Me'amer

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Biblical prohibition

  1. It is forbidden to gather two fruits which lie under the tree on which they grew. [1]
  2. The biblical prohibition of Me’amer applies to fruits, vegetables, grass, twigs, and the like. [2]

Things which grow from the ground

In the place where they originated

  1. Fruits, (leaves, or twigs) which fell from a tree (even if it fell from before Shabbat) and remained under the tree may not be collected. [3]

Not in the place where they originated=

  1. If the fruit aren’t in the place where they grew (they were moved) and are scattered in a field or home they may not be gathered and put in a basket; however, one may collect a few and eat them. However, if the fruits fell in one area one may gather them into a basket unless they fell among sand or dirt. [4]
  2. If fruit are scattered in the house and it’s not proper kavod Shabbat or not respectful for guests one may sweep them together and then pick them up, or even gather them into the fruit drawer (of the refrigerator), or a bag. [5]
  3. Pearls of a necklace fell and scattered over a large area, if the pearls are natural, it’s forbidden to collect the pearls on Shabbat, however, if they fell in one place it’s permitted. [6]

Things which do not grow from the ground

In the place were they originated

  1. It is rabbinically prohibited to collect shells off the beach. [7]

Not in the place where they originated

  1. It’s permissible to collect toys scattered across the floor or siddurim scattered around a shul. [8]

References

  1. Hilchot Shabbos (Rabbi Shimon Eider, vol 1, pg 82)
  2. Mishna Brurah 340:37 explains that the biblical prohibition only applies to fruits, vegetables, grass, twigs, and other items that ground from the ground.
  3. Mishna Brurah 340:37 writes that collecting fruit from the place where they grew is biblically prohibited. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata (chap 26, note 87) is in doubt whether it is considered in the place where it grew if the fruit fell off the tree and rolled on the ground, (however, if it was picked up, moved, and then dropped, certainly it’s not in the place where it grew).
  4. Mishna Brurah 340:27 explains that collecting fruit not in the place where they grew is not Me’amer. Nonetheless, he concludes with a reference to S”A 335:5. S”A 335:5 writes that if fruit was scattered here and there throughout a field it is forbidden to gather them into a basket but one may gather them a little at a time to eat them, however, if they fell in one spot one may put them in a basket unless they fell among sand or dirt. Mishna Brurah 335:17 explains that the prohibition in this case is not Me’amer (because the fruit didn’t grow in the courtyard) but still there’s a prohibition of Uvda DeChol (a weekday activity that involves excessive effort) which only applies if they are scattered or amongst sand or dirt. [Therefore, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 26:24 rules one may not collect fruit, leaves, or twigs in the place where they grew, however, if they were scattered in the field one may not collect them but can be collected a little at a time in order to be eaten. However, if they are in one place one may collect them unless they are mixed with sand for leaves one may only take one at a time in order to eat.] Sh”t Az Nidabru 14:17 explains that the prohibition of Uvda DeChol (a weekday activity that involves excessive effort) would apply equally if fruit were scattered in a field or a house. Ayil Meshulash Me’amer (Siman 7, pg 173) agrees and infers this from Chaye Adam (Shabbat, 13:1) and Eliyah Rabba (end of 335).
  5. S”A 340:9 rules that it’s forbidden to collect salt in the area of an evaporated salt deposit and the same is true for gathering anything in the place where it grew. The Mishna Brurah 340:37 points out that it’s permissible to gather things in a place other than where they grew, for example it’s permissible to collect fruit which was scattered in the house. Nonetheless, the Mishna Brurah concludes that it may involve Uvda DeChol as in S”A 335:5. Ayil Meshulash (Siman 7, pg 174) concludes that if one collects the fruit in a pile, fruit drawer, or bag it’s permissible in cases of need. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 26:24 writes that fruit which scattered in the house may be swept together and then picked up.
  6. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 16:22 compares the case of pearls which fell and scattered to fruits that fell and scattered in a courtyard where they don’t grow (S”A 335:5) that there is an issue of Uvda DeChol unless they all fell in one place.
  7. S”A 340:9 rules that gathering salt in a salt deposit is forbidden rabbinically because it looks like gathering things which grew from the ground. Mishna Brurah 340:36 explains that it’s not biblically prohibited because salt doesn’t grow from the ground. Similarly, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 16:39 forbids collecting shells off the beach.
  8. Ayil Meshulash (Siman 7, pg 174) explains that there’s no prohibition of Me’amer nor Uvda DeChol collecting siddur in a shul or toys on the floor.