Melacha That Begins Before Shabbat

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  1. The Mishna cites a dispute between Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai whether it is permitted to initiate a process that involves melacha if it starts before Shabbat and continue into Shabbat. For example, Beit Shamai forbids leaving dyes to soak in water, whereas Beit Hillel permit. The Gemara explains that Beit Shamai subscribes to Shevitat Kelim, meaning that there is a prohibition to have one's utensils do a melacha for oneself on Shabbat. Beit Hillel, however, don't accept this concept. [1]
  2. According to Beit Hillel, it is permitted to set up an animal trap before Shabbat even if the animal is trapped on Shabbat since the process was set up before Shabbat. [2]
  3. Similarly, it is permitted to leave a hose to water the grass if it was left on before Shabbat even if it continues to water the grass on Shabbat. [3]

Practical Cases

  1. According to Sephardic poskim, if one started a cycle in the washing machine before Shabbat, it is permitted to let in continue during Shabbat. [4]


  1. Mishna Shabbat 17b and Gemara 18a
  2. Rambam (Shabbat 3:2)
  3. Rambam (Shabbat 3:2), Shulchan Aruch 252:5, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 26:8
  4. Opinion of Chacham Ovadia Yosef Sh"t Yechave Daat 3:18, Practical Laws of Shabbat pg. 347, Rabbi Eli Mansour