Mekor HalachaIMG_4539-copy

Devar Halacha Reviewed by Rav Ephraim Friedman – Dayan, cRc

A Mishna in masechet Shabbat2 lists kotzer (reaping) as one of the avot melacha. The definition of kotzer is detaching a living thing from its source of nourishment3. This issur applies even to things that are not growing from the ground. For example, the Gemorah says that one transgresses Shabbat if he removes mushrooms that grow on the edge of a bucket, since they receive their nourishment from the water that is located there4.

To prevent one from performing the melacha of kotzer, the sages prohibited several activities which may lead one to detach a living plant or part of a plant from its source of growth. One of these prohibitions is stated in a Mishna (Beitza 5:2): “We do not climb a tree [on Shabbat].” The Gemora5 explains that this g’zeira was enacted in order to prevent people from ripping branches, leaves, or fruits off the trees [intentionally6].

For the same reason, besides climbing a tree on Shabbat, we are also not allowed to use it in any way. One of the sources for this law is the following Mishna (Eiruvin 10:8): “One may not sit on the roots of a tree which are protruding from the ground and have a height of three t’fachim (or more)”.

Placing things on a tree or removing them from one are considered to be acts of using a tree7.

Furthermore, Gemara Shabbat (45a) states: “We are permitted to place a candle on a Palm Tree [before] Shabbat, but we are not permitted to place a candle on a Palm Tree [before] Yom Tov”. Rashi explains that since a candle is not muktza on Yom Tov, one may come to remove it from a tree on Yom Tov and thus he will be “using” a tree. This statement from the Gemora is teaching us that we are not allowed to place non-muktza things on a tree before Shabbat, since this can lead to “using” it (i.e. by removing those items from the tree).

During Shabbat, it is prohibited to place or hang any object on a tree, as this is considered to be an act of “using” a tree (see Mekor Halacha for explanation of why using a tree is not allowed on Shabbat).

Before Shabbat commences, one is permitted to hang or place those objects that a person will not be able to use on a tree  (i.e. muktza objects). However, things that a person is permitted to use on Shabbat (e.g. clothing items), may not be hung or rested on a tree even before Shabbat1.

During Shabbat, it is prohibited to place or hang any object on a tree, as this is considered to be an act of “using” a tree (see Makor Halacha for explanation of why using a tree is not allowed on Shabbat).
Before Shabbat commences, one is permitted to hang or place those objects that a person will not be able to use on Shabbos on a tree (i.e., muktza objects). However, things that a person is permitted to use on Shabbat (e.g. clothing items), may not be hung or rested on a tree even before Shabbat1.
1 . מ‘‘ב א‘‘ח סימן שלו ס‘‘ק יב 2 . פרק ז משנה ב 3 . רמבם פרק ח מהל‘ שבת הלכה ג ומקורו גמ‘ שבת
קז: 4 . שבת קח. 5 . ביצה לו: 6 . פירוש רש“י 7 . שבת מה. ורש‘‘י שם ד‘‘ה ע‘‘ג דקל