Examples of Cases

A. Untying the rope that secures a cover to its vessel:[1]

Seals that are on vessels, such as a chest of drawers, box and portable tower which have their covering tied to them with a rope, it is permitted to cut the rope even with a knife or undo [the rope even] through taking apart its threads[2], in order to open [the box] to remove its content.

Undoing its knot: It goes without saying that it is allowed to undo the knot as it is not a permanent knot being that it is meant to be constantly removed.


B. Untying the knot of a collar[3]:

Made by the launderer: [It is allowed] to untie the collar [of a shirt] from the knot that the launderer knotted as it is not considered a permanent knot being that majority of times it is opened the day that it was done, immediately after the laundering.

Made by the tailor: However it may not be opened for its first time[4] being that this is [considered] fixing a vessel and one is [thus] liable [in doing so] on  [the] “Finishing touch” [prohibition]. However he is not liable for [the] tearing [prohibition] unless he [tears it] with intent to re-sew as was explained in chapter 302 [Halacha 4].


C. Tying a Lulav:[5]

One may not tie a Lulav on Yom Tov with a double knot or bow over a knot. Rather one is to make a bow over a bow.[6]


D. Tying a rope or thread to the bucket of a pit:[7]

One may tie a bucket to the mouth of a pit with a thread or sash and the like of materials which one does not [plan] to nullify there. However one may not do so with a rope being that he will nullify it there and it is [thus] a permanent knot being that the bucket is constantly hanging and tied there. [Furthermore] even with a woven rope[8] which is of importance and will not be nullified there it is forbidden [to tie with] due to a decree [that one may come to use also] other ropes.

However this only refers to buckets that are designated for the pit, however our buckets which are not designated for the pit [and will thus eventually be removed from the pit for another use[9]] [tying a rope on it] is not considered a permanent knot and it is [thus] permitted to tie to it even other ropes as long as the knot is not done professionally. [As if it is professionally done] it is forbidden to be done even if it is not made to last as was explained above [in Halacha 2]


E. Tying a rope to block the passageway for an animal:

One may a tie rope in front of a cow in the width of the passageway in order to prevent it from leaving being that [such a knot] is not made to last as it is meant to be constantly untied in order take the animal out to be given to drink.

Furthermore, even to tie on Shabbos the two ends of a rope on the two posts of the doorway which were not at all tied to the doorway from before Shabbos is allowed, as we do not suspect that one may nullify one end [of the rope] that it be tied there forever and he will only let the animal out through untying the second end of the rope, being that at times he will undo one end and at times the other end [and there will thus never be one end nullified there].

However if in truth one does nullify one end [there] then it is forbidden.

[1] 314/17

[2] As opposed to untying the actual knot, which will explained below. 

[3] Back then it was the custom for the launderers to tie the collars with a knot in order to have it be shaped. The question here thus is if such a knot may be undone on Shabbos.

[4] Meaning that if one had just bought this shirt from the tailor then one may not undo the collar knot on Shabbos.

[5] 651/6

[6][6] As one never plans to undo the knot from the Lulav, and it is thus considered made to last forever. [ibid]

[7] 316/8

[8] This refers to a rope which is not usual to be used to draw water with. [Rashi Pesachim 11a]

[9] Mishneh Berurah 28. This applies even if one plans to leave the bucket there for more than one day. [Biur Halacha]

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