Shabbat Scenarios: The Prohibition of Tofer-Sewing

8 02 2011

Based on a shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

The Prohibition of Tofer/ Sewing: Tofer Demonstrations

The Torah prohibition of Tofer involves binding two items together in a permanent way. The classic example is sewing two stitches and then making a final knot to hold the stitches in place.


·      Opening and closing a button, zipper, or Velcro tab is    permitted because it is not a permanent binding.

·      Pulling a loose thread tighter on a button is prohibited.

·      Stapling and taping may not be done on Shabbat.

·      Most authorities rule that human stitches fall under the prohibition of tofer. In life threatening situations, however, it is permitted.

·      There is a disagreement among the poskim whether one may pull the tabs off a band-aid on Shabbat. Rav Shlomo Z. Auerbach rules that it is permitted because it was not meant to stay there permanently. Sticking the band-aid on a wound is a temporary act and may be done if it will be taken off within 24 hours. If it will stay for more than that time, there are poskim who rule leniently and permit it. When one takes off the band-aid, one should open it and not slip it off like a ring. In addition, one should avoid pulling a band-aid off skin where hair grows to avoid tearing hair on Shabbat.




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