Halacha for Sunday 29 Tevet 5780 January 26 2020

The Forbidden Work of Dyeing On Shabbat

The Basis of the Forbidden Work of Dyeing
One of the thirty-nine works forbidden by Torah law on Shabbat is the forbidden work of dyeing. The Mishnah in Masechet Shabbat (73a) states likewise.

We have previously discussed that any work which was performed in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was prohibited by the Torah to perform on Shabbat. One of the works commonly performed in the Mishkan was dyeing. This manifested itself in the dyeing of hides with various colors, marking animals with colors, and using the Techelet (blue) dye derived from the Chilazon.

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Shabbat 51b and commentaries ibid.) states that although the Jewish nation was in the desert, there were dyes that they brought with them from Egypt, such as the Techelet dye. Indeed, the Gemara states that there were salesmen who came to where the Jewish nation was in the desert in order to sell them merchandise. It is in this manner that the Jewish nation was able to engage in dying in the Mishkan in the desert and it is therefore one of the forbidden works on Shabbat.   

Color/Dye which is not Permanent
The Torah only forbids coloring on Shabbat using permanent dye, such as ink on paper which stays there for a prolonged amount of time; however, the Torah does not prohibit coloring using non-permanent dye. Nevertheless, our Sages have decreed that it is forbidden to color on Shabbat using even non-permanent dye.

Polishing Shoes or Painting One’s House on Shabbat
Included in the forbidden work of dyeing is one who paints the walls of his house with plaster or paint on Shabbat. This is certainly a Torah prohibition, for this is a permanent kind of coloring.

Similarly, one may not polish his shoes on Shabbat with shoe polish, for this constitutes a Torah prohibition of dyeing on Shabbat (even if one polishes over a place that had already been colored or polished). If one smears the polish onto the shoe, some say that he has transgressed an additional prohibition of “smearing” on Shabbat. Even if the consistency of the polish is very thin and watery and thus does not constitute the Torah prohibition of smearing, there is nevertheless a rabbinic edict forbidding the smearing of any cream or polish on Shabbat, even if it is thin and easily-smeared by hand. (See Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 4, Chapter 28.)

Summary: It is forbidden to color on Shabbat using either a permanent or non-permanent dye. For this reason, it is forbidden to paint one’s house or polish one’s shoes on Shabbat. It is likewise forbidden to color on paper and the like on Shabbat.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

----------------------------- Correction: There was a typographical error at the end of yesterday's Halacha which stated that the prohibition to take haircuts and shave does not apply this year according to the Sephardic custom. Clearly, this is incorrect and all of the laws of the week durin......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha