Monday, February 25, 2008

Washing Printed Hands On Shabbos

An interesting situation came up on Shabbos. Someone was holding a plastic bag, with lettering on it, and he sweated, causing the words on the bag to transfer on to his hand.

1) May he wash for hamotzi?
The words might wash off, and this would be erasing. Of course, it would not be erasing for the purpose of writing. So we might classify it as solely deRabbanan. Is it pesik reshei? The words might wash off, or they might certainly wash off. It certainly seems to be nicha leih, since he wanted the words off his hands (and they were sticky, and he wanted to clean his hands). You might say there is the requirement to eat on Shabbos, which involves bread, for which one would need to wash, and perhaps one could construct an argument that this would supersede whatever prohibition exists on some level. But then, one could have Oneg shabbos without bread, could hear the hamotzi from someone else. And he could even put on gloves, like a kohen, in order to eat challah.

2) May he wash with liquid soap and water?
Just because it is bothering him?

No answers here. Real incident. Feel free to offer your suggestions.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the transferred writing be reversed?

joshwaxman said...

interesting point.


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