Halacha for Tuesday 23 Shevat 5780 February 18 2020

Disassembling Doors and Windows on Shabbat

Question: May one remove a door from its hinges or a window from its frame on Shabbat?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that one of the works forbidden on Shabbat is building. However, just as it is forbidden to build something or add anything to a standing edifice on Shabbat, it is likewise forbidden to demolish something already built. This is called the forbidden work of demolishing on Shabbat.

Regarding our question, on one hand, the doors and windows of the house are affixed to the walls of the house but on the other hand, they are built separately and then mounted onto hinges or in frames. We must therefore discuss whether or not mounting or removing a door on Shabbat constitutes the prohibition of building or demolishing on Shabbat.

The Rambam (Chapter 10 of Hilchot Shabbat) writes as follows: “If one reinstalls the door of a ditch, pit, or balcony, this is a subcategory of building.” This means that if a door was taken apart before Shabbat and then one comes and reinstalls it on Shabbat, he has transgressed the prohibition of building on Shabbat. Similarly, disassembling a door on Shabbat constitutes the prohibition of demolishing.

Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 308) rules likewise and explains that the reason for this is because the doors are attached to an edifice which is attached to the ground, the prohibitions of building and demolishing indeed apply.

Rabbeinu Nissim (Shabbat, page 47 of the Rif) rules that disassembling and remounting a door on Shabbat constitutes an actual prohibition of building and demolishing on Shabbat.

Based on this, the Turei Zahav writes that those who remove doors or windows on Shabbat transgress a Torah prohibition and they are obligated to bring a Chatat offering. Hagaon Rabbeinu Chaim Palagi rules likewise in his Sefer Kaf Ha’Chaim.

On the other hand, Hagaon Chazon Ish (Chapter 50, Section 10) writes that regarding our doors and windows which are installed loosely and swing on hinges such that they are easily removed, the Torah prohibitions of building and demolishing do not apply; there is only a rabbinic prohibition to do so. Other great Poskim concur regarding the letter of the law of doors and windows (even with regards to doors in those days) that this does not constitute an actual Torah prohibition. Regardless, halachically speaking, it is absolutely forbidden to disassemble or reinstall doors or windows on Shabbat (see Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Volume 5, page 283).

Summary: It is forbidden to disassemble or reinstall doors or windows on Shabbat.

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

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

Tisha Be’av Which Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat- Clothing for Tisha Be’av

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha