Mantling a tented roofing on Shabbos

A. The law:[1]

Biblical-If it has a handbreadths width on its top: [Regarding] a tent which is angled, if it has on its top a consecutive[2] roof the width of one handbreadth [which is not slanted at all throughout that handbreadth], or even if it does not have a handbreadth on its top but it contains the width of a handbreadth within less than three handbreadths near its head, being that [all items] less than three handbreadths [apart from each other] are considered attached and it is thus considered as if it has on its top a roofing that is a handbreadth wide, then this is considered a permanent tent if it was made to last and one who sets it up on Shabbos is liable for building and one who dismantles it is liable for destroying just like [one who] destroys a complete building.

Rabbinical-If it does not have a handbreadths width on its top: However if it’s top does not have a roof [the width of a] handbreadth and [as well] does not have within three handbreadths near its top the width of a handbreadth, then this is considered a temporary tent and one who initially makes this [tent] on Shabbos is exempt [from the Biblical prohibition] although it is Rabbinically forbidden whether to mantle or dismantle it, even if it is not made to last at all.

 

B. Initially draping a sheet and the like over a bar on Shabbos:[3]

[Thus] For example, a folded sheet which is folded over a [horizontal] bar, meaning that half of it is hanging from one side of the bar and half from the other side and both of its ends touch the ground and one enters and sleeps in the shade [that has been formed] between the two ends, then it is forbidden to initially hang it on Shabbos even though it does not have a roof [the width of a] handbreadth and does not have within three handbreadths near its top the width of a handbreadth.

Spreading a sheet over a bar which  is designated for this purpose:[4] The bed canopy of a groom[5] which its roof[6] does not have a roof [the width of a] handbreadth and does not have within three handbreadths near its top the width of a handbreadth, since it is prepared for this purpose it is permitted to mantle [the canopy sheet over the rod] and to dismantle it on Shabbos, as long as it does not droop the length of a handbreadth below the [walls of the] bed. [See below for the full details of this Halacha]

 

C. Opening a sheet that was wrapped on a bar from before Shabbos in order to form a tent[7]:

If the material has strings attached which when pulled spread open the tent: [In all cases, even if the bar is not designated for this purpose] if [the sheet] was wrapped on the bar from before Shabbos and it has on its rim strings that are hanging which one pulls at while on the bar in order to spread the sheet to both sides [of the bar], then it is permitted to pull at these strings on Shabbos. [The reason for this is] because since these strings are hanging on it from before Shabbos in order to be pulled at to spread [the sheet], therefore they help [to allow one to be spread it on Shabbos] just like as if it were spread the width of one handbreadth from before Shabbos, in which case by doing so on Shabbos one is only adding to a temporary tent [which is allowed].
Dismantling a tent which was legally mantled on Shabbos: It is likewise permitted to dismantle it from this bar as any tent which is allowed to be mantled and [thus] does not involve [the] building [prohibition], then it likewise does not involve [the] destroying [prohibition] and is [thus] permitted to be dismantled.

[However this is] with exception to when one adds onto a tent that was [the width of] a handbreadth from before Shabbos, in which case it is only permitted to dismantle the material that was added [on Shabbos] however not the part of the tent that was [already] built from before Shabbos. Despite this, nevertheless it is allowed here [by the sheet case above] to remove the sheet from the bar [on Shabbos] being that here there was never actually a tent the width of a handbreadth from before Shabbos and its only that the strings help [to allow to spread it] just like does having the width of a handbreadth [from before Shabbos].

Spreading the sheets in a case that the bar is a handbreadth wide[8]: The above [allowance to pull at the strings to spread the sheets] however only applies if it does not have a roof [the width of a] handbreadth and does not have within three handbreadths near its top the width of a handbreadth. However if it does have a roof [the width of a] handbreadth or  within three handbreadths near its top the width of a handbreadth, in which case it is a permanent tent, then the strings do not help at all as even to add to a permanent tent is forbidden. [Furthermore] even if this sheet is not meant to last over here as he intends to dismantle it, nevertheless since it is mantled in the same way as a permanent tent, [therefore] the Sages were not lenient by it at all.

The reason for this is because:[9] [The Sages suspected that] one may change his mind and decide to permanently have the sheets remain spread this way, and it thus ends up that he has added a permanent tent [on Shabbos]. They were only lenient to allow one to add to a temporary tent in a case that it is not usual at all to permanently leave it the way that it has been spread, such as by spreading mats over poles or on the ship as written above [in Halacha 2 and 8] as [by these cases] it is not usual at all to permanently leave the mats there the way they have been spread on Shabbos, and the same applies for all similar cases [that it is not usual to permanently spread a roofing there that it is permitted to be added to on Shabbos].

 

D. Spreading a sheet over the bar of the bed canopy of a groom:[10]

The bed canopy of a groom[11] which its roof[12] does not have a roof [the width of a] handbreadth and does not have within three handbreadths near its top the width of a handbreadth, since it is prepared for this purpose it is permitted to mantle [the canopy sheet over the rod] and to dismantle it on Shabbos, as long as it does not droop the length of a handbreadth below the [walls of the] bed.

The reason for why it may not droop a handbreadth below the bed is: because the canopy is meant to protect one from the sun or from other matters and thus has the status of a roofing on it although [that in actuality it is] without a roof. Thus, [when] it droops the length of a handbreadth below the bed, the bed serves as a roof for the one handbreadth wall [canopy] which now surrounds the bed. Now, although the bed is not made to protect and is thus not considered under the status of a roofing, nevertheless since the one handbreadth wall has the status of a roofing being that it is a part of the canopy which is meant for protection, it thus comes out that there is here a tent with a roof.

The permission to have sheets and tablecloths droop below their surface:  However a bed which does not have a canopy, then even though that its sheet which is spread on it droops one handbreadth below the [walls of the] bed on all its sides, [nevertheless] this does not pose a problem, as although that the bed has become a roofing for this one handbreadth wall, there is no Halachic status of a roofing here at all neither on the handbreadth or on the bed.

For this reason it is [likewise] permitted to spread a tablecloth over a table initially on Shabbos even if it droops one handbreadth below the table on all its sides.  

 

Summary

Biblically:

A slanted tent [made for sleeping in and the like[13]] is only Biblically prohibited from being initially mantled or dismantled if it contains a top which is at least one handbreadth wide and is permanent. The top area is measured from the very top up to three Tefach down. Thus if there is one Tefach wide of roofing within three Tefach from the top then it is considered to be one Tefach wide.

 

Rabbinically:

If the top is less than one handbreadth wide then it is Rabbinically forbidden to mantel or dismantle this tent even if it is not made to last at all.[14]

 

Completely permitted to set up a temporary slanted tent if all the following conditions apply:

Scenario A:[15]

  1. The roofing is less than one handbreadth wide on its top. [see above for definition of top]

    And

  2. The tent material was already wrapped around the set up roofing from before Shabbos,

    And

  3. The material has strings which can be pulled and unravel the tent.

    And

  4. When done as a canopy over a bed and the like the sheet may not dangle down a handbreadth below the walls of the bed

If all the above are fulfilled then one may pull at these strings on Shabbos and unravel the tent.

 

Scenario B:[16]

  1. The roofing is less than one handbreadth wide

    And

  2. The roofing is prepared and designated for this purpose

    And

  3. When done as a canopy over a bed and the like the sheet may not dangle down a handbreadth below the walls of the bed

In both of the above cases one may likewise completely unravel the material from the roofing.

 

May one spread a tablecloth over a table if it will drop down a handbreadth below the table?[17]

Yes, as the tablecloth is not set up to serve as a roofing.  

 


[1] 315/15

[2] Meaning that it is a single piece of material that is a handbreadth in width, as will be explained from the second scenario to come.

[3] 315/16

[4] 315/18

[5] This refers to a canopy which hangs over a single rod that is supported by a pole in the middle of each end of the bed, similar to a tent. Other bed canopies are supported by four vertical poles which stand on the four corners of the bed. [Rashi Shabbos 138b]

[6] Meaning the horizontal rod that is placed above the bed in order to have the canopy drooped over, forming a tent over the bed.

[7] 315/16

[8] 315/17

[9] 315/17

[10] 315/18

[11] This refers to a canopy which hangs over a single rod that is supported by a pole in the middle of each end of the bed, similar to a tent. Other bed canopies are supported by four vertical poles which stand on the four corners of the bed. [Rashi Shabbos 138b]

[12] Meaning the horizontal rod that is placed above the bed in order to have the canopy drooped over, forming a tent over the bed.

[13] 315/16                                 

[14] 315/15

[15] 315/16

[16] 315/18

[17] 315/18

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