From the Rav’s Desk: 1) making use of a pot plant on Shabbos 2) resting a siddur on a tree trunk on Shabbos 3) what to do if a hat flew onto a tree on Shabbos

  1. Question: [Motzei Shabbos, 12th Teves 5781]

Does the prohibition against making use of a tree also apply against a pot plant?


Yes, it follows the same exact law as a growth from the ground, and thus if the plant contains a hard stem which if bended will break, and the plant has grown taller than 24 cm, then you may not make use of any area of the plant that is higher than 24 cm, and also may not move the plant at all on Shabbos due to this reason.

The explanation: The entire reason that the sages decreed against making use of plants and trees on Shabbos is because one may come to uproot a part of it from the ground which is a biblical prohibition. Now, this biblical prohibition against breaking a piece from the ground applies also to pot plants that are defined as a Atzitz Nakuv and rabbinically apply to pot plants that are defined as Atzitz Sheiyno Nakuv. Thus, certainly the decree against making use of the plant would apply equally to a pot plant that is defined as an Atzitz Nakuv as there is no difference between it or a plant that grows in the ground regarding the reason for the decree. However, regarding a pot plant that is defined as Atzitz Sheiyno Nakuv it is unclear as to whether this additional rabbinical decree of making use of the plant would also apply. Practically, one should be stringent, and thus we concluded above to follow all the laws regarding all types of pot plants without differentiation.


Sources: See Admur 336:1, 4-6; 11-12; Minchas Pitim of Maharam Arik 336:8 [questions whether it applies to pot plants defined as “Eino Nakuv” as perhaps it is considered a decree upon a decree and therefore should not apply]; Minchas Shabbos 80:194; Az Nidbaru 1:14; Piskeiy Teshuvos 336:1 and 16 [concludes to be stringent by all pot plants especially being that the definition of Eino Nakuv is not clear];


  1. Question: [Motzei Shabbos, 12th Teves 5781]

I am Davening outside on Shabbos, may I rest my Siddur on a very low tree trunk which is the remnant of a tree that has been cut down?



If the tree trunk is less than 24 cm from the ground then you may do so.

The explanation: It is only forbidden to make use of a tree, or tree trunk, on Shabbos if it is more than 24 cm from the ground, and thus in the above case it is permitted being that it does not reach 24 cm from the ground. Likewise, regarding the law of not placing a Siddur on the floor seemingly this does not apply to a tree trunk being that it is not common to be stepped on, and hence there is no disrespect in lying it there.


Sources: See Admur 336:6 regarding tree trunks and Rama Y.D. 282:7 regarding not placing Sefarim on the floor, and see Nosei Keilim there from which it is implied that it only applies to areas that one steps on.


  1. Question: [Motzei Shabbos, 12th Teves 5781]

It was very windy this Shabbos and the wind blew my hat onto a tree. Is it permitted for me to take it down or is this prohibited due to the prohibition to make use of a tree on Shabbos?



You should not remove it from the tree on Shabbos, unless you can do so very easily and casually without removing any leaves or branches and without leaning on the tree, and only if it is a case of great need such as you suspect that your hat may not be there after Shabbos, or you have no other hat to wear for Davening in Shul by Mincha and Maariv and will be embarrassed. Otherwise, you should leave it there till after Shabbos and then take it off.

The explanation: It is rabbinically forbidden to remove things from a tree on Shabbos just as it is forbidden to place things on it. Now, there are various reasons recorded behind the prohibition of removing it from the tree, and the final ruling follows that the reason is due to an essential use being made of the tree when one removes an item from it. This would imply that it would be prohibited to remove an item from the tree even if it fell onto the tree unintentionally. Nonetheless, in the case of great need there is room for leniency in the event that it fell on the tree unintentionally, due to the joining of all the other reasons mentioned in the Poskim which would imply that in such a case the decree does not apply.


Sources: See Admur 336:3; M”A 336:2; Rosh Shabbos 5; Elya Raba 514:26 [leans to rule like Rosh that there is no decree against removing; Makor Chaim 336 [decree does not apply if will not shake tree with hands when moving]; Shevet Halevi 7:44; 11:98; Shevet Hakehasi 4:99; Piskeiy Teshuvos 336:3 footnote 28

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