1. Inserting a shutter, windowpane or screen into a window

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The following chapter will discuss the laws that involve inserting and removing doors, windows and other parts into and out of houses on Shabbos. It will also discuss the laws of inserting locks onto ones doors. At times doing the above transgresses the prohibition against building an item on Shabbos, as well as the Muktzah prohibition. 


1. Inserting a shutter, windowpane or screen into a window:[1]

May one insert the frame and glass of a window into a window or skylight on Shabbos? The inserts for a window[2], such as a board or any other item with which one seals off a window with, even if it is something that does not have the status of a vessel at all, and was also never used before as an insert during the week, and one [now] wants[3] to insert it for its first time on Shabbos, then if he had in mind before Shabbos to insert it (on Shabbos or he thought about it that it be prepared and designated to be inserted into a window, even though he did not think about [using it] on Shabbos explicitly,) then it is allowed [to be inserted on Shabbos].

The reason for this is: because through this thought [that the person had before Shabbos, the insert] received the status of a vessel and has thus become permitted to be moved just like all other vessel (as is written in chapter 308 [Halachas 50-51] that one’s thought helps [to give a status of a vessel] for an item which is common to be designated towards [the purpose that one thought of].)

If it was used one time before Shabbos: (As well if one inserted it one time before Shabbos, even if he did not think about inserting it on Shabbos, it [also] receives the status of a vessel as a result of this insertion since it is an item that is common to be designated for this use.)

Sealing off a skylight with an insert: Even the skylight[4] of a roof is permitted to be sealed off with an insert that is permitted to be moved, even if it was not tied and hanging from [the roof] from before Shabbos.

The reason that this does not contain the Ohel prohibition: Doing [the above] does not transgress the [prohibition of] putting up a tent on Shabbos because through doing this one is only adding to the [already existing] tent [meaning the roof], and [even] this addition is only temporary being that [the insert] is not meant to stay in there for very long being that [a sky roof] is meant to be constantly opened. [It is thus permitted to be inserted, as] adding a temporary tent [to an already established tent] is permitted [on Shabbos], and it was only forbidden to build an entire temporary tent, as is explained in “The Laws of Making an Ohel”.

Inserting a board or the like for it to remain there for long periods of time:  For this reason, if this insert is not meant to be reopened regularly, but rather [only occasionally] after long periods of time, then it is forbidden to insert it even into a window that is in the wall as this is like adding a permanent structure into the wall [which carries with it the building prohibition].


Summary of when its allowed to insert a frame or glass window into a window opening or skylight:

It is only permitted to insert a windowpane, frame or anything of the like into ones window or skylight if both:

1. The item being inserted is not Muktzah. Meaning that if it does not have the status of a vessel then it needs to be either designated before Shabbos to be used as an insert, or placed in one time before Shabbos.


2. That there is no building prohibition involved. Thus, it is only allowed to be inserted if it is meant to constantly be removed and replaced. [Such as is the case with a shutter, or the like, that it is only meant to temporarily cover the window.] However, if one intends to leave it there for a long period of time, [which is usually the case regarding windowpanes, frames and screens], then this is not allowed as it transgresses the building prohibition.


3. Furthermore, if the window frame has hinges, it may not be inserted into a socket [as is evident from 313/17]



May one insert a screen into his window on Shabbos for the first time?

Based on the above if it is done to be left there for a long period of time, which is usually the case, it is forbidden. However, if for some reason one only puts up the screen for so many hours and then removes it, then it is allowed.

If a screen or window came out of its sockets, as is common by sliding screens, may it be reinserted?[5]

It is forbidden to return a screen or window to its setting on Shabbos, and they are considered Muktzah, just like a detached door of a house. Thus, a sliding screen which became removed from its socket is Muktzah. This applies even if the screen or window is only loosely attached to its socket and may thus be easily removed.[6] However, if one’s screen or window is not attached well and constantly comes out upon moving it, then it may be reinserted if it comes out.[7]

May one remove the window/insert on Shabbos?

If the insert is not meant to be constantly removed and reinserted, then it may not be removed. See next Halacha regarding if one may ask a gentile to remove the window in a case that one is very hot and needs a breeze.


[1] Admur 313:1

[2] Back then the term window referred to the opening in the wall and not to the actual glass frame placed inside the opening. Thus, the following laws equally apply with regards to placing the frame of one’s window into his window on Shabbos. However, to note that this law only refers to items that are a) not placed into sockets [see 313:17] and B) placed for a short period of time [end of this Halacha]. Otherwise, it is forbidden.

[3] Lit. comes

[4] Lit. Chimney

[5] Piskeiy Teshuvos 308:12

[6] Kitzur SHU”A 80:72

[7] Kaneh Bosem 1:20; Ashel Avraham Butchach 313

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