Sunday, 16 July 2017

Money in Coat Pocket

Question: I was walking back from shul with others on Shabbos and realised that there was some money in my coat pocket. What should I have done?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 310:7) writes that if one left money on a bed, the bed becomes a bassis (base) and is itself muktze just like the money on it. The Mishna Berura (310:24) writes that as coins are muktze machmas gufo (inherently muktze) one wouldn’t be able to move them just because one needed the space. The same would apply to bank notes which are muktze machmas chesronam (valuables. See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchas 20:20).
While money is muktze, clothing with money in the pocket does not necessarily become a bassis. R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchas 20:72) that providing one didn’t purposely leave the money in one’s pocket, the clothing would not be considered a bassis (See Shulchan Aruch OC 309:4). The Mishna Berura (310:31) writes that as people aren’t that bothered about a little bit of change that would not make the clothing muktze, either.
The Beis Yosef (OC 309:5) writes that only money in pockets that are fully attached would render the clothing muktze. If it was in a pocket that hangs, however, then it would not be muktze as the pocket is considered to be somewhat separate to the main clothing. One still shouldn’t wear it on Shabbos, however, as we are concerned that you may come to carry the contents outside of an eruv (See Rema OC 310:8; Magen Avraham OC 310:7).
R’ Neuwirth writes that if one was walking in the street when one realised that there was money they should ideally shake it out of their pocket (See Mishna Berura 310:29). If it will incur a real loss, however, or it is difficult to do so without removing the clothing or if one is embarrassed to empty it out in front of others, one may keep walking providing that they are in an eruv.
In conclusion, while the money is clearly muktze, your coat isn’t necessarily. While it would be ideal in such a scenario to empty the pocket out immediately, you can keep walking home if there was a significant amount, or if it would be difficult or embarrassing to do so in the street.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Broken Glasses on Shabbos

Question: One of the lenses in my glasses falls out on occasion and needs popping back into the frame. Can I do this on Shabbos?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 138b) writes that if an oven leg broke on Shabbos, then it is assur miderabanan to move the oven and the leg as one may come to fix it which would be assur mideorasia. The Mishna Berura (308:37) explains that one would either transgress the issur of boneh (building) or makeh bepatish (the finishing act).
The Rema (OC 308:16), however, writes that if a chair broke before Shabbos and one sat on it before Shabbos, then they may continue using that chair on Shabbos.
Thus, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 15:77) writes that one can’t put a lens back into its frame on Shabbos.
R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 9:28) and R’ Binyamin Zilber (Az Nidberu 8:33:4), however, write that there would be no issue in popping the lens back into the frame, as this isn’t considered firmly fixing and one doesn’t need to be concerned that they will fix it.
R’ Betzalel Stern (Betzel Hachachma 6:123) adopts a middle position. He writes that this scenario is similar to that of the broken chair. Thus, if the glasses broke on Shabbos, one wouldn’t be allowed to fix them and they would be muktze. If the lens had come out before, then one would be allowed to pop it back in on Shabbos.
In conclusion, if the lens had come out before, one could pop it back in to its frame on Shabbos. If they broke on Shabbos, it would be better to find a spare pair of glasses. If absolutely necessary, one could pop it back in.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Flowers on Shabbos

Question: A guest brought us a bunch of flowers on Shabbos. What could we have done with them?
Answer: The Rema (OC 336:11) writes that one may place branches and flowers in water on Shabbos only if there are no flowers that will open up as a result. The Mishna Berura (336:54) clarifies that this only applies to branches and flowers that were already in and had fallen out. One cannot add any new flowers or water to the vase, though.
He writes (Shaar Hatziyun 336:48) that if necessary, one may rely on the Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 336:13) and Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 336:18) who allow one to place a fresh bouquet of flowers in a vase on Shabbos providing that the flowers had fully opened and the water had been filled before Shabbos. Thus, one who had forgotten to place them in the vase before Shabbos would be allowed to add them to an existing vase of flowers (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 26:26; n91).
Providing the flowers were picked before Shabbos, they are not muktze as they were picked for a bouquet. Thus, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchas 26:25) writes that a vase containing flowers is not muktze and may be moved on Shabbos. Likewise, one may remove flowers from a vase on Shabbos (See Rivevos Ephraim 1:258).
R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Dirshu Mishna Berura 336:n48) notes, though, that if the flowers haven’t fully opened, one must be careful when moving the vase not to shake the water around which could aid their growth.
In conclusion, one may gently move a vase with flowers and remove flowers from water, though one may only put flowers into that water if they have fully opened. No water may be added on Shabbos. Otherwise, one should place them into an empty vase. 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Playing Football on Shabbos

Question: Are our children allowed to play football in the back garden on Shabbos?  
Answer: The Beis Yosef (OC 308) quotes opposing views as to whether one may play with a ball on Shabbos. The Shibolei Haleket (121) prohibits it as balls have no constructive use and are dirty. Tosafos (Beitza 12a), however, permits playing. Following this, he writes (Shulchan Aruch OC 308:45) that one mustn’t play with a ball on Shabbos or Yom Tov. The Rema, however, writes that the custom is to be lenient on this matter. The Rema adds (OC 518:1) that on Yom Tov one may even play with a ball in a reshus harabim.
Thus, the Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 308:83) and Aruch Hashulchan (OC 308:70; 518:8) write that it is commonly accepted that one may play with balls on Shabbos.
Nonetheless, the Taz (OC 518:2) and Magen Avraham (OC 518:4) write that while children can play, this is inappropriate for adults (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 16:1; 6).
Likewise, the Mishna Berura (308:158; 518:9) writes that balls aren’t muktze as they are made for playing with. While playing outside is problematic because one may come to smooth the ground (ashvei gumos, See Shulchan Aruch OC 338:5), one doesn’t need to stop children playing. R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 9:78), writes, too, that one may play with balls indoors.
R’ Ben Tzion Abba Shaul, Ohr Letzion (2:26:8) writes that while sefardim would follow the Shulchan Aruch who doesn’t allow playing with balls, one can rely on the Rema’s lenient position for children.
In conclusion, while balls aren’t muktze, adults should ideally not play with them on Shabbos. Ideally, children also shouldn’t play football on grass or soil, though one doesn’t need to stop them from playing.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Brushing Carpet on Shabbos

Question: Is one allowed to brush a carpeted floor on Shabbos?
Answer: There is a machlokes in the Gemara (Shabbos 95a) as to whether sweeping a dirt floor on Shabbos is assur mideoraisa or miderabanan. While Rambam (Shabbos 21:3) and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 327:2) allow one to sweep a tiled or stoned floor, the Rema writes that the custom is not to.
Nonetheless, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 337:5) and Mishna Berura (337:9; Biur Halacha) explain that the Rema (and other rishonim) forbade sweeping such floors as one may come to sweep dirt floors. As we don’t have dirt floors in our houses nowadays, one may sweep tiled floors.
The Rema (OC 337:2) writes that one mustn’t use a hard brush on Shabbos if doing so means that some of its bristles will break (See Mishna Berura 337:14).
The Shearim Metzuyanim Behalacha (80:68) and R’ Yisroel Dovid Harfenes (Nishmas Shabbos 6:297) write that one may use a carpet sweeper (Ewbank) on Shabbos, providing that they don’t press down too hard.
R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 3:50; 5:39:1), R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 1:32:15) and R’ Mordechai Yaakov Breisch (Chelkas Yaakov 4:6), however, forbid using them. Among other reasons, by brushing the carpet, one is cleaning the pile, which is a prohibition of melaben, whitening.
R’ Ribiat (The 39 Melochos, p710), however, notes that not all of these reasons apply to a regular brush. Thus, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 23:4) writes that one may sweep a carpet with a soft brush, though one must be careful not to brush vigorously.
In conclusion, one may sweep a carpet softly with a brush, providing one knows that the bristles won’t break.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Shabbos Picnic

Question: Is there any issue with having a picnic in a nearby park on Shabbos within the eruv?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 336:3) writes that one may walk normally on wet or dry grass on Shabbos as one isn’t intending to rip up the grass. One who eats in the garden must be careful not to wash their hands there as they will inevitably be watering the grass which is an issue of zorea, planting (Mishna Berura 336:26). The Rema adds that as it is so difficult not to spill any water while eating, it is commendable not to bring drinks out to the garden.
The Mishna Berura (336:27) writes that some argue that there is less of a concern in someone else’s garden, as one isn’t bothered if the plants grow there or not (peski reshei delo niche lei).  Nonetheless, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 336:27) writes that it is difficult to say that people aren’t bothered at all, and therefore urges people to be most vigilant, advising people not to hold meals there. Likewise, the Kaf Hachaim (OC 336:25) points out that even the lenient authorities would concede that one is bothered about a close friend’s garden.
Seemingly, therefore, all poskim would agree that as people want their parks to look good, any water that spills on the grass would be advantageous (and therefore an issue of pesik reshei denicha lei).
In conclusion, one eating outdoors should ideally not bring any drinks onto the grass unless they have put a cloth down first.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Putting out Bins on Yom Tov

Question: Can I take the bins out on Yom Tov to be emptied? Can I bring them back in when they have been emptied?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 308:35) writes that one is allowed to remove a chamber pot (graf shel rei’i) on Shabbos. Although rubbish is usually considered to be muktze, one may remove this due to its unpleasantness. Thus, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 22:45) writes that one may empty an overflowing or smelly bin on Shabbos. There is no need to carry it out with a shinui (ibid n111). R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 5:21:2) adds that whether rubbish is considered to be graf shel rei’i or not depends how bothered a person is by the unsightly rubbish. Likewise, R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:232:2; 6:180) writes that as nowadays most people are bothered by overflowing bins, they can empty them on Shabbos.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe 5:21:9) adds that while the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 308:60) writes that it is preferable for a non-Jewish person to remove it on Shabbos, one shouldn’t ask a child to do it, as they may grow up thinking that muktze items may ordinarily be moved.
R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 7:303:1) writes that one is allowed to take the bins out to the street for pickup on Yom Tov, though it is ideal to do so before Yom Tov. The Steipler (quoted in Nitei Gavriel, Yom Tov 22:20) also allows one to remove rubbish bags and bins to the street on Yom Tov, as having a clean house is a necessity for Yom Tov.
While it would be ideal to leave the bin on the street until after Yom Tov, R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:222:19) also allows one to bring the bin back into one’s yard on Shabbos or Yom Tov either if one needs it to put more rubbish in or because one is concerned that it will get stolen. The Chazon Ish held that as modern bins are made out of plastic or metal, etc. which aren’t absorbent, they don’t smell like ancient earthenware chamber pots and so don’t have the same muktze status when emptied (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 22:45).
In conclusion, while it is preferable to place the bins out onto the street before Yom Tov and collect them in afterwards, one may take them out and bring them in on Yom Tov if necessary.