DailyHalacha.com for Mobile Devices Now Available

Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

(File size: 5.81 MB)
Writing on Shabbat – Fingerprints, Photographs, Writing on Windows or in the Air, Pens With Temporary Ink

Hacham Ovadia Yosef ruled that taking fingerprints is forbidden on Shabbat, as it falls under the prohibition of writing. By the same token, taking a photograph would also violate this prohibition.

The Torah prohibition of writing on Shabbat is violated by writing two or more letters, though writing even just one letter is forbidden Mi’de’rabbanan – by Rabbinic enactment. Hacham Ovadia notes that if one writes on Shabbat one letter and there is carbon paper underneath such that the letter appears on two different pieces of paper, one has transgressed the Torah prohibition, since he produced two letters.

It is forbidden on Shabbat to write with one’s finger in the condensation of windows, though making a line, without forming letters, is permissible.

Hacham Ovadia ruled that if one smokes a cigarette on Yom Tob, and as the fire burns the cigarette it erases the name of the company printed on the cigarette, this does not violate the prohibition of erasing on Yom Tob. This kind of erasing would, in principle, be forbidden only Mi’de’rabbanan, and one may perform an act on Shabbat or Yom Tob that would inadvertently result in an unintended violation of a Rabbinic prohibition. Therefore, erasing letters on a cigarette by smoking does not violate the prohibition of erasing on Yom Tob, as the erasure is unintended. (It goes without saying that one should in any event refrain from smoking because of the damage it causes to one’s health.)

Writing on Shabbat with one’s weaker hand – the left hand, if one is righthanded – does not violate the Torah prohibition of writing, but is nevertheless forbidden Mi’de’rabbanan. Hacham Ovadia ruled that if one types with a typewriter on Shabbat, then he violates the Torah prohibition of writing regardless of which hand he uses, as long as he types in the normal manner of typing.

One should not make letters on Shabbat in a liquid that spilled, even though the shape of the letters will last for only a very brief moment.

It is entirely permissible on Shabbat to make the motion of writing letters in the air, since this does not create any form of the letters, even temporarily.

Writing on Shabbat with ink that disappears after a period of time is forbidden Mi’de’rabbanan, and does not violate the Torah prohibition of writing. Therefore, Hacham Ovadia advised that doctors who need to write prescriptions or other important medical information on Shabbat for a seriously ill patient should use the "Shabbat pens" with temporary ink, in order to avoid the Torah prohibition of writing on Shabbat.

Summary: Taking fingerprints or photographs on Shabbat is considered writing and thus forbidden. It is forbidden on Shabbat to write in the condensation that forms on windows, or in liquid, even though the letters remain for only a brief moment. It is permissible to make the motion of writing in the air. Doctors who need to write prescriptions for seriously ill patients on Shabbat should, if possible, use the special "Shabbat pens" that have temporary ink.


Recent Daily Halachot...
Tying Neckties and Garbage Bags on Shabbat
Tying and Untying Knots on Shabbat
Is It Permissible to Trap a Deer Inside a Home on Shabbat?
Is It Permissible to Trap a Bug on Shabbat?
Trapping Explained- One of the 39 Forbidden Melachot on Shabbat
May One Ask a Non-Jew to Turn Off a Light on Shabbat?
Asking a Non-Jew to Move a Mukseh Item on Shabbat
Shabbat – If a Non-Jew Mistakenly Turned Off a Light and Then Turned It Back on for a Jew
Asking a Non-Jew to Turn on the Heat or Air Conditioning on Shabbat
If a Non-Jew is Paid to Turn Lights on For a Jew on Shabbat
Giving Precedence to the Shabbat Day Meal Over the Friday Night Meal
Shabbat – The Prohibition Against Eating and Drinking Before Kiddush on Friday Night
Minors Eating Before Kiddush on Friday Night; Eating During Ben Ha’shemashot
Eating and Drinking Before Shaharit, and Before Kiddush on Shabbat
Reciting Kiddush Along With Somebody Else
Page of 232
3480 Halachot found