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Shabbat Parashat Miketz| 5767
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Use of Sticky Paper to Mark on Shabbat - Part II - From Chavot Binyamin, siman 28
[Last time, we introduced the question of using sticky paper to mark orders on Shabbat. We discussed whether its use is related to the melacha of kosheir (tying), where the prohibition applies only when one intends to leave the objects connected or to tofeir (sewing), where it is unclear if one’s intention is a factor.]
The Avnei Nezer (OC I, 180) explains that the different melachot of connecting two objects apply only when the one who connected them intended them to remain such. By the time the connection is to be ended, it is as if the connection was already severed. This concept is not an example of a thought undoing an action, which is difficult to do. Rather, from the outset, the intention limited the connection’s duration. Once we proved that regarding tofeir, there is a need for a measure of permanence, we can apply the existing rule that mere intention can indicate the melacha’s lack of permanence. The physical possibility of permanence would not make the action a halachically permanent one.
The Rivash forbade undoing the tie that connects a pair of shoes while a shoemaker awaits the customer. How does he learn the gemara that requires permanence even for tofeir? The Rivash apparently was talking about a rabbinic prohibition, whereas the aforementioned gemara discussed one from the Torah. Even regarding kosheir, some time durations are considered temporary from the perspective of Torah law, yet sufficiently permanent rabbinically. The tie between shoes is open-ended; we do not know when the customer will pick them up. It is logical that this uncertainty creates only a rabbinic prohibition. Assuming the strict position is only rabbinic, we understand why the Beit Yosef and Rama accept, without strong indication, the more lenient opinion on the matter.
Let us return to the case of papers that are stuck together. We saw that the Shulchan Aruch considers the process of sticking them a Torah violation of tofeir. The Magen Avraham (340:18) says that it is permitted to open up two pages that were stuck together inadvertently, basing himself on the Shulchan Aruch, OC 314:10. There, the Shulchan Aruch permits undoing the knot that ties the cover of a pit closed because it is made to be undone. How does the Magen Avraham bring a proof from the realm of kosheir to that of tofeir?Also, the Shulchan Aruch refers to something attached to the ground, where one can only untie the string, whereas he could have learned from the tie of a movable utensil, where one can even cut the string.
Based on what we have seen, one question answers the other. One could not learn from cutting the strings from a utensil, because that has to do with kosheir, where permanence certainly plays a role, which is unclear for tofeir. Therefore, they bring a proof from something that is connected to the ground, and thus building and dismantling is also an issue. If the time element solves that problem, then it also solves that of tofeir.
The reason the Magen Avraham is lenient is that beyond simple intention to undo the connection, the context shows clearly that the connection was meant to be temporary. Then even melachot other than kosheir are permitted. When only the intent and not the clear context indicates that the status is temporary, the leniency is less clear. However, if there is a broad rule that when the context is clearly temporary, then the connection does not count halachically, why do many disallow severing the shoes? Regarding the shoes, the amount of time that they will stay together is not up to the one who connects them, but depends on the customer. In those circumstances, there may be a rabbinic prohibition.
Let us return to the case of a sticky marker that a waiter will connect to a checklist. It is clear from the context that he intends that the marker remain for only a short time. Since he himself will thereafter remove it, it should be totally permitted to use in that manner.
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