Is one allowed to clap one's hands on Shabbos? Does it matter whether one is clapping to a beat or trying to get someone's attention?


4 Answers 4


Generally, one is not allowed to clap to a beat on Shabbos (S.A. O.C. 339:3) Some have said that nowadays the gezeirah doesn't apply since we're not adept at instrument repair and the incidence is not common. The Rema brings this for even dancing. Others only permit for hand-clapping. I don't even know if this heter would apply now since instrument repair has become pretty easy.

Some other areas which are debated are:

Clapping not to a musical beat (e.g. applauding, attention getting). Magen Avraham there permits. The Mishna Berurah there brings down those who argue, but even the M.B. sounds like it's a chumrah (compare 339:9 to 338:1)

For a mitzvah. The M.A. above and Taz in Y.D.282 disapprove of bells on a sefer torah. The Mishna Berurah brings the Shach that argues with the Taz, but I didn't see where the Shach says that.

Generally, I have seen the bnei yeshiva clapping to zemiros. I don't know if it's based on mitzva, or a combination of heterim.


Yalkut Yosef 338:1

כגון להכות כף אל כף כשהוא במקום שמחה ושיר, אסור.

In a circumstance of happiness and singing, it is prohibited.


מותר להכות כף אל כף בשבת כדי לעורר את הישנים מתרדמתם, שמאחר ואינו דרך שירה אין בזה איסור משום השמעת קול בשבת.

To wake people up it is permissible because it is not in a way of music.

  • how about to scare away crows? Apr 17, 2012 at 17:27
  • @vram it seems from :2 it is mutar because it's not for music. Apr 17, 2012 at 19:10
  • 3
    Rambam Hil. Shabbat 24:9: המשמר זרעיו מפני העופות, ומקשאיו ומדלעיו מפני החיה--לא יספק ולא ירקד, כדרך שעושה בחול: גזירה, שמא ייטול צרור ויזרוק ארבע אמות ברשות הרבים. Apr 17, 2012 at 19:23
  • What does Lo yesafek mean? Jan 22, 2015 at 1:39
  • @ElShteiger Pounding a beat by slapping your thighs
    – Double AA
    Apr 27, 2016 at 1:37

I have heard the sefer Minchas Elazar writes about this subject (and other Chasidic minhagim), in support of a heter.

The Teshuva can be found in Shut Minchas Elazar, Chelek 1, Siman 29.

  • There's a story where the Lubavitcher Rebbe cites this Minchas Elazar during a Farbrengen on Shabbos when everyone was clapping.
    – HodofHod
    Feb 21, 2012 at 4:26
  • 2
    Can you add more detail to this answer? Perhaps a more precise citation, or some more detail about his reasoning?
    – MTL
    Apr 19, 2017 at 18:39
  • 1
    (To reviewers: not a link only answer because there's a source and an answer; it's just very thin at the moment)
    – MTL
    Apr 19, 2017 at 18:39

In practice sefaradim prohibit and some ashkenazim permit for sake of a mitsva, like singing during meals or the bet hacneset.

Even for sefaradim would be permitted to clap with the back of the hand; since is an isur miderabanan you can do it with shinui.

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