From the Rav’s Desk: 1) Moving a table with a sun umbrella to another area; 2) spitting on grass on Shabbos

  1. Question: [Thursday 11th Mar Cheshvan, 5781]

We have a table outside with an open summer umbrella and was wondering if it is permitted for me to move it on Shabbos, such as if the table is in one area of our yard where there is currently no sun and would like to move into a different area of our yard where we are currently sitting and where the sun is shining. I guess my question is regarding whether the prohibition of making on Shabbos is specifically against opening up the umbrella an Ohel, or even against moving it to an area in order to give shade from the sun if it was open from before Shabbos?



You may move the table with its open umbrella to any area that you desire, whether to or from the sun.

The reason: As the rabbinical prohibition against making an Ohel on Shabbos is specifically against opening it or closing it on Shabbos. However, to simply move it from one area to another we find no mention of a prohibition. Furthermore, from the fact that in the discussion of using an umbrella on Shabbos that was already open from beforehand, no mention is made of the fact that you are moving it from one area to another as an argument to prohibited, proves that this argument is not legitimate as in truth moving it alone is not prohibited. Likewise, if this were to be prohibited, then there would be no allowance to use a stroller on Shabbos with its open hood, even if one opened the hood from before Shabbos. In truth, all Poskim agree that if the hood was open from before Shabbos then the stroller may be used on Shabbos even though one is going with it from inside the house where there is no sun to outside the house where there is sun, and the entire discussion in the Poskim is only regarding if you can open it on Shabbos. Thus, it is clear without doubt once a table sun umbrella has been open from before Shabbos there is no additional Ohel prohibition to move it to a different location on Shabbos. Nonetheless the use of a rain or sun umbrella that one walks with while holding his hand is prohibited on Shabbos due to other reasons, even if it was open before Shabbos and is thus free of the Ohel prohibition.

As for the reason why the prohibition applies only to initially erecting the hovering, such as to initially open the table umbrella on Shabbos, and not to moving it, that this is because the entire decree of the sages was against making the structure of the hovering and not against moving it even though by doing so one accomplishes the giving of shade, the creation of shade that the sages prohibited but rather the creation of a structure that gives shade.

Sources: See regarding umbrella the following sources: Nodeh Beyehuda Tenyana; Tehila Ledavid 315:8; M”B in Biur Halacha 315:8; “Tefach”; Mamar Mordechai; Chayeh Adam, Sharreiy Teshuvah 302:?; Ketzos Hashulchan 120:13; SSH”K 24:15; Chasam Sofer 72; Chazon Ish 52:6; see regarding a stroller: M”B 315:12; Ketzos Hashulchan 120 footnote 8


  1. Question: [Thursday 11th Mar Cheshvan, 5781]

We have an outdoor Minyan which takes place on grass and would like to know if it is permitted to spit on the grass such as during the prayer of Aleinu Leshabeiach?



No, it is prohibited to spit on grass due to the planting prohibition. Thus in such a case you should either find a different area to spit by Aleinu or not spit at all.

Sources: See Admur 336:9; Shevisas Shabbos Zoreia 2

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