Halacha for Wednesday 24 Iyar 5782 May 25 2022

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

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha


Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

Frying Fish in a Meat Pot, Baking Fish and Meat in the Same Oven, and Maran zt”l’s Custom

There is a well-known prohibition of eating fish and meat together, as discussed by the Gemara and Poskim. Cooking Fish in a Meat Pot Although it is prohibited to cook a dairy dish in a meat pot as we have discussed in a previous Halacha, nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writ......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha