Feb 10, 2009

I've got Questions, do you have Answers?

On any given day, I have dozens of questions swimming about my brain. I always forget to look them up or write them down or look for a solution. So, I thought it might be useful to write them down here, see what the public says, and until I have a rav? Rely on the kindness of intelligent folks on the net to provide some answers or insight. Begin!


  • Are Sorry and Trivial Pursuit okay to play on Shabbos?
  • Can you cut a bag open on Shabbos (like, lettuce let's say)?
  • Can you tear an envelope on Shabbos?
  • Can you cut or tear anything on Shabbos?
  • Can you wash dishes by hand on Shabbos? If you need to clear away dirty dishes post-meal?
  • Can you put dishes in a dishwasher on Shabbos ...?
  • If I'm reading a book, can I put sticky notes on pages on Shabbos?
  • What do people do on Shabbos when they A) aren't eating and B) aren't at shul and C) aren't napping?
  • And on and on and on ... 

21 comments:

Mottel said...

These answers are for educational purposes only - for any practical instruction speak to a Rabbi when you find one.

In order of there listing:
-Why wouldn't they? The only ones I've heard people speak about are Monopoly and Scrabble (for which you should ask a rav about)
-To open a bag with food inside, if you aren't tearing words or a precut opening (is that the right word? Along the dotted line . . . you know what I mean)
-You can't open mail delivered on shabbos . . .
-Yes, if don't use a sponge - which can create halachic problems (They have special shabbos sponge things)
-From what I've seen, yes. But don't turn it on!
-No.
-Learn Torah! Take a walk. Read a book. Speak to loved ones. Farbreng . . .
-Don't worry better to ask a question and find out the answer, then walking around and not doing (or doing things you ought not) and be a fool.

---
I had written a comment about you're going through giyur the other day, but it accidentally got lost. Just paraphrase - I wish you luck on your journey!

Mottel said...

subscribing to comments.

Jessica said...

As long as you don't use a timer, Trivial Pursuit is fine. As for Sorry... I can't remember if that one has fake money, but if it does some say you can't play it on shabbas.

You can tear any bag containing food on shabbas as long as you make sure not to rip any letters.

You cannot tear an envelope on shabbas.

You can wash dished by hand with COLD water. Needless to say it's more of a rinse and you'll have to rewash them after shabbas... unless you're okay with eating from dirty dishes.

Not sure about the dishwasher. I know my father puts stuff in the dishwasher, but I don't think he ever asked anyone if it's okay.

Sticky notes I'm also unsure about...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Whoah, three comments while I'm writing this!

Unfortunately, I'm not here to answer all your questions, but I do have a clear answer to the question of what people do on Shabbat in their leisure time, or at least what you might want to look into; reading "hilkhot Shabbat"! If you have all these queries what better way to spend the (Shabbat) day than sinking your teeth into the meat and potatoes of hilkhot Shabbat? ..I always found it enjoyable. ..unless you want to write notes!

Now an attempt to answer the questions!

1. I don't know what the hell Sorry and Trivial Pursuit are. One down!

2. Again, the main thing to know is that there are 39 "melakhot", and a few other principles of law which must be obied by (on Shabbat). Then you should look at the situation before you and see if it breaks any of those laws. For example one of the 39 is (obviously) cutting. But then again there is a principle that is presented in Tosafta Shabbat 1:9 that cutting to get to food is not part of that prohibition.

3. No, not unless there's food in there.

4. What I didn't mention is that there's also an allowance I've read about to open anything that you need to get to (like food or clothing. ..not like letters). But I read that a while ago. it definitely needs looking into..

(What should be remembered though is that there are a lot of different opinions among the Rabbis about what can and cannot be done (tearing letters on pakages for example), but one should at least know the basic principles).

5. Yes, but only if you avoid the melakhot of "lighting a fire" (turning on the hot water in certain situations) and "draining" (when pressing the sponge) and stuff like that.

6. You can put them in..but you can't turn it on! (The rule of "muktze" is only when moving things. The dishwasher is not going anywhere).

7. Um, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to, but there may be something big I'm forgetting. It should be looked into..

8. Again, a good idea on Shabbat is to try to become more spiritual. Unfortunately a lot of people lose sight of that ideal with all the chulent they have, but it's "supposed" to be one day a week of reflection. Of purpose. And of course of singing to G_d and reading his Torah.

Seriously though, I might do some research on this..

chaviva said...

But what about cutting on Shabbos? I mean, I know you can cut the challah, but what about vegetables or other things? And as a result, can you cut, say, a piece of paper? I'm guessing no. How is it differentiated (halakicly) between cutting food and cutting other things?

Thanks for the answers so far, guys. This is SUPER helpful.

chaviva said...

Oops, my comment posted while you were commenting: I do have a book on the melachos, and I've spent some time with it, but it's incredibly dry and definitely doesn't give many details beyond the archaic, p'shat reading of the melachos.

Mottel said...

You can cut food on Shabbos as long as you don't cut it very finely. There are certain things we allow for food, that don't apply elsewhere, so to compare tearing for food to other things wouldn't apply.

Two great books that I highly recommend are The Laws of cooking on Shabbos

and 39 Melachos

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I'd be interested in knowing what book, but there are tons of other books in English that are popular.

1. http://www.eichlers.com/Product/Books/Halachah_-_Jewish_Law/Shabbat/39-Melachos---4-Volume-Slipcased-Set-[Hardcover]-_F368-5.html

2.http://www.eichlers.com/Product/Books/Halachah_-_Jewish_Law/Shabbat/The-Shabbos-Home-Volume-1-[Hardcover]-_334-9.html

3. http://www.eichlers.com/Product/Books/Halachah_-_Jewish_Law/Shabbat/Shemirath-Shabbath---3-Volume-Set-[Hardcover]-_F494-0.html

...you get the point I guess. There's really no shortage of reading material on the subject. ..there isn't really a shortage of people knowledgable in the subject either...

chaviva said...

The book I have is this: http://www.judaism.com/display.asp?fp=312&sp=35

The 39 Melachos books look nice ... but are QUITE expensive. :)

David said...

When not eating, in shul or napping: I recommend reading, and meditating.

Tuvia said...

So many great answers in here, and I am very glad to see Trivial Pursuit is ok to play.

For those of you who don't know Sorry, its basically you pick up cards and move a peg around the board. No building, no fake money, just a deck of cards, pawns and a board.

I understand why its only cold water on the dishes, and if its being loaded into the dish washer, then cold water is fine, since the hot part will be taken care of after Shabbat by the dishwasher. I am surprised its ok to do the dishes if you dont need the sink space. I thought that would go in the grouping of leave a mess unless its in your away during Shabbat.

Maidel said...

1. Yes - bored/board games are cool on Shabbos! (what do u think frum kids do growing up) i know some people who don't play with monopoly money though...
2. Yes - You can cut a bag of lettuce on Shabbos. Some people are anal about not tearing letters. I say, G-d wants you to eat.
3. Unless there's food in the envelope, then you cannot tear it on Shabbos.
4. You can only cut or tear for food on Shabbos.
5. My mom washes dishes by hand on Shabbos. My dad used to disaprove. But I think it's fine. Some people don't use hot water or soap on Shabbos. I think those people are crazy.
6. You can open the dishwasher and put stuff in there, and take stuff out - unless you're turning on a light or something like that, when you do.
7. Post its, stickers and scotch tape are not allowed on Shabbos.
8. On shabbos, people go for walks, visit friends, read books or magazines or the paper, play cards or board games, etc...

Daniel Saunders said...

Just to add to the other answers:

Tearing to get at food is generally OK, I believe, as long as you don't tear into letters printed on whatever it is you are tearing, which counts as erasing.

My understanding is that rinsing dishes in cold water without a sponge is only OK if you actually need to use them again on Shabbat. However, putting them in a dishwasher is fine as long as you put them straight in the dishwasher and don't rearrange the plates once they have gone in. I have heard that you shouldn't be too careful about organizing which plates go where i.e. you shouldn't try to put specific plates in specific slots.

As for what people do on shabbat, reading and talking to friends and family are good ideas, as is going for a walk (but not a strenuous one), but not in the middle of winter!

Comrade Tovya said...

There is some irony in playing "Trivial Pursuit" on Shabbos considering that Shabbos is anything but "Trivial" and to be physically in "pursuit" of something could be work.

I know, it's a pointless comment, but it's the first thing that came to my mind when I was reading the post. :-)

LE7 said...

The only thing about putting dishes in a dishwasher on Shabbos is it can't be fore the purpose preparing to turn it on after. You have to load it just for storage.

So by us, we load it jammed in a manner that if you turned it on, nothing would get clean.

Sorry, I can't write properly (just took a Chem exam).

chaviva said...

I'll admit I'm bummed about the post-its/sticky notes. I read a lot, and need to keep tabs on things ... it's my way. I guess I'll have to creatively place bookmarks? Or just rely on memory.

The comments about the dishwasher are interesting, but definitely make sense. I always wondered about it because whenever I'd go to Chabad, there would be piles of dishes at night, and the next day? All gone! It always perplexed me, so I assumed it was okay to load up.

@Comrad Tovya You are hilarious, and make a very good point :)

They should make a Jewish edition of Trivial Pursuit. I would ROCK that.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Though I'm not in any way questioning the halakhic authority of the Material Maidel in regards to adhesives, you might still want to get a second (rabbinic) opinion on all this (as Mottel mentioned), and/or do your own reasearch..

Reiza said...

I must say, these are fascinating. Thanks for posting them. You never know when someone else has the same questions and didn't even know it. :-)

We have avoided putting dishes in/taking them out of the dishwasher, so I'm glad I read the answers.

chaviva said...

I happened to hop over to AskMoses.com yesterday and asked, and the rabbi there told me that such sticky notes/flags are NOT prohibited on Shabbos. But he also said something weird about it being because they're not standing for 24 hours? And then he hopped offline because his shift was over, before I could get an explanation about what he meant.

Maybe I'll give it another go ...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Hm. I'm thinking thinking what he meant was that if it's going to stay there forever it might be transgressing the melakhah of "sewing" or "tying". If you're going to remove it from time to time it's one thing, but it can't be said be said that taping is generally OK, since theoretically one can tape two items together permanently on Shabbat (which, again, would be a melakhah).

Jane said...

There is a Jewish edition of Apples to Apples that is super awesome. No money involved in this board game and you learn a little bit of Jewish pop culture.

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