Halacha for Wednesday 9 Iyar 5781 April 21 2021

Knots Forbidden To Be Tied on Shabbat by Rabbinic Enactment and Those Permitted to be Tied

In the previous Halacha we have explained that two of the forbidden works on Shabbat are tying and untying a knot. We have likewise discussed some forms of knots which are forbidden to be tied on Shabbat by Torah law. We shall now discuss several forms of knots which are forbidden to be tied as a result of a rabbinic enactment somewhat more stringent than Torah law.

As we have explained, it is forbidden by Torah law to tie a “permanent knot” which is defined as a knot that is not meant to be untied in the near future. Similarly, the knot must be made “professionally”, i.e. if tying the knot requires some skill. It is therefore a Torah prohibition to tie the knot on a camel’s nose since this is a “professional” knot and is not meant to be untied.

Knots Forbidden by Rabbinic Enactment: Permanent or Professional Knots
Our Sages enacted that even if a knot is not tied in a professional manner, it is forbidden to be tied on Shabbat if it is permanent. This means that even if this knot can be tied by anyone and requires no special skill, nevertheless, if it is a permanent knot, one may not tie it. (Shulchan Aruch Chapter 317, Section 1)

An example of such a knot would be the knot tied to the pail hanging at the top of a well. Since the knot tied to the pail is never undone, although tying such a knot requires no specific skill, it is forbidden to tie it on Shabbat by rabbinic law.

Similarly, regarding a knot tied to a bit around an animal’s mouth, although no special skill is required to tie the bit, it is forbidden to tie such a knot on Shabbat if one never intends to untie it.

Additionally, if a knot is “professionally done” and requires some skill to tie it, although it is not permanent, one may not tie such a knot on Shabbat as a result of a rabbinic enactment.

Knots Permitted to be Tied on Shabbat
A knot which is neither professional nor permanent may indeed be tied on Shabbat, for our Sages only decreed not to tie a knot which fits either one of the Torah’s two criteria to forbid tying a knot on Shabbat, i.e. either it is a professional knot or a permanent one. However, a knot which is neither professional nor permanent may be tied on Shabbat. We shall discuss this matter further in the following Halacha.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Prohibition of Threshing and Squeezing on Shabbat

We have explained several times that there are thirty-nine “primary works” that are prohibited on Shabbat. Every “primary work” is composed of “subdivisions” which are works similar to the “primary work”; these “subdivisions” also carry a T......

Read Halacha

Preparing Tea on Shabbat

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one may squeeze a lemon Shabbat by hand, as opposed to using a utensil, for squeezing lemons does not share the same Halacha as squeezing other fruits on Shabbat. We have also mentioned that Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that even thoug......

Read Halacha

Squeezing Lemons on Shabbat

In previous Halachot, we have explained that one may not squeeze a fruit on Shabbat if there are those who usually squeeze this kind of fruit for its juice. We also explained that one may indeed squeeze fruits by hand (as opposed to using a utensil to squeeze it, which is prohibited) onto a food, fo......

Read Halacha

Squeezing Oranges onto Fruit Salad on Shabbat

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that the Torah prohibits squeezing olives for their oil or grapes for wine on Shabbat. The squeezing of other fruits is not a Torah prohibition; rather our Sages enacted that one may not squeeze other fruits such as berries and pomegranates on Shabbat. We h......

Read Halacha


Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Walking on One’s Way

Question: If one is eating while walking outdoors, may one recite Birkat Hamazon while continuing to walk? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that our Sages have enacted that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while sitting in order for the individual to have maximum concentration. ......

Read Halacha

The Significance of Tu Bishvat

The Fifteenth of Shevat or Tu Bishvat is the Rosh Hashanah for trees (Rosh Hashanah 2a). Most people commonly think that just as on the First of Tishrei, which is the day of Rosh Hashanah, all creations are judged for life or death, for wealth or poverty, and the like, so too, on Tu Bishvat, trees a......

Read Halacha

Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Seated

Question: Is one obligated to sit while reciting Birkat Hamazon or is it permissible to recite it while walking as well? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (51b) states that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while seated. The Poskim as well as Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 183) rule li......

Read Halacha

A Dish Comprised of Several Kinds of Food

Question: What is the correct blessing on stuffed peppers? Similarly, what is the correct blessing on a cake which has just a little flour but the primary ingredients of the cake are fruits and nuts? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that when one eats two different foods requirin......

Read Halacha