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Shoveling snow on shabbos


Regarding shoveling snow on Shabbos, in an instance where snow could cause danger to pedestrians, would one even be able to shovel the snow to clear a path?
What could be done if the snow was needed to be cleared from an unpaved surface? And if there was time constraint to clear that path quickly?

Would there be a difference in this halachah between Shabbos and Yom Tov?

Thank you


You are asking an interesting question. The Shulchan Aruch O:CH 308-18 says that if there is glass in the street and people will get hurt from it, because they can’t see it, in order to prevent them from getting hurt we are allowed to move the glass, even though it would transgress an issur d’rabonon such as muktza, or moving it less than 4 amos at a time. Therefore you want to know maybe it would be permitted to shovel the snow on shabbos, because otherwise people might slip. It is very hard to permit this based on this reasoning for a number of reasons. First of all, you will have to carry the shovel outside into the karmelus, which is a severe d’rabonon, worse than moving something less than 4 amos and muktza, therefore we have no proof to permit taking you shovel outside. Secondly, the halacha of moving the glass is only when the danger is not noticeable, but the snow and it’s danger is noticeable for all to see, so this halacha might not apply here. Thirdly, shoveling snow involves multiple issurim, such as hotza, boneh if the snow is stuck to the ground, straightening out the street or the ground, which would be choresh or boneh, zuzilzul shabbos, and tircha yiseira. We have no proof from here that it is permitted to transgress multiple issurim, some of them possibly being d’orayso. The fact that the homeowner might get a ticket is not a factor here. Therefore all in all it is very hard to permit this, and if we look around, Klal Yisroel doesn’t shovel their snow on shabbos, most probably for some of these reasons.

Regarding Yom Tov, although carrying would not be an issue, however the rest of the issues would remain the same.

Best Wishes


Poskim including R’ Y. Leshinsky shlit”a

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