From the Rav’s Desk: 1) Resting items on top of a pot plant; 2) How to distribute the Kiddush wine to the listeners

  1. Question: [Thursday, 17th Kisleiv 5781]

Is it permitted on Shabbos for me to rest my Siddur on a pot plant? I have many pot plants in my yard sitting on the gate and they are a perfect height for me to rest my Siddur on when I Daven there on Shabbos. May I do so?



Resting just on the actual pot without touching any of the plants: Is permitted.

Resting it on the actual plant: It depends on the type of plant, as well as the height of the plant, growing within the pot. If the plant has grown taller than 24 cm then you may not rest your Siddur on top of the area that is higher than 24 cm if the plant contains a hard stem which if bended will break. However, if the plant is less than 24 cm tall, or if the plant is soft and its stem is flexible and will not break when bent, then you may rest items on top of the actual plant, although making sure not to touch the plants with your actual fingers and hand, unless necessary for the sake of the resting of the item.

The explanation: There are two halachic issues with making contact with plants on Shabbos; 1) Muktzah 2) Making use of a tree. All plants that are attached to the ground are Muktzah on Shabbos, and thereby may not be moved with one’s hands. However, not all plants contain the second prohibition of making a use with them in other ways [without moving them with your hands] and this depends on whether it is a tree, or bush with branches, or a plant with a hard cane in which case it is forbidden to make any use of it from 24 cm and higher, versus if it is a soft plant in which case it is permitted to make a use of it [without moving it with one’s hands] even if it is taller than 24 cm. Even by trees and bushes with branches and plants with hard stems that cannot be bent without breaking, they are only prohibited in use from a height of 24 cm while below this height it is permitted to be used.

Now let’s discuss pot plants: Regarding the second prohibition of making use of a tree, pot plants follow the same law, and hence one may not make use [i.e. rest a siddur] on any area of the plant that grows to a height of 24 cm if its stem is not flexible, [although it remains permitted to rest it simply on the pot itself without it touching any of the plants]. However, one may rest it on top of flexible plants, or areas of the plant that do not reach 24 cm, as even if we were to define pot plants as Muktzah [the first issue above], it is permitted to rest an object on top of a Muktzah item on Shabbos. Furthermore, a pot plant is not defined as actual Muktzah, but rather as a Keli Shemilachto Lissur [or even Heter], if the plant is less than a height of 24 cm or is flexible as explained above. Thus, in such a case, one may even bend the plant for the sake of resting one’s Siddur on top of it as is the law by any Keli Shemichato Lissur that it may be moved for a use or for its space.

Sources: Regarding the prohibition of making use of trees/plants on Shabbos: Admur 336:1, 4-6; 312:9; Regarding the Muktzah status of plants attached to the ground: Admur 312:9; 336:4; M”A 312:6; See Peri Megadim 312 A”A 6; See also: Elya Raba and Tosefes Shabbos brought in Machatzis Hashekel 312:6; so rules also M”B 312:17; Shaar Hatziyon 336:42; Regarding Muktzah status of pot plants: Admur 336:12; P”M 636:10; Tiferes Yisrael Kalkeles Shabbos Zoreia 1; Shevisas HaShabbos Kotzer 5 and 7; Shaar Hatziyon 336:38; Tehila Ledavid 636:6; Regarding the allowance to rest an object on top of a Muktzah item when it is not for the sake of the Muktzah item see: Admur 308:14; 310:10; Terumos Hadeshen 1:67; M”A 310:3; Taz 301:5; Ketzos Hashulchan 142 footnote 5; Minchas Shabbos 80:194; Az Nidbaru 1:15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 336:16 footnotes 123-125

  1. Question: [Thursday, 17th Kisleiv 5781]

Rabbi, we are impatiently waiting for part two of the Daily Halacha that you did last week on the subject of fixing the kiddush wine and how to distribute it. You left us all on a cliffhanger! Can you give us the short answer already now so we can know what to do for the Shabbos?



Unfortunately, part two of the article is not yet ready for publication as it includes tens of sources from various sections of Shulchan Aruch, and will be quite a lengthy article to do proper justice to all the different options available and their Halachic status. Nonetheless, the conclusion of that research is already pretty much finalized, and I can share with you now the bottom-line summary of options. This summary is based on the clear rulings of the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch, as well as the customs of the Rebbe and other great Chabad Rabbanim which I managed to verify. Stay tuned for the coming article in the future weeks for all the details.


In previous times, it was customary for each listener to have their own Revius cup of wine in front of them during kiddush which they would drink from as soon the recital of kiddush concluded. This was the best option available that avoided all Halachic issues. In today’s times that this is no longer practiced [although may be practiced if one chooses] the actual Kiddush wine is to be distributed to the listeners [even if small cups of less than a Revius of wine have already been prepared], although it is to be distributed in an “unblemished” state. The following are the ways that this can be accomplished:

  1. Just family members-Drinking from actual Kiddush cup: If there are only family members at the table then one can [and even should, if appropriate] give the family members to drink directly from the actual Kiddush cup without needing to fix it beforehand.
  2. Pouring first into another cup before drinking: If there are guests at the table, or for whatever reason one does not desire to give the family members to drink from the actual cup, then one is to first pour some wine into another cup, making sure to still leave a Revius of wine in the kiddush cup, and only then drink himself from the kiddush cup. The wine that was poured into the other cup may then be distributed to everybody, or poured back into the kiddush cup for distribution.

Bedieved if one already drank from the cup-fixing it with more wine from the bottle: In the event that one already drank from the cup, and there are guests over, or for whatever reason the family members do not desire to drink from the actual cup, then one is to pour more wine [of any amount] from the bottle back into the kiddush cup in order to fix it, and then distribute it to the listeners.

  • Wife is Nidda: Whenever one’s wife is a Nidda, the regulations relevant to sending her wine must be followed and it is beyond the scope of this summary to discuss it.

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