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Grama 1 – Introduction (Klal 9) Hilchos Shabbos – S0317

Today’s shiur sponsored as a refuah sheleima for Shulamis bas Channah
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Grama 1 - Introduction (Klal 9) Hilchos Shabbos - S0317



Sponsorships for the upcoming Klalim, which discuss the 39 melachos of Shabbos, are available. Please contact Rabbi Reingold for more information at or 301.996.5910


We have finished Klal 9. The purpose of this Klal was to learn about broad klalim which come up regarding melachos of Shabbos. We will discuss a few other concepts not discussed by the Chayei Adam. We have discussed the concept of intent impacting the status of melacha, and today we will discuss grama.


  1. The concept of grama is not unique to Shabbos, and it comes up in other halachos, such as murder and nezikin (damages). 


  1. The Gemara learns out that, meikar hadin, it is only the active performance of melacha which is assur on Shabbos, but grama is muttar. However, the Rema quotes the Mordechai that it is only muttar in a cases of loss, but otherwise it is assur miderabanan.


  1. It is interesting that regarding grama b’nezikin, the Gemara says that although beis din cannot compel someone to pay, it is inherently assur mideoraysa to cause the damage in the first place. There is a machlokes regarding the source for this issur. Rabbeinu Yonah learns it out from the issur of lo sigzol. The Chasam Sofer learns it from the mitzvah of hashavas aveidah, that if one is chayav to return a lost object, certainly they are chayav to avoid causing someone a loss. Either way, we see that grama b’nezikin is inherently assur, but regarding Shabbos, grama is inherently muttar and only possibly assur miderabanan.


The Chazon Ish explains the difference. He writes that regarding nezikin, the Torah is primarily concerned with the impact one has on another person and the fact that a loss was caused to another person. Similarly, regarding murder, the Torah is primarily concerned with the reality that another person is dead. However, regarding Shabbos, the primary concern is not that Shabbos was transgressed, but that a person be in a state of rest and refrain from work. Thus, once we know that the issur of Shabbos is the active performance of melacha rather than grama, grama is not included at all in the definition of work, so there is no inherent issur against it. In other words, when it comes to nezikin and murder, the primary concern is the result. When it comes to Shabbos, the primary concern is the action performed.


  1. The definition of grama versus action needs to be clarified, and there are two elements to the question. One element is how direct it must be to be considered an action, and the other is whether other forces or sources of the action are considered a person’s actions or not. 

The second question is known in the Gemara as aisho mishum chitzo, which is a case where a person starts a fire which then spreads and burns something. The Gemara addresses that as the person who started the fire does not actually own the fire (unlike an animal, where one has ownership over the animal), so the person should be patur. Reish Lakish answers that the Torah gives it a special halacha that it is considered his, and Rav Yochanan says that we look at the fire as a person’s koach (energy) and therefore his action as well. We will clarify this concept in further shiurim, be’ezras Hashem.



  • Grama is the concept of indirect action. It is possibly assur miderabanan on Shabbos, even though in other places it is assur mideoraysa. 

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