Chapter: 13 – Melakhot Pertaining to Clothing

01. Introduction

Clothing is very important, as it covers the body and protects it from heat and cold. Adam and Eve originally had no need for clothing, but after they sinned they developed an awareness of their nakedness and thus clothing became … Continue reading

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02. Melakhot Pertaining to Clothing

There are 13 melakhot involved in making clothes (m. Shabbat 7:2): 1) Gozez Tzemer (shearing wool; the laws pertaining to this activity will be explained below in 14:1): If plants are used to make the clothing, then one may not … Continue reading

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03. Libun and Kibus

The melakha of Libun is cleaning wool or linen and whitening it before making it into clothes. Kibus, which refers to washing clothes, is a tolada of this melakha (MT 9:10-11). There are three stages of Kibus: soaking, scrubbing, and … Continue reading

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04. Soaking Clothes in Liquid

As we saw above, the first stage in washing clothes is soaking them in water, since this soaking gets rid of some of the dirt. Even wetting a small part of an item of clothing is forbidden, because wetting cloth … Continue reading

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05. Cleaning Off the Table and Washing Dishes

If a little water spills on the table, one may use a towel to clean it, as wetting the towel in this case dirties it rather than cleans it. Similarly, if a little wine or juice spilled on the table, … Continue reading

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06. Removing Mud from Leather Clothing and Shoes

Leather clothes are different from normal clothes. Normal clothes made from threads of wool or linen and the like may not be soaked, because this cleans them. However, a leather item may be soaked in water. Only true washing, meaning … Continue reading

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07. Nylon, Plastic, and Polyester Tablecloths and Clothing

The prohibition of Kibus applies to clothes and pieces of cloth that absorb dirt. However, wooden furniture and plastic items, which do not absorb dirt, may be cleaned with water to remove dirt that is stuck to them. Based on … Continue reading

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08. Removing Stains and Dust

As we saw above (section 3), Kibus is generally accomplished using water or other cleaning agents. However, even when one does not use water, one may not remove stains from clothing via scrubbing the way one does when washing. One … Continue reading

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09. Folding a Talit on Shabbat, and Additional Laws

The Sages forbade folding an item of clothing on Shabbat because folding helps it maintain its shape, ensures that it sits right on the body, and prevents wrinkling. Therefore, when one folds clothes it looks like one is fixing a … Continue reading

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10. Tofer

The melakha of Tofer (sewing) refers to binding together curtains or material in a manner similar to the way the curtains were sewn for the Mishkan. The difference between Tofer and Boneh is that the former refers to joining soft … Continue reading

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11. Kore’a

Fixing an item of clothing sometimes requires that it be torn in order to be re-sewn. This tearing constitutes the melakha of Kore’a. Tearing in order to sew is a violation of a Torah prohibition. In the Mishkan, worms would … Continue reading

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12. Diapers, Adhesive Bandages, and Sticky Notes

Diapers may be used on Shabbat just as they are used during the week. At first glance, one might think otherwise. Using a disposable diaper involves fastening tapes and then separating them. We saw earlier that one may not attach … Continue reading

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13. Kosheir and Matir

The melakha of Kosheir refers to binding things together by tying them, while Matir refers to separating things by undoing this connection. Unlike Tofer, which refers to joining together soft things and uniting them, and unlike Boneh, which refers to … Continue reading

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14. Prohibited Knots

One may not tie a double knot even if he plans to untie the knot on the same day. Since this is a strong knot that can remain intact for an extended period, it may be that it is comparable … Continue reading

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15. Bow Knots and Single Knots

A bow knot is not considered a knot because one pull undoes the whole thing. Even if one bow is tied on top of another, it is not considered a knot because both bows can be undone with one yank … Continue reading

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16. Miscellaneous Laws

One who twists fibers together to form a rope transgresses the prohibition of Kosheir, and one who pulls apart the strands of a rope transgresses Matir (MT 10:8).[14] One may not string pearls on Shabbat, because one may come to … Continue reading

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