Sunday, 30 July 2017

Shabbos Clothes on Shabbos Chazon

Question: I’ve heard conflicting things about whether we should wear Shabbos clothes on Shabbos Chazon. What should we do?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 551:1) writes that we should limit our rejoicing from Rosh Chodesh Av. Thus, the Rema writes that one shouldn’t wear Shabbos clothes on Shabbos Chazon (Shabbos before Tisha B’Av).
The Mishna Berura (551:6) writes, however, that the Vilna Gaon and Yaavetz both held that one should wear their Shabbos clothes as normal (See Chayei Adam 333:1; Kaf Hachaim OC 551:13).
The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 551:11) explains that people wear Shabbos clothes as one isn’t allowed to publicly display acts of mourning on Shabbos (See Shulchan Aruch YD 400:1). He explains that the Rema was writing about a time and place (Cracow, 16th Century) when one’s Shabbos clothes typically looked no different to one’s weekday clothes even if they were of better quality. In 19th Century Europe, however, where people dressed differently on Shabbos than they did during the week, one who didn’t wear their Shabbos clothes would be publicly displaying mourning.
He writes, however, that where one’s Shabbos and weekday clothes are similar, one should wear one’s weekday clothes.
Especially as people are generally more fashion conscious today, one who wore their weekday clothing on Shabbos Chazon would probably be noticed. It is possible, therefore, that even the Rema would agree that nowadays one should wear their Shabbos clothes.
In conclusion, one should wear one’s regular Shabbos clothes on Shabbos as doing otherwise would be showing a public sign of mourning on Shabbos.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Load Dishwasher on Shabbos

Question: Can I clear off the dirty dishes from my table and load them into the dishwasher on Shabbos?
Answer: Chazal (Shabbos 114b; 118a) decreed that one mustn’t prepare on Shabbos or Yom Tov for the following day (See Shulchan Aruch OC 302:3; 503:1). Different reasons are offered for this prohibition. According to Rashi (Shabbos 114b) the extra tircha, effort, that one has to expend is inappropriate on Shabbos (See Mishna Berura 323:28). Rambam (Shabbos 23:7), however, writes that hachana, preparation, is akin to mesaken¸ fixing something.
The Mishna Berura (503:1) explains that this applies even to an action that isn’t a forbidden melacha, such as washing dishes. Thus, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 323:6) writes that it is forbidden to wash dishes on Shabbos for use after Shabbos.
The Mishna Berura (302:19) writes, however, that while one can’t make one’s bed on Shabbos for the following day, if one is bothered by it being unmade, then one can make it on Shabbos as that is considered to be a Shabbos necessity. Thus, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 12:35) writes that if one typically clears the table during the week and places the dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher, they may do so on Shabbos, too.
Likewise, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:74, rechitza 4) writes that as people don’t like seeing dirty dishes left out, there is no issue with putting them into the dishwasher. One mustn’t sort the dishes as that would be an issue of borer, though one can take all the large plates off together and put those in together, etc. (See Baer Moshe 3:48).
In conclusion, one may put one’s dirty dishes into a dishwasher on Shabbos though they should be careful not to sort them.

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.