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medicated gel on Shabbat and Rosh HaShana


I have recently finished a long treatment program for severe psoriasis, after which I was instructed to moisturize the areas twice a day. In addition, I have a medicinal gel to apply to any spots which reappear, also twice a day. Normally, I skip Shabbat and maximum pour oil over the areas. Now, with Rosh Hashana being followed directly by Shabbat, I am worried about 3 days without the medicinal gel for the trouble areas. (I don’t know if it is important to the Rav, but it is a clear ointment, relatively loose and one is supposed to use the applicator itself to spread it.) Am I allowed to use it with a “shinui”? Is there a difference whether it is Rosh Hashana or Shabbos? Thank you so very much for your help!
Wish you and your and all of Am Yisrael a Ktiva and Hatima LShana Tova LAlter LHaim Toivim


The halachot of taking medications are the same on Yom Tov as on Shabbat, therefore it wouldn’t be permitted for you to apply the gel. I would suggest that you apply a generous amount of it before Yom tov so hopefully it will last you for longer.

As a side point, regarding applying oil, I understand that applying the oil will not be an issue mimariach (smearing), but I would be interested to know why applying oil to the areas that you want to heal would be different than healing it with a medicated gel.

Have a Kesiva Vchatima Tova, and I wish that your Yom Tov and Shabbos should pass without having any need to use anything.:


O:CH 328-1, Shulchan Shlomo 328-40.


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  1. this person needs medicine to prevent a choli sheain bo sakana

    1. In order to be considered a choleh shein bo sakana the illness has to affect the persons functioning, such as having a severe pain or a flu, to the degree that the illness impairs his functioning. That does not seem to be the case over here.

  2. As the person who wrote the original query, I would like to clarify two different points. First, the oil that I have been using on Shabbat is a siimple, non-medicated oil. Its purpose is to maintain the (currently) healthy state of my skin, much as a healthy person takes vitamins on Shabbat to maintain their health rather than cure something. (I was told that this is allowed by some poskim.)
    Next, regarding the problem spots I spoke of that – from a physician’s point of view – should be immediately treated with the medicated gel: This gel is supposed to keep those spots from turning into psoriasis IY”H. I must point out, in my eyes, the case of psoriasis that I had prior to the 5-month UV treatment that I recently finished was debilitating. The constant itching and discomfort greatly affected my ability to focus on tefila and on learning. It also severely disturbed my sleep.
    I apologize for any information that I should have originally included but didn’t. I wanted to make my question brief, and perhaps in the interest of doing so, I actually neglected to mention important points.
    Is the situation clearer now?

    1. From your question it seemed to me that you put the oil on when it starts to come back.
      If the psoriasis was debilitating then it would be considered a choleh shein bo sakana.

  3. “severe psoriasis” –
    Dec. 17, 2007 — Psoriasis is not generally thought of as life-threatening, but it just might be for those with the severest forms of the disease. People with severe psoriasis had a 50% increased risk of death compared with people without the inflammatory skin disease in a newly reported study.Dec 17, 2007

    1. I don’t think the person asked the question meant it in such a way.

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