Shulchan Aruch – Chapter 25

Constructive Activities on the Sabbath

Making or removing a partition a handsbreadth wide, even if it is temporary, is forbidden if it is a roof or is a wall that serves a religious purpose, but if a handsbreadth of such a wall or roof already existed before the Sabbath, temporary addition to it is permitted; see 315:1-2,4,9-10. Temporary partitions are permitted if the surrounded space is less than a handsbreadth (see 315:11-13) or if there is no need for that space, but the walls should not be put up before the roof (see 315:3,5-7). On oblique partitions see 315:8,11.

Breaking or opening an unbroken utensil, or deliberately widening an opening, is forbidden, but removing or opening attached pieces is permitted provided they are not permanently attached (see 314:7-10) and the intent is only to get access to the contents, not to create an opening (see 314:1-4,6) or to use the pieces (see 308:44;340:13). On stopping up an opening see 314:11. Temporarily opening or closing even a permanent structure is permitted when it is done with objects that are used for that purpose, such as doors, shutters, and locks; see 308:9-10 and 313:1,3-4. Making holes in the ground (or in an object attached to the ground), or smoothing them out, is forbidden (see 313:2;314:12;316:11;324:15;333:1;336:13;337:1-4;338:5).

Making, assembling, or fixing a utensil is forbidden (see 279:7;308:16; 313:5,8;314:5;317:3;322:4;340:8) unless the parts are loose (see 313:6-7,9), or the utensil is made from edible material (see 322:4), or the repair is done in a nonstandard way (see 313:10;336:9).

It is forbidden to tie or untie a permanent knot (see 314:7-10;317:1-7; 324:4). It is permitted to tighten or loosen a drawstring (340:7), but it is forbidden to tighten or loosen even temporary stitching (see 317:3; 340:6), to paste objects together or to separate pasted objects (340:14).

It is forbidden to gather plants or natural objects from the place where they originated (see 340:9) or to assemble them into a single object (see 340:10). It is forbidden to reshape a deformable substance [other than food] (see 314:11;316:11) or to soften a hard substance (see 327:4). It is forbidden to make or destroy even temporary markings, or to make a surface suitable for marking; see 340:3-5.

It is forbidden to drop seeds in a place where they may grow, or to spill water in a place where plants may benefit from it (336:3-4), or to soak seeds in water (336:11). Cut plants may be put in water so they will not wilt (321:11), but not if they may open (see 336:11). It is forbidden to detach parts from a plant that has taken root, even in an object that is not attached to the ground (336:5-7), and even if the parts are no longer alive (336:12); and it is forbidden to take such an object off the ground or put it on the ground (336:8).

It is forbidden to make any direct use (see 336:13) of any part of a tree that is more than three handsbreadths above the ground (see 336:2) — for example, to climb it (see 336:1), move it (see 336:13), put something on it or lean something against it (see 277:4). It is permitted to make use of other types of plants, provided this does not detach them from the ground (see 312:6;336:1,3), but edible parts of such plants should not be handled (336:10).

Noun 1. handsbreadth any unit of length based on the breadth of the humanhand

linear measure, linear unit a unit of measurement of length
hand a unit of length equal to 4 inches; used in measuring horses;“the horse stood 20 hands”
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

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