Trapping Non-dangerous Insects On Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Non-dangerous insects & 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:

May one trap non Non-dangerous insects on Shabbat?


Answer:

According to some Poskim, it is permitted to close a closet or chest if there are flies, mosquitoes or moths inside of it, since they are not the type of animal that is normally captured for any purpose and because once the chest or closet is opened, the insects can immediately fly out without being captured. However, others state that this is rabbinically prohibited. Therefore, one should first try to shoo away the flies from the chest before closing it, then one may close it even if there may be an insect still inside the chest, since one’s intention is not to trap it. [1]

Similarly, If a flea or mosquito is biting one’s skin, one may take it off, but one may not kill it. [2]


Sources:

[1]. See Bet Yosef, who is stringent to shoo away the insects before closing the chest, like the opinion of the Baal HaTerumah. Even though this halachah was left out of Shulchan Aruch, nevertheless, the Rama 316:3 brings this as the halachah. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 110 acknowledges that it is possible that the Shulchan Aruch retracted his opinion from what he wrote in Bet Yosef, but nevertheless it is proper to be stringent anyways. See also in Yabia Omer, vol. 4, 34:16 and 35:12; vol. 5, 27:2; vol. 8, 39:10; vol. 9, 35:4; vol. 10, 28; Levyat Chen 41; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 9; Menuchat Ahavah, vol. 3, 17:12. See also in Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 27:46 who states that if a fly is on a window screen, one may close the window, even though the fly will become caught in between the screen and the window, provided that one’s intention is not to trap the fly because the fly is bothersome, but rather to close the window because it is too cold or rainy.

[2]. Shulchan Aruch 316:9; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 110.


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