575. Making Use of a Tree

In an introductory note to this chapter, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that most Jews are already familiar with the prohibited labors of Shabbos and that he is only addressing common situations with which people may not be familiar. Clearly, the laws of Shabbos constitute an area requiring much greater study than this email alone will allow.

80:59 We may not break or cut non-food items on Shabbos. We may cut anything used as food, even for animals, so we may therefore cut a piece of straw for use as a toothpick (even with a knife – OC 322:4; even if he desires a particular length – Mishnah Brurah 322:12). Fragrant sticks may be crushed or broken (by hand – MB 322:17) in order to smell them even if they are as hard as wood. These, however, may not be cut for use as a toothpick.

80:60 A tree may not used for any purpose on Shabbos, whether it is fresh or dry, even if one doesn’t cause it to move. Conversely, causing a tree to move even without using it for some purpose is forbidden as muktza. One may not climb or hang from a tree, nor place an object on it or take an object from it, nor tie an animal to it, or any such activity. Things attached to a tree are as forbidden as the tree itself. Therefore, if a basket is hanging from a tree, one may not put anything in the basket or remove anything from it. If a peg is driven into a tree and the basket is hanging on the peg, one may move things into and out of the basket because the basket is attached to something that is attached to the tree, not to the tree itself. One may not, however, remove the basket from the peg or hang it on the peg, because that would constitute making use of the peg, which is attached to the tree.