Can one play darts on shabbat?

And can one then do archery on shabbat, assuming there are no words or numbers on the target, and the bows remain strung throughout shabbat?

2 Answers 2


Rabbi Dovid Ribiat in his Sefer Lamed Tet Melachot - The 39 Melachot Vol. 3 Section 3/E)/h (pg. 822 in Melacha 23, Tofair) states:

"One may not stick push pins into a bulletin board whether to hang notes or for any other purpose, because of questions involving Tofair, Boneh and other Shabbos restrictions."

[emphasis mine]

He bases this on a number of sources, one of which is the Biyur Halacha 340:14 DH:"Harei Zeh".

Based on this, it seems clear cut to me that darts or archery (which may also be forbidden because of hotzoah issues) would be forbidden on Shabbat or Yom Tov. As always, consult with your local Halchic authority.

  • Note that even Rabbi Ribiat would agree this is where your arrows/darts piece the target. Magnetic darts or firing a bow and arrow at say a hole or a hard target which the arrows bounce off of would still be allowed. And the hotzoah/carrying is obvious. We could be dealing with indoor archery or archery within a eruv.
    – Orion
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 22:26
  • 3
    I looked this up in the 39 Melochos books and what he actually does is quote "leading poskim" as saying this and then admits that others hold it is Mutter due to Derech Tashmishi/way of use and other factors. The way you write it out sounds like his own interpretation and additionally you leave out the poskim which he admits holds its Mutter.
    – Orion
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 1:14

Regarding darts there is a very thorough rundown here:

Question: Can we play darts on Shabbat? (Additional information requested – the darts are classic ones that pierce the board’s surface; the board hangs loosely from a nail in the wall; in between uses, the darts often stay on the board.)

Answer: There are several possible problems to resolve before we can permit this.

Tofer (sewing) – It is forbidden to attach two objects or two parts of an object to each other by stitching or the equivalent (see Mishna Berura 340:27). One can claim that connecting darts to the board is considered tofer. A full violation requires at least two stitches (Shabbat 73a) and here every dart is connected in only one place, but it could still be a Rabbinic prohibition. On the other hand, certain types of connections are permitted because they are for temporary opening/closing, e.g., buttons, zippers (Orchot Shabbat 11:7-8). One can argue that likewise the nature of the darts game is to connect them just long enough to see how many you placed where. Regarding the very similar case of using one thumbtack to attach a note to a bulletin board, Piskei Teshuvot (313:(157)) distinguishes between setups based on how long they are likely to stay pinned. In this case, the game would not be a problem, but leaving the darts on the board or removing them when starting to play could be. However, it is not clear that this is so for a flimsy, single connection. Also, the fact that the dart is not connecting two things but connecting itself flimsily may preclude it from being tofer (Orchot Shabbat 11:(14)).

Boneh (Building) – 1) The dart being attached to the board changes the board. However, having darts in the board in no way improves the board; it is just a fleeting situation of the game or a meaningless one during storage. Furthermore, since the dart board is only hanging from a nail and not itself attached to the wall, we are dealing with the more lenient matter of building utensils. Therefore, if one connects them lightly (e.g., a dart in its board), and especially if it is by nature a weak connection, this is not a violation of building a utensil (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 313:6).

Boneh - 2) It is forbidden to attach a nail to a structure (Shabbat 103a). This applies not just to a building/something attached to the ground, but even to a movable object (Mishna Berura 314:8). However, the K’tzot Hashulchan (119:(4)) says that if one attaches something not to use there but just for it to remain until it is removed later, it is permitted. One can prove that connecting one object to another just to hold the former for later use elsewhere is not intrinsically forbidden, from the gemara (Shabbat 50b) that one may return firmly to a wall a knife that had been held there previously.

Making or expanding a hole – It is forbidden to make or widen a hole in an object such as a barrel (Shulchan Aruch, OC 314:1). In playing darts, every successful throw makes a small hole in the board. However, the prohibition is when the hole is the type that is or could be useful (see Mishna Berura ad loc. 8). In this case, though, the holes are incidental and unhelpful.

Destroying – Holes created hasten making the board usable. Destroying utensils except flimsy ones to remove their contents on Shabbat is forbidden Rabbinically (Shulchan Aruch ibid. and Mishna Berura ad loc. 7). Yet, piercing a cork with a cork screw is permitted (Mishna Berura 314:17; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 9:20). The cork’s hole is neither a problem of being constructive or destructive and, practically, each hole the dart makes in the board is even less significant. Forbidding it because continuous dart throwing will eventually wear out the board is like forbidding walking in shoes because they will eventually get worn out. We also find that it is permitted to make a hole in a piece of paper (Mishna Berura 323:20), with the possible exception of when the hole is made in a place that communicates information (see Magen Avraham 323:5).

In all, you can play darts; you might want, as a chumra, to avoid storing the darts on the board.

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