Brushing dust off clothing/hat/shoes on Shabbos

Brushing dust/dirt from clothing [without using water]:[1]

*This Halacha does not apply to removing wet or dry mud from clothing, and does not apply to using water or other liquids to clean the garment

Some opinions[2] rule that it is [Biblically[3]] forbidden to shake off earth or dust from a new and black colored garment, if one is particular not to wear the garment while dirty.[4] [This prohibition applies even against shaking it off with one’s hand, and certainly against doing so with a brush.[5] Other Poskim[6] however rule there is no prohibition in shaking off the dust.[7]] Practically, it is proper to suspect for their opinion[8] [and so is the custom of all Jewry, both Sefaradim and Ashkenazim[9]]. [According to all opinions, however, one may shake dirt or dust off old clothing, or off non-black colored clothing, or off even new black clothing which one is not particular to avoid wearing while dirty.[10] Accordingly, all white, red or other non-black colored clothing may have dust shaken off from them.[11] However, some Poskim[12] rule that very dark colored garments, such as dark green or dark brown, is considered black. Clothing that have had their black color fade due to the sun, are possibly no longer considered black.[13]

Definition of new clothing:[14] All clothing is considered new until they have been worn so many times that they no longer retain their new state of appearance. [This applies even if they have been laundered many times, if they nevertheless still appear new.[15] Based on this, some Poskim[16] rule one is to always be stringent by all black clothing, as it is unclear when they become defined as having lost their new state of appearance. Clothing that have had their black color fade due to the sun are possibly no longer considered new, as stated above.[17]]

May one use a brush to remove the dust off permitted clothing:[18] Those clothing that are allowed to have their dust shaken off using one’s hands, from the letter of the law, are also permitted to have one use a brush to [lightly[19]] brush the dust off, so long as he does not use a type of brush of which its strands will inevitably break in the process of the brushing. [Nevertheless, the custom is to forbid using any type of brush on clothing, even if the brush is made of hairs and it will not break in the process.[20]]

 

Summary:

It is proper, and customary, to avoid shaking dust or earth off garments that have become dirty if all the following conditions are fulfilled:

1.       The garment is black colored.

2.       The garment is new, or still retains a new appearance.

3.       One is particular not to wear the clothing while dirty.

·         This prohibition applies even against shaking it off with one’s hand, and certainly against doing so with a brush.

One may shake dirt or dust off any of the following garments:

1.       Old looking clothing.

2.       Non-black colored clothing. Accordingly, all white, red or other non-black colored clothing may have dust shaken off from them.

3.       New black clothing which one is not particular to avoid wearing while dirty. [Clothing that have had their black color fade due to the sun, are possibly no longer considered black.]

·         From the letter of the law, it is permitted use a brush to [lightly] brush the dust off any clothing that may have its dust shaken off by hand, [nevertheless, the custom is to forbid using any type of brush on clothing].

The custom to be stringent: Some are stringent not to shake off dust from all black clothing irrelevant of its newness or one’s level of being particular.

 

Q&A

How may one remove the dust off the permitted clothing?

Some Poskim[21] rule that according to all opinions, it is only permitted to lightly shake or rub, or hit the dust off the permitted clothing, while to shake it off using force, such as through forcefully rubbing it, or hitting it, or rubbing the folds of the clothing against each other, is forbidden by all clothing irrelevant of color or amount of time they have been worn.

 

May one brush dust/dirt off his black pants/Kapata?

One may not do so unless the pants/Kapata no longer looks new, or one is not particular against wearing it with the dirt. Even in such a case, one is to only lightly shake off the dust and is not to use a brush. Some are accustomed to being stringent in all cases, as stated above.

 

May one brush dust off his black hat?

One may not do so unless the hat no longer looks new, or one is not particular against wearing it with the dirt. Even when permitted, one may only lightly shake off the dust and is not to use a brush to brush off the dust. Some are accustomed to being stringent in all cases, as stated above.

 

May one be lenient to brush the dust off new black clothing in a time of great need, such as to avoid shame and embarrassment?

Some Poskim[22] rule that in a time of great need, one may be lenient to brush the dust off even new black clothing, for the sake of saving one from embarrassment and shame while in public. Other Poskim[23], however, dispute this ruling, and state that one may only be lenient to do so through a gentile, as explained next.

 

May one ask a gentile to brush the dust off the new black clothing?[24]

Yes.[25]

 

May one brush the dust of the new black clothing, if not all the dust will be removed?

Some Poskim[26] rule that the prohibition against dusting dust off a new black garment only applies if it will be completely cleaned of the dust without any remnant remaining. If, however, some noticeable dust will still remain on the garment, then it is permitted to partially clean it off. Other Poskim[27], however, are stringent to prohibit even in such a case.

 

 

May one brush dust off shoes?[28]

It is permitted to clean a shoe on Shabbos if one does not have any intent to shine it. This applies even if the shoes are black and new.[29] It is permitted to use even a cloth to lightly remove the dust. Some Poskim[30] however write that the custom is to only allow doing so using one’s hands or through banging the shoe on the floor, and not through using a cloth. [Regarding whether one may shine/polish his shoes-see Chapter ??]

 

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[1] Admur 302:3; Rama 302:1; M”A 302:3; Olas Shabbos 302:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 116:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2

[2] Opinion in Admur and Rama ibid; Rav Huna Shabbos 147 in accordance to Rashi; Yireim; Shivlei Haleket 109; Sefer Hateruma 254; Or Zarua Shabbos 81; Semag LSL 65 in name of Rabbeinu Chananel; See M”B 302:6 and Shaar Hatizyon 7

[3] Rav Huna ibid

[4] The reason: This is forbidden due it being similar to laundering as the dust ruins the look of the garment, and this removal of the dust [beautifies the clothing and] is laundering it. [Admur ibid; Rashi ibid]

Definition of being particular against wearing: See Ashel Avraham Butchach 302; Shulchan Shlomo 302:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2 footnotes 12 and 22

[5] Chayeh Adam; Ketzos Hashulchan 116 footnote 9

[6] Michaber 302:1; Tosafus Shabbos 147a in interpretation of Rav Huna Shabbos 147; Rosh; Ran

[7] The reason: As this is not considered the way of laundering. [Tosafus ibid]

[8] Admur ibid; Rama ibid; Bach 302; Or Zarua

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that it is not just proper to suspect for their opinion, but that one is obligated to do so from the letter of the law, and it is thus forbidden to shake dust off new black garments that one is particular on. [Elya Raba 302; Kitzur SHU”A 80:39; M”B 302:6]

[9] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayechi 2:8; Kaf Hachaim 302:8; Or Letziyon 2:24-1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:1-2 footnote 4

[10] Admur 302:1 regarding shaking off dew and the same applies regarding shaking off dust; Admur 337:3 regarding using a brush to brush clothing

Other opinions: See Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2 who concludes to be stringent by all garments, new or old, black or other colors, and Makpid or not, as we do not know the definition of new versus old [as explained next], or colored or Makpid. Practically, however, the Poskim do not record his novel ruling, and certainly the letter of the law remains as we wrote above, and only regarding black garments which one is Mkpid have the Poskim written to be stringent, as explained next.

[11] Admur 302:1 regarding shaking off dew and the same applies regarding shaking off dust

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that white garments, such as a Tallis Gadol, are included in the prohibition. [Yeshuos Yaakov 302:1; Mechzeh Eluayhu 1:44; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2 footnote 18]

[12] See Ashel Avraham Butchach 302; Mechzeh Eliyahu 44; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that all non-black colors are permitted, even if they are a very dark shade. [Implication of Setimas Haposkim; Levushei Mordechai 2:44]

[13] Ketzos Hashulchan 116 footnote 9

[14] Admur 302:1 regarding shaking off rain, and the same applies here as well; M”B 302; Ketzos Hashulchan 116 footnote 9

[15] Bach; Levush; Peri Megadim brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 116 footnote 2

[16] Yearos Devash, brought in Chayeh Adam, brought in Biur Halacha 302:1 “Lachush” and Ketzos Hashulchan 116 footnote 2; Biur Halacha ibid concludes that the other Achronim made no mention of this ruling and hence, although one who is stringent is blessed, one who is lenient has upon what to rely, although it is best for him to shake it with an irregularity; Kitzur SHU”A 80:39 does not differentiate between new or old; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2

[17] Ketzos Hashulchan 116 footnote 9

[18] Admur 337:3 and Rama 337:2 regarding brushing clothing; Biur Halacha 302:1 “Yeish Omrim” that one may use a brush to remove the dirt

[19] See Biur Halacha 302:1 “Yeish Omrim” that one may not rub a stain off; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2 footnote 28 who learns from here that it is forbidden according to all to forcibly use a brush to remove dust; See Q&A! Vetzaruch Iyun from wording of Biur Halacha ibid

[20] Tiferes Yisrael in Kalkeles Shabbos 13; Yearos Devash; Makor Chaim 302; Ketzos Hashulchan 146 footnote 62; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2; See however Biur Halacha ibid from whom it is evident that he did not hold of this prohibition

The reason: As it appears like fixing a vessel and is considered a mundane act. [Poskim ibid]

[21] Biur Halacha 302:1 “Yeish Omrim” based on Michaber 302:5 and Admur 302:12 who forbid rubbing a laundered shirt due to the whitening prohibition; Rav SZ”A, brought in SSH”K 15 footnote 84; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2 footnote 21

[22] Misgeres Hashulchan 80:80 based on Admur and Rama ibid who conclude that it is merely “proper” to be stringent, and not that one must do so, hence implying the main opinion is like the lenient approach.

[23] M”B 302:6 is only lenient for a gentile to do; Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 80; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 302 footnote 23

[24] M”B 302:6; See Admur 307:6; 314:17; Tehila Ledavid 336:4

[25] The reason: As since there are Poskim who even initially permit dusting the garment, therefore, one may be lenient to do so through a gentile, especially in cases of Kavod Habriyos. [M”B ibid; See Admur 314:17; Tehila Ledavid 336/4]

[26] Biur Halacha 302 “Aleha” and 302:6 “Dehavei Tochein” and Shaar Hatziyon 302:41; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:2

[27] Doveiv Meisharim 1:62; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 24

[28] Aruch Hashulchan 327:4; Shut Rav Chaim Zonenfeld 38; Shevet Halevi 5:37; Ateres Moshe 1:108; Bris Olam Miabed 3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:3 footnote 43 in name of Poskim and 327:5

[29] The reason: The definition of laundering by leather is different than by regular clothing-see Admur 302:19!

[30] Shevet Halevi ibid; Ateres Moshe ibid; Bris Olam ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

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