Examples of fixing that involve Tikkun Keli

A. Removing cloth balls and straw from ones clothing:[1]

In order to beautify the clothing: One who gathers cloth balls which are on clothing, such as the cloth balls that are found on wool clothing, which remain from [after] the weaving, as well as straw and thin twigs which were woven into the clothing unintentionally, one who removes them after the weaving is liable for [the] “Hitting with a hammer” prohibition, if he is particular about them. This  means that he removes them intentionally in order to beautify the clothing. [This is forbidden to be done] as [in such a case] this beautification is considered the completing work of the clothing and its fixing, as he is particular about them that they be removed.

Out of mere casualty: However if one is not particular about them [being removed] and he only removes them out of mere casualty, then he is exempt [from Biblical liability]. However it is Rabinically forbidden to do so.   

Removing The “Shelal” threads of the tailor:[2] The שלל which the tailors make, which refers to [the following]; in the beginning of their sewing they attach with threads the upper part of the clothing with what they are sewing under it, and after they are finished sewing they remove these threads from the clothing, it is questionable whether one who removes them on Shabbos is liable for [the] “Hitting with a hammer” prohibition if he is particular regarding them [to have them removed], and [as well it is questionable] whether it is Rabbinically forbidden if one is not particular [to have them removed and rather just does so casually].

The final ruling:[3] One is to be stringent. 



It is forbidden to remove from clothing cloth balls or protruding pieces of straw and items of the like which remained from the weaving.[4]



May one remove cloth balls from clothing if they came as a result of laundering the clothing?

Seemingly this would be Biblically forbidden. However this requires further analysis as perhaps this is similar to returning the stuffing of a pillow, which is allowed as will be explained.


May one remove plastic threads that come out of the clothing?


May one remove dirt etc from his clothing?

Doing so does not pose a prohibition of “Tikkun Keli”.


B. Making a design on a vessel:

See above Halacha 1!


C. Placing stuffing into a pillow:[5]

Mochin [which is a general term for any soft material such as cotton and strings [made] of soft wool of an animal, and the scrapes of worn out clothing[6]] which fell out from a pillow are permitted to be returned. However they are forbidden to be initially inserted [into the pillow] on Shabbos due to that by doing so he is now turning it into a vessel. See Halacha E brought next.[7]



It is Biblically forbidden to initially place stuffing into a pillow. However to return stuffing into a pillow that it fell out from is allowed.


D. Fixing a needle:[8]

A needle which has bent even slightly is forbidden to be straightened.

The reason for this is: (due to [the prohibition of] fixing a vessel.


E. Inserting straps into clothing:[9]

Inserting the straps of a shoe and sandal into its hole: If the straps of shoes and sandals have come out [of the hole that they were fastened into] it is permitted to return them to their place as long as one does not make a knot at the end of the strap so it not escape from the hole, being that [such a knot] is a permanent knot.

However [even this] only [is allowed] in places that it is not common to tie such a knot [at the end of the strap]. However those places that are accustomed to make this knot then it is forbidden [for them] to even reinsert [the straps] due to a decree that they may come to tie it.

To do this for the first time on Shabbos: Furthermore, even in those places that are not accustomed [to make such knots] it was only permitted to reinsert [the straps after having come out of their hole], however a new shoe [which never yet had its straps fastened] is forbidden for one to insert the strap on Shabbos being that doing so is fixing a vessel.

To reinsert into a narrow hole: Furthermore, even reinserting the strap was only permitted by a wide hole which it can be inserted into without effort, however if the hole is narrow to the point that one needs effort to enter the strap into it then it is not considered like he is reinserting it but rather like he is doing so for the first time and is [thus] forbidden due to that it is fixing a vessel.

Inserting straps into pants: The same applies by the straps of pants. However belts are allowed to be initially inserted into pants on Shabbos being that he does not nullify it there as it is made to constantly insert and remove, [and] therefore it does not pose a problem of fixing a vessel. However it is forbidden to enter a string into the [pants] being that he nullifies it there.



Inserting laces and the like into sandals and pants:[10]

It is forbidden to insert laces in the following cases:

  1. It is the first time one is placing it into the cloth and one plans to permanently leave the lace in the cloth
  2. It is not the first time but the holes are small and it is thus difficult to enter the lace into the hole.
  3. It is not the first time and the holes are wide, but the custom is to make a permanent knot at the end of the lace that is inserted so it does not come out of the hole.

Thus it is only permitted to insert a lace if it is placed there temporarily, or is placed permanently but it is not being placed there for the first time and is not difficult to insert and it is not common to make a knot by its end.



May one attach the wool lining of a coat on Shabbos?

Some opinions rule it is forbidden to do so when one intends to leave the lining in the coat for a long period of time, as this is similar to fixing a vessel[11], as well as that doing so resembles sewing.[12]

Others[13] however rule it is allowed.


May one insert shoelaces into his shoes on Shabbos?[14]

Inserting shoelaces into a used shoe: It is forbidden to insert shoelaces if the holes are small and it is thus difficult to insert the shoelace. This applies even if one already inserted shoelaces into these shoes in the past. Nevertheless, if one does so in a way that will force him to have to remove the laces after Shabbos, such as he places laces that are bright unusual colors for such shoes, then it is allowed even if the holes are small. Similarly if he places the laces only on the front two holes [the holes closer to ones ankle] then it is allowed.[15]

Inserting shoelaces into a new shoe: It is forbidden to insert shoelaces into a new pair of shoes for the first time on Shabbos. However some Poskim[16] rule that by shoes today this is permitted to be done provided that the holes of the shoes are wide and hence it is easily attainable to insert the laces.[17] However seemingly according to the ruling of Admur this allowance does not apply even by today shoes.[18] Nevertheless, if one does so in a way that will force him to have to remove the laces after Shabbos, such as he places laces that are a bright unusual color for such shoes, it is allowed. Similarly if he places the laces only on the front two holes [the holes closer to ones ankle] it is allowed.[19]

If the shoelaces were already partially inserted before Shabbos: If the shoelaces were already inserted in some of the holes from before Shabbos, one may insert them in the remaining holes.

Army Shoes: Seemingly it is forbidden to insert a lace as a knot is commonly made at the end of the string by the first hole.


May one place a string into a sweatshirt hood, or sweatpants?



F. Inserting a door into vessels that do not hold 40 Seah and are not attached to the ground:

By doors that have hinges on their top and bottom as opposed to their side:[20] All doors of vessels, such as for example [the doors of] a drawer, a box or a portable tower, that have doors on their sides and have two hinges, meaning that they have two heads protruding out from the door, one on its top which enters into a socket that is in the top of the door frame and one on its bottom which goes into a socket that is in the threshold[21], then if [on Shabbos] the bottom hinge became completely dislocated from its [socket], then it is forbidden to reinsert it.

The reason for this is: [due ] to a decree that one may come to [properly] fix it, meaning that one [may] strongly insert it [into the socket] using a mallet and  hatchet in a way that one will no longer be able to take it out from there, and [one thus] will become liable for [transgressing the] building [prohibition] as will be explained, or [he will transgress the] “final blow’ [prohibition] as will be explained in chapter 314.


Practical Q&A

May one inflate a ball, tire, or mattress with air on Shabbos?

Opinion 1: Some opinions[22] hold that this is forbidden in all cases, whether it was already previously filled with air or is being filled now for the first time, due to that it is considered like he is fixing a vessel and is thus a possible Biblical prohibition of Makeh Bepatish.

Opinion 2: Other opinions[23] hold that items which have been previously filled with air and are occasionally deflated and then re-inflated, such as air mattresses and the like, then it is permitted to add air to it on Shabbos. However by other items it is forbidden due to that it is considered one is fixing the item.

Opinion 3: Other Opinions[24] hold that it is permitted to inflate all items which have been previously inflated once before, as this is similar to the case of returning the fallen stuffing of a pillow which is allowed.

Opinion 4: Other Opinions[25] hold it is permitted to inflate items in all cases even if it had never yet before been inflated, as since the air will eventually dissipate it is not an everlasting form of fixing and is thus not similar to adding stuffing to a pillow for the first time which is forbidden.


May one inflate a balloon?[26]

It is allowed to be done according to the lenient [4th] opinion mentioned above, even if the balloon contains pictures[27]. However in accordance to the first three opinions it would be forbidden, and so practically rule some Poskim[28]. According to all it is forbidden to tie the top of the balloon.[29]


May one inflate using a mechanical pump?[30]

It is permitted to use a mechanical pump in those cases that it is permitted to inflate the object with air, based on all the different opinions mentioned above.


May one make a necklace or bracelet by entering items into a string? [31]

This is forbidden due to the “fixing a vessel” prohibition[32], and according to others[33] also due to the “Meameir” prohibition. Some[34] however permit it to be done, as they say that the Meameir prohibition only applies by gathering items that grow from the ground, and they do not hold that doing so involves the fixing prohibition.[35]


May one use earplugs on Shabbos?[36]

See “The Laws of Mimacheik/Smearing” Q&A for the full details of this subject! In Short:

Wax earplugs: If they are required to be shaped to fit into one’s ear some Poskim rule they may not be inserted as this may be forbidden due to the smearing prohibition[37] as well as possibly the “Makeh Bepatish” prohibition.

Foam earplugs: Are permitted to be used.


[1] 302/6

[2] 302/7

[3] 302/7

[4] To remove them intentionally to beautify the clothing is Biblically forbidden. To remove it casually without any particular intent is Rabbinically forbidden

[5] 340/14

[6] 257/5

[7] There it is explained that it is forbidden to place a lace permanently through a hole [even if wide] when being done for its first time due to that

 doing so is considered fixing a vessel.

[8] 340/18

[9] 317/5

[10] Halacha 5

[11] Chelkas Yaakov 4/24

[12] Sheivet Halevy Vol. 3 chapter 51

[13] Beir Moshe and SS”K chapter 15 Halacha 74 based on a ruling of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbauch.

[14] Piskeiy Teshuvos 117

[15] Based on Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 146/3 which rules there since one will definitely remove the laces after Shabbos there is no prohibition of Tikkun Keli, as rules Admur above regarding the strap of pants. Now although the allowance in Ketzos Hashulchan is only in reference to new shoes, this likewise applies to small holes, as the entire prohibition of inserting into small holes is likewise due to Tikkun Keli as writes Admur above. This is unlike the ruling of other Poskim [See Beir Moshe 6/60] which understand the prohibition against inserting into small holes due to it being a Tircha. According to them there would be no allowance to enter the shoelaces in the above way in to small holes.

[16] Beir Moshe 6/60

[17] As the concept of Tikkun Keli by shoes only applied in shoes of the old days in which case without the laces they were unusable. However today that shoes are useable even without laces no concept of Tikkun Keli applies with their insertion. [ibid]

[18] As Admur [308/45] already brings and recognizes the difference between the old and new sandal which do not need laces to make them useable, and hence in the Laws of Muktzah he novelizes a change in a previously accepted Halacha, due to the change of shoe. However in 317 where the prohibition of entering laces for the first time are mentioned he makes no mention of any change in Halacha due to the change of shoe style. This shows that the change of shoe style has no repercussion on the Tikkun Keli prohibition of entering new laces.

Perhaps the explanation to this is because nevertheless, even if a shoe is useable without laces the final touch for all normal shoes are to insert laces. Hence it is considered that one has done Tikkun Keli.

[19] Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 146/3

[20] 313/14

[21] Meaning that the case here is not discussing the classical hinges of a door which are positioned on the side of the door, but rather that the hinges are on the top and bottom of the door.

[22] Ketzos Hashulchan 110 footnote 16; Minchas Yitzchak 6/30; Chelkas Yaakov 3/159; Piskeiy Teshuvos 1/55

[23] Rav Paelim 1/25

[24] Yesod Yeshurun 4 page 270

[25] Betzeil Hachachmah 4/92; Beir Moshe 2/20

[26] Piskeiy Teshuvos 340/23

[27] So rules Beir Moshe 2/20; 6/23 that it is allowed.

[28] Sheivet Halevy 9/78

[29] Beir Moshe ibid; As this is considered similar to double knot as one is making a single knot on a single end, as explained in “The Laws of Tying”.

[30] Piskeiy Teshuvos 340/23; SSH”K 34 footnote 92

[31] Ketzos Hashulchan 146/footnote 49-25; Piskeiy Teshuvos 340/26

[32] Ketzos Hashulchan 146/footnote 49-25

[33] Orchos Chayim 13

[34] Shevisas Hashabbos Meameir

[35] According to all it does not involve the writing prohibition as there is no prohibition in forming a word as explained above.

[36] SSH”K 14/39

[37] 314/20

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