Am I permitted to untie a double knot that is
In the previous
sheet we classified a tight double knot as a craftsmans knot and as such it is
prohibited to knot on Shabbos even for a short while. However, the nature of such a knot
when coupled with a short time span is only a rabbinical prohibition
and Chazal permitted its untying when it causes distress.
- If one tied the cords on his robe in a double
knot intending not to untie the knot for a few days (being it his habit to slip off the
robe without untying the knot). He later realized that the cords are too tight and he
cannot slip off the robe. The option other than opening the knot would be to remain inside
his robe until the end of Shabbos with all the discomfort it entails. In such
circumstances he may untie the knot.
- The same scenario but one tied a double knot in
ones shoelaces also not intending to untie them for a few days. He later realized
that he cannot slip off his shoes. This, of course, prevents one from getting into bed
etc, which causes a great deal of annoyance and discomfort. Seeing that the knot is a
rabbinically prohibited knot and it causes great stress it may be untied.
How is a slipknot classified?
Although the gemora
Shabbos 113a says that there is a dispute between the Chachamim and R Yehuda
as to whether a slipknot or a bowknot is considered a knot, the halacha is
according to the Chachamim who hold that it is not a knot at all.
Accordingly one is
permitted to tie a slipknot indefinitely and as tight as he likes because it is not
classified as a knot.
How do you classify a bow over a single knot?
Although a bow is
not called a knot, as stated above, a single knot with a bow is considered a knot. The
best example is the single and bow with which we fasten our shoes. It is not that the bow
evolves into a knot because of the single knot beneath it; rather it is because the single
knot, which is also not classified as a knot, now stands firm.
Is a bow over a single knot completely
permitted without restrictions or are there rules it must comply with?
The bow by itself
and the single knot by itself do not have rules and regulations and they may be tied
forever. The combination of the bow and the single does have to comply with the rules of
tying knots. Therefore one is forbidden to intentionally tie ones shoes (with a
single knot and bow) for longer than 24 hours. One is forbidden to tie a
plastic bag with two handles into a single and a bow when he knowingly intends it to
remain tied for longer than 24 hours. Therefore challah or bread placed into a bag with
the intention of not untying it for the next 24 hours may be tied into a bow without
the single knot beneath it.
What if I do not know when I will need the
challah or bread?
and quoted by the Shulchan Aruch HaRav say that if one does not intentionally tie
for longer than the permitted period, and he often unties it within the permitted time, he
may tie it on Shabbos. Therefore when tying the bread bag (with a single and bow), since
one may require the bread within 24 hours, even though 24 hours might pass before he opens
it, he may tie the bag. If you habitually tie your shoes without thinking when you will
untie them and sometimes you (excuse me) just kick them off, since it is possible that you
will untie them within 24 hours it is
Is there any particular way a Sefer Torah must
or must not be tied?
fasteners for a Sefer Torah are either a belt with a clasp or the Jewish German custom
the wimple. Using a belt fastened with a knot and a bow presents a problem because
if that Sefer Torah will not be used until Monday or even worse, until the following
Shabbos, in effect he is tying a knot for longer than 24 hours and sometimes for longer
than 7 days.
Those that do have
such a belt or cord have what to rely on because there are opinions which hold that one
may tie a knot for the sake of a mitzvah, which in our case is fastening the Sefer Torah.
Nevertheless the optimal preference is one of two fasteners mentioned above.