Insect Repellent on Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Insect Repellent 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)


Question:

May one spray insecticide/ insect repellant on Shabbat?


Answer:

It is permitted to leave out a poison in the room in order to kill mosquitoes or mice that are causing one a significant discomfort, since one is not directly killing them, and one does intend to benefit from the insect or animal that is subsequently killed. [1]

One may not spray insecticide directly on an insect, since this would be considered directly killing the insect and would be considered Shochet. However, it is permitted to spray around the perimeter of the area of the insect in order to get it away from a specific area. When doing so, one must open a window as well, thereby enabling a chance for the insect to escape, in order that even in the event that the insect dies because of the spray, it is not considered Shochet since the insect died indirectly as a cause of the spray and it was not inevitable that it would be killed. [2]

Many Ashkenazim are stringent. One should follow one's customs.


Sources:

[1]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 118; Yabia Omer, vol. 3 O.C. 20:6. See also Yabia Omer, vol. 3 O.C. 20:10; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 11.

[2]. Yabia Omer, vol. 3 O.C., 20:10, vol. 4:37; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 15; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 112.


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