Halacha » Q&A The Halachot of Snow

Q&A The Halachot of Snow

  1. May one pick up snow on Shabbat? Is snow Muktza?

Snow isn’t Muktza.

The Gemara says that rain water isn’t Muktza, and this is also how the Shulchan Aruch rules (סי’ שלח ס״ח). The Mishnah Berurah says that one is permitted to drink that rain water or wash with it.

The reason given is because the water was in the clouds from the beginning of the Shabbat and it wasn’t created on Shabbat. The poskim compare snow to rain and say it was already in the clouds and therefore isn’t Muktza (שש״כ פט״ז אות מה, מקור חיים סי’ שכ סי״א, הר צבי ח״א מלאכת סותר אשל אברהם סי’ שיב ודלא כמו שכתב באגר״מ ח״ה סכ״ב אות לז ).


  1. Can one throw snowballs on Shabbat?


Throwing such snowballs require making the snowball, which isn’t permitted because of two Melachot: (מקור חיים סי’ שכ) דש ובונה, Dosh means threshing, which here would be squeezing water from the snow. Bon’e means building, which here would be structuring the snow into a ball.

Nevertheless, kids are permitted to play with snow balls since they don’t intend for the squeezing of the water and it isn’t Psik Reisha (שש״כ פט״ז אות מה ובהערה).


  1. Can one walk on snow with shoes that have shapes at the bottom and every step creates writing on the snow?


Since one doesn’t mean to write and it’s writing that doesn’t last because it will eventually melt (חזו״ע ח״ד עמוד קעא).


  1. May one clean the snow on Shabbat? How about putting salt on it?

In a place that one may fall, it is permitted (חזו״ע ח״ד עמוד קעב).

Since snow isn’t Muktza, cleaning is permitted. Also we are dealing with danger to the public that the Shulchan Aruch said (סוף סימן שלד) and it overrides d’Rabanans.

Placing salt on the ice is also permitted since the Shulchan Aruch (סי’ שכ סעיף ט) only restricted crushing ice and snow, but causing them to melt is permitted. Furthermore, even the Rema who prohibited to cause the ice to melt (עיין משנ״ב סי’ שכ ס״ק לה), permitted it in a place of need (סי’ שיח סט״ז).

There is also no concern of paving the road משווה גומות since most places are paved already. The shovel is also permitted to be used since it’s a special shovel for snow and isn’t Muktza, and even if it was Muktza, it would be כלי שמלאכתו לאיסור that is permitted to use (לצורך גופו).