From the Rav’s Desk: Sweeping leaves on Shabbos

  1. Question: [Thursday, 23rd Teves 5781]

Is it permitted to sweep leaves that have fallen onto my patio on Shabbos and does it make a difference if they fell before Shabbos or on Shabbos?



It is permitted to sweep leaves from a tiled floor on Shabbos, such as the floor of one’s patio, if it is disturbing the cleanliness of the area, just as is allowed regarding sweeping the floor of one’s home. This applies irrelevant of when these leaves fell from the tree. It is however forbidden to sweep leaves from an earth floor due to a sweeping prohibition.

Explanation: Sweeping Muktzah on Shabbos poses two halachic issues; 1) a Muktzah prohibition 2) a sweeping prohibition. The Muktzah prohibition is waived in the event that an item is defined as a Geraf Shel Reiy, which means that its presence is considered a disturbance to the people who use the area. Thus, being that a dirty floor is considered a disturbance to a home or other area that one is sitting in, therefore it is permitted to sweep dirt from it on Shabbos. In this regard, there is no difference as to when the leaves fell from the tree, as either way it is considered Muktzah. [Seemingly this is being confused with the law of a fruit that fell from a tree in which case we differentiate between if it fell before Shabbos, in which case it is not Muktzah, and if it fell on Shabbos, in which case it is Muktzah. This has nothing to do with the question of whether you are allowed to sweep Muktzah which is disturbing the peace of an area.] Now, regarding the sweeping prohibition, although ideally the Rama rules that it applies to both tiled and untitled surfaces, nonetheless, practically today the Achronim conclude that it is permitted to sweep tiled surfaces, and the prohibition remains only with sweeping earth floors.

Sources: See regarding sweeping Muktzah: Admur 337:2; M”A 337:4; M”B 337:12; Biur Halacha 308:27 “Minaeri”; See regarding sweeping in general on a tiled versus an earth floor: Admur 337:2; Rama 337:2; Biur Halacha “Veyeish Machmirim”; Ketzos Hashulchan 146:27

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