From the Rav’s Desk: Drying eyeglasses, China plates, and cutlery on a shirt on Shabbos

Drying eyeglasses, China, and cutlery on a shirt on Shabbos

  1. Question: [Thursday, 27th Tishreiy 5781]

If I wet my eyeglasses to clean then, and I don’t have a towel readily available to dry them, may I wipe it dry using my shirt on Shabbos? I have the same question regarding a plate and cutlery, if I may dry them using the edge of my shirt?


No. According to Admur [and other Poskim], it is implied that one may only dry them using a designated cloth, such as a hand or dish towel, and may not use his shirt and the like, even though it is only a small amount of water. However, some Poskim are lenient to allow drying a slightly wet surface even using one’s shirt.

Explanation: In general, it is forbidden to wet clothing on Shabbos, and cause them to get wet, due to both the laundering and squeezing prohibition, as the mere wetting of an item is considered laundering according to many Poskim, and as well we suspect one may come to squeeze the water out of the clothing and transgress the squeezing/Mifareik prohibition. Nonetheless, it is permitted to wet a garment that is designated for getting wet when one has no intent to clean the garment, such as place a rag on a spill, being that one has no care to squeeze it or whiten it as it is designated for this purpose. Furthermore, it is permitted to dry ones wet hands and body even on a non-designated garment, being that the act of drying is not considered an act of cleaning but rather an act of dirtying, and being that the sages never decreed against drying oneself on Shabbos even on clothing that one in general is particular against getting wet, being that this is a decree that the congregation cannot uphold, as it would in essence prohibit bathing on Shabbos. However, this only applies to drying the body, however, to dry a wet item with a non-designated cloth is forbidden, as even if one were to argue that this too is considered the way of dirtying and does not contain a whitening prohibition [Vetzaruch Iyun, being that from the Poskim it is implied that we only apply this reasoning when drying the body, and not when drying an item], nonetheless, we suspect that one may come to squeeze it being that it is not designated to get wet and one is particular that it not get wet, and this worry was only waved in the case of drying one’s body, due to the reasons explained above. Nonetheless, some Poskim rule that if the item is only wet with a small amount of water, then it may be dried with even a non-designated garment, and hence in their opinion, it would be permitted to use a shirt to dry ones eye glasses, and/or plate and cutlery. However, from Setimas Admur in a number of Halachos it is implied that we always suspect for squeezing by a non-designated cloth, irrelevant of how much water is placed on it, although Tzaruch Iyun from the fact that elsewhere Admur rules that by a small amount we don’t suspect for squeezing. Whatever the case, Admur already ruled even regarding drying the body that is best to use a designated garment such as a towel and that it is initially proper for one to shake the water off from his hands and body in order to diminish as must as possible the wetting of the garment. Thus, we concluded above that based on Admur one should not [and perhaps may not, due to Milabein, and squeezing] dry these items using an undesignated cloth.

Sources: Admur 302:23 “It is permitted to dry a bench and the like with a garment that one is not particular to squeeze after it gets wet even during the week [i.e. designated for getting wet]”; Admur 319:13; 320:21; M”A 302:22 “With a matter that one is particular against it getting wet, it is forbidden, as he may come to squeeze it; Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid that not particular to squeeze refers to a designated garment; Poskim who are lenient: P”M 302 A”A 22, brought in M”B 302:51, that by a small amount of water there is no Chashash of squeezing even by a non-designated garment; Implication of M”B 302:51 that by drying a small amount of water from a surface, there is no worry of Milabein either; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302 footnote 265; See regarding the prohibition to wet a non-designated cloth versus a designated cloth due to Milabein and Mifarek: Admur 302:20-21; 319:13; 320:21; Kuntrus Achron 302:1 See regarding if only a small amount of the garment gets wet: Admur 302:21 [dispute if we apply Issur Milabein, and that one should be stringent]; 319:23 that we don’t apply Chashash of Sechita if only a minute amount gets wet; 302:23 in which no differentiation is made in amounts and implies that even a small amount of water is forbidden; 319:13 in which a cloth may not be used to filter due to worry of squeezing; P”M ibid and all Poskim ibid in lenient opinion; See regarding if we apply the sevara of Derech Lichluch to drying an item: M”A 302:27 in name of Beis Yosef, Maharam, Tashbeitz, from which it is implied that the sevara of derech Lichluch only applies when drying the body, and not when drying a cup; See Machatzis Hashekel ibid; However, see M”B 302:51 who implied that one may clean a spill of water on a table with a non-designated cloth if it is a small amount of liquid, thus implying we apply the Sevara of Derech Lichluch even when drying an item, and so ruled Piskeiy Teshuvos 302 footnote 265; Vetzaruch Iyun as to the opinion of Admur]; See regarding wiping ones hands on clothing on Shabbos: Admur 301:60 from where it is implied that one may dry his hands on even clothing that are not designated for this purpose, such as a shirt, although he concludes that it is best to use a designated garment such as a towel; 302:21 that it is permitted to dry ones hands on a towel or on clothing that has urine on it being that this is considered a way of dirtying and the not a way of cleaning, although it is best to shake the water off the hands prior to drying. Likewise, he states there that this allowance only applies if through the act of drying ones hands one does not clean away a larger dirt such a feces; 302:23 that one may dry his hands even on a garment that one is particular to not get wet, as the sages never decreed against it; See Tehila Ledavid 301:45 and 302:11 The following Poskim are all lenient as rules Admur: Elya Raba 302:26 and 33; Ran Shabbos 62b; Sefer Hateruma 244; P”M 302 A”A 22; Tosefes Shabbos 302:32; M”B 302:51; Kaf Hachaim 302:77; Piskeiy Teshuvos 302:24; The following Poskim are stringent: M”A 302:22, brought in M”B and Kaf Hachaim ibid [unlike M”A 301:58 regarding a towel after bathing that it is only proper to be stringent]

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