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Can one put photos in plastic frames that have either swiveling plastic latches or soft metal bending latches that open the back and let a photo be placed between the glass and the back without glue?

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    What would be the possible concern? – mbloch Oct 15 at 13:36
  • @mbloch No idea, maybe Make, maybe Boneh maybe something else, Halachah is so unpredictable. Just curious. – Al Berko Oct 15 at 17:23
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I think it depends on the type of photo and the type of frame. A rare/previous/important picture or a delicate frame would fall in the halachic category of mukze chisaron kis ("a loss of the pocket") and could not be moved.

This category of muktze relates to objects that are valuable to their owner (regardless of their monetary value), that don't have a specific/permitted use on Shabbat and that people are particular not to employ for alternative uses (see e.g., Mishna Brura 308:1). Expensive and/or fragile objects are almost certainly included in that category. See R Daniel Braude's Learn Shabbos, pp. 455ff.

R Dovid Ribiat (the 39 melochos, vol. 1, p. 47) actually explicitly mentions delicate family photographs as examples of mukze chisaron kis.

If the frame is a cheap plastic frame and the picture unimportant, they do not fall into this category and can be handled. There is no issue of bone or make be patish as you are not building something new when opening/closing the frame (like a folding chair).

Of course, and especially for intermediary cases, consult your rabbi before implementing anything you learn here.

  • "particular not to employ for alternative uses" could be pretty inclusive, even of pictures that are "cheap", if they are expected never to leave the wall/shelf/pedestal/shrine. – WAF Oct 17 at 10:48
  • indeed there are poskim (e.g., Chazon Ish, R Yitzchak Berkovits) who forbid moving or readjusting pictures on the wall for that reason. R Moshe Feinstein is lenient – mbloch Oct 17 at 10:53
  • Thank you, an interesting observation. How about a difference between a new blank frame and replacing an existing photo - would there be a difference? Can placing a photo into a blank new frame considered Makeh? – Al Berko Oct 17 at 16:24
  • @AlBerko I do not believe so and did not see anything like this when I reviewed the halachot of make bepatish for this answer. The kli is finished before you put the picture, it is called a frame before – mbloch Oct 17 at 16:49

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