• Laws of Snow on Shabbos

    According to some poskim snow that falls on Shabbos is muktzeh, but if it fell before Shabbos, it isn’t. Many poskim say that we may not make snowballs on Shabbosno matter when the snow fell. We may not deliberately cause the snow to melt on Shabbos, but we are permitted to walk in it. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights • Full Story

    By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights

    According to some poskim snow that falls on Shabbos is muktzeh, but if it fell before Shabbos, it isn’t.

    Many poskim say that we may not make snowballs on Shabbosno matter when the snow fell.

    We may not deliberately cause the snow to melt on Shabbos, but we are permitted to walk in it, since we are not intentionally melting the snow—and it is not a foregone conclusion that by walking in the snow we will cause it to melt.

    In fact, we may walk on the snow even if the snow will definitely dissolve, since Chazal did not forbid walking in snowy areas, as it is almost impossible to avoid doing so in the winter when the ground is covered with snow. However, it is preferable to take the path with less snow, or no snow at all, if there is an option.

    If our clothing got full of snow, we may shake the snow off lightly, but not strenuously.

    If there is snow on the sidewalk in front of our house and it poses a danger of slipping, chas vesholom, we may remove it—if there is an eruv.

    Many poskim even permit putting salt on the snow if the snow poses a danger of slipping, chas veshalom, but only in places where it is permitted to carry.

    In a place where there is no eruv, although we may not remove the snow ourselves, we may have a non-Jew remove it in order to prevent people from falling, chas vesholom.

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