Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunbathing on Shabbos

Question: Can I sunbathe on Shabbos?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 303:25) writes that the melacha of tzoveia, dyeing, applies to colouring one’s body. R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 5:32:2) writes, therefore, that one mustn’t sunbathe on Shabbos, whether for medical reasons or just because they would like a tan. Additionally, he argues, that when it is exceedingly hot, sunbathing can be a painful experience and so must be avoided on Shabbos (See Rambam, Shabbos 21:29). Lastly, sunbathing is normally preceded by rubbing sun-cream into oneself, and often ointments afterwards which is prohibited on Shabbos (See Chelkas Yaakov 4:17:1).
R’ Binyamin Zilber (Az Nidberu 2:30) writes that while one can’t sunbathe for health reasons, one may do so on one’s own balcony for relaxation.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 3:45) writes that while photochromic lenses change colour in the sun, there is no issue of tzoveia as it is temporary and changes right back. R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 18:n70) compares this to sunbathing, which leaves a temporary tan, implying that it isn’t a problem.
R’ Pesach Eliyahu Falk (Machazeh Eliyahu 1:65:6:24) writes that while purposely sunbathing may be problematic, one can certainly relax outside in the sun if their intention isn’t to get a tan.
In conclusion, one may relax outdoors on Shabbos if they aren’t purposely trying to tan providing they won’t burn. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Inflatable Beds on Shabbos

Question: Can we inflate an air-bed with a foot-pump on Shabbos for an unexpected guest?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 340:8) writes that one can put feathers back into a cushion on Shabbos though one can’t replace it with fresh feathers as this is tikkun mana, fixing an object (See Mishna Berura 340:32). Based on this, R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 6:30) forbids pumping up a mattress on Shabbos, as one is putting ‘new air’ into the mattress. Additionally, one should avoid acts that involve a lot of tircha, exertion on Shabbos.
R’ Pesach Eliyahu Falk (Machazeh Eliyahu 69:2), however disagrees. There is a big difference between a cushion that is considered broken minus its stuffing, and an inflatable mattress, that is more like a water bottle that is supposed to be emptied and filled as needed (See Minchas Shlomo 1:11:5)
Similarly, R’ Bezalel Stern (Betzel Hachachma 4:92:1; 93) writes that one may inflate a mattress on Shabbos. One can’t compare air that has no real substance to feather stuffing (See Igros Moshe CM 2:47:3).
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 15:89; 34:24) writes that one may only inflate the mattress if it had previously been inflated, though not for the first time it’s been used.
In conclusion, while it is ideal to inflate mattresses before Shabbos, one can do so on Shabbos for a guest, especially if the mattress has been used before.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Washing Lettuce on Shabbos

Question:  Is one allowed to soak lettuce on Shabbos to get rid of any bugs?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 319:8) forbids soaking karshinim, grain for animals, in water on Shabbos as doing so will separate the dirt and grain which is borer. The Mishna Berura (319:29) writes that this would apply equally to washing dirty potatoes, etc.
Nonetheless, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:125) differentiates between soaking karshinim and rinsing fruits and vegetables. Just as one can peel onions and garlics as that is considered derech achila, the normal way of eating them, so too, it is acceptable to rinse fruit before eating them. Additionally, one can’t compare dirty potatoes that everyone would wash, to fruit and vegetables that many would eat without rinsing.
Nonetheless, R’ Moshe writes that while one can rinse them off under a running tap, one shouldn’t soak them in a bowl of water.
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 3:n48) also explained that there are a number of differences between soaking karshinim and rinsing fruits and vegetables.
Nonetheless, R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 1:52:2) and R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 3:21) write that if the fruit or vegetable is particularly dirty to the extent that most people wouldn’t eat it, then one shouldn’t wash it on Shabbos.
Regular lettuce must be soaked in soapy water and inspected in order to ensure that it is bug free. If the lettuce is dirty, one mustn’t do so on Shabbos because of borer. Even clean lettuce likely has aphids and thrips which will be killed in water and so shouldn’t be washed on Shabbos (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 3:36). Thus, unless one has lettuce that one knows is unlikely to be infested, one shouldn’t soak it on Shabbos. One may rinse it under a tap on Shabbos, and inspect it under a light, though any small bugs should be removed with part of the leaf.
Wherever possible, lettuce should be soaked and inspected before Shabbos.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Watermelon on Shabbos

Question: How should one remove the seeds from a watermelon on Shabbos?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 74a) teaches that the forbidden melacha of borer involves selecting the pesoles, unwanted items, from the ochel, one’s food. The Rema (OC 319:4) writes that even if it is a lot of bother to remove the ochel, the food that one wants, from the pesoles, the waste, one cannot remove the pesoles on Shabbos.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 319:16) is clear that the prohibition only applies to preparation of food. Eating itself, however, cannot ever be considered as a melacha. Thus, the Chazon Ish (Shabbos 54:1) writes that one must place the piece in his mouth and spit out any seeds.
The Ben Ish Chai (Beshalach 2:7) and Kaf Hachaim (OC 319:47) however, do not require this, arguing that this isn’t the normal way of eating. One should shake the melon to shake any seeds off it and pick out any remaining seeds before one eats. Similarly, R’ Binyamin Zilber (Az Nidberu 1:26) argues that if one wouldn’t normally eat that way during the week, then it isn’t considered a normal manner of eating and one doesn’t need to spit the seeds out on Shabbos.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:74 Borer 7) writes that ideally one should spit out the seeds. Where that is not feasible, such as when feeding one’s children, one should shake the melon before picking any remaining seeds out.
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 3:17; n34) writes that while it is ideal to expel the seeds out from one’s mouth or at least shake them off, if one doesn’t wish to do so, they can pick them out. As there are poskim who justify the practice of those who remove fish bones there is justification for removing the seeds by hand when necessary.
In conclusion, if one is uncomfortable spitting the seeds out, one can shake each piece and remove any extra seeds. One must do so by hand and only right before they eat it.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Making Ice Cubes on Shabbos

Question: Can one put water and ice pops in the freezer on Friday night so that they can have ice cubes and ice pops on Shabbos?
Answer: R’ Chaim Palaji (Lev Chaim 2:192) writes that one can’t make ice on Shabbos. He compares it to producing cheese from milk which is forbidden as it is a form of boneh, building a new substance. R’ Dov Berish Weidenfeld (Dovev Mesharim 1:55) writes that it is forbidden because of nolad, the prohibition against using things that were born on Shabbos.
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Halichos Olam 4:p93; Yechave Daas 1:30) allowed one to freeze water on Shabbos, arguing that creating ice is different from cheese as it would quickly change back to water if left out.  R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 10:n14) held that there is no issur in creating ice on Shabbos. As the Shulchan Aruch (OC 320:10) allows one to break ice in a jug on Shabbos, we’re clearly not worried about nolad. Thus, R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 3:55) and R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 10:4) write that while one should ideally make the ice before Shabbos, in case of great need (e.g. one has guests coming), one may do so. Likewise, R’ Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchok 8:24) writes that one can put food in the freezer on Shabbos to prevent it from getting ruined.
Certainly, one can only make ice on Shabbos for that day, and not for after Shabbos.