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Flowers, Plants and Grass on Shabbos
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 Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Question: What are the Shabbos restrictions regarding plants and flowerpots? Discussion: In practical halachic terms, all potted plants—both perforated or not,42 both outdoors and indoors43—are considered to be “nourished” from the ground and “connected” to it.44 Consequently, “uprooting” and moving any potted plant from one “connected” place to another, e.g., […]
Trees, Plants and Flowers on Shabbos
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Question: What are the Shabbos restrictions regarding trees? Discussion: It is Biblically prohibited to tear a branch or a leaf from a tree on Shabbos—Reaping. To protect us from inadvertently doing so, Chazal erected several “fences,” precautionary measures, which restrict our access to trees. It is, therefore, rabbinically forbidden on […]
Adjusting a Timer on Shabbos
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah by Rabbi Meir Maryles Question: If a light or an air conditioner is set to turn off at a later time by means of a mechanical timer, may one adjust the settings of the timer on Shabbos to cause it to turn off earlier?23 Discussion: Setting a timer to turn […]
Performing a Melachah Indirectly on Shabbos (Grama)
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah by Rabbi Meir Maryles The Principles Causing a melachah to occur indirectly — referred to as grama — is Biblically permitted.14 Thus, Shulchan Aruch (334:22) rules that one may cause a fire to be extinguished indirectly, for example, by placing jugs of water in the path of the fire such […]
Dealing with a Fire Emergency on Shabbos
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah CHAPTER 334 Question: May a fire burning out of control but is of no direct danger to human life be extinguished on Shabbos? Discussion: In almost all situations, even if there is no direct threat to any human life, a fire burning out of control which cannot be easily and […]
Moving an Electric Lamp on Shabbos
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Question: On Shabbos, may an electric lamp be moved to another location so that the light will not disturb one’s sleep? Discussion: This should be avoided, since many Poskim classify an electric lamp as absolute muktzeh, which may not be moved for any reason.[i] While some Poskim maintain that an […]
Adjusting Timers on Shabbos
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Question: Is it permitted to adjust a Shabbos clock (timer[i]) to turn on or off a light or an appliance[ii] sooner or later than originally planned? Discussion: There are a number of halachic concerns involved in adjusting timers. There is a possible issue of violating the melachah of kindling (mav’ir), […]
Using a Refrigerator on Shabbos or Yom Tov
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Question: What must be done on Friday to prepare the refrigerator for Shabbos or Yom Tov use? Discussion: Some refrigerators and freezers are equipped with a switch that automatically turns the fan off when the door is opened. This switch must be deactivated before Shabbos. Some refrigerators have a cold […]
Using a Dishwasher on Shabbos
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Question: Is it permitted on Shabbos to ask a non-Jew to wash dirty dishes knowing full well that he will use a dishwasher? Similarly, is it permitted to ask a non-Jew to clean the floor knowing that he will use a vacuum cleaner? Discussion: It is a rabbinic[i] prohibition[ii] to […]
Amirah le’Akum: Basic Parameters
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Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah Although the consensus of the Poskim is that the prohibition of amirah le‘akum (instructing a non-Jew to do a melachah for a Jew on Shabbos) is only a rabbinical ordinance,[i] it has a Biblical source[ii] and is, therefore, considered a severe rabbinic prohibition. Let us review the parameters of this […]