Halacha for Tuesday 6 Tammuz 5779 July 9 2019

The Forbidden Work of Planting on Shabbat

The Torah (Shemot 20) states: “Remember the day of Shabbat to sanctify it. Six days you shall work and perform all of your labor and the seventh day shall be a Shabbat for Hashem, your G-d etc. For in six days Hashem created the Heavens and the earth and on He rested on the seventh day. Thus, Hashem blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” The Torah warns us about the commandment of Shabbat observance twelve times, for it is the basis of our belief in Hashem’s creation of the world. Our Sages teach us that one who observes the Shabbat is tantamount to having fulfilled the entire Torah and one who desecrates the Shabbat is tantamount to having denied the entire Torah. The reason for this is, as we have mentioned above, because Shabbat observance is the basis of our belief.

Any works forbidden to be performed on Shabbat are referred to as “primary works” and each of these works have “subcategories.” For instance, one of the “primary works” on Shabbat is building , such as erecting a building, while its subcategory is cheese making (turning milk into cheese), for joining several pieces or components together to form one larger object is similar to building and is forbidden on Shabbat (as we have explained regarding the issue of making ice cubes on Shabbat).

There are thirty-nine primary forbidden works on Shabbat which are all enumerated in the Mishnah (Shabbat 73a).

The first of these forbidden works is that of planting; included in this forbidden work is any action one performs with the intention of causing something to grow or blossom, such as planting on Shabbat, pruning trees on Shabbat so that they grow nicely, grafting trees together, and the like. The Gemara (Mo’ed Katan 2b) states that one who water plants or trees on Shabbat is likewise liable for the prohibition of planting on Shabbat, for water causes the seeds and trees to grow. Based on this, one should point out to those eating in gardens or orchards on Shabbat not to wash their hands over grass or plants as well as not to pour any beverage over plants, for by doing so one is watering the plants and this constitutes the forbidden work of planting on Shabbat. Although this may not be one’s intention, it is nevertheless forbidden to cause plants to grow.

Maran Ha’Bet Yosef writes in the name of the Sefer Ha’Terumah that it is proper to avoid eating on Shabbat in a place where weeds or plants are attached to the ground, for it is difficult to make sure one does not spill water on them, thus causing one to transgress the prohibition of planting on Shabbat. Clearly, the same applies to eating on top of grass which is quite common nowadays.

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

Honoring One’s Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law

The Yalkut Shimoni states: “David told Shaul, ‘My father, you shall surely see the corner of your coat in my hand’” (which means that David called Shaul his father). Our Sages derived from here that one is obligated to honor one’s father-in-law just as one is obligated ......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Similarly, if one, G-d-forbid, loses a son, daughter, brother, or sister, one should recite Kaddis......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Rising Before One’s Father or Rabbi- Maran zt”l’s Response to his Grandson

All of the laws of honoring and revering one’s parents apply equally to both a son and daughter. When we sometimes focus on a father and son or a mother and daughter, this is meant as a mere example and illustration. When one sees one’s parents passing in front of him, one must rise b......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Honoring Parents After Their Passing

Just as one is obligated to honor one’s parents during their lifetime, one is likewise obligated to honor one’s parents after their passing. One may certainly not disrespect one’s parents after their death. The Baraita (Kiddushin 31b) states: “Whenever one mentions a Torah......

Read Halacha

Who Must Bear the Financial Burden of Caring for One’s Parents?

We have discussed previously that part of the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is serving one’s parents food and drink as they wish. Included in this is that when one’s parents are elderly and can no longer care for themselves, their sons and daughters must care for their physical......

Read Halacha

A Father Who Absolves His Son from Honoring and Revering Him

The following discussion is crucial to understanding important laws regarding honoring one’s parents. In the previous Halachot, we have discussed some laws pertaining to honoring and revering one’s parents. There are certain laws that relate to a child’s obligation to honor his ......

Read Halacha

Calling One’s Father or Mother by Name

Question: May one call one’s father by his first name? Also, may one call a friend with the same name as one’s father by his first name? Answer: A child may not call his father or mother by their first name. For instance, if one’s father’s name is “Shmuel,” the......

Read Halacha