Illnesses not mentioned in Shulchan Aruch

List of illnesses and their status which are not mentioned in Shulchan Aruch:

One who has a standard fever [not lethal]: [1]

One whose temperature is slightly high [i.e. 100.4 F, 38C] is considered like one whose entire body is ill, which thus may take medicine, and have other actions done for him as explained above under that category.[2] If his fever is lower than 100.4 F, 38C, then medicine may not be taken unless he feels weak in his entire body.

A fever that is not the result of the common cold or virus: If the fever is above 39C  [102.2 F] then it may be lethal as it may be coming from some inner illness and one may thus even desecrate Shabbos for it.

A Fever above 40 C [104 F]: Is considered life threatening which one may desecrate Shabbos for.

A baby: May be given medicine for even a slight fever below 100.4 F. 

Measuring ones temperature: Is allowed with all non-digital thermometers when done to check for fever or other health purposes.[3]

Placing a wet cloth on ones forehead: See Chapter 2 Halacha 7 Q&A there!

May one soak in a bath to reduce the fever? Yes[4]


One who has a headache:[5]

The allowance to take medicine depends on the amount of pain he is in. If his headache is very painful but his entire body does not feel weakened and is not bedridden, then he may not take medicine. Although if it does pain him to this point then medicine is allowed. [However see footnote below for other opinions[6].]

Placing a wet cloth on ones forehead: See Chapter 2 Halacha 7 Q&A there!


One who has heartburn:[7]

One may drink water which had Alka- seltzer[8] or baking soda[9] dissolved in it from before Shabbos, being that at the time that one drinks the water mixture it is not recognizable to others that one is drinking Alka-seltzer. 

If one did not prepare the water mixture seltzer from before Shabbos, then he may prepare it an irregular fashion, such as to place the pill in a cup of tea and drink it down slowly.


May one measure ones temperature to see if he is sick?[10]

Is allowed with all non-digital thermometers.[11]


May one measure ones pulse to see if he is sick? [12]

Is allowed with all non-digital thermometers when done to for health purposes.[13]


May one get a shot on Shabbos?[14]

This may be done only if he is bedridden or weak in his entire body [or if he is even slightly ill but is done by a gentile[15]], but only in an area where blood will not for certain be visibly extracted, such as doing so into one’s skin or a nerve as opposed to into a vein.

One may not use cotton soaked with alcohol to place over the area of skin. Rather one is to spill some alcohol on it. [However a gentile may do so for him.]


May one add water to a humidifier or vaporizer on Shabbos?[16]

Some Poskim[17] rule it is forbidden to add water to any vaporizer or humidifier.[18]

Other Poskim[19] rule it is permitted to add water to a vaporizer if certain conditions are met.[20] The following is the law of cold and hot humidifiers according to these Poskim that are lenient:

Cold humidifier: If the humidifier expels only cold air according to this opinion it is permitted to add water to it if the following conditions are met: 1. The machine is still on and will not turn on due to the added water. 2. No lights in the machine will turn on or off due to the added water. 3. The lights in the house will not decrease their quality of light due to this.[21] 4. One may not remove any part of the humidifier in order to enter the water if doing so causes the humidifier to shut off until the part is reinserted.[22]

Hot humidifier: If the humidifier expels hot air it is forbidden to add water to it on Shabbos due to the cooking prohibition. However it is permitted to add hot water directly from an urn into the humidifier, fulfilling all the Chazara conditions[23], and provided that all the above mentioned conditions [of a cold humidifier] are fulfilled. Likewise this may only be done if the water that remains in the container is already cooked.[24]


[1] Piskeiy Teshuvos 328/6, based on Ketzos Hashulchan 138 footnote 31

[2] Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 138 footnote 31

[3] Igros Moshe 1/128

[4] 328/48, and so rules Piskeiy Teshuvos 328/35

[5] Ketzos Hashulchan 138 footnote 31; SSH”K  34/6

[6] Minchas Yitzchak 3/35 rules that aspirin [and other painkillers] may not be taken for a mere ache. However if one is in great pain he leans to allow it. [Seemingly even if he is not weak in his entire body-so learns Piskeiy Teshuvos 328/2. However SSH”K ibid seems to learn him differently].

Regarding those Poskim which allow aspirin to be taken even by a mere pain-see above “May one take aspirin”. However as stated there this does not seem to be the opinion of Admur!

[7] Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 138 footnote 31; Piskeiy Teshuvos 328/29

[8] This refers to the brand named medicine which is used for heartburn. It is a pill which is dissolved in water and then drunk.

[9] Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of water. Baking soda will neutralize the acids as soon as it is consumed. It does have a couple of side effects. The first is that it does not have a pleasant taste. Those who use this method of indigestion relief recommend drinking it quickly through a straw. The second side effect is that it will instantly release gas from the acid buildup, causing you to inevitably belch.

[10] Piskeiy Teshuvos 306/7

[11] Igros Moshe 1/128

[12] Piskeiy Teshuvos 306/7

[13] Igros Moshe 1/128 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 306/7

[14] Sheivet Halevy  1/61 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 328/22

[15] As explained above in chapter 2 Halacha 4

[16] See Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 1 6/21-22; Piskeiy Teshuvos 318/28; Minchas Yitzchak 7/21; 8/28;

The possible issues involved in adding water to a vaporizer:

  1. Cooking
  2. Zoreh
  3. Nolad
  4. Increasing or decreasing current of electricity [problem of Molid or Kibuiy of the lights which have their current diminished]
  5. Causing light on machine to turn on or off.

[17] Minchas Yitzchak 7/21

[18] The Minchas Yitzchak ibid forbids adding even cooked hot water to a hot vaporizer being that in his opinion this is considered cooking. Likewise he leans to forbid even cold vaporizers due to Nolad and possibly causing change of current in electricity.

[19] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 1 6/21-22; Hilchos Shabbos Zoreh footnote 64 in name of Rav Moshe Feinstien allows doing so for an ill person; Beir Moshe 6/52 allows doing so through a gentile for the sake of an ill person; Shalmei Yehuda 2/14 in name of Rav SZ”A permits doing so for the sake of an ill person.

[20] According to them there is no problem of increasing or decreasing the electricity as what Melacha is there involved in making a greater current of electricity. Likewise the electric current does not decrees the quality if the lights in the house due to a mere amount of added electricity. If however adding more water to the machine takes a lot of electricity then even in their opinion it would be forbidden to add more water if it causes the quality of light in the house to diminish. [Shabbos Kehalacha ibid footnote 33]

[21] See previous footnote

[22] Hilchos Shabbos Zoreh footnote 64 in name of Rav Moshe Feinstien and Shalmei Yehuda 2/14 in name of Rav SZ”A permit adding water only through a water hole and do not allow one to remove any parts to enter the water. Vetzaruch Iyun as the logic of this ruling. Seemingly those machines that they referred to would shut off when the water container was removed and hence if removing the container will not hut off the machine then it is allowed to be done. [Shabbos Kehalacha ibid footnote 33]

[23] Thus one must pour the water directly from an urn without removing it with a utensil. [Shabbos Kehalacha ibid]

[24] Otherwise adding removing it and then reinserting it is considered cooking the water. [Shabbos Kehalacha ibid] Likewise one may not pour from a Keli Rishon on to such water. [Shalmeiu Yehuda ibid; However see Shabbos Kehalacha ibid Biurim 6]

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.