Halacha for Wednesday 18 Tevet 5779 December 26 2018

A Watch Which Operates Upon the Movement of One’s Hand

Question: Is it permissible to wear a watch whose spring is wound up through the movement of one’s hand on Shabbat?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that a mechanical watch which operates with a spring that is wound up and is currently not working may not be wound up on Shabbat since there is a concern of the prohibition of “repairing a vessel” on Shabbat which is a Torah prohibition.

Before addressing the above question, let us first discuss whether it is permissible to wind up such a watch (a mechanical watch operating with a spring) while it is still working on Shabbat in order to allow it to work for a longer period of time.

It seems that there is room to allow winding up the spring in this situation according to all opinions, for there is no concern of “repairing a vessel” on Shabbat since the watch is currently perfectly operational and winding the spring does not create any visible repair. Thus, there is certainly room to allow this. Indeed, after analyzing this scenario and quoting the opinions of several Acharonim who rule stringently on this matter even in this situation, among them the Mishnah Berura, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l concludes that there is indeed room for leniency and there is no prohibition to wind up the spring as long as the watch is still working.

Regarding our question about whether or not it is permissible to wear a watch whose spring is wound up merely by the motion of one’s hand on Shabbat, based on the above that one may indeed manually wind up the spring of a watch while it is still operational, there is certainly room to allow wearing such a watch on Shabbat, for the winding of the spring occurs when the watch is still functioning. Even according to the Mishnah Berura who rules that one may not wind up the watch’s spring even when it is still working, nevertheless, in our case where the individual wearing the watch is not manually winding the spring, there are several other reasons for leniency in this regard.

Summary: Although it is forbidden to wind up the spring of a mechanical watch once it has stopped working, nevertheless, if the watch is still working, it is permissible to wind it up so that it may continue to operate longer. Similarly, it is permissible to wear a watch whose spring is wound through the motion of one’s hand on Shabbat as long as it is still operational.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach-5779- Maran zt”l’s Correction

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

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor

“Remember What Amalek Has Done to You” 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 Vayikra this year, 577......

Read Halacha

The Custom of the “Commemoration of the Half-Shekel”-5779

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

Arriving Late to or Skipping Some Portions of the Megillah Reading

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 Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Mishloach Manot

Purim this year will fall out at the end of next week. The Fast of Esther will be observed next Wednesday and Purim will be observed on Thursday in most places and on Friday in Jerusalem. The Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot The verse in the Megillat Esther (9, 22) states: “In order to mark them......

Read Halacha

The Salvation of the Jewish Nation on Purim

The verse in Megillat Esther (Chapter 3) states: “And Haman said to King Achashverosh: There is a certain nation scattered and dispersed among the nations in all the provinces of your kingdom and their laws are diverse from those of every nation and neither do they keep the king’s laws; ......

Read Halacha