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Erasing letters on Shabbos is only prohibited min HaTorah (from the Torah) when it's being done in order to write new letters. However if it's not being erased in order to write new letters then the prohibition is only m'drabbanan (Rabbinical.)

What about in a case where someone erases only "part" of a letter, however leaves the appearance (tzurah) of the letter completely in tact. Is this ossur m'drabbanan or is it perhaps even "muter" (permitted.) What's the proof either way?

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It's only assur min HaTorah if one erases two letters, which probably means two complete letters. However, using an eraser or similar tool would be assur Mid'rabanan anyway because of muktzah.

  • What's the Muktza issue? It's a kli shemelachto le'issur and you're using it Letzorech Gufo. – Shmuel Brin Jan 1 '14 at 20:43
  • Only if there's actually a tzorech. – Ypnypn Jan 1 '14 at 20:50
  • Why would someone erase letters? Out of boredom? – Shmuel Brin Jan 1 '14 at 21:35

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