Instruments, Alarm Clocks & Noise on Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Instruments, Alarm Clocks & Noise 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:

What are some examples of permitted or prohibited acts of making noise on Shabbat?

May one whistle on Shabbat?

May one place a music player on a timer to play music on Shabbat?

May one set an alarm before Shabbat to ring on Shabbat?


Answer:

One may not use a utensil to tap on the table or on a bottle in a rhythm, but one may tap on a glass in order to get people’s attention. Similarly, whoever is capable of protesting the practice many people have of beating silverware onto the table or plates to accompany the Shabbat singing should do so. There is no valid basis to be lenient in this matter even when celebrating a newlywed couple on their Shabbat Chattan. One who protests this practice fulfills a very important mitzvah, however, one should protest in a respectable way. [1]


One may pick up a sefer Torah even though the rimonim have bells on them. [2]


A child may play with toys that can make sounds when they are shook (if they are non-electric), since the sounds being made are not considered music or have any rhythm. [3]


It is permitted to whistle with one’s mouth on Shabbat. [4] However, one may not blow and make a sound with a whistle on Shabbat. [5] Nonetheless, some poskim say that it is proper for a Ben Torah to refrain from whistling all together.


One may not set a timer on a stereo or speaker that will turn on during Shabbat and play music. [6] Nonetheless, one may set an alarm clock before Shabbat to ring on Shabbat. [7]


Sources:

[1]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 68. See also Mishnah Berurah 338:7; Yabia Omer, vol. 3, O.C. 22:4.

[2]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 253. However, one may not shake the rimonim on the sefer Torah to hear them jingle. See also Mishnah Berurah 339:8; Mishpetei Uziel 1:13; Yechaveh Daat 3:49; Chazon Ovadia, Sukkot, p. 458.

[3]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 103 and vol. 5, p. 259; Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 16:3; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 2, 26:8; Mishneh Halachot 6:74; Shevet HaLevi 9:78.

[4]. Rama 338:1; Mishnah Berurah 338:3; Machazik Berachah 338:1; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 236. Regarding whistling by putting one’s fingers in one’s mouth and blowing, some poskim, such as the Aruch HaShulchan 338:7 and Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah, ch. 16, footnote 9, permit doing so. However, Mishneh Halachot 4:52 does not permit doing so. See also in Piskei Teshuvot 338:4.

[5]. Be’er Moshe 6:28; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 236; Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 16:2.

[6]. Aruch HaShulchan 338:5; Yabia Omer 3:29 and 4:46; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 238. See also in Tzitz Eliezer, vol. 3, siman 16, 3:5.

[7]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 262; Or Letzion, vol. 2, 39:3; Tzitz Eliezer, 8:13; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 79.


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