Halacha for Monday 1 Iyar 5779 May 6 2019

Window Shopping on Shabbat

Question: When one strolls through one’s garden on Shabbat, may one think about the fact that one must tend to the garden on Motza’ei Shabbat? Likewise, may one look into shop windows on Shabbat?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (113a) derives from the verse in Yeshaya (Chapter 58) which states, “If you shall halt your feet because of the Shabbat, (and abstain) from performing your activities on My holy day,” that one may not perform one’s regular activities on Shabbat, such as walking up and down one’s field in order to ascertain what needs to be done to it the next day. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 306) and all Poskim rule likewise.

The Rambam (Chapter 24 of Hilchot Shabbat) writes: “One may not check one’s gardens or fields on Shabbat in order to ascertain what needs to be done to them.” The source of this law stems from the aforementioned Gemara. We derive from the words “performing your activities” that even an activity which entails no forbidden work is prohibited on Shabbat if it is a regular, weekday activity.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes (in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Volume 6) that the Gemara (Eruvin 39a) states that this is only prohibited when it is noticeable that one is going specifically in order to see what the field needs, i.e. by going there and staring at it intently.

However, if it is unnoticeable that this is one’s intention, for instance, if one is merely strolling through one’s garden, there is no prohibition to look and see what it needs after Shabbat.

Although the Chayei Adam and other Poskim rule stringently on this matter even when it is unnoticeable that this is one’s intention, nevertheless, the Mishnah Berura (Chapter 306) writes lengthily to prove that the Halacha follows the more lenient approach.

Thus, regarding our question which discusses a private garden in one’s home where one happens to be taking a stroll, there is no prohibition in pondering what in the garden must be tended to after Shabbat.

Based on the above, if one is strolling on the street on Shabbat, one may look at stores as one is walking in order to know which stores to visit after Shabbat. Similarly, one may look at the items displayed in the storefront as one is walking, as long as one does not focus on the prices.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Praying Shacharit Early

By Popular Demand: When is it permissible to begin praying Shacharit? Many individuals must arrive at their places of work at a very early hour in the morning and would like to know when the earliest possible time to pray Shacharit is. Answer: Preferably, the time to pray Shacharit is from sunris......

Read Halacha

Question: Is it obligatory to stand during the Birkot Ha’Shachar (morning blessings) and the Birkot Ha’Torah (blessings of the Torah)?

Answer: There are certain blessings which require one to be standing while reciting them. There is a unique reason for why one must stand while reciting each of these blessings. For instance, regarding the blessing on counting the Omer, the Torah states, “From when the sickle begins [to make c......

Read Halacha

The Proper Order of Prayer for a Workers’ Minyan

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should preferably not pray Shacharit before sunrise. Nevertheless, workers who must arrive at their jobs early in the morning and do not have an opportunity to pray after sunrise may act leniently and pray beginning from dawn which is calculated as......

Read Halacha

Praying for Spiritual Matters- Rabbeinu Moshe Alshich zt”l

We have quoted in the past Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l’s words regarding one of the “Harachaman” texts customarily recited in Birkat Hamazon, “May the Merciful One sustain us in permissible ways as opposed to forbidden ones,” that although our Sages teach us ......

Read Halacha


The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Personal Requests During the Amida Prayer- Maran zt”l’s Behavior

Question: May one add one’s own personal requests into the Amida prayer? What is the correct custom regarding this matter? Answer: Our Sages (Berachot 34a) discuss whether or not one may add personal requests into one’s Amida prayer and said, as follows: “One may never ask for o......

Read Halacha

Inserting Personal Requests in the Amida Prayer on a Constant Basis

Question: You have written in the Halacha Yomit that one may insert personal requests into the blessings of the Amida. Is this permitted even on a constant basis, i.e. adding personal requests in one’s Amida prayer every day? Answer: Indeed, it is permissible to add personal requests into t......

Read Halacha

Using Sifrei Kodesh (Holy Books) For an Alternate Purpose

Question: May one place one Sefer on top of or lean it against another Sefer so that it is easier to read from the Sefer? Answer: Some have the custom to take one Sefer, such as a book of Mishnayot, and lean it on an angle against another Sefer, such as a Siddur, so that it easier to read from th......

Read Halacha