Sunday, 27 May 2018

Washing Clothes on Friday

Question: Is one allowed to wash clothes on Friday?
Answer: The Gemara (Bava Kama 82a) writes that one of Ezra’s ten decrees was that one should wash their clothes on Thursday in honour of Shabbos (See Shulchan Aruch OC 242:1). The Magen Avraham (OC 242:3) explains that the reason is that people should not be preoccupied with their laundry while they’re supposed to be otherwise getting ready for Shabbos. The Mishna Berura (242:5; Shaar Hatziyun 242:16) quotes the Elya Rabba (242:9), who writes that the main reason is to ensure that nothing prevents one from having clean clothes for Shabbos.
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 42:n13) questions whether this decree still applies nowadays when we wash our clothes in washing machines. He quotes R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, however, who held that since we typically wash our clothes for the following day, it is ideal to do our laundry on Thursday as that best demonstrates that we are washing for Shabbos.
R’ Benzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 2:16:1) writes that while Ezra’s decree still applies, one can wash their clothes on Friday if they have a dryer that can dry their clothes before Shabbos. He adds that this decree never applied to young children’s clothes.
The Ben Ish Chai (Lech Lecha 2:8) and Kaf Hachaim (OC 242:20) write that if one didn’t manage to wash their clothes beforehand, they may still do so on Friday.
In conclusion, it is ideal for one to wash one’s clothes earlier during the week, though one may do so on Friday if necessary, especially if one is going to wash and dry them before Shabbos.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Defrosting for Next Day Yom Tov

Question: Can I remove food from the freezer on the first day Yom Tov so that it can defrost in time for the second day?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 503:1) writes that one mustn’t prepare on Shabbos or Yom Tov for the following day, even if that day is Shabbos or Yom Tov. Thus, one mustn’t wash dishes on Shabbos or Yom Tov that won’t be used that day (ibid. 323:6).
The Mishna Berura (667:5) writes that this issur even applies to preparing for mitzva purposes, such as rolling a sefer torah for the next day’s leining.
The Mishna Berura (ibid.) quotes the Chayei Adam (153:6) who allows one to bring water or wine from a storeroom during the daytime while it’s still light for the following night. One should do it earlier in the day, however, to not make it too obvious to others that one is doing so for the following day. The Chayei Adam, writes, however, that this specifically applies to something needed for a mitzva such as a Yom Tov meal.
Similarly, the Magen Avraham (OC 500:13) and Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 500:20) write that one may soak raw meat on Yom Tov on the third day of it being shechted so that it can be properly salted afterwards. If one leaves the meat, it will be too late to wash it. Unlike washing dishes for the following day which is prohibited as one is actively performing something, soaking meat does not involve any substantial action.
Based on this, R’ Ephraim Greenblatt and R’ Gavriel Zinner (Rivevos Ephraim 3:268; 4:248) write that one may remove frozen food from the freezer, writing that moving the food does not constitute an action of hachana (See Machazeh Eliyahu 1:64:35).
While R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 10:10; n27) writes that one mustn’t remove food from the freezer on Shabbos or Yom Tov for the following day, he writes that R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach deliberated whether this is similar to washing dishes or not.
In conclusion, one may remove food from one’s freezer on Shabbos or Yom Tov, especially for another Shabbos or Yom Tov meal, though one should do so in an inconspicuous manner.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sprinklers on Shabbos

Question: We just planted new grass and need to water it every day. Are we allowed to place a sprinkler on a timer so that it waters the grass on Shabbos?
Answer: The Gemara (Moed Katan 2b) writes that there is a machlokes as to whether one who waters plants on Shabbos transgresses the melacha of choresh, plowing, or zorea, planting. Rambam (Shabbos 8:2) writes that it is considered zorea. Thus, one mustn’t turn on a sprinkler on Shabbos.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 252:5) writes that one is allowed to open a flow of water before Shabbos that will run onto a garden on Shabbos (See Shabbos 18a). The Rema adds that if the action creates a noticeable sound (avsha milsa), such as a flour mill, then it must not operate on Shabbos.
While the sprinkler may be seen, the Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 265:8) notes that chazal were not concerned that people will jump to the wrong conclusions and think that such melachos may be operated on Shabbos.
R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 4:31; 5:6:3) writes that one may set one’s sprinkler to run on Shabbos, comparing this to switching lights on before Shabbos. While they can clearly be seen, avsha milsa only applies to sound. While one can also switch the taps off, he quotes the Chazon Ish who writes that one must be careful when doing so if there is more than one sprinkler to ensure that they don’t cause the water pressure to increase in the other, thereby causing extra watering. Thus, one must switch it off at the main tap (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 8:228).
Nonetheless, R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef, Shabbos 252:2) and R’ Zvi Pesach Frank (Tzitz Eliezer 5:6:3) write that this isn’t such a concern.
In conclusion, one may place sprinklers on a timer to water one’s lawn on Shabbos, and switch the taps off as necessary.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Using a Peeler on Shabbos

Question: Can I use a potato peeler to peel fruits and vegetables on Shabbos?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 319:1) lists three conditions for allowing one to select an item from a mixture on Shabbos so as not to transgress the melacha of borer. One must select the ochel, wanted item, from the pesoles, unwanted item, use one’s hand rather than an implement, and it must be for immediate use. While peeling requires one to remove the pesoles from the ochel, the Rema (OC 321:19) writes that one may peel garlic and onions on Shabbos providing it is for immediate use. The Biur Halacha (321) explains that this is permitted because it is the normal way of eating such food.
The Magen Avraham (OC 321:30) extends this halacha to peeling apples. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:124) notes that as it isn’t feasible to peel an apple without a knife, doing so is considered as an extension of one’s hand, rather than considered to be using a special implement.
The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 321:30) challenges the Magen Avraham asking why one can’t peel apples even for later, writing that as both are edible, peeling an apple would be like cutting it in half (See Rivevos Ephraim 8:118:8). Thus, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 319:22) writes that peeling does not constitute borer and thus allow one to use a peeler on Shabbos. Likewise, the Kaf Hachaim (OC 321:141) allows one to peel apples for later as the peels are edible.
Nonetheless, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:74 Borer 8) writes that the Mishna Berura (321:84) seems to side with the Magen Avraham, and while apple peels may be edible, if one is discarding them, then they are considered to be pesoles. As the peeler acts as a kli for borer, one cannot use it on Shabbos (See Machazeh Eliyahu 1:51).
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 3:30) differentiates between edible and inedible peels. When the peel is considered to be edible, then the peeler can be used as it is like a knife that cuts two pieces. It may not be used to remove inedible peels, however, as it is considered to be a kli for borer.
In conclusion, one may not use a peeler for inedible peels on Shabbos. While some poskim allow one to use one to peel edible peels, one should ideally only do so if one isn’t going to discard the peels.