- It is permitted to remove a thorn or a splinter (as of wood
or glass) on Shabbos even if there is no reason to believe that it endangers
life. This may even be done with a needle because it is not clear that
removing the splinter will cause bleeding. Even if it would, because the
splinter is deeply imbedded, it is permitted to remove it with a needle if
there is no other way because the removal of blood would, in this case,
involve the violation of a rabbinical rather than Torah prohibition, and the
rabbinical prohibition does not apply where a person is in pain. While
removing the splinter, a person should be careful not to remove any skin,
which is forbidden because it removes something from it’s place of growth.
(It seems that where it is clear that removing the splinter will cause
bleeding and the person is not in great pain and Shabbos is almost over,
removing the splinter should be postponed until after Shabbos because there
are poskim who hold that it is forbidden to remove the splinter when it is
clear that removing it will cause bleeding. )
- There are some who hold that a splinter under the
fingernails and a splinter that penetrates a vein can be dangerous and, for
that reason, may be removed even if doing so involves violating the Shabbos.
And it seems that if a person has had the splinter for a while and we can see
that it has become infected, it is also permitted to remove it.
- It is best to use a needle that is not ordinarily used to
do something forbidden on Shabbos, such as a safety pin. But if the only
needle available is a sewing needle or some other needle that would ordinarily
be used to do something that is forbidden on Shabbos, it is permitted to use
it, for a tool or utensil that is used for work that is forbidden on Shabbos
may be used for other purposes on Shabbos.
- The needle should not be sterilized by holding it in a
fire. Rather, it should be passed through a flame or, even better, cleansed
with an antiseptic.
- If a dangerous object that is muktzeh on Shabbos,
like a needle—even a broken needle—broken glass, matches, medicines, a
knife used for shechita or circumcision etc. is found in a place where
there are children, it may be taken and removed.
- Since the Torah forbids a child from causing his parents to
bleed, a child should not remove a splinter from his father or mother unless
there is no one else to do it and his parent requests him to do it. In that
case, it is permitted to remove it even if doing so will certainly cause
bleeding. The child should ask his parent to forgive him if he makes him
- It is permitted for a child to shave his father or to cut
his parent’s nails because, it is not likely that doing so will cause
bleeding. If the parent has delicate skin, so that cutting his nails will
cause bleeding, it is forbidden unless there is no one else to do it and the
parent requests him to do it. In that case, the child should ask his parent to
forgive him if there is bleeding.
- Although a person is obligated to honor his grandparents,
his parents-in-law and his older brother, there is no specific Torah
prohibition of causing them a bleeding wound. Therefore, there is no reason
for him to avoid removing splinters etc.