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Impact of Intent for Melacha 2 – Melachos to Which This Applies 2 (Klal 9) Hilchos Shabbos – S0315

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
Impact of Intent for Melacha 2 - Melachos to Which This Applies 2 (Klal 9) Hilchos Shabbos - S0315


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 are discussing various melachos where intent is definitional to the melacha, and when one is lacking that subjective thought process, it completely removes the status of that action as melacha. 


In the first volume of Rabbi Ribiat’s sefer, he has a section titled meleches machsheves, and compiles a list of melachos which fit under this category. Yesterday, we learned about makeh bepatish, tzod mechateich, mesarteit and kotzair, and today we will continue through his list:


Another melacha to which this concept applies is melabein, washing something to clean it.  We know that simply putting water on a garment is a form of cleaning it. Thus, if one wishes to dry their hands on a towel, it should fall into the issur of melabein. However, the rishonim explain that drying hands is considered derech lichluch, so even if there is some washing of the towel which takes place, it is inherently an act of dirtying rather than washing. (Although one could argue it should be an issue of psik reisha, the fact it is derech lichluch undermines any issue of psik reisha.) Thus, we have another example of a melacha where the kavanah will define whether it is a melacha or not. 


Another aspect of melabein to which this applies is where the Gemara says that when Klal Yisroel were still makpid on tumah and taharah, a woman who becomes a niddah would go to the mikvah for herself and for her clothing as well. There is no inherent issur to go into the water to wash oneself, as long as it is not heated. The rishonim added an issur to go into any water, even if not heated. According to all, tevillah is muttar, but only for humans. Clothing and utensils are assur to tovel, because it changes their status. 

The Gemara says that if the woman does not have any tahor clothing, she can go into the mikvah with her current clothing in order that they become tahor, and we do not apply a concern of melabein. The Shvisas Hashabbos suggests it is similar to drying one’s hands, in that since the action is not for libun at all, it does not have a sheim kibus either.


A third application regarding melabein is that the Gemara discusses that, generally, if one shakes out a wet garment, it is an issue of libun. However, the Gemara clarifies that it is only when one is makpid on the garment. It is a machlokes how to understand the Gemara’s clarification. Some rishonim understand that removing the water itself from the garment is inherently a problem, since one does not want water saturating their garment. However, if one does not mind the water in the garment, it is not an issue of libun. Again, we see this concept that a person’s kavanah will determine whether their action is a melacha or not.


Rabbi Ribiat gives an example regarding borer. When there is objective pesoles in a mixture, there is no question that choosing the ochel or pesoles is borer. When one has a mixture of two foods, if one wants one over the other, it is borer to choose one. However, if one does not care either way, if they play around with the mixture and happen to take one out from the other, it is not borer. 



  • For certain melachos, intent can be definitional to the melacha, and if the full criteria of intent is missing, the melacha has not been transgressed. It may therefore be muttar, pending certain concerns. 
  • For most other melachos, lack of intent will only consider it davar sheaino miskaven, to which psik reisha would apply, or melacha shaino tzrichah legufah, which are both assur either medeoraysa or mederabbanon. 
  • The melachos to which this concept applies include:
    • Makeh bepatish
    • Tzod
    • Mechateich 
    • Mesarteit
    • Kotzair 
    • Melabein
    • Borer 

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