PERMITTED GAMES AND TOYS:
Beads - Beads may be strung, but only if the knot in the string
was tied before Shabbos(3).
Binoculars - Adjusting the focus is also permitted(4) .
Board or Dice games - Battleship, Chutes and Ladders, Risk,
Books(5) - Most poskim maintain that it is permitted to open and
close books which have words stamped on their edges as is
commonly found in library books. The basic halachah conforms to
their opinion(6). In deference to the minority view, however, it
is proper not to use such books when others are available(7).
Cards - After the game is over, the cards may not be sorted by
color, type, etc.
Checkers, Chess, Dominos
Hide-and-seek, Hopscotch, Jump rope, Tag(9)
Lego, Tinkertoy, Bristle Blocks - Most poskim allow playing with
these on Shabbos(10). There are, however some poskim who rule
Monopoly - Play money is not prohibited(12).
Pick-up-stix - If the game is usually played with the score
being recorded, it is forbidden to play even if the score will
not be recorded. If it is usually played without recording the
score, then it is permitted.
Sandbox - Water may not be poured into the sand.
Scrabble for Junior(13).
Stamp collection - May be viewed when collecting stamps is a
hobby, not a business.
Sticker collections - May be handled when the stickers are
easily - effortlessly - stuck on and peeled off. If they are
stuck on firmly and will remain intact for 24 hours, it may be
Tent - It is permitted to drape a blanket over a table or chairs
so that children can play underneath(15).
Tricycle(16) - In an enclosed area only.
FORBIDDEN GAMES AND TOYS:
Bells, Rattles, Phones, Whistles - Any object whose purpose is
to make noise is Rabbinically forbidden(17). If it makes noise
immediately upon being picked up, it is also "severe" muktzeh.
Bicycle(18) - Prohibited, because it is generally ridden out of
an enclosed area and is liable to require adjustment. It is
"light" muktzeh, which may be moved if the space it occupies is
Boggle - Usually entails writing words and recording the score.
It is Rabbinically forbidden to play even if the words or the
score will not be written. Placing the cubes in the individual
slots may also be considered writing, since the letters remain
fixed in the board. For this reason Junior Boggle may also be
Clay, Playdough - Could involve aspects of "Kneading,"
"Building" or "Writing."
Etch-A-Sketch, Magna Doodle
Models - Toys composed of parts which are screwed together are
prohibited because of "Building". These include airplane or
train models, etc.
Paper airplanes and boats - Can be played with but not
Scrabble, Deluxe Scrabble - Usually requires writing the score.
It is forbidden to play even if the score will not be
written(20). Deluxe Scrabble may also be considered "Writing",
since the letters remain attached to the board(21).
Snowball, snowman - Snow that fell before Shabbos is definitely
not muktzeh. Snow that fell on Shabbos is questionable
muktzeh(22). Almost all poskim agree, however, that a snow man
or snow balls should not be made on Shabbos(23). Writing in the
snow is prohibited(24).
Tree-climbing - Rabbinically forbidden(25).
Weaving, Lanyards - Either yarn, plastic or other materials are
Puzzles - The issue is whether putting together shaped pieces to
form a word or a picture is considered "Writing". Some poskim
prohibit all kinds of puzzles(27) while others allow all kind of
puzzles(28). Other poskim allow them only when they are not in a
frame and the pieces are not tightly fitted together(29).
Wind-up toys - Some poskim allow wind-up toys (cars, robots,
etc. without batteries) unless they produce a spark(30). Other
1. Mishnah Berurah 290:7; 307:4-5.
2. Ki Savo 5757.
3. Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16:21; Be'er Moshe 6:37
4. O.C. 307:17; Chazon Ish (quoted in Tzitz Eliezer 6, pg. 296).
5. See O.C. 307:17 and Aruch ha-Shulchan 11 concerning reading
secular books on Shabbos.
6. Shulchan Aruch Harav 340:4; Aruch ha-Shulchan 340:23.
7. Mishnah Berurah 340:17. See Chazon Ish O.C. 61:1 who is more
8. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16, note
9. O.C. 301:2.
10. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16, note
53); Tzitz Eliezer 13:30; Yechaveh Da'as 3:; Ohr le-Tziyon
2:272; Be'er Moshe 6:26.
11. Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Shalmei Yehudah, pg. 90 and in
Yashiv Moshe, pg. 35); Machzeh Eliyohu 69. Harav M. Feinstein is
quoted (Sefer Tiltulei Shabbos, pg. 24) as not rendering a final
ruling on this issue. It stands to reason that Waffle Blocks,
which are loosely connected blocks, would be permitted even
according to the more stringent view.
12. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16, note
13. Based on Igros Moshe O.C. 1:135
14. Based on O.C. 317:3 and 340:14.
15. Mishnah Berurah 315:31.
16. Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling, quoted in Sefer Tiltulei
Shabbos, pg. 24); Be'er Moshe 6:16.
17. O.C. 339:1. For this reason, games which have timers that
make a noise as the minutes tick by, are prohibited.
18. Kaf ha-Chayim 404:8; Tzitz Eliezer 7:30-1.
19. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16:18).
20. Chayei Adam 38:11.
21. Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling, quoted in Sefer Tiltulei
Shabbos, pg. 25).
22. Mishnah Berurah 338:30 writes that rain that fell on Shabbos
is not muktzeh. Some poskim (Har Tzvi - Soser; Harav S.Y.
Elyashiv - Shalmei Yehudah, pg. 203; Shemiras Shabbos
K'hilchasah, pg. 190) hold that snow is similar to rain, while
others (Igros Moshe O.C. 5:22-37; Harav S.Z. Auerbach, Sefer
Tiltulei Shabbos, pg. 13) maintain that snow may be considered
severe muktzeh. See also Mishnah Berurah 310:32 quoting Chayei
23. Be'er Moshe 6:30; Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah, pg. 190.
24. See Mishnah Berurah 340:20.
25. The details of this prohibition were discussed in a previous
column (Shelach, 5757).
26. Mishnah Berurah 344:11.
27. Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling, quoted in Sefer Tiltulei
Shabbos, pg. 25); Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (Shalmei Yehudah, pg. 90).
28. Ohr le-Tziyon 2:272; Be'er Moshe 6:26; Harav C.P. Scheinberg
(quoted in Children in Halachah, pg. 140).
29. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16:23).
30. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 16:14).
31. Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (Shalmei Yehudah, pg. 93); Harav M.
Feinstien (orally quoted in Sefer Tiltulei Shabbos, pg. 28). For
an explanation of the issues involved, see Discussion to
Parashas Shelach, 5756.
Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and
Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne
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