Peninei Halakha

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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 tie a knot at the end of the string. Similarly, if a pearl necklace snaps, one should not restring the pearls, because one may come to tie the string in a knot (MB 317:20). However, children may string beads that come in children’s craft sets and are not meant to last, since the knots of such necklaces are not permanent (SSK 16:22).

Some maintain that one may not insert shoelaces into new shoes because this makes the shoe wearable, thus transgressing the prohibition of fixing a kli (Ketzot Ha-shulĥan §146, Badei Ha-shulĥan §3). Others maintain that one may not insert new laces even into old shoes (MB 317:18; SSK 15:64). Still others maintain that nowadays one may insert laces into new shoes, because the eyelets in modern shoes are wide, so inserting shoelaces in is easy and is not considered a melakha (Yabi’a Omer 9:108:162). In order to comply with all the positions, it is proper to insert the laces in an unusual way. For example, one can either skip some of the eyelets or lace only the top ones. This will ensure that on Saturday night he will need to re-lace the shoes in the normal way and therefore has not fixed a kli on Shabbat (SSK 15:64).

One may thread a belt through the belt loops of a new pair of pants, since the belt is not meant to remain there forever. Similarly, one may insert a pillow into a pillowcase. However, one may not insert a tie or strap into a new dress or pair of pants if it is meant to remain there permanently, because doing so is fixing the item of clothing by making it wearable (MB 317:16; SSK 15:66).

[14]. R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was stringent and forbade closing a bag of food with a twist tie for more than 24 hours; since the twist tie will remain in its position, it is considered a knot (SSK ch. 15 n. 174). This is also cited in the name of R. Elyashiv in Orĥot Shabbat 10:30. However, it would seem that this should not be considered Kosheir; since it is not the act of twisting that keeps it in its position but the strength of the twist tie itself; twisting it is comparable to opening and closing a button, which is permitted. Indeed, a similar approach appears in Rivevot Ephraim 3:552; Shevet Ha-Levi 7:55; and Orĥot Shabbat loc. cit. in the name of R. Nissim Karelitz. In any case, since one does not intend to leave the twist tie closed forever and it is not a craftsman’s knot, there is certainly no Torah prohibition; and when there is a doubt about a rabbinic mitzva, we are lenient.

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Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman