1. The general rules of the prohibition

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1. The general rules of the prohibition:

A. Items attached to the ground:[1]

Any item attached to the ground [including vessels, even if they are not sturdy[2]] contain the [prohibition] of building and destroying, [even if one plans to build them semi-loosely or take them apart when they only semi-loosely attached.[3] This prohibition applies even if the item that is attached to the ground is only meant to last temporarily.[4]]

Not made to last at all:[5] However, this only applies by a door that is made to last [on the pit] and not be removed on Shabbos, and thus when one wants to open the pit he unties the rope and opens the door [and then replaces it] and does not totally remove the door from there, as it is set to be there for some time. However, if [the door] is not made to last at all then there is no destroying [prohibition] involved neither in unraveling the rope or cutting it, and not even in removing the actual door from it, unless it is a case that the door revolves on hinges and [to remove it] one must remove the hinge from its socket as explained.



May one reinsert a toilet seat that came out of its hinges?

Seemingly one may not do so even loosely as the toilet is attached to the ground.


May one remove or attach the toilet paper roller that is removed from the socket for the sake of placing on a new role?

Seemingly it is forbidden to do so.[6]


If a tether ball fell off its string that is attached to the pole, may one reattach it?

Seemingly one may not do so even loosely as it is attached to the ground.


May one attach a hammock to a fence on Shabbos?

If it is meant to remain there for some time doing so is forbidden. If it is meant to be constantly placed and removed as needed, then it is permitted.


May one attach a wall hanger or hook to his wall or door on Shabbos?[7]

This is forbidden, whether using glue, tape, or a suction item, due to the building prohibition.


If a Mezuzah fell on Shabbos may one insert it back onto the doorpost?[8]

The Mezuzah fell together with its case: A Mezuzah which fell together with its case may never be replaced on Shabbos to the door being that doing so involves nailing or taping the Mezuzah to the doorpost which contains a Building prohibition.[9]

If a Mezuzah fell out of its case: If a Mezuzah slid out of its case, and its case has remained on the doorpost, then some Poskim[10] allow one to return the Mezuzah into its case on Shabbos.[11] Others[12] However, rule that one may not do so being that it is similar to fixing a vessel.[13] Practically, seemingly one may be lenient[14] so long as it does not involve a building prohibition.[15]

 From the Rav’s Desk


During our meal, the Mezuzah [with its case] fell off from the door of the dining room. What do we do? Can we replace it on Shabbos? Must we leave the room to a different room in order not to be in a room without a Mezuzah?



Forbidden to replace. One may remain in the room.


The explanation: One may not replace the Mezuzah on Shabbos due to the building prohibition. The only time it would be permitted to replace a Mezuzah is if the Mezuzah parchment slid out of the case, in which case one may enter it back into the case. However, to tape, or nail, or glue etc the Mezuzah back on is forbidden. Nonetheless, one is not required to leave the room being that some Poskim rule that there is no prohibition against living in a home without a Mezuzah, and even according to the stringent opinion who prohibits one can argue that on Shabbos there is no prohibition, as since he is unable to erect the Mezuzos on Shabbos, he is therefore exempt from the Mitzvah, and it is as if he living in a room that is not obligated in a Mezuzah. Nonetheless, some Poskim conclude that even on Shabbos if another room is available then one must switch rooms. However, regarding the above case that the Mezuzah fell from the dining room, being that relocating the meal would take much time, seemingly even the stringent approach would be lenient to define it as if another room is not available at that time, and hence it would be permitted to remain there according to all. To note that if the above occurred on Sukkos, such as if the Mezuzah of the backdoor from which one enters into the Sukkah fell off, there would be an even greater leniency if based on Heker Tzir the Mezuzah is placed towards the direction of entering the Sukkah, as a Sukkah is exempt from Mezuzah during the seven days of Sukkos.  


Sources: See M”A 13:8 [no prohibition to enter home without Mezuzah]; P”M 38 A”A 15 [must move out of room on Shabbos if other room is available]; Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 285:1; Daas Kedoshim 289:2; Sdei Chemed Mareches 40:115 [main opinion follows that there is no prohibition to live in home without Mezuzah]; Tzitz Eliezer 13:53; Shevet Halevi 4:143


B. Vessels that are not attached to the ground but are large enough to hold 40 Seah:[16]

Even vessels that are not attached to the ground, if they are large enough to hold 40 seah, meaning that their size is one cubit by one cubit [19×19 inches] with a height of three cubits [59 inches] including the walls [in its circumference[17]] [but] without [including] the thickness of the feet[18] and the crown[19] [within its height][20], then they are considered like a tent[21] and carry with them the building and destroying [prohibition], and therefore it is forbidden to remove their doors from them. [Thus, it is forbidden to attach even semi loosely, and it is forbidden to build and destroy even a un-strudy structure of this built, as explained next.]

The prohibition by an unsturdy structure:[22] It was already explained that there is no building or destroying [prohibition] by vessels which are not large enough to hold 40 seah and are not sturdy structures. Based on this if an earthenware barrel which does not hold the measurement of 40 seah shattered [before Shabbos] and then had its pieces glued back together with tar, then it is permitted to break this vessel on Shabbos, whether using one’s hand or whether using a vessel, in order to remove its content.



Vessels that are not attached to the ground but are large enough to hold 40 Seah have the same law as an item attached to the ground.



May one replace the door of a regular fridge on Shabbos if it fell out of its socket?



May one remove or replace the pole of the Aron Kodesh?

This matter requires further analysis.

May one insert a metal pin holder onto the Bima in order to fasten Bimah cover?

The insert constantly falls off: Seemingly this is allowed to be done.[24]

The insert stays put for a while: Seemingly this would be forbidden.[25]

May one remove the panel of a bookcase if it is resting on hooks?

Some write that if the bookcase holds 40 Seah then doing so is forbidden.[26] However, perhaps it should be viewed as permitted, similar to how it is allowed to hang an item on a hook even permanently on Shabbos. Vetzaruch Iyun.


C. Vessels that are not attached to the ground and are not large enough to hold 40 Seah:

To initially make a vessel:[27] To initially make a vessel[28] [on Shabbos] is [considered to be building] a sturdy structure and is thus liable for building. 

To destroy a complete structure:[29] [As well as] if one breaks a complete structure [not made of parts], then this is [considered] destroying a sturdy structure and is thus liable for destroying.

Other opinions regarding if we apply Boneh and Soser by vessels:[30] There are opinions[31] which say that there is no building and destroying [prohibition] by vessels including even to build a sturdy [complete] structure and to destroy a complete [sturdy] structure. [According to this opinion] it was only said that one who reassembles a chest of drawers and a box and portable tower in a strong way, and similarly that one who reassembles a vessel made up of individual parts in a strong way, that he is liable for a sin offering, because he has fixed a vessel and is [thus] obligated [for the offering] because [he has transgressed the prohibition of] “Making a finishing touch”, [and not because of the building prohibition]. Thus, when one destroys an item that is firmly assembled, and even if he destroys and breaks a vessel made completely of a single part, this does not contain any prohibition when done for the sake of Shabbos, and one may rely on this opinion regarding asking a gentile to do so when needed to be done for a Shabbos need.

Tikkun Keli and Boneh when Fixing a vessel, and building a vessel from scratch:[32] Similarly, anyone who does any fixing to a vessel, this fixing is considered a [Biblically forbidden form of] work, and one is [thus] liable [for a sin offering]. It goes without saying that one who makes a vessel from scratch is liable for the “hitting with a hammer” prohibition, even if it is done in a way that does not contain the building prohibition, as will be explained in chapter 314 [Halacha 17[33]] and 322 [Michaber Halacha 4[34]]. [Vetzaruch Iyun if it is done in a way that one is liable for Boneh, according to the stringent opinion in 314/17, is one also liable for Makeh Bepatish.[35]]

Tikkun Keli and Boneh when returning a hinge back into its socket:[36] All doors of vessels, such as for example [the doors of] a drawer, a box or a portable tower, that have doors on their sides and have two hinges, meaning that they have two heads protruding out from the door, one on its top which enters into a socket that is in the top of the door frame and one on its bottom which goes into a socket that is in the threshold[37], then if [on Shabbos] the bottom hinge became completely dislocated from its [socket], then it is forbidden to reinsert it. The reason for this is [due ] to a decree that one may come to [properly] fix it, meaning that one [may] strongly insert it [into the socket] using a mallet and hatchet in a way that one will no longer be able to take it out from there, and [one thus] will become liable for [transgressing the] building [prohibition] as will be explained, or [he will transgress the] “final blow’ [prohibition] as will be explained in chapter 314 [Halacha 17].[38]

To strongly insert a handle into a vessel:[39] As well one who inserts the wood into the ax to serve as a handle is liable for building. Similarly, anyone who inserts wood into wood, whether one inserts it with nails or whether into the wood itself, to the point that they became unified [meaning sturdy], then this is an offshoot of [the] building [prohibition] and one is thus liable.

Removing the strongly inserted part:[40] [Consequently] anyone who removes wood that is inserted [into other wood and the like] is liable for destroying just like one who destroys a sturdy structure.

To take apart Un-sturdy vessels:[41] To remove the doors from vessels [which are not attached to the ground and do not hold 40 seah] is allowed in all scenarios that the hinge has not been strongly affixed into them, as by vessels there is no [Biblical prohibition] against building and destroying [when they are un-sturdy vessels]. [Regarding building such vessels However, in many cases it is Rabbinically forbidden as will be explained in Halacha 5]

To take apart a sturdy vessel:[42] However, if they are strongly affixed then taking it apart involves [the prohibition of] destroying [and building them contains the building prohibition].

The reason for this is because:[43] [The Sages] only said that [the Biblical prohibition of] building and destroying does not apply by vessels, if the vessel being built or destroyed is not sturdy.



Un-sturdy vessels: Do not retain a [Biblical prohibition] against building and destroying [when they are un-sturdy vessels], and thus their doors may be removed.

By sturdy vessels: Retain fully the Biblical building and destroying prohibition.


D. Destroying not for the sake of building a better building:

First Opinion-Destroying with intent for improvement:[44] [According to the opinion which exempts one from work done not for the sake of its body this not only applies when he has no intent at all to do the work for the body of the item but furthermore] one who destroys a building with intent to return and build it, or one who tears with intent to return and sew, is not Biblically liable unless his intent is that the latter building be greater than the former, and so too in sewing the [torn] cloth [his intent must be that it get improved more than it was originally prior to the tearing]. As without this destroying and tearing, it is completely impossible to fix the building and cloth in order to improve it.

The Rabbinical prohibition:[45] It is However, a Rabbinical prohibition to extinguish, build or tear [even when not done in order to improve].

Asking a gentile to extinguish, destroy or tear in a time of need:[46] Based on the above that destroying without intent to better an item is only Rabbinically forbidden it is [thus permitted] to tell a gentile to do so in a distressful situation, as it is a Rabbinical decree upon a Rabbinical decree which is allowed to be done in a distressful situation.

Other Opinions-Even by destroying no need for improvement:[47] There are opinions which say that even by actions of destruction it is not necessary that the rebuilding be better than the way it was originally.

Other Opinions-One is liable for work even if not done for use of its body:[48] All the above is in accordance to those which say that an action which is not done for the need of its body one is exempt for and is only Rabbinically forbidden. However, there are opinions which argue on this and say that even work which is not done for the need of its body one is Biblically liable for. [According to this opinion, if one destroys for any intent of fixing, even an external fixing, such as out of anger in order to sooth his anger, or in order to take out food from a jar, one is liable.[49] If, However, one destroys simply for the sake of destroying without any benefit, one is exempt according to all opinions. See appendix!]

The Final Ruling:[50] [Due to the above lenient opinion one] therefore does not need to reprimand people who are lenient [to ask a gentile in a time of distress to destroy an item when they do not plan to rebuild it in a better way] being that they have upon whom to rely. However, every person should be stringent upon himself like the stringent opinion which is the main [Halachic] opinion.



Some rule one is only liable for destroying if he does so in order to rebuild it in a better way. Others rule he is liable if he plans to rebuild it even if he rebuilds it to the same state it was in when destroyed. Others rule he is always liable even if he does not plan to rebuild it. One of the ramifications is, may one ask a gentile to destroy an item in a case of great need if one plans to rebuild it after Shabbos to the same state. Practically one is to be stringent against doing so, although those that are lenient do not need to be protested.

General Summary:

Building: Is only Biblically forbidden by an item attached to the ground, or an item that holds 40 Seah, or when building a firm and sturdy structure.

Destroying: Is only Biblically forbidden when the item is attached to the ground, or holds 40 Seah, or is a sturdy structure, and as well only if one’s intent is to rebuild it, and according to some only if he rebuilds it better than it was originally.


E. Boneh by foods:

There is no prohibition of Makeh Bepatish/Tikkun Keli in fixing foods for the sake of eating.[51] One may thus do any permitted action to a food even if that action makes it edible, such as to pour cold water on salted fish[52], or to rub animal fodder and make it edible.[53] However, there are other prohibitions relevant to fixing foods such as Boneh[54], Memacheik; Borer, and Bishul.

Making hard cheese:[55] If one solidified [curd] and turned it into cheese he is liable for building.

The reason for this is:[56] because anyone who gathers parts [of an item] to each other and bonds them together until they become a single substance has [transgressed] an offshoot of [the] building [prohibition]. 


[1] Admur 313:17; as well as 314:19; Michaber 308:9; 314:10

[2] Admur 314:17

[3] Admur 314:17, Ketzos Hashulchan 119 footnote 4

[4] See Admur 314:19 in next case that only if it is made not to last at all is it permitted; Ketzos Hashulchan 119 footnote 4 [rules that if is temporary and not Mivatlo Sham and not meant to be there is permitted, otherwise is forbidden] Vetzarcuh Iyun if placing it there temporarly is a Biblical prohibition or Rabbinical prohibition. From Admur ibid it seems that the prohibition is Biblcial. However, from Ketzos Hashulchan ibid it is implied that it is only Rabbinical. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[5] Admur 314:19; Michaber 314:10

[6] In dirshu they bring a dispute without sources

[7] Az Nidbaru 3:23

[8] See Daas Kedoshim 289:2; Tzitz Eliezer 13:53

[9] However, see Daas Kedoshim ibid which writes that one may ask a child [even above the age of Chinuch] to attach the Mezuzah in a temporary method [Kevius Aray] as in such a case it is a Shvus Deshvus which is overridden by the Mitzvah of Mezuzah. [Vetzaruch Iyun as he himself sides that a Katan is invalid for placing a Mezuzah even during the week. Furthermore attaching something to a building even loosely is Biblically forbidden, thus how is this matter a mere Shvus. Vetzaruch Iyun]

[10] Tzitz Eliezer 13:53

[11] This does not appear like Tikkun Keli even according to the opinion which rules one may not live in a house without a Mezuzah, as this is an obligation on the person and not on the house.

[12] Sdei Chemed Mareches 40:115

[13] The Sdei Chemed brings that this matter is subject to the same dispute as is immersing vessels in a Mikveh. As according to those which rule one may not live in a house without a Mezuzah, placing the Mezuzah fixes the house for living in. According to those which hold one may live in a house without a Mezuzah, there is fixing occurring to the house by placing the Mezuzah back.

[14] As even regarding immersing a vessel a dispute is brought, and certainly here that it is unclear if even according to the stringent opinion there is an issue of Tikkun Keli, one may be lenient.

[15] Meaning the use of tape, as taping something to the ground is like building. Hence the allowance only applies if one is able to simply slide the Mezuzah back into the case without use of any item to attach it there.

[16] Admur 313:18; See also 314:1; 314:5; Rama 314:1; Terumos Hadeshen 64; M”B 314:2

[17] Meaning that one measures the 1×1 cubits from the outside of the vessel, and thus even if within the volume that is inside the vessel there is not 1×1 cubits, nevertheless it is included in the above law.

[18] Meaning it does not include the thickness of the bottom panel of the vessel, and thus must be three cubits high measuring from the inside of the vessel.

[19] This refers to a decoration that extends above the surface of the vessel, such as a crowning which surrounds the top of a box and the like. Thus it is saying that this decoration is not included in the 3 cubit height measurement.

[20] Admur ibid; M”A 314:1-2

[21] Admur ibid; M”B 314:2

[22] Admur 314:1; M”B 314:2

Other opinions: However, see Biur Halacha 3141 “Sheiyno” that according to the Rashba brought in Elya Raba it is not forbidden to destroy an unstrurdy structure even if it hodls 40 Seah.

[23] As it holds 40 Seah and is normally inserted strongly. Thus, even if one were to weekly insert it, it would be forbidden.

[24] As rules the Ashel Avraham regarding inserting a door handle which constantly falls off.

[25] As a Bima can hold 40 Seah, and hence attaching anything to it, even loosely, is forbidden.

[26] Dirshu

[27] Admur 313:19; However, see 302:5 that doing so is forbidden due to Tikkun Keli. See other opinions below

So rules: Rambam 10:13; Tosafus Shabbos 102b; Rosh Eiruvin 3:5; Rashba; Michaber 314:1; See M”B 313:41; 314:7

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule there is never a prohibition of Boneh and Soser by vessles, and rather one only transgresses Makeh Bepatish. [Rashi Shabbos 47a; Gr”a in M”B 314:7; mentioned in Admur 314:17 and 302:5 that doing so is forbidden due to Tikkun Keli]

[28] Seemingly this refers to making a vessel out of a single material, as opposed to assembling many pieces together, such as to make a clay pot and the like. The novelty here is that the rule of “there is no destroying and building by vessels” was not said in such a case.

[29] Admur 313:19; Michaber 314:1

[30] Admur 314:17; See also 302:5 that doing so is forbidden due to Tikkun Keli; Michaber 314:7

[31] Hagahos Maimanis 23:1 in name of Reim; Yireim; Rashi Shabbos 47a; Gr”a in M”B 314:7

[32] Admur ibid; Rambam 23:4; Smak 280; However, see Rashi 73a that “One is only liable on the Gemar Melacha”

[33] There it is explained that according to some opinions [Rashi 47a] there is no building prohibition applicable to vessels which are not attached to the ground. However, nevertheless even such vessels are forbidden to be built due to the “Hitting with a hammer” prohibition.

[34] There it is explained that one who breaks a twig to use as a toothpick transgresses the “Makeh Bepatich” prohibition despite not transgressing the building prohibition.

[35] From the wording of Admur it is implied that he is liable for both, Vetzaruch Iyun.

[36] Admur 313:14

[37] Meaning that the case here is not discussing the classical hinges of a door which are positioned on the side of the door, but rather that the hinges are on the top and bottom of the door.

[38] Vetzaruch Iyun why here Admur leaves in doubt whether one transgresses the building prohibition or the Fixing prohibition, while in many other cases he rules plainly that attaching detached parts transgresses the building prohibition [see 313:20 or here 5A]. Perhaps though one can explain that Admur here is referring to the dispute brought later on in 314:17 that some opinions hold that one is never liable by building even complete structures for building but rather for Makeh Bepatish, and thus here he leaves it open to both opinions. However, Tzaruch Iyun why specifically in this case did Admur choose to not finalize like whom we rule while in other cases he rules plainly that it has a building prohibition.

[39] Admur 313:19; Michaber 313:9

[40] Admur 313:19

[41] Admur 313:16

[42] Admur 313:16

[43] Admur 313:19

[44] Admur 278:2; So rules Tosafus Shabbos 94a

[45] Admur 313:17

[46] Admur 313:17

[47] Admur 278:2; so rules Rashi Shabbos 31

[48] Admur 278:3; So rules Rebbe Yehuda and Rambam

[49] Peri Chadash Yoreh Deah 118:18; Minchas Yitzchak; Peri Megadim

[50] Admur 313:17

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one must protest against those that are lenient to ask a gentile to remove the window. [Taz 313:5; M”B 308:38]

[51] Admur 318:11; 324:4; M”B 318 in Biur Halacha “Hadachasan”; Ketzos Hashulchan 130 pp. 21-31; Igros Moshe 3:52; Malbushei Yom Tov 318:9; Avnei Nezer 419; See Shabbos Kehalacha 3 p. 296-303!

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the prohibition of Tikkun Keli does apply to making foods edible. [Levush 318:4; Peri Megadim 318 A”A 16 [brought in Biur Halacha ibid]; Shevisas Hashabbos; Chayeh Adam 20:5; Rav Poalim 16; Maharshag 51; Shevet Halevi 8:54] The Biur Halacha ibid negates their opinion stating “it is a “Davar Chadash” that is not found in previous Poskim and there are many contradictions to this assertion and hence one is not to be stringent at all”. See Shabbos Kehalacha 3 p. 296-303!

[52] Admur 318:11; Taz 318:5; Mishneh Berurah 318:36; Ketzos Hashulchan 124:24

Other opinions: See above!

[53] Admur 324:4

Other opinions: See above!

[54] See Admur 319:26; See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:25 who learns this from the Magen Avraham 340:17 which rules that pressing figs together and smoothening them down to beautify their appearance involves the Building prohibition. Other Poskim However, [Cheishev Haeiphod 2:77; Daas Torah 321, and so is apparently the opinion of the M”B and Ketzos Hashulchan [146 p. 12] which do not mention this prohibition in their summary and commentary of the above Halacha in the Rama] rule that this prohibition of building stated by the Magen Avraham only applies by pressing hard items together and making them into one unit. However, to spread something nicely does not resemble in any way the building prohibition but is rather only proper to avoid due to the smoothening prohibition as rules the Rama.

[55] Admur 319:26; M”A 319:18; M”B 319:63

[56] Admur 319:26

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