Halacha for Thursday 10 Iyar 5781 April 22 2021

What Constitutes a “Permanent” or “Professional” Knot

In previous Halachot we have explained that is forbidden to tie a “permanent” knot on Shabbat, i.e. a knot which is not meant to be untied in the near future. It is likewise forbidden to tie a “professional” knot on Shabbat, i.e. a knot which requires some skill to tie. However, a knot which is neither permanent nor professional may be tied on Shabbat.

We shall now discuss the halachic definitions of “permanent” and “professional” knots.

A Knot Intended to be Untied within Seven Days
Some Rishonim write that any knot which is meant to exist for one day is considered “permanent” and may not be tied on Shabbat. The Maharam (quoted by the Tashbetz in Chapter 52) therefore writes that one may not untie the knot holding a robe and pants together (in those times, people would tie their robes to their pants and leave it like that for several days) since this knot is not meant to be untied every day. It is likewise forbidden to tie such a knot on Shabbat.

 Others write that only a knot meant to exist for seven days is considered “permanent.” The Tur rules likewise. According to this view, there is no need for the knot to be tied for less than one day. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules in accordance with this view in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Part 5, page 47.

Tying One’s Shoes
According to all opinions, however, one may tie one’s shoes in the manner we are accustomed to, for such a knot is not considered professional and one usually unties this knot every night when removing the shoes before bedtime.

A Double Knot
Regarding a “professional” knot, the Poskim disagree with regards to a double knot. When one ties one’s shoes, one usually makes one “knot” (the first crossing of the laces) and makes a bow on top of that. However, when one makes a second knot on top of the first one, the knot becomes stronger. Some consider this knot a professional one which may not be tied on Shabbat, for we are not quite clear about the distinction between a “professional” knot and a “layman’s” knot. They therefore rule stringently on this matter. The Shiltei Giborim and others rule likewise.

Nevertheless, others disagree with the Shiltei Giborim’s opinion and rule that a double knot is not considered a “professional” knot. Maran zt”l rules likewise (ibid. page 57) and writes that when there is a need, one may act leniently and tie a double knot on Shabbat. Only when one has another option should one act stringently.

Summary: A knot which one intends to untie within seven days is not considered a permanent knot. A double knot is not considered a professional knot. Any knot which is neither permanent nor professionally made may be tied on Shabbat.

In the next Halacha we shall summarize the basic points of this law.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach

Question: When the Chazzan recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation responds “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must one rise and bow or is this unnecessary? Answer: Regarding the obligation to rise while answering &ldquo......

Read Halacha

Which Vessels Require Immersion in a Mikveh-Continued

In previous Halachot, we have explained that vessels purchased from a non-Jew, such as those produced outside of Israel, require immersion in a Mikveh before using them. We have also discussed which types of vessels require immersion and which do not. We shall now continue discussing this topic. ......

Read Halacha