Chapter: 05 – Mav’ir, Mekhabeh, and Electricity

01. Mav’ir

The Torah permits lighting a fire (hav’ara) on Yom Tov for tzorekh okhel nefesh (3:2 above). However, the Sages prohibited doing so (m. Beitza 4:7 and Gemara 33a), since creating something new is similar to performing a melakha. It is … Continue reading

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02. Mekhabeh

On Yom Tov, a fire may be extinguished (kibui) only for the needs of okhel nefesh. Otherwise, it is forbidden. Even if all of one’s possessions are going up in flames, extinguishing the fire is prohibited as long as there … Continue reading

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03. Lighting a Fire for Heat, and Candles for Light and Atmosphere

Just as one may use fire to cook and bake, so one may to use fire to heat the house when it is cold. If the fire in a wood-burning stove is too small to properly heat the house, more … Continue reading

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04. Electricity

Turning on an electric light or electric heater is included in the rabbinic prohibition on lighting a new fire on Yom Tov. Turning on an electrical appliance without a heating element is prohibited as well.[4] Just as one may increase … Continue reading

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05. Grama and Turning Off Gas Burners

The Sages infer from the verse, “You shall not do any melakha” (Shemot 20:10), that the Torah prohibits the actual performance of a melakha; but if the melakha is done automatically, even if a person caused it to be done, … Continue reading

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06. Grama Devices and Alarms

Some rule leniently about devices and appliances whose functioning is barely distinguishable from regular devices but whose inner workings have subtle differences so that the devices can be considered to work via “grama.” Three different methods are used: 1) removing … Continue reading

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07. Timers on Shabbat and Yom Tov

One may turn on lights before Shabbat and set a timer (“Shabbos clock”) to turn them off and then back on at the desired times. Similarly, one may use a timer to turn on an electric oven or fan, setting … Continue reading

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08. Thermostats

If one set the thermostat of a radiator to a moderate temperature before Shabbat, but on Shabbat realizes that it is hotter than he had expected, he may lower the setting of the thermostat once it has switched the radiator … Continue reading

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09. Incense and Cigarettes

According to the Gemara, one may not burn incense in order to perfume his home or clothing, because lighting a fire on Yom Tov is permitted only for something that most people enjoy (shaveh le-khol nefesh). Perfuming homes and clothing … Continue reading

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10. Bathing

Because of a variety of possible halakhic issues, many do not bathe or shower on Yom Tov. However, in a case of need, one may bathe in hot water as long as the water was heated in one of the … Continue reading

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11. Specific Laws of Bathing

One may use liquid soap on Shabbat and Yom Tov. However, many are careful to avoid using bar soap or thick liquid soap, for two reasons. First, using bar soap or thick liquid soap resembles Memaḥek, since using a bar … Continue reading

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