Chapter 316

Chapter 316

Trappings which are forbidden and permitted on Shabbos


The following chapter will discuss the laws of trapping, killing or injuring creatures on Shabbos. Both trapping and killing or injuring an animal are Principal Shabbos prohibitions. At times it is only Rabbinically forbidden and thus allowed to be done in a scenario of danger. Other times even when Biblically forbidden to be done it is allowed to be done if there is a life threatening situation.


The laws of Trapping creatures on Shabbos

Halacha 1       

The definition of the Biblical and Rabbinical prohibition of trapping:

A Principal Prohibition: Trapping is one of the principal [forbidden] actions [to do on Shabbos], [being] that [it] was done in the [building process for the] Tabernacle [in trapping the] Techashim[1] and Chalozon[2].

A complete form of trapping: One is only liable for [Biblically transgressing] it if the trapped [animal or fish] does not lack any further trapping after this [current] trapping, meaning that he has trapped it to an area where he can easily grab it.

Using a trap mechanism: It goes without saying [that one transgresses if] one set up a trapping mechanism which trapped it, as once the animal is in the trap one does not need to do any further schemes in order to grab it. [However see Halacha 6]

An example: Therefore if one chased a bird into a house which is closed or into a roofed shack which is sealed from all sides, and then closed the door before it, or if one chased after an animal until he entered it into a house or into even an unroofed shack or into a garden or courtyard and then closed the door before it, he is [Biblically] liable, as long as that the house or shack is not large enough to the point that one [still] needs to scheme methods of how to grab hold of the bird or animal [that is in there].

[However] so long as the house or shack is large enough to the point that one is not able to reach and grab the bird or animal in a single chase due to it running away from him and he thus needs to chase after it a second time, then they are still [considered to be] lacking being trapped and one is [thus] Biblically exempt.
Trapping a sparrow: One who traps a sparrow[3] which is a type of bird that dwells in a house just like in a field [meaning that] it knows how to escape [being caught by flying] to all the corners of the house and (it is thus called Drur which means a dwelling as it dwells in all places) one is not liable until he chases it into a tower which it can be trapped in which is a tower that is not very large, and rather [is small enough that] one can grab it without any further schemes.
Trapping a lion:  One who traps a lion is not liable until he enters it into a cage that it can be restrained in.
The Rabbinical prohibition of trapping: Anyone who traps into an area where the trapped [animal or bird] is still lacking further trapping then although he is not liable [nevertheless] it is Rabbinically forbidden.

Trapping an animal which needed further trapping: One who traps [an animal or bird] from an area where it was still lacking further trapping there, is liable.

Trapping an animal which did not need further trapping: From an area that the [animal]  does not lack any further trapping it is initially allowed to trap it on Yom Tov, although not on Shabbos due to the moving ‘[Muktzah] prohibition. [In addition] there are those which prohibit this [on Shabbos] also because of a Rabbinical trapping prohibition [which according to them applies even in this case].


Halacha 2

Trapping a sick, old, blind, lame, etc animal:

An old, or crippled or exhausted deer: One who traps an item which is not lacking any further trapping, such as for example one trapped a deer which is crippled or old, or week due to exhaustion from doing strenuous activity, and  [thus] it is not able to move from where it is, then [although] he is not liable nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden.

A sleeping or blind or sick deer: However one who traps a deer that is sleeping or is blind or is sick [and week] due to a fever that has developed in his body, then he is liable because they are self trained to escape when they feel the hand of a person, and are thus [considered to be] lacking further trapping.


Halacha 3

Hunting dogs:

On Shabbos: One who instigates a [hunting] dog [to chase] after an animal in order to trap it is exempt [from Biblical liability] but is Rabbinically forbidden.

During the week: [Furthermore] even during the week it is forbidden to trap with dogs[4] because [this symbolizes the actions of a] group of scoffers, and [one who does so] will not merit to participate[5] in the joy of the Leviathan [feast].


Halacha 4

Trapping something which is not commonly trapped being that it serves no use:

Biblically: The Biblical prohibition of trapping something only applies by a species that is [commonly] trapped, which means that it is common for the [people of the] world to trap this species that he is trapping.

For example, [trapping] species of animals and birds and fish [is liable because] it is common for the [people of the] world to trap these species. [6]

However if he trapped something which is a species that is not [commonly] trapped, such as for example wasps and flies and mosquitoes and the like of which it is not common for [people of] the world to trap these species being that they do not have any use, then even if one happened to trap them for a use, he is exempt [from Biblical liability].

Rabbinically: However it is Rabbinically forbidden [to do so] even if one wants to trap them for no need at all and rather out of mere casualness.       .
Closing a vessel that has flies in it: Therefore one must be careful not to close a box or cover a vessel which has flies inside it being that they are [consequently] trapped through this covering and closing.

The reason: Now, although one has no intent at all to trap [them], nevertheless [it is forbidden because] it is an inevitable consequence [of one’s action, in which the law is that it is forbidden to do even if one does not intend to do so].

Leaving it slightly open: Rather [if one nevertheless still wants to close it] he must place a knife or other item between the cover and the vessel in a way that the [flies] can escape from [inside the vessel] and it will no longer be inevitable [for them to leave].

Other Opinions: [However] there are opinions which are lenient [to allow one to completely close the vessel] in a situation that if one were to open the vessel to take [into ones hand] the flies that in there, then they would escape [before him being able to grab them], as in such a case there is no trapping done at all through this covering.

The Final Ruling-No need to check a vessel before closing it: One may rely on this latter opinion with regards to not being required to be meticulous and check if [the vessel] has flies [in it] [before covering it]. [Furthermore] even if one sees for certain that there are flies in it suffices for him to chase away those that he sees with his eyes and he does not have to check for any more flies that have perhaps remained. As since there is a doubt as to whether there are any [more flies] in there, it is no longer [considered an] inevitable [consequence of one’s actions that he will trap the flies].


Halacha 5

Covering a beehive for protection purposes:

Leaving an escape route available: It is allowed to spread mats over a beehive on a sunny [day] in order [to protect it from] the sun and [on a ] rainy [day] in order [to protect it from] the rain as long as one has no intent to trap the bees. As well it must be done in a way that does not inevitably trap them there, such as for example he leaves a hole in the beehive that is not covered by the mats and it is [thus] possible for them to escape through there. Even if it is the hole is small and on the side in which it [thus] is not visible to the bees, [nevertheless] thus does not pose a problem being that he does not intent to trap [them] and it is not inevitable [for them to escape] as it is [still] possible for them to escape through this small side hole and it is not definitive that they will not escape through it.

However if there is no hole that is [left] uncovered by the mat, then it is forbidden because it is impossible [for them to escape].
The reason: Now, although there are opinions which are lenient regarding [covering a vessel with] flies in a situation that if one were to open the vessel to take [the flies] that are there then they will escape, nevertheless here it [is not allowed because it] is considered a complete trapping for the bees to be trapped in their beehive in a way that that it is not possible for them to escape even though he is not able to take them out from there with his hands.

[The reason for why it is considered a complete trapping is] because the beehive is their [common] place of trapping [in a scenario] that they reside in a beehive, and is [thus] similar to one who traps a lion and enters it into its cage that even though he is not able to take it from there with his hands without having it escape he is [nevertheless] liable because that is its place of trapping.


Halacha 6

Setting up traps on Shabbos, such as mouse traps

Biblically: One who sets up a trap and while doing so an animal entered into it, he is liable. However if it entered into it afterwards then he is exempt [from liability] because at the time that he set it up it is not [yet] known if it will trap or not.

Rabbinically: Nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden and therefore it is forbidden to set up mouse traps on Shabbos.


Halacha 7       

Closing the door in front of an animal:

Closed by one person: A deer which entered on its own into a house and someone closed the door in front of it, then even if he did not lock the door with a lock but rather just pressed it closed in a way that the dear is guarded through this that it not be able to escape, then he is liable being that this is its trapping.

Closed by two people: If two people closed it then they are exempt [from liability] as [the rule is that] any action which can be done alone and was done by two people, then they are exempt because it was not done in the usual method that it is done in during the week, as it is not usual at all to for [an action] which can be done alone to be done by two people. 
[However] if one alone cannot close it and two people closed it then they are liable.
If one [of the two] is able to close it alone and the second is not able and they both closed it, then the one that is able is liable and the one that is not able is exempt being that [the one that is not able] is only considered an [unneeded] accomplice to the one that is able, and an [unneeded] accomplice has done a meaningless action.
This rule applies for all the [prohibited] actions of Shabbos.  


Halacha 8

Locking the closed door of a room which contains an animal:

If the doorway had already been closed by the door after the deer entered into the house, whether the door had closed on its own [and] whether one transgressed and closed it, it is permitted to lock it with a lock. As since the deer is already guarded in a way that it cannot escape, it is thus already currently trapped and when one thus locks it with a lock, although he is adding a further means of guarding to the guarding that there is currently, [nevertheless] this is only considered done to guard it from robbers and does not carry with it [the] trapping [prohibition].     


Halacha 9

Using one’s body to block the exit of a room that contains an animal:     

A deer which entered a home and a person [came and] sat by the entrance totally blocking it, which means that there does not remain enough space between himself and the doorpost for the deer to be able to escape through, then he is liable.

Having a second person sit next to the first: [However] it is allowed for another person to [come] sit by the side of this [person] in the unblocked area which is between [the first person] and the doorpost even though that by doing so he is adding further fortification to the fortification provided by the first person.

[Furthermore] even if the first person stood up and left and thus his fortification has been annulled, but the deer is still guarded due to the sitting of the second person, meaning that the now free space between himself and the doorpost, which was the area where the first person sat, is not enough space to allow the deer to escape, nevertheless the second person does not need to get up, and it is thus permitted for him to sit there until after Shabbos and then come take the deer.

The reason for this is: because since at the time that he sat down it was allowed for him to do so being that the deer had been already considered trapped through the sitting of the first person, [therefore] we do not require him to leave after the first person gets up, as he is doing nothing by his [continued] sitting, being that he is only guarding a deer which had already been trapped by the first person.

Sitting next to the first person with intention to trap the deer: [Furthermore] he may even sit near the first person with intent to remain sitting there after the first person leaves. 


Halacha 10     

Adding a further trap to an already trapped animal:

The same applies if one had a deer bound up in his house and someone came along and also closed the door in front of it in order to add a [further form of] guarding onto the already existing [form of] guarding, and then afterwards the deer escaped from the ropes, we do not require the person to reopen the door being that at the time that he closed it he was allowed to do so and now he is doing nothing [new].

Trapping an animal unintentionally:

Closing the door of one’s house when he does not know of animals inside: Similarly one who locked [the door of] his house in order to guard it [from break ins] without the slightest  knowledge that a deer had entered into the house and only afterwards did he find out, then it is permitted for him to leave the entrance locked until after Shabbos with intention to take the deer [after Shabbos], as when he locked his house he was allowed to do so being that he knew of no [existing animals in his home] and now when he discovers this he is not doing anything [new].

Closing the door of one’s house when he knows of animals inside: However if one knows that there is a deer in his house then it is forbidden for him to close the door even if he does not at all intend to trap the deer but rather [just intends] to guard his house [from break ins], as the trapping [which comes as a result of his closing the door] is inevitable.    


Halacha 11     

Sat by the entrance and unintentionally trapped an animal: Similarly one who sat by the entrance without knowledge that a deer had entered his house and later discovered this then it is permitted for him to remain sitting there until after Shabbos being that now [upon the discovery] he is not doing anything [new].

A bird which flew into ones cloths trapping itself: Similarly one who had a bird enter under the wing of his clothing and consequently got trapped there, does not need to open for it an escape route and rather may guard it until Shabbos is over. 


Halacha 12     

Un-trapping an animal on Shabbos

It is allowed for one to open ones house in front of a deer [which is trapped inside] in order for it to run and escape.

As well a deer which has entered into a trap one is allowed to release it from its trap on condition that one not move it [being that it is Muktzah].


Halacha 13     

The Primary Biblical prohibition:

Slaughtering is one of the principal [forbidden] actions [on Shabbos], [being] that [it] was done in the [building process for the] Tabernacle [in slaughtering the] rams and Techashim[7]. Not only is [the killing form of] slaughtering [included in this principal prohibition] but [also] anyone who takes the soul from any species of animal, bird, fish, and rodent, whether [he did so] by slaughtering it [and] whether by tearing it [open, and] whether by hitting it, he is liable.
Strangling: One who strangles a creature until it dies is [transgressing] an offshoot of [the prohibited action of] slaughtering.

Removing a fish from water: Therefore if one took a fish out of a bucket of water, and left it [outside the water] until it died then he is liable for strangulation. [To be liable] one does not have to [leave it out] until it completely dies but rather as soon as it [is left out to the point that] the width of a “Sela” of it has become dry between its fins, then one is liable even if he returns afterwards back into the water, as [once it has been left out for this long] it is no longer able to live. [Furthermore, to be liable one does] not [have to leave it out] until it actually dries but rather even if [it has been left out to the point that] when one touches it with a finger mucus comes out from it and gets pulled out with the finger[8] [he is liable].

Asking a gentile to remove a fish from water: Therefore one must be careful to not tell a gentile to take out a fish from a barrel of water even if he fears that it will die there [in the water, and thus contaminate the water and cause him a loss [9]].

Halacha 14     

Causing a creature to bleed:

The taking of life [prohibition] which one is liable for, is not only when one removes the entire life-force from the creature [i.e. kills it], rather even if one removed [only] a part of its life-force he is liable. For example one who [injures an animal to the point that he] takes out blood from one of the limbs of the creature then he is liable for taking out life from that area being that blood contains [ones life-force which is] the soul.


Halacha 15     

Causing a bruise to a creature:

[Furthermore he is] not only [held liable] if blood actually comes out [of its skin], but even if one bruised one of the creatures limbs to the point that blood [vessels have been broken and] gathered under the skin [thus causing a “black and blue mark”] then even though [the blood] has not gone out of the skin] he is liable being that it is a bruise which will never be replaced. As once the blood [vessels have been broken and] gathered under the skin it can never return back to its place, and it is only that the skin is preventing it from going out, and he is thus liable for taking out the blood of that area.
Bruising an animal and the like: [However] the above only applies to a bruise made in a person or domestic and wild animal or bird or in [any of] the eight rodents mentioned in the Torah (in Parshas Shemini) which are the weasel, the mouse [the toad, the porcupine or hedgehog, the lizard, the snail, and the mole] of which each one of these has skin which prevents the blood from going out.

Bruising an insect: However one who bruises other creeping creatures and insects is not liable until he removes blood from them. However if the blood gathered [in its body] and did not leave, then this is a [type of] bruise which will [have the blood] return back to its place, as if the blood had left its area then it would have came out being that it has no skin preventing it[10].


Halacha 16

Removing life-force and trapping is only liable when done for a use of the creature itself:

Killing for self use: It was already explained in chapter 278 [Halacha 1-2] that there are opinions which say that a Biblical [Shabbos] prohibition only applies if the [forbidden] action was done for its own need, meaning that one needs the actual item to which the action was done to.

What is considered a self use? Therefore one who removes the life [of a creature] is only liable if he has a need for the body of the creature which had its life-force removed from, or [if he needs] its skin, or he needs the soul which he took out from it, meaning the blood that has left it in order to give it to his dog, or if he bruises a person which is his enemy and he thus desires for blood to come out from him so that he witness revenge on his foes (see Choshen Mishpat chapter 424 [Halacha 2][11]).

Killing to prevent danger: However one who kills a snake in order to prevent it from injuring him then this is an action done which is not self needed being that he does not need either the body of the snake or its blood and he is only killing it in order to be saved from injury.

Trapping for self use versus trapping to prevent injury: Similarly one who traps is not liable unless he has a need for the actual body of the trapped item. Nevertheless one who casually traps species of animals, birds, and fish, is liable, as they are generally trapped for need of their body or skin. Similarly one who casually traps one of the eight rodents mentioned in the Torah is liable as they are generally trapped for need of their skin and not to save oneself from injury being that it is not common for them to injure.

However one who traps one of the other creeping creatures and insects [which are commonly trapped to prevent injury[12]] is not liable unless he trapped them for a need, such as for a medicine and the like. However if he casually trapped them, then he is exempt [from liability] being that they are generally trapped in order to prevent injury, being that they commonly injure and not for their skin being that they do not have skin, and not for their bodies being that they are inedible and they are not generally [trapped] for medicine unless one explicitly intended [on trapping them] for this, and thus this [trapping] is an action which does not have a self use being that he has no need for the trapped item itself to which the [forbidden] action [of trapping] is being done to.  


Trapping to prevent injury

Halacha 17

Initially trapping creeping creatures which can cause injury:

[Furthermore] even initially it is allowed to trap all types of creeping creatures which commonly cause injury, such as snakes and scorpions and the like, even in places where their bite [or sting] is not deadly, and even if they are not currently chasing after him at all, and rather he just suspects that perhaps it may eventually chase after him or after someone else and bite [or sting] him or that perhaps he may not [properly] avoid [stepping on or near] them and they will bite him or perhaps will bite other people which do not know that they have to beware from them. As since one is only trapping them in order to save himself from injury, this is [considered] an action that is not done for its own self use.

The reason: Now, although that any [forbidden] action which is not done for self use, despite not being liable on, is Rabbinically forbidden, [nevertheless] here the Sages completely permitted it due to chance that one may receive bodily injury [if he were to not be allowed to trap them]
[Furthermore] even according to the opinions which say that an action done not for its own self use one is [also] liable on and [thus according to them it should be prohibited being that] we do not [allow one to] transgress Shabbos through doing a complete Biblical prohibition [just in order to prevent] bodily damage and rather it is only allowed to prevent danger of one life, nevertheless here since one is not trapping them in the normal method but rather just deals with them in order so they not be able to injure, [such as he] covers them with a vessel or surrounds them [with items that prevents them from escaping] or ties them so they not cause harm, therefore the [Sages] permitted one to do so even to creeping creatures which are not at all deadly and rather only cause injury.


Halacha 18     

Trapping insects and the like which only cause pain:

[However] all the above is referring to [trapping] creeping creatures which commonly cause injury such as snakes and scorpions, [which may be trapped] even in places that their bite is not deadly being that nevertheless they cause bodily injury with their bite, and the same applies for all creatures of the like. However anything which does not damage the body but rather just causes it pains alone, such as wasps, and flies, mosquitoes and fleas and the like, then it is forbidden to trap them.

Removing a stinging insect from ones cloths or skin: It is therefore forbidden to take hold of a flea which is on ones clothes, even if it is inside [ones clothes] close to his skin, and even if it is on his skin and has still not stung him it is forbidden to grab it. However if it is in the midst of stinging him then it is permitted to take hold of it while it is stinging and throw it away.

The reason for why this does not involve the trapping prohibition is: because  when one takes hold of it at the time of the stinging he has no intent to trap it and rather is only involving himself with it in order to stop it from stinging him, and [when there is no intent to trap] the [Sages] did not decree [against trapping] even in a case [that doing so is only to prevent] pain alone[13] since [these insects] are items which their species are not commonly trapped [and thus even when trapped with intent it is only Rabbinically forbidden].

The reason this does not involve the Muktzah prohibition: As well, the [Sages] did not decree in a scenario [that involves] pain the prohibition in moving the flee due to it being Muktzah.

Grabbing a wasp in the midst of stinging: Similarly if a wasp and the like sting him one is allowed to take it with his hands and send it away if it is not possible to fly it away.
Other Opinions: There are opinions[14] which permit to grab the flea even while it is on the inside of his clothes [and not yet on his skin] being that it is able to cause him pain there. [Furthermore] even from his undershirt[15] on the outside it is allowed to grab it since an undershirt is close to the flesh and it is thus possible that the flea will go from there to his flesh and will bite him.

However [even according to this opinion] if the flea is on the person in a way that there is no worry that it may bite him, [such as] that it is on his upper clothes on the outside, then it is forbidden to grab it.

Shaking ones cloths to cause the insect to fall off: Nevertheless it is [always] permitted to make it fall off of him through shaking [his cloths].
The Final Ruling: The final ruling is that if it is possible for him to easily make the insect fall off of him without [needing to] take it with his hand, then one is to do so even if [the insect] is on the inside of his undershirt. However if one is wearing long boots which reach to his thighs[16] [or pants] and it is thus difficult[17] for him to shake it away without first grabbing it with his hand then one who relies on the lenient opinion regarding this Rabbinical prohibition has done no harm[18].


Halacha 19     

Killing an insect which is in the midst of stinging oneself:

All the above is only regarding [being allowed to] trap the flea, however to kill it is forbidden according to all opinions even if it’s on ones flesh and is in the midst of biting him.

The reason for this is: As due to mere pain [the Sages] only permitted trapping [it] being that it is not a species which is commonly trapped and thus trapping it is not considered a [Biblically forbidden] action at all, however killing it is a complete [Biblically forbidden] action. [Now although] it is not done for its own use in which case there are opinions which say that one is exempt [from liability] on doing so, nevertheless [even according to them] it is Rabbinically forbidden and was not permitted to be done [in order] to prevent mere pain being that its prohibition is rooted in the Biblical [prohibition], meaning if [this same act] were to be done for its own use [in which case it would be Biblically forbidden]. 

May one squeeze the insect to weaken it? [Furthermore] even to squeeze it with ones fingers to weaken its strength so that it not return to him is forbidden because of a decree that one may come to kill it. Rather he is to take it in his hand and throw it away.


Halacha 20

The killing of creatures which do not reproduce:

One is only liable for removing life-force on species of creatures which reproduce and are created through [the union of] a male and female, however insects which are created from [the bacteria found in] feces and from spoiled fruits and the like, such as for example worms [that grow] in flesh and like [the] worms which are found in legumes, then one who kills them exempt [from liability].[19]

The reason for this is: because in the Tabernacle the taking of a life was only done to rams, techashim and chalozon which are [creatures] that reproduce and are born from a [union of] male and female.
Killing creatures which are created from earth: Nevertheless [killing] the flea contains the [Biblical prohibition] of taking a life even though it is created from earth and does not reproduce, because all [creatures] that are created from earth have vitality as if they were created from male and female as initially all creatures were created from earth as it says [in the Torah] “And G-d said let the earth extract….etc.”.

Killing lice: What is considered a flea? This is a black insect which jumps. However the white insect that crawls is called a lice and is permitted to kill it on Shabbos being that it is [created] from sweat.
Killing lice when checking ones clothing for them: However this [allowance] only refers to when one happens to find a lice on his flesh or [happens to] find it on his clothes. However one who is [in the process of] cleaning his clothing of lice then he may [only] squeeze them with his fingers [without killing them] and throw them (even into water). However it is forbidden to kill it with his hands as since he is cleaning his clothing of lice we suspect that he may come to also find fleas and also kill them.

Killing lice when checking ones hair for them: However when checking ones head [for lice] it is permitted for him to kill the lice with his hands being that flees are not commonly found on one’s head.


Halacha 21     

Removing lice from skins:

One may not remove lice form the skins of fox and the like being that [in the process] one removes hair from the skin which contains the sheering prohibition, and although it is done unintentionally, nevertheless it is an inevitable occurrence [and is thus forbidden].


Killing dangerous animals and other dangerous creatures:

Halacha 22

Creatures that definitily have a deadly bite or sting: Any wild animal and crawling creature which bites and definitively kills, such as a lethally venomous snakes and a rabid dog and the like of other dangerous creatures which have a definite deadly bite, then it is allowed to kill them on Shabbos even if they are not chasing after one at all.

The reason for this is: because  there is danger of life involved [in refraining from] killing them as they may [come to] kill a Jew, and [the rule is that whenever there is] any possibility [that a] life [will be endangered] then it pushes off Shabbos, [and allows one to do] even a complete Biblically [forbidden] action even according to those opinions which say that even an action which is not done for its own use one is Biblically liable on.
Creatures which only cause bodily injury which are chasing oneself: Other dangerous creatures, even those which  definitively do not kill with their bite but rather only damage the body, such as snakes and scorpions in areas that they never kill with their bite [or sting] and rather only damage, and so too any creature of the like, then there are opinions that say that if [these creatures] are running after oneself then it is permitted to kill them according to those who say that any action which done not for its own use is only Rabbinically forbidden.

Their reasoning is: because in a situation that involves bodily injury the [Sages] did not decree [against doing a Rabbinically forbidden action, which includes any action that is not done for its own use].

This case is not similar to the [case of the] flea which is in the midst of stinging ones flesh in which case it is forbidden to kill it, [as] the flea does not cause injury to the body but rather pain alone.
If these creatures are not chasing oneself: However if [these creatures] are not currently chasing after oneself and it is only that one is worried [that they may do so] in the future, then it is forbidden to kill them in a way that it is blatantly obvious that it was intentionally done. However it is permitted to trample on it while in the midst of casually walking even if he has intention in doing so in order to kill it, as long as he makes it appear as if he is casually walking and does not intend at all to kill it.

The reason for this is: because since an action which is not done for its own use is only Rabbinically forbidden [therefore it is not forbidden in this case as] the [Sages] did not decree at all against [doing an action even when not for its own use] in a case that involves bodily damage even if there is only mere doubt [as to whether bodily damage will occur]. However with this [they decreed that] one needs to altar his method of killing them as much as it is possible for him change, which means that he is to make himself appear as if he does not intend to kill them.

Killing creatures which at times can be deadly and at times not that are not chasing after oneself: Furthermore even those species of animals and crawling creatures which carry a doubt regarding the deadliness of their bite, as at times they can kill and at times they will not kill, then one must altar his method of killing them so long as they are not chasing after him.

Being cautious not to trample on ants and other non-dangerous creatures: However species of crawling creatures which do not cause injury such as ants and the like, is forbidden to trample them even if one does not intend to kill them [in doing so] but it is inevitable.

[Thus] one must beware of [stepping on] them in areas where they are commonly found.
Other Opinions: [However] according to those opinions which say that even an action which is not done for its own use one is [Biblically] liable on, it was only permitted to kill creatures which are chasing after oneself and to trample on [creatures] casually when they are not chasing after oneself, by those species of animals and crawling creatures which have the possibility of having a deadly bite. However a creature which never kills with its bite is forbidden to even [casually] trample on it, and even if it is running after oneself, being that one may not desecrate Shabbos with a complete Biblically [forbidden] action in order [to prevent only] bodily damage.
The Final Ruling: The main Halachic opinion is like the former opinion, however nevertheless every meticulous person should be strict upon himself, regarding this [possible] Biblical prohibition in a situation that it is possible [for him to refrain from killing it]. Such as if it is not running after him then he should not trample it if it is possible for him to guard himself from it and to warn others to beware of it.


Halacha 23     

Killing spiders:

Those people which kill spiders on Shabbos (that are called shafin) need to be rebuked being that [spiders] do not cause bodily damage, and although there is worry that it may fall into ones food [and become lethal[20]], nevertheless [it is forbidden to kill them] as this is not common [to occur], as well as that it is possible to cover the foods, and that also it is only one in a thousand that is lethal in food, and that also even if it did carry a worry of danger [the Sages] only permitted killing it through casually trampling on it.


Trapping domestic animals

Halacha 24     

Biblically: Animals and birds which are raised in a person’s property, such as one who breeds deer in his house or in his courtyard or geese and chickens and doves, if one trapped them on Shabbos he is exempt [from liability] being that they are already [considered] trapped.

Wild pigeons which nest in ones property: However one who traps [wild[21]] pigeons which reside on nests and high surfaces is liable because they are lacking further trapping as when a person comes to take them from their nest they are trained escape and run away from their nest.

The Rabbinical prohibition in trapping domestic birds and wild natured animals: However birds which are raised in a house and when they enter into their coop in the evening are easy to be caught, being that they are not able to escape [ones grasp] and run away from there, then even when they are outside their coop they are not considered lacking further trapping being that at night they will go into their coop on their own. However nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden to trap them, which means to run after them until they enter into an area in which they are easily caught there. However to move them with ones hand is forbidden regardless of the trapping prohibition because of [the fact that they are] Muktzah.
However this is only referring to when [these birds] are in the courtyard or in a house so large that if they had not been raised around humans then they would need to be trapped, meaning that one would need to seek schemes to catch them there and they are thus considered lacking further trapping. For example if the house is so large that one is not able to catch them with a single chase and [rather must] runs after them until they enter into a room which is not very large and he then closes the door in front of them [then it is considered that the bird was lacking further trapping].

Cases in which there exist no prohibition in trapping domestic birds: However if they are in a house which is not very large then they are [considered] already trapped and waiting [and is thus not at all prohibited to be further trapped]. [As well] even if they are in a large house or even if they are in a public domain and one pushed them until they entered into another large house, then there is no trapping [prohibition involved here] at all and it is thus permitted [to even initially be done].


Halacha 25     

Domestic calm natured animals: All the above [Rabbinical prohibition to further trap a domestic creature only] refers to wild natured animals[22], and [all] birds, however calm natured animals[23] which are raised in a person’s property are permitted to be trapped even from a public domain.
Cats: A cat has the same law as any other wild natured animal and is forbidden to be trapped in ways other than those explained [above in the end of the previous Halacha]
Domestic animals which have rebelled: All the above [allowances to trap domestic animals and birds] only apply if they have not rebelled, however if they have rebelled, [including] even a cow that rebelled and it goes without saying [that it includes] wild natured animals and birds that have rebelled, then one who traps them on Shabbos is liable just like having trapped wild [non-domestic] animals and birds as these [animals and birds which have rebelled will] also not enter into their cage at night.

[1] A type of animal with a unique colored skin

[2] A type of fish which makes blue dye.

[3] The sparrow is the smallest species of birds. They live on branches of trees and spend their time singing. Due to their small size they can live in a house just like in the outside and fly from corner to corner being very difficult to catch. [Mishneh Berurah 1 and Biur Halacha]  This translation is based on the modern day Hebrew term used for this bird and is founded also on the words of the Peri Megadim, brought in the Biur Halacha above.

[4] However the Peri Megadim explains that this only applies when hunting for a hobby. However one whose occupation involves hunting may use hunting dogs to do so.

[5] Lit. see

[6] It is evident from Halacha 16 that this includes even species which are commonly trapped only because they are harmful, however on such creatures one is only liable for trapping them if he intends on doing so in order to use them, such as for healing and the like.

[7] A type of animal with a unique colored skin

[8] Meaning that it has congealed and thus sticks to the finger and gets stretched out like gum.

[9] Levusheiy Serud

[10] The Mishneh Berurah 32 explains that since their skin is soft like flesh therefore their blood vessels that have broken are quickly returned to their place. Thus according to this explanation they do have skin, and it’s just a matter of whether their skin is soft or hard.

[11] There it explains that one who injures a person on Shabbos is exempt from paying damages being that he is liable for death.

[12] See Halacha 4

[13] Meaning in addition to there not being a decree when there is bodily injury, but even for mere pain there is no decree in such a situation.

[14] The Taz [8]

[15] Based on Taz 8 that he explains there that the “Chaluk” is the shirt closest to the skin while a regular shirt is called something else.

[16] Based on Mishneh Berurah 128/16 and the Alter Rebbe there in 128/6

[17] Tzaruch Iyun why wearing long boots should consider it difficult. Perhaps then this is referring to only when the flee has gone inside his pants or boot, in which case it is difficult to shake it off of him entirely.

[18] Lit. has not lost

[19] The Mishneh Berurah adds the following: a) It is nevertheless Rabbinically forbidden [unlike the opinion of the Magid Mishneh brought in the Magen Avraham which holds here that it is completely permitted] and it is only by lice that the Sages completely permitted killing it because it was created from sweat or because it is repugnant.] b) It is only Biblically permitted if it grows while off the tree and after the food has spoiled. However if t grew while on the tree or before the food has spoiled then it is included in the Biblical prohibition.[See Mishneh Berurah and Biur Halacha on Halacha 9]

[20] Some spiders are lethal when eaten

[21] Meaning that they have not been domestically raised. [Rashi Beitza 24a, and chapter 497 Halacha 16]

[22] חיות refer to wild animals such as the hart, dear, gazelle and yachmor.

[23] בהמות refers to domestic animals such as sheep, cows, and goat.

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