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Melacha on Erev Shabbos – (Klal 1 Siman 6) Erev Shabbos- S0021

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
Melacha on Erev Shabbos - (Klal 1 Siman 6) Erev Shabbos- S0021

We are beginning siman 6. The Chayei Adam will discuss various situations in which melacha is permitted on erev Shabbos. We learned (S0020) that melacha which is done in an ara’i fashion–meaning, on a one-off basis–is muttar on erev Shabbos after the zman mincha.

  1.  The other explanation of ara’i is something which is done easily which does not take too long. Such a melacha is muttar to perform on erev Shabbos, even if one will be paid for it. 

  2. Similarly, something which is obvious one is doing for the purpose of Shabbos is muttar. For example, a plumber working on erev Shabbos in someone’s house is obviously working because the plumbing needs to be fixed before Shabbos, and we do not assume the plumber is just looking to make a little more money. 

  3. When it is not obvious the melacha is being done for Shabbos, and it requires kevah, meaning, that one has to set themselves up for the melacha, it is muttar if it is necessary for Shabbos, but one should not take payment for the work.

We will now go through the text of the Chayei Adam. The Chayei Adam writes that melacha which is done without major involvement (ara’i) is permitted to perform on erev Shabbos even if it is not obvious it is being done for the purpose of Shabbos. If it is obvious that the melacha is being done for Shabbos, one is allowed to take payment, but if it is not obvious, one should not take payment. One is allowed to get a haircut the entire erev Shabbos, and to pay for it, because it is obvious it is for Shabbos. 

We see here three categories: 

  1. Something which is obviously being done for Shabbos and a person needs to get involved in it; i.e., where there is an element of kevah. It is muttar, even for payment.

  2. Something which is not clear that it is being done for Shabbos, but requires a person to get involved in it. It is muttar to perform the melacha, but one should not collect payment.

  3. Something done without needing to get involved; i.e., a melacha ara’i. One can collect payment even if the melacha is not related to Shabbos. 

Furthermore, the Chayei Adam writes that it is permitted to write an igeres shelomim, a friendly letter which is written to say hello. Even though it seems that it  may have an element of kevah, a person generally does not get involved in writing a letter to the point that they would lose themselves. Hence, it is considered arai and permitted. However, a letter which one is writing to address an issue, or other pressing matters, has a stronger element of kevah, and is assur.

If a person is writing for the purpose of a mitzvah, such as writing a sefer or personal torah notes, it is muttar to write after the zman mincha, even if the learning is not necessary for Shabbos. 

However, if a person works for someone as a scribe, whether they are writing letters or even if they are writing divrei torah, it is assur to write after the zman mincha. 

The Chayei Adam continues, and writes that even in situations which are muttar, those engaged in the melacha must be mindful of the time and careful to avoid working later than they are allowed.


The Chayei Adam comes out with a few situations in which it is muttar to perform melacha after zman mincha on erev Shabbos:

  1. Melacha derech ara’i, meaning one does not have to settle in to do the work but can complete the task quickl. One can receive payment for this;

  2. Melacha derech kevah for Shabbos purposes, but it is not obvious the melacha is for Shabbos. In this case one must not take payment;

  3. Melacha derech kevah for Shabbos purposes, where it is obvious the melacha is for Shabbos. In this case one may take payment;

  4. For a mitzvah need;

  5. Prakmatia, as we have discussed previously (S0020).

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