2. Removing the window frame from the window of the house

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2. Removing the window frame from the window of the house:[1]

The door of a house and of a Bor pit and Dus pit[2] or of vessels which are attached to the ground, such as for example a chicken coop which is a vessel and is attached to the ground, it is forbidden to either remove or return [these doors into or out of their sockets even if they are placed in loosely], as anything attached to the ground has the [prohibition] of building [it] and destroying [it][3].[see note[4]]

Thus that which is accustomed to be done by large [festive] meals [on Shabbos], to remove the windows through a gentile[5], is not proper to be done being that this removal carries with it the liability to bring a Chatas offering if it were to be done by a Jew, being that he is destroying[6] [the window] in order to build it [again latter][7], as one plans to eventually return [the window] afterwards [back to its opening]. Therefore, when one tells a gentile [to do so] this [telling him] is a total Rabbinical prohibition and is not [within the category of] a Rabbinical decree on a Rabbinical decree which was permitted in order to prevent pain, as was explained in chapter 307 [Halacha 12].

Other opinions: [However,] according to those that say that destroying in order to rebuild is only [Biblically] liable if one had intention that the rebuilding of it will make it better than the way it was originally, as explained in chapter 278 [Halacha 2], then the removal of the windows is only a Rabbinical prohibition [as here the eventual reinsertion of the window is done in no better a way then the way the window was before it was removed], and [thus it is permitted] to tell a gentile [to remove the windows in the above scenario as it] is a Rabbinical decree upon a Rabbinical decree which is allowed to be done in a distressful situation [such as here that it is too hot in the house and one needs to remove the windows for a breeze].

The Final Ruling:[8]  [Due to the above existing opinion one] therefore does not need to reprimand people who are lenient [to ask a gentile to do so] being that they have upon whom to rely. However, every person should be stringent upon himself like the first opinion which is the main [Halachic] opinion.

As well one needs to warn the masses that stumble [and transgress] by removing a quarter of the windowpane from the window[9] unknowingly that this contains a great prohibition.


May one ask a gentile to remove a windowpane from the window of a house on Shabbos?

Even if one does not plan to have the windowpane placed back in any better a form then it originally was in, one should not ask a gentile to remove it, although those that are lenient to do so do not need to be rebuked.[10] [See footnote for other opinions[11]]

Regarding asking a gentile to break or take apart a vessel, see the previous chapter. 


[1] Admur 313:17;

[2]  A dus pit is a pit that has a wall surrounding it, while a Bor pit does not have anything surrounding it, and is rather just a hole in the ground. [See Baba Basra 64a and Rashi there] In Chapter 587:1 the Alter Rebbe explains that a Dus is any building which majority of its space is underground level. However, if only minority of it is above ground level, then it has the same law as a house.

[3] This Biblical prohibition applies even if the door was only semi-firmly placed into its sockets. [Ketzos Hashulchan 119 note 4]

[4] However, by a door of a vessel attached to the ground this is only a Rabbinical prohibition and thus it is permitted to remove the covering of an item attached to the ground if it is meant to be constantly opened and closed and if it is not attached onto hinges, as explained in chapter 259 Halacha 7 and in 314 Halacha 19.

[5] Back then the windows were not move in a frame or revolve against hinges, and thus to open the window meant to remove it entirely from the opening in the wall.

[6] Seemingly the case here is discussing a window that is set into sockets in the wall as otherwise it would have the same law as the law in Halacha 1 that it was permitted to place an insert to the window on Shabbos. [So seems to learn also the Ketzos Hashulchan in 119 Halacha 15]

[7] Whenever one destroys in order to rebuild it carries with it the Biblical prohibition of destroying by vessels attached to the ground. However, to destroy and not plan to rebuild is only a Rabbinical prohibition.

[8] Admur ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one must protest against those that are lenient to ask a gentile to remove the window. [Taz 313:5; M”B 308:38]

[9] Evidently this refers to a window frame made of many removal parts.

[10]  Admur 313:17

[11] There are Poskim [Ashel Avraham 314] which rule that it is permitted in a case of need to ask a gentile to remove a door from its setting as the gentile himself does not have intent to return it.

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