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Kesiva / mochaik birthday cake on shabbos

Question:

Hello,
Am I correct in my understanding that, if I would take scrabble pieces or chocolate letters and lay them on the table to give over a message ex. “I went to the kiddush”. It would be allowed because all I did was, I took already formed letters and brought them close to each other, I didn’t create any new writing.
Am I correct in my understanding of a 2nd din. If I took those previously created letters and attached them to a base such as magnets to a door or taping the letters to a background or sticking them into the frosting on a cake it would be a problem, because I am not just placing letters close to each other but rather I am attaching the letters to a base which thereby causes the letters to be joined together into one entity which would be a violation of kesiva (writing).
I have seen in many places the psak (ruling) that you are allowed to cut in-between letters, which are written on a birthday cake, but why? based on the previous din, if joining them together into one entity is considered writing then surely breaking them apart is considered erasing?

 

Answer:

Those poskim who permit cutting the cake between the letters hold that the reason we cannot attach the letters is not because we are attaching the letters to each other, rather because we are attaching each letter to a background, which is considered writing. Therefore, they hold that since the letters are all still attached to their background, each one individually may be removed. Others say that the reason we don’t attach the letters to the cake is because we are now forming a word, according to that line of reasoning, your question is correct, that when we cut in between the letters, they are being separated from each other.

Best wishes

Sources:

Magen Avrohom 340-10, Chayei Adam Mishna Berura 340-22(8), Igros Moshe O:CH 1- 135, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 9 ftnt. 51 in the name of R’ S. Z. Auerbach zt”l.

 

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