Shabbat Parashat Vayeshev| 5767
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Use of Sticky Paper to Mark on Shabbat - Part I - From Chavot Binyamin, siman 28
In hotels, waiters need to record orders, and it is not always done in a halachically permissible manner on Shabbat. There are now stacks of sticky papers from which papers can be removed and stuck onto an order lists. They can then be removed after use. Is this permitted on Shabbat? [The halacha regarding other applications of sticking and unsticking other weak adhesives should depend on the following analysis. However, be aware that much of the analysis is specific to the case at hand. One should be aware of this before applying the principles to other cases and refer to the original, Hebrew article, from which our presentation was condensed.]
First we need to determine to which melachot the described actions might pertain, as the parameters of each melacha may differ. There are two sets of opposite melachot that might apply here. One is kosheir (tying) and matir (untying); the other is tofeir (sewing) and korei’ah (ripping). The sets seem quite similar, connecting two objects or undoing the connection between them. Therefore, one can ask why the Torah saw it fit to treat them as separate melachot. (There are practical differences based on whether actions are included in another melacha or are independent).
The Avnei Nezer (Orach Chayim I, 180.5) says that one action which is compatible with two similar melachot cannot obligate one to bring two korbanot. An example that he brings is kosheir and tofeir, which both relate to connecting items and are counted as separate melachot onlybecause each was involved in the preparation of the Mishkan. It is difficult to say that there are not fundamental differences between the two melachot. Regarding kosheir, the prohibition applies only when the knot is somewhat permanent. Yet, regarding tofeir, Rishonim dispute whether the connection’s longevity is a factor in determining whether it is forbidden. Those who say that there is a difference in this regard must distinguish more fundamentally between kosheir and tofeir, for example, that kosheir includes a knot within the object, whereas tofeir applies only to connecting two distinct objects. The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 317:18) identifies another difference between the melachot. Kosheir creates a connection that can be undone simply, returning the objects to their former state. Tofeir creates a connection that can be undone only by ripping.
Regarding sticking two pieces of papers together, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 340), based on the Rambam, says that it is included in tofeir. If the Aruch Hashulchan is correct, the prohibition would apply only when they are so strongly connected that one would need to rip the papers to separate them. The sticky papers in our case would not be in this category but in that of kosheir. If so, the amount of time the connection is to remain will determine whether it is prohibited.
Is the time element a factor regarding tofeir as well? The Rama (OC 317:3) brings a machloket whether one may sever on Shabbat the tie that shoemakers make between pairs of shoes. The stringent opinion posits that the connection need not be permanent for a violation of tofeir. The lenient opinion (in the Mordechai, Shabbat 457) brings a proof that permanence is needed also regarding tofeir from the following gemara. The mishna says that one commits a full violation of Shabbat by making two stitches. The gemara asks that this is difficult since such a connection will not last and answers that it is talking about a case where the thread’s end was tied. We see from the gemara’s give and take that permanence is important. This proof seems weak, though, because the gemara is talking about a connection that physically cannot last, whereas the Rishonim discuss a case where it could last, just that people intend to undo it. Although the role of intention is found regarding kosheir, we lack a source that it also applies by tofeir.
We will pick up from here next week.
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Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R’ Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.
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