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Non-Intentional Erasing on Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Non-Intentional Erasing 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)


What are some examples of non intentional Erasing that are permitted on Shabbat?


According to many poskim, one may not separate two pages of a book that are stuck together if one may come to rip or erase a letter. [1] However, there are some poskim who are lenient in this matter, since one’s intention is not to erase. One should follow ones custom. [2]

One may walk on drawings that were made out of chalk on the sidewalk, even though one may slightly erase some of the letters or pictures as one is walking. [3]

One may wear socks or clothing that has words or letters on them, even though over time through consistent use the words end up wearing out and become erased. [4] Similarly, It is permitted to walk on snow or mud with shoes that have words protruding on the bottom of the shoe, even though the bottom of the shoe will create indented words as one is walking on the snow or mud. [5]


[1]. Kaf HaChaim 340:39 in the name of Lev Chayim 3:82; See also Mishnah Berurah 340:45 who is stringent when there's letters; _Biur Halachah_ 340, “She’al”.

[2]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 116. See also Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 85.

[3]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 117. Even though the Stiepler Gaon, as cited in Orchot Rabbenu, vol. 1, p. 166 was stringent, this was only a stringency, but strictly speaking, it is permitted to do so.

[4]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 117.

[5]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 152, and vol. 4, p. 171; Yabia Omer, 5:28; Maor Yisrael, vol. 3, p. 146; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 276 lists several reasons why this is permitted:

1. Since this type of writing is not something that is permanent.

2. Since the “writing” is done in an unusual manner.

3. Since one does not need the melachah that is being done.

4. One does not care about the melachah that is being done. See also Chelkat Yaakov 2:132.

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