Halacha for Monday 16 Sivan 5780 June 8 2020

Question: May one fill up an ice tray with water and place it in the freezer in order to make ice cubes on Shabbat?

Answer: The Gemara (Shabbat 95a) states that one who makes cheese on Shabbat by clumping together milk flakes has transgressed the Torah prohibition of building on Shabbat. Some deduce from this Gemara that it is forbidden to make ice on Shabbat, for one is turning water into a solid form and this constitutes the forbidden work of building on Shabbat.

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that the aforementioned Gemara does not apply here, for one who makes cheese must collect many pieces of milk with his hands and then turns them into one block by placing them into a single round or square vessel which is indeed similar to building whereby one collects dirt, sand, and wood and creates a single building out of them. Indeed, the Rambam (Chapter 7 of Hilchot Shabbat, Halacha 6) states: “One who collects many different articles and sticks them together until they are one form, this is similar to building.” However, if one places water or juice in a cold place such that they freeze on their own, this is in no way similar to building, for one is not doing any action with his hands.

Another reason Maran zt”l adds for leniency regarding making ice cubes on Shabbat is that the “building” of ice is not something that is long-lasting, for as soon as it is removed from the freezer, it will immediately begin melting as opposed to cheese which can last on its own for a long time. Indeed, the longer it stands, the harder it becomes (as we can see with regards to hard and semi-hard cheeses) until it actually becomes as hard as a rock; this occurrence is certainly comparable to a building which is made to last for a long time.

Thus, halachically speaking, one may place water or any other beverage in the freezer in order to turn it into ice on Shabbat. This is especially true during the summer during which this constitutes enjoyment of Shabbat as well. Hagaon Harav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg zt”l (Responsa Tzitz Eliezer, Volume 6, Chapter 34) and Hagaon Harav Shmuel Ha’Levi Wosner zt”l (Responsa Shevet Ha’Levi, Volume 1, Chapter 119) rule likewise.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Making Toast on a Hotplate on Shabbat

Question: May one place a pita or a slice of bread on a hotplate on Shabbat in order to turn it into hard and crunchy toast? Answer: There are two prohibitions we must discuss with regards to our question of making toast on Shabbat out of bread that was already baked before Shabbat. The first ......

Read Halacha

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on t......

Read Halacha

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat? Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just......

Read Halacha

Washing Dishes on Shabbat Night and Pouring Water on Dirty Dishes

Question: Upon the conclusion of the Shabbat night meal, may one immediately wash the dishes for the Shabbat day meal or should this only be done during the day closer to the start of the meal? Also, is it permissible to pour water onto soiled dishes (which one no longer needs for Shabbat) so that i......

Read Halacha


The Law Regarding a Woman Who Forgets to Recite the Blessings of the Torah

We have explained in the previous Halacha that if one forgets to recites the Blessings of the Torah and only realizes this after one has concluded Shacharit prayers, one may no longer recite these blessings, for one has already fulfilled his obligation with the “Ahavat Olam” blessing rec......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

Question: May one recite the Amida prayer in front of a curtain (covering the Aron Kodesh) which is adorned with various designs?

Answer: The Rambam writes in one of his responses (Freiman edition, Chapter 20): “It is incorrect to pray in front of garments with designs on them, even if the designs are not protruding. We usually close our eyes when it happens that we must pray in front of a wall or garment adorned with de......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding One Who Forgets to Recite the Morning Blessings

The Morning Blessings (“Birkot Ha’Shachar”) are the blessings recited every morning beginning from the “Elohai Neshama” blessing until the end of the Blessings of the Torah. Both men and women must recite these blessings, as we have discussed in the laws of the Morning ......

Read Halacha