometimes, one may need to schedule a surgical procedure that will then require follow-up care involving the performance of various melakhot. Similarly, some procedures, such as the extraction of a wisdom tooth, cause pain for several days, which may impair … Continue reading

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10. Doctors and Nurses Driving to Work and Back Home on Shabbat

If a doctor has a shift on Shabbat morning and lives too far away from the hospital to reach it on foot, he must drive to the hospital before Shabbat so he will not have to desecrate Shabbat. Be-di’avad, if … Continue reading

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09. Driving Home on Shabbat

If the patient is released after it is determined that he is not in danger, he and his chaperones may not desecrate Shabbat to return home. If necessary – for example, if the patient needs rest – he may be … Continue reading

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08. Accompanying a Sick Person or Woman in Labor to the Hospital

A patient who is rushed to the hospital generally needs a chaperone, to offer support and to ensure that he is given proper care by the medical staff. Unfortunately, due to heavy volume of patients at a hospital, patients who … Continue reading

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07. Choosing a Hospital and Doctor

When one must drive a gravely ill person or a woman in labor to the hospital, he should drive to the nearest hospital, in order to avoid additional Shabbat desecration. Even if there are better hospitals available, for routine matters, … Continue reading

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06. Traveling to the Hospital

When rushing a patient to the hospital, one drives normally, as he would during the week. He should not try to drive with a shinui, as this may cause delay or be dangerous. One may travel to the hospital in a private … Continue reading

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05. Using a Shinui to Minimize Shabbat Desecration

When dealing with saving lives on Shabbat, a serious dilemma arises. On the one hand, it would seem to be preferable to use a shinui when doing whatever melakhot are necessary. After all, when a melakha is done in the … Continue reading

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04. Using a Non-Jew or Child to Minimize Shabbat Desecration

As we have seen (above, 25:1), a Jew who performs melakha on Shabbat violates Torah law, whereas a Jew who asks a non-Jew to perform melakha for him violates rabbinic law. Similarly, a minor who performs melakha on Shabbat only … Continue reading

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03. For Whom Do We Desecrate Shabbat?

The Sages offered a rationale for desecrating Shabbat to save someone’s life: “Desecrate one Shabbat so that he will observe many Shabbatot” (Yoma 85b). However, in practice, even when it is clear that the person being saved will not observe … Continue reading

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02. Determining Danger

Any illness that doctors normally consider dangerous or that regular people would make haste to save a patient suffering from it is deemed dangerous halakhically, even if only a small minority of people die because of it, and therefore justifies … Continue reading

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01. The Principles of Piku’aĥ Nefesh (Saving a Life)

Saving a life overrides Shabbat, as the Torah states: “Keep My decrees and laws, which a person shall do and live by; I am the Lord” (Vayikra 18:5). The Sages expound: “‘live by’ – and not die by” (Yoma 85b); … Continue reading

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10. Keeping Websites and Vending Machines Open on Shabbat

If a Jew owns a vending machine, and most of its users are Jewish, he must disable it for Shabbat in order to avoid aiding their desecration of Shabbat. If most of the customers are non-Jews, he need not disable … Continue reading

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09. Interacting with Non-Observant Jews and Lifnei Iver

The Torah commands: “Do not put a stumbling block before the blind” (Vayikra 19:14), meaning that one may not cause another person to transgress (MT, Laws of a Murderer 12:14). This commandment is known as “lifnei iver” (“before the blind”). … Continue reading

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08. After Shabbat

Starting half an hour after Shabbat ends, one may listen to news broadcasts produced by Jews, since sufficient time has elapsed for the producers to have collected the material and write the stories after Shabbat. However, one who listens to … Continue reading

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07. Benefiting after Shabbat from a Melakha Performed on Shabbat

As we have learned, one who performs a melakha on Shabbat be-shogeg may benefit from it immediately after Shabbat, as may other Jews. If he transgressed be-mezid, he may never benefit from it, though others may benefit from it after … Continue reading

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06. Power Outages

If there is a power outage, whether local or citywide, Jewish technicians may do what is necessary to restore power to all the area’s residents. This is because many areas have sick people whose lives would be at risk without … Continue reading

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05. If One Did an Action of Disputed Permissibility

The prohibition on benefiting from a melakha done on Shabbat only applies when the action is clearly prohibited. However, if the action is the subject of dispute, even if general practice follows the stricter opinion, one may benefit be-di’avad from … Continue reading

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04. Benefiting from an Action That Did Not Alter an Item

Some say that if a melakha did not physically alter an object, like if it was transported from a public domain to a private domain, the item does not become prohibited, and one may benefit from it on Shabbat in … Continue reading

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03. Cases In Which Deriving Benefit Is Permitted

The prohibition on deriving benefit on Shabbat from the unknowing performance of a melakha applies only to a case of a melakha that is prohibited by Torah law. In contrast, if a rabbinically prohibited action was done unknowingly, one may … Continue reading

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02. The Prohibition of Benefiting from a Melakha Performed on Shabbat

As we have seen, if a Jew knowingly performs a melakha on Shabbat, neither he nor any other Jew may benefit from it during Shabbat. Even if he did the melakha unknowingly, according to most poskim no one may benefit … Continue reading

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01. Principles Behind the Prohibition of Benefiting from Melakha Done on Shabbat

The Torah commands us to refrain from melakha on Shabbat. The Sages added a protective fence by prohibiting deriving benefit from melakha done on Shabbat (ma’aseh Shabbat), as it is improper to benefit on Shabbat from Shabbat desecration. Whether the … Continue reading

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09. Partnerships, Stocks, and Banks

If a Jew and a non-Jew have joint ownership of a store or factory, they must agree when they enter into the partnership that the non-Jew will be responsible for the store on Shabbat and all of that day’s earnings … Continue reading

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08. Non-Jewish Contractors

The prohibition on hiring non-Jews to work on Shabbat applies to wage-earners but not to contractors. For these purposes, “contract work” means that the worker agrees to complete a job by a specified date for an agreed-upon amount of money. … Continue reading

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07. Marit Ayin and Causing a Jew to Sin

Every case where we have learned that a Jew may rent his store or factory to a non-Jew or give his field to a non-Jewish sharecropper applies only where there is no marit ayin (“appearance” of transgression). However, if the … Continue reading

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06. Employees, Sharecroppers, and Renters in Fields and Factories

A Jew may not hire workers to do work for him on Shabbat, as a Jew may not ask a non-Jew to do anything for him on Shabbat that he may not do himself. Therefore, a Jew may not hire … Continue reading

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05. A Non-Jew’s Melakha for Someone Sick or Suffering (and Air Conditioners)

Under normal circumstances, one may not ask a non-Jew to perform melakha on Shabbat. However, for the sake of a sick person, one may ask a non-Jew to perform melakhot, even those that are prohibited by Torah law. These leniencies … Continue reading

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04. For the Sake of a Mitzva or for a Great Need

The Sages permitted asking a non-Jew to do a rabbinically forbidden melakha in cases of great need, such as to prevent suffering or loss, or for the sake of a mitzva. Such cases are a shvut di-shvut, a combination of … Continue reading

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03. Making Use of a Melakha Performed on Shabbat for a Jew

If a Jewish home was dimly lit – enough to allow the household members to eat, clean up, and wash the dishes, but not enough to allow them to read – and a non-Jew came and turned on an additional … Continue reading

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02. Benefiting from a Melakha That a Non-Jew Performed for Himself

The prohibition on benefiting from a melakha done by a non-Jew on Shabbat is limited to a case where the non-Jew undertook the melakha for the benefit of a Jew. However, if he did the melakha for himself or for … Continue reading

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01. Asking a Non-Jew to Do Melakha on Shabbat

Shabbat belongs to Jews alone, as the Torah states: “For it is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I the Lord have consecrated you” (Shemot 31:13). In addition, the Sages go so … Continue reading

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10. Bicycles, Scooters, and Skates

One may not ride a regular two-wheeler bicycle, because this is a weekday activity (22:8 above). Even if a bicycle has training wheels, one may not ride it. However, small children may ride tricycles, because tricycles are only used by … Continue reading

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09. Ball Games and Running

Children may not play soccer, football, baseball, or basketball on Shabbat. Since adults make a big deal out of these games and they have intricate rules and procedures, they are prohibited, as they are considered a prohibited weekday activity. Besides, … Continue reading

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08. Additional Games and Playing in the Yard

One may compress a spring on a toy car so that the car will move forward, as long as the car does not make noise and no lights light up. One may not play with any battery-operated toy (17:2 above). … Continue reading

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07. Permitted and Prohibited Games on Shabbat

It is a mitzva to educate children to study a great deal of Torah on Shabbat. It is thus proper to teach them to minimize game playing so that they will not get used to wasting the precious and holy … Continue reading

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06. A Child Is Comparable to a Sick Person

The Sages forbade a Jew to ask a non-Jew to do melakha for him on Shabbat. In contrast, if a child needs something very badly, his status is akin to that of one who is ill, for whom one may … Continue reading

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05. Permissive Rulings under Pressing Circumstances

Sometimes, under pressing circumstances, one may tell a minor to transgress a rabbinic prohibition, but one may never tell a minor to violate Torah law. First, as we saw regarding ĥinukh in general, the Torah forbids causing a child to … Continue reading

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04. The Prohibition for a Child to Turn Lights On and Off

If the lights went off in a home, and a child understands that his parents would be pleased if he would turn them back on, the parents must tell him not to do so. As we have already learned, parents … Continue reading

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03. Who Is Obligated to Educate and Object?

According to some, the obligation of ĥinukh devolves equally upon the father and mother (Terumat Ha-deshen). However, most poskim maintain that only the father is obligated to train children to do mitzvot, that is, objecting when they transgress negative commandments … Continue reading

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