Halacha for Tuesday 18 Cheshvan 5778 November 7 2017

Toys Which Produce Sound and those Which Operate Using a Spring or Coil

Question: Is it permissible for one to allow one’s young children to play with toys which produce sound, such as a doll which makes noise when shaken, on Shabbat?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed the prohibition of producing sound on Shabbat, such as by banging on a board, blowing a whistle, and the like. Only sound produced by one’s mouth, i.e. singing, is permissible on Shabbat.

Clearly, anything which produces sound by means of electricity may not be used on Shabbat. Our discussion here involves objects which produce sound on their own, such as through a simple bell and the like, but not through electronic means.

Based on the aforementioned prohibition to produce sound on Shabbat, one may not produce sound on Shabbat using a toy called “Miriam’s Drum” which produces a musical sound merely by shaking it even without actually banging on it. This is tantamount to any other musical instrument.

Thus, it would seem that one may not hand this toy to one’s young children to play with on Shabbat; it will likewise be forbidden to hand a whistle to a young child to play with on Shabbat, since this action is forbidden on Shabbat and one must educate one’s children regarding Shabbat observance. (This is besides the fact that one may not permit one’s young child to perform a forbidden action on Shabbat, for we are commanded not to perform forbidden works on Shabbat even by use of our animals; certainly, we may not do so through our children. This is stated explicitly in the Midrash. See Chazon Ovadia- Shabbat, Volume 3, page 101 and Shabbat, Volume 4, page 119.)

Nevertheless, several luminaries of the past generation, including Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (in his Minchat Shlomo, Part 1, Chapter 35) and Hagaon Harav Ben-Zion Abba Shaul zt”l (in his Ohr Le’Zion, Part 2, Chapter 26), have written that toys which do not produce actual musical tunes, such as a doll with a bell on it, a toy car which makes noise when it rides, or most other toys and games which do not produce a proper, pleasant, musical tune and the intention of producing this sound is not to produce a tune, are not forbidden for use by our Sages. In any event, there is room for leniency here with regards to young children.

Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l adds that children may play with toy cars which operate using a spring or coil on Shabbat. Although there are those who rule stringently on this matter, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that halachically speaking, one may act leniently in this regard (as long as no sparks are produced as a result).

Summary: One may not give one’s child a musical instrument to play with on Shabbat, such as a drum, whistle, and the like. However, toys which do not produce a pleasant, musical tune and only produce noise, such as toy cars which produce noise when they ride and dolls with bells on them, may be given to young children to play with on Shabbat (until the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah). There is likewise no prohibition of Muktzeh transgressed by passing these toys to children.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

If One is Uncertain Whether or Not One Has Requested Rain in One’s Prayer

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the basic Halachot of requesting dew and rain in the “Blessing of the Years.” We have likewise mentioned that if one has completed the Amida prayer and remembers that he has not requested rain, one must repeat the entire Amida prayer, for one i......

Read Halacha

The Laws of One Who Forgets to Mention “Ve’Ten Tal U’Matar” in the “Blessing of the Years”

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed in a general manner that our Sages enacted that beginning from the Seventh of Marcheshvan (outside of Israel from the Fourth or Fifth of December), one begins reciting “Ve’Ten Tal U’Matar” (a request for dew and rain) in the “B......

Read Halacha

“The Blessing of the Years”

Beginning from last night, the Seventh of Marcheshvan, we have begun to request rain in the Amida prayer (only in the Land of Israel; the law for those outside of Israel will be discussed further). Let us therefore review some of these pertinent laws. The Enactment of the Sages to Request Rain O......

Read Halacha


Calling One’s Friend an Offensive Nickname

In the previous Halachot we have explained some general laws of the prohibition of verbal oppression or verbally hurting another. The Gemara (Baba Metzia 58b) states: “Rabbi Chanina said: All who descend to Gehinnom ascend from there (all wicked individuals who are sentenced to Gehinnom wil......

Read Halacha

Summary of the Laws of Verbal Oppression

In the previous Halachot we have discussed the primary laws of verbal oppression or hurting someone with words. We must now explain an important rule regarding these laws. The laws of verbal oppression are divided into two categories: The first is verbally misleading another (a form of trickery),......

Read Halacha

Traveling from One Place to Another while Eating

Question: Based on what was recently published on “Halacha Yomit” that one may not leave one’s house while eating any type of food and if one leaves one’s house completely, one must recite another blessing before continuing to eat, is one permitted to eat a candy while travel......

Read Halacha

Verbal Oppression

The Mishnah in Masechet Baba Metzia (58b) teaches, “Just as there is a prohibition to cheat in business, there is likewise a prohibition to verbally hurt someone else, as the verse states (Vayikra 25), ‘And one shall not oppress his fellow and you shall fear your G-d.’” Hurti......

Read Halacha