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Breaking Ice Cubes On Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Breaking Ice Cubes On Shabbat

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


May one break ice cubes on Shabbat?


It is permitted to break apart ice cubes that are frozen together across compartments in an ice tray, because one neither intends to produce water in such a manner, nor is any melting inevitable. One may even break apart a large piece of ice if one has the intention to use the smaller pieces, even though some water may be produced by breaking it apart, since the water will not be used, nor does one want the water to be produced.[1]

If ice cubes are stuck to their tray, one may run cold water over the back of the tray of ice cubes in order to loosen them and remove them from the tray. This is permitted since only a small amount of frost is being melted, and one has no intention of specifically melting the ice to make water. [2]

Excerpted from Yonatan Nacson’s ‘Laws of Shabbat’, vol. 1 p. 344-345


[1]. Bet Yosef 320:9 states that there are three reasons why this is permitted: 1. Only an insignificant amount of water may be melted, 2. One does not have intention to melt the ice. 3. The water that is melted is not being used. Additionally, according to the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 320:17 and 20, melting is not guaranteed to occur. See also Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 158.

[2]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 172; Az Nidberu 6:4 and 10:11; Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 2, 30:6; Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 10:1.

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