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The Melachah Of Mavir

The Daily Halacha Moment - Melachah Of Mavir 🔥

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן עולם 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 is the melachah of Mavir (Kindling a fire)?


The melachah of Mavir was to kindle a fire in order to heat the vats of dyes that were used to dye the curtains of the Mishkan. [1] Some commentaries state that it was needed for melting the metal that was used for parts of the Mishkan. [2]

The melachah of Mavir is defined as any manner of kindling, fueling or spreading a fire. This includes:

a. Striking a match or lighter. [3]

b. Lighting a fire with a magnifying glass. [4]

c. Lighting a fire by rubbing two sticks together.

d. Causing sparks in order to ignite a fire. [5]

e. Adding wood to a fire. [6]

f. Adding oil to a cup that is fueling a wick. [7]

g. Raising the gas to an already lit fire. [8]

h. Stoking coals. [9]

i. Blowing on an ember to make a fire larger. [10]

j. Tilting oil in a cup in order to fuel a lit wick. [11]

The biblical prohibited of Mavir is transgressed if one lights a fire for the purpose of cooking, heating, or for light. [12] Even if one is only lighting the fire in order to benefit from the ashes that are produced, it is considered a transgression of Mavir. [13] If one did not light a fire for any of these purposes, then it is only rabbinically prohibited. [14]


[1]. Talmud Bavli, Shabbat, 73a.

[2]. Tosafot, Shabbat, 94a, “Rav Shimon.”

[3]. See also in Rav Pe’alim, O.C. 2:53 who states that if one struck a match and only spark came out but it did not ignite the match, then one only has performed a rabbinical prohibition.

[4]. Meorei Esh, vol. 2, p. 474 and p. 482.

[5]. Simply creating sparks that cannot ignite a fire is only rabbinically prohibited. See Pri Megadim, 502:47, M.Z. 1; Chazon Ish, O.C. 50:9; Har Tzvi, O.C., 1:150; Rav Pe’alim O.C. 2:53; Minchat Yitzchak, vol. 2, 16:16; Tzitz Eliezer, 1:20, 1:15; Minchat Shlomo, vol. 1, 10:7.

[6]. Rambam, Shabbat, 12:2.

[7]. Talmud Bavli, Betza 22a; Rosh; Rambam, Shabbat, 12:2.

[8]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 182.

[9]. Talmud Bavli, Kritut 20a; Talmud Yerushalmi, Shabbat 2:5.

[10]. Ibid.

[11]. See Yabia Omer, vol. 1, 21:18.

[12]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 6, p. 105.

[13]. Rambam, Shabbat, 12:1.

[14]. See Menuchat Ahavah, vol. 3, 25:1.

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