The Melachah Of Melaben

Updated: Feb 15

The Daily Halacha Moment - Melaben - Scouring 💦


״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 Melaben? (Scouring)


Answer:

After the wool was shorn from the animal, it had to be soaked and cleansed of all of the grease, sand and numerous other impurities before it could be used. There are several views as to what is considered the av melachah of Melaben. Rashi[1] states that this was the process called “scouring.” This was the process of soaking the wool in a stream or basin that contained water, and then dried. The Rambam[2] states that the melachah of Melaben was really bleaching the wool in order to clean it and whiten it. In any case, according to all opinions, the melachah of Melaben also includes the Toldah of Kibbus – laundering.[3] This applies to all garments, whether they are white or colored.[4] Melaben can include any cleansing of an absorbent material that has absorbed an impurity. This can be done through washing, soaking, squeezing, or even merely by scrubbing a material that is dry.[5]

The melachah of Melaben does not apply to only washing a whole garment, but even a partial garment or small area that is stained is forbidden.[6]

Over the next couple of days we will B'ezrat Hashem discuss practical Halachot regarding the melachah of Melaben.


Sources:

[1]. Mesechet Shabbat, 73a.

[2]. Hilchot Shabbat 9:10

[3]. Rambam, Shabbat, 9:11.

[4]. Mishnah Berurah 302:39.

[5]. Mishnah Berurah 302:36; Biur Halachah 302, “Yesh omrim.”

[6]. See in Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 72.


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