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MBY 340:1-14 Several Common ‘Tolados’ (sub-categories) of the ‘Melachos’ (abridged – part 5)
MBY 340:1-14 Several Common ‘Tolados’ (sub-categories) of the ‘Melachos’ (abridged – part 5)

5) Actions related to ‘makeh b’patish’ (final hammer blow) [Excerpted from The 39 Melachos by Rabbi D. Ribiat, Vol. IV, pp.1111, 1131, 1133-5]

The definition of ‘makeh b’patish’. The term makeh b’patish literally means “hammer blow”. It is a description of one of the key manufacturing activities of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)… specifically the final hammer blow that completed a vessel or component, and perfected its symmetry… However, the general melacha of makeh b’patish may be defined as any act of completion. The act need not be accomplished by a hammer or any other tool. In fact, any manner of creating, perfecting or repairing an item can be considered an “act of completion” and be classified under the melacha of makeh b’patish mid-oraisa (from the Torah.)

Although even a simple act of creation or minor repair can be a full-fledged act of makeh b’patish, there are nevertheless many cases in which simple repairs are permitted. That is because there are several important exceptions to makeh b’patish… The following are three of these exceptions:
a) Mode of use (derech tashmisho – lit. the way it is normally used)
b) Simple restoration
c) Improvisational repairing
Any activity which fully complies with the conditions of any of these three exemptions is not forbidden on Shabbos or Yom Tov…

Ed. We will focus here only the category that is mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch under our current siman (340) ---

b) Simple restoration. Makeh b’patish occurs when creating or completing an item to make it functional. Even repairing an old item that was broken is makeh b’patish. However, merely restoring an item to its original form or use is not makeh b’patish. The term “restoring” here applies to an item that is temporarily out of use or shape, but has never yet lost its original identity. Example: Replacing stuffing into a pillow or mattress. Even though the pillow becomes nonfunctional in the interim (i.e. when the stuffing is out), it retains its identity as a pillow since it is usual for the stuffing to occasionally be removed and replaced during the course of the pillow’s use. However, one may not replace the pillow with new stuffing or even stuffing from another old pillow, because the new combination is equivalent to a new creation…, hence a makeh b’patish formation…

Ed: Some other examples of permissible acts of simple restoration: Reinserting a shoelace that came out of a shoe, a pendant that fell out of a necklace or a key into a key ring.

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