May one chew Tums with letters on Shabbos


Q1. For heartburn/acid reflux, may one chew Tums with letters on Shabbos? If not, what should one do?

A. Swallowing pills with letters isn’t a problem. The issue is eating where it breaks before swallowing.

However, tums are a problem due to taking medication on Shabbos. It is permissible if either of the following conditions exists:

  1. If one takes it before the onset of heartburn. Likewise, if taken for its nutritional value, as a calcium supplement, rather than to cure existing heartburn, there is room to be lenient.
  2. If one is bedridden or his pain causes a sickness/ weakness in the entire body (such as severe pain where one cannot function).
  3. If one has no choice as all foods cause heartburn.
  4. If mixed into food before Shabbos.


Q2: What if the pain prevents sleep, or is really disturbing in general, may one take tums then?

A. Tzaar Gadol, strong pain, isn’t a license to take medications unless it causes one to be bedridden or general weakness in the entire body.

In such situations, it is recommended to mix the medication into food before Shabbos, as mentioned.


Q3. Is it the same with Yom Tov?

A. Yes, but second day Yom Tov it’s OK and there is no problem of Refuah (or the letters breaking).



מוחק – ראה חוט שני שבת ע׳ קסב. ועוד.

רפואה – דנו בזה משום מאכל בריאים, הן מצד שכו״כ אוכלים אותו, והן מצד טעמו המתוק כסוכרי׳. וידוע הפלוגתא בויטמינים. ואכ״מ. וראה רפואת השבת ע׳ שכב ואילך.

חלה כל גופו – אדה״ז שכח, יט.

לערב באוכל – אדה״ז שם כז. קצוה״ש קכח בדה״ש לא. ועוד.