Selected Halachos Relating to Parshas Pinchas
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
And on the Shabbos day... (28:9)
EYEGLASSES THAT BREAK ON SHABBOS
Before we see if and how broken eyeglasses can be fixed on
Shabbos, we will list the halachic violations that may be
incurred when doing so. Our discussion covers the two most
common mishaps - a temple (earpiece) breaking off from a frame,
and a lens popping out of a frame. There are three areas of
It is Biblically forbidden to firmly attach two objects on
Shabbos and Yom Tov, either because of boneh or tikun mana, a
form of makeh b'patish(1). It makes no difference whether the
objects are fitted into each other tightly or screwed into each
other tightly. [Even though a minority view holds that the
Biblical prohibition applies only when the items are forced
together but not when they are merely screwed into each
other(2), in practice we should follow the stringent view(3).]
Accordingly, it is strictly forbidden to screw a temple onto a
frame on Shabbos and on Yom Tov(4).
Even inserting the screw into the hinge without tightening it is
forbidden, since the normal tendency is to tighten the screw and
one can easily forget himself and inadvertently tighten it(5).
This Rabbinical prohibition is called shema yitka, lit., "liable
to be firmly attached." The decree of shema yitka, applies only
on Shabbos, not on Yom Tov, since the Rabbis felt it would cause
undue hardships and interfere with Simchas Yom Tov(6).
As an added precaution, the Rabbis forbade handling the detached
objects and rendered them severe muktzeh. The case which the
Shulchan Aruch(7) discusses involves a kirah, a four-legged
stove, whose leg (or legs) became detached. The halachah is that
both the base and the detached legs may not be moved, since one
may easily forget and reattach the legs to the stove, thus
violating a Biblical prohibition. Since this Rabbinical
prohibition originated with the case of a stove, it became known
as gzeiras kirah, "the decree concerning the stove."
In the following cases gzeiras kirah does not apply:
If the leg is broken or missing and can no longer be
re-attached. In such a case the stove is not muktzeh, since we
no longer fear that the detached parts will be re-attached(8).
If the leg was detached before Shabbos and the stove was being
used even though it was missing a leg(9).
On Yom Tov, gzeiras kirah does not apply(10).
As mentioned above, the Shulchan Aruch uses a stove as his case
in point(11). The Rama adds that the same rules apply to a bench
whose legs became detached. Most later-day poskim(12) agree that
all similar objects are included in this Rabbinical
prohibition(13). It follows, therefore, that the halachos
concerning a temple which becomes detached from its frame will
be similar to the cases of the stove and the bench mentioned
Based on these principles, we can now answer the following
Q: Can the temple be screwed back onto the frame?
A: Strictly forbidden, according to all views.
Q: Can the screw be inserted into the hinge without tightening it?
A: No. The prohibition of shema yitka applies. On Yom Tov,
however, it is permitted.
Q: May one wear the glasses while only one temple is attached?
A: On Yom Tov, yes.
On Shabbos, however, it depends: If the detached temple or
screw is lost, it is permitted to wear the frames minus the
temple, since gzeiras kirah does not apply. If the detached
temple and screw are accessible, the frames become muktzeh. If,
however, it is acceptable to be seen in glasses that have a
missing temple, the glasses may be worn(14). If it would be
embarrassing to be seen in such glasses, gzeiras kirah applies
and the frames are muktzeh(15).
If the temple broke off before Shabbos and the glasses were
already worn in their broken state, all poskim agree that it is
permitted to wear them on Shabbos, regardless of whether the
other temple or screw is missing or not(16).
Q: Can the temple be attached to the frames using a wire or a pin?
A: If the original screw, or a replacement, is available, then
the frames, temple, and screw are severe muktzeh, based on
gzeiras kirah. Consequently, they may not be moved at all on
Shabbos. If the screw is lost and no replacement is available,
then gzeiras kirah does not apply. It would be permitted to
attach the temple to the frames using a pin or a wire, provided
that it will be removed within 24 hours. The pin or wire may not
be tightened or firmly wound around the frame.
On Yom Tov, since shema yitka and gzeiras kirah do not apply,
it would be permitted to attach the temple using a pin or wire
[as stated above], regardless of whether or not the screw is
Q: There are frames (usually plastic ones) that hold the lens in
place merely by exerting pressure on the lens; there is no screw
involved. What can be done if a lens pops out of such frames?
A: If the lens pops out because the pressure on it has slackened
(e.g., the frame expanded slightly due to wear and tear), then
it may be reinserted(17). If, however, the lens is knocked out
forcibly and would have to be forced back in, then the poskim
differ in their opinions. Some are stringent and forbid
re-inserting it on the grounds of tikun keli(18), while others
do not consider this an instance of tikun keli since the lens
can be re-inserted with minimal pressure(19).
Q: What can be done if the frames break in half?
A: Nothing. Since they can no longer be worn, the frames are a
severe muktzeh and may not be moved for any reason.
1. Mishnah Berurah 308:37.
2. Taz O.C. 313:7. See Minchas Yitzchak 4:122-21.
3. Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 313:32, based on the view of the Magen
Avraham. [See also Binyan Shabbos (Boneh, 2nd editon) who quotes
Harav E. Auerbach's view that the lenient opinion was referring
to objects which - although screwed into each other - can still
be adjusted or turned, but not to tightly connected objects like
a temple attached to frames.]
4. Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 519:12.
5. Mishnah Berurah 313:45 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 32.
6. Mishnah Berurah 519:9; Hilchos ha-Moadim 13, note 4; Binyan
Shabbos, pg. 58.
7. O.C. 308:16. See also 313:8.
8. Mishnah Berurah 308:69.
9. Rama 308:16.
10. Since gezeiras kirah only applies if shema yitka applies as
11. For this reason, this Rabbinical prohibition is known as
gzeiras kirah, the decree of the stove.
12. Ketzos ha-Shulchan 109:10; Harav S.Z. Auerbach and Harav S.Y.
Elyashiv (quoted in Shalmei Yehudah, pg. 86); Knei Bosem 1:19.
13. A minority view maintians that gzeiras kirah applies only to
the two cases specifically mentioned in the original sources: a
stove and a bench. This is the opinion of Imrei Yosher 1:102,
Chelek Levi O.C. 101, and Beis Yisrael, 12, quoted in Tzitz
14. Harav M. Feinstein (Sefer Tiltulei Shabbos, pg. 148); Az
15. Harav S.Z. Auerbach and Harav S.Y. Elyashiv, quoted in
Shalmei Yehudah, pg. 85-86.)
16. Rama O.C. 308:16.
17. Harav S. Y. Elyashiv (Shalmei Yeudah, pg. 88); Az Nidberu
8:33; B'tzeil ha-Chachmah 6:123.
18. Harav S. Y. Elyashiv, ibid; Shraga ha-Meir 3:43; Shemiras
Shabbos K'hilchasah 15:79; Binyan Shabbos, pg. 149. According to
this opinion, the frames and the lenses would now be muktzeh,
due to gzeiras kirah.
19. Tzitz Eliezer 9:28-9; Az Nidberu 8:33.
Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and
Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne
Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily
Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.
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