A piano is muksze as any other musical instrument.

The fallboard is a part of the piano attached with hinges designed to cover the keys. If the fallboard was left open when shabbos came in it is permissible to close it during shabbos to cover the keys?

The purpose of closing the piano was for aesthetic purposes (looks nicer next to the shabbos table) and preventing young children from playing it thus disturbing the shabbos atmosphere.

  • Are you worried that people might otherwise come to play it on Shabbat ? – Noach MiFrankfurt Apr 29 at 23:29
  • Or are you concerned that closing the fallboard may accidentally cause the keys to make a sound? As a side note, google <piano fallboard> and you’ll find several links—including videos—discussing why pianos have them and asking if there are any reasons to ever close them. – JJLL Apr 29 at 23:51
  • @JJLL Making the strings make a sound isn't necessarily the problem with pianos on Shabbos. – ezra Apr 30 at 1:03
  • Not sure what was unclear that so many people (well, two) are asking for clarification. The asker said what he's concerned about: muktze. +1, by the way. – msh210 Apr 30 at 3:52
  • Isn't it easier to put a cloth on it? – Kazi bácsi Apr 30 at 13:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I posed the question to Rav Yehudah Konner, (A Posek and Dayan in Modiin Illit), and he said that unless the purpose of covering the piano is *L'tzorech gufo" or "L'tzorech Mekomo", meaning either for (permissible) use of the piano itself, or for use of its place, it would be forbidden to close the cover. Thus, neither of the 2 reasons given for covering the piano' [Reason 1 - for aesthetic purposes (looks nicer next to the shabbos table), or reason 2- preventing young children from playing it, thus disturbing the shabbos atmosphere], would allow closing the cover on Shabbos.

He added that if one has intention to place something on the piano top, (on the covered part), after closing the cover, [although this is not his primary reason for closing it], then it could be considered that closing of the cover is also for "tzorech gufo", and thus it would be permitted to close the cover on Shabbos.

I distinctly recall being told by Rav D. A. Morgenstern שליט"א in the name of Rav Eliyashiv זצ"ל that one cannot close the door of an electric-box since the door only serves the Muktza inside.

This would be very similar - the fallboard only serves the Muktza piano.

But I cannot off-hand find a source for this Halacha.

What I did find was in the Remo in Shulchan Aruch 277:1 סימן רעז - שלא לגרם כבוי הנר that a door with a [lit] wax candle attached to it may be moved - even though candles are Muktza - especially when they are lit.

א: נֵר שֶׁמֻּנָּח אֲחוֹרֵי הַדֶּלֶת, אָסוּר לִפְתֹּחַ הַדֶּלֶת כְּדַרְכּוֹ, (רַמְבַּ''ם פ''ה וּמָרְדְּכַי פ' כ''ב וּבֵית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם סְמַ''ג) שֶׁמָּא יְכַבֶּנּוּ הָרוּחַ. אֲבָל לִנְעֹל הַדֶּלֶת כְּנֶגְדּוֹ, מֻתָּר (ת''ה סי' נ''ט) וְהוּא הַדִּין בְּחַלּוֹן שֶׁכְּנֶגֶד הַנֵּר שֶׁעַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן (מָרְדְּכַי פכ''ב וּבֵית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם תּוֹסְפוֹת וְטוּר) וְאִם הוּא קָבוּעַ בַּכֹּתֶל שֶׁאֲחוֹרֵי הַדֶּלֶת, אָסוּר לִפְתֹּחַ הַדֶּלֶת וּלְנָעֳלוֹ כְּדַרְכּוֹ שֶׁמָּא תְּהֵא הַדֶּלֶת נוֹקֶשֶׁת עָלָיו וּתְכַבֶּנּוּ, אֶלָּא פּוֹתֵחַ וְנוֹעֵל בְּנַחַת. וְאִם הוּא קָבוּעַ בַּדֶּלֶת עַצְמוֹ, שֶׁפְּתִיחָתוֹ וּנְעִילָתוֹ מְקָרֵב הַשֶּׁמֶן לַנֵּר אוֹ מַרְחִיקוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ, אָסוּר לְפָתְחוֹ וּלְנָעֳלוֹ.‏
הגה: וּבְנֵר שֶׁל שַׁעֲוָה מֻתָּר לִפְתֹּחַ וְלִנְעֹל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא קָבוּעַ בַּדֶּלֶת (בֵּית יוֹסֵף). ‏

That would seem to allow one to close the fallboard that is also attached to a Muktza piano.

  • 1
    I'm not sure how the door of the electric box and the door with the candle are similar. The door is there (according to R' Elyashiv) to serve the box, and as such it's batel to the box and muktzah. The door has a purpose independent of the candle so the only way to make it muktzah would be some variant of basis or a separate gezeirah that it might go out. (You could also argue that the electric box door or piano cover are there so that the room looks nice rather than to serve the piano, in which case it might not be muktzah, but that's not what R' Elyashiv is doing.) – Heshy May 1 at 13:26
  • What's an electric box? Like a circuit breaker? – Double AA May 1 at 13:34
  • @Heshy - I see your point. – Danny Schoemann May 1 at 13:46
  • @DoubleAA - in Israel we (often) have a cavity in the wall where all the electric circuits are housed. This cavity has a cover on hinges to keep it out of site. See sfilev1.f-static.com/image/users/20484/forum/1047/big/… – Danny Schoemann May 1 at 13:49

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