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Impact of Intent for Melacha 2 – Melachos to Which This Applies (Klal 9) Hilchos Shabbos – S0314

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
Impact of Intent for Melacha 2 - Melachos to Which This Applies (Klal 9) Hilchos Shabbos - S0314


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:

  1. Mechateich, cutting something to size. If one has no intent for the specific size or usage, and is cutting purposelessly, it is not a melacha at all. 
  2. Mesarteit, drawing lines, either for the purpose of writing, or a marking for knowing where to cut. Mesarteit only applies when one makes a marking for the purpose of an action afterwards; if there is no action following the mark, there is no melacha. 
  3. There are some melachos where the status of the action will depend on the physical outcome. For example, we discussed how building can be considered the melacha of boneh–even if a person does not have kavannah for it–if there is some sort of objective item which has been created from the building. On the other hand, we discussed the idea of taking off a splinter from a piece of wood, and depending on the person’s intent, it may have created a toothpick (melacha of makeh bepatish) or it is nothing.
  4. Tosfos in Shabbos (73b) says that if one is pruning a tree, they transgress the melacha of zoreiah or noteiah, planting, because it helps the tree grow. If one has intent to use the wood for something, it is also kotzair, because pruning the tree helps it grow. If he does not have intent to use the wood for anything, it is not kotzair at all, because the melacha is taking something with the intent to use it. If one does not plan to use it in any way, it is not a melacha.
    1. However, if one picks an apple off a tree to eat, since an apple is something people use, even if this specific person does not plan to eat it, it is still considered kotzair. In other words, in this example of kotzair, the intent is not definitional to the melacha since it is objectively clear that there is use to the apple being picked. 


We will discuss further examples in the upcoming shiur, be’ezras Hashem.



  • 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 

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