Thursday, July 12, 2012

Playing with Lego on Shabbat


May one play with LEGOTM or K'NEXTM on Shabbat?

Two potential concerns arise regarding assembling parts into structures: boneh (construction) and metaken mana (improving an implement).

Halachic authorities offer two reasons for leniency in use of these toys:
• Neither strength nor craftsmanship is ever involved in attaching the pieces to each other, and we have halachic precedent to permit assembling usable entities from distinct parts, where neither strength nor craftsmanship is involved.
• The items created are not normally left intact for more than a few days; according to many authorities, even something which lasts for a week is not considered "permanent".

Based on these two reasons for leniency, authorities permit children to play with these toys, but some recommend against adults using them. Rav Moshe Feinstein prohibited blocks used in construction, even for children, but the type of toy involved is unclear.

(Rashi Beitzah 32b binyan arai; Pri Megadim 315:1; Mishneh Berurah 313:45; Yesodei Yeshurun 4:99; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 5:22:27; Be'er Moshe 6:25; Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 16: footenote 53; Tzitz Eliezer 13:30)

המצפה לישועה,

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