The Melachah Of Mechabeh

The Daily Halacha Moment - Melachah Of Mechabeh (Extinguishing) 👨‍🚒


״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 is the Melachah of Mechabeh (Extinguishing)?


Answer:

The biblical prohibition of Mechabeh is done by extinguishing in order to create a coal. [1] Rabbinically, all other forms of extinguishing a fire are prohibited. [2] Prohibited methods of Mechabeh include:

a. Blowing out a fire.

b. Dousing a fire.

c. Reducing the supply of fuel to the fire. [3]

d. Putting out a fire in order to save fuel.

e. Putting out a fire in order to save something from burning.

f. Putting out or lessening a fire in order to not have light.

g. Putting out sparks. [4]

h. Lowering the flame on a gas stovetop. [5]

i. Moving a lit candle in a manner that causes the oil to shift away from the flame. [6]


Putting out a hot metal coal is considered a rabbinical violation of mechabeh. [7] A similar application of this halachah is by turning off a candescent electric light or other electrical appliances on Shabbat. The different applications of electricity will be discussed at greater length in future Halacha Moments. [8]


Sources:

[1]. Talmud Bavli, Shabbat, 31b.

[2]. See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 251; vol. 6, p. 105; Yabia Omer, vol. 10, siman 55, 3:16.

[3]. Talmud Bavli, Betza 22a.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 265:4.

[5]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 186; Menuchat Ahavah, vol. 3, 26:10.

[6]. Shulchan Aruch 277:1; See Yabia Omer, vol. 4, 35:6; Yechaveh Daat 2:57; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 277.

[7]. Shulchan Aruch 334:27.

[8]. Yabia Omer 1:31 and 10:28; Menuchat Ahavah, vol. 3, 26:9-10.


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