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

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading-The Proper Procedure for One Who Has Missed Hearing a Portion of the Megillah

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor

On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Tetzaveh this year, 5777) and in the second one we read the portion of &ld......

Read Halacha


The Custom of the “Commemoration of the Half-Shekel”-5777

It is customary to donate money before Purim as “a commemoration of the Half-Shekel” which was donated by the entire Jewish nation when the Bet Hamikdash stood. This money is customarily collected on the eve of Purim before reading the Megillah, as our Sages tell us (Megilla 13b) that &l......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

The Essence of Leavening The Torah (Shemot 13) tells us regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in all of your borders.” The leaven that the Torah prohibits is produced by the combination of grain-flour and water......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur-Unique Laws for this Year

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha