6. Breaking vessels that are attached to the ground

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6. Breaking vessels that are attached to the ground:

A. Breaking the ropes that tie a door to a pit:[1]

Seals that are on the ground, such as the door of a pit which is tied with a rope is permitted to be untied being that the knot was not made to last long, as it is meant to be constantly untied. However, if one is unable to undo the knot then it is forbidden to undo the threads of the rope or to cut it due to [the] destroying [prohibition], as every item attached to the ground has [a] building and destroying [prohibition] even if it is not a complete [sturdy] vessel.

The law by a door not made to last: However, this only applies by a door that is made to last [on the pit] and not be removed on Shabbos, and thus when one wants to open the pit he unties the rope and opens the door [and then replaces it] and does not totally remove the door from there, as it is set to be there for some time. However, if [the door] is not made to last at all then there is no destroying [prohibition] involved neither in unraveling the rope or cutting it.

Breaking the opening of the oven on Shabbos: For this reason, it is permitted for one to remove the board that is placed in front of the oven and is plastered with clay from before Shabbos as will be explained next.     


B. Breaking the clay off from the opening of the oven which has been plastered shut:[2]

An oven which one places the hot food in for Shabbos and closes its opening with a sheet of wood, which is then sealed with clay, is permitted to [be opened on Shabbos and remove the wooden board[3] even though that by doing so one needs to] break through the plastering on Shabbos, in order to remove the hot food that is in it.

The reason for the above leniency: Now, although the oven is attached to the ground, and it is forbidden to break a structure that is attached to the ground, nevertheless [here it is permitted], since Biblically it is only forbidden to break the body of the structure and not to break its opening, and it is only that the Sages made a decree that one may not destroy the doors of a structure which is attached to the ground. Even this decree only applies when [destroying] a door made to be there permanently for some time, and thus one did not have in mind to make it on condition to break through it on Shabbos, [as in such a case] it appears like [the prohibition] of destroying [a permanent object]. However, the plastering of the [opening of the] oven which was not made at all to be there permanently, but rather to just temporarily retain the heat, and to then be removed the next day, the Sages never decreed against breaking it.

The Stringent Opinion: There are those which are stringent to not break the plaster through a Jew if it is possible to have it done through a gentile. Similarly [when there is no gentile available] if it is possible to do it through a child then it should not be done through an adult, and if this is not possible then the adult should do it in a slightly irregular way.

Do we follow the stringent opinion? The custom is like the stringent opinion.


[1] Admur 314:19

[2] Admur 259:7; see also 314:17: “It is permitted for one to remove the board that is placed in front of the oven and is plastered with clay from before Shabbos as written in chapter 259 [Halacha 7] being that it is not made to last at all but rather with intent to remove it on Shabbos. [However, see there that the custom is to be stringent even in this case, and do so only through a gentile or child or with an irregularity.]      

[3] Admur 314:17

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