Prohibition #1: The/Koreah/Tearing prohibition

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Prohibition #1: The/Koreah/Tearing prohibition

The laws of Tearing sewn items and separating glued items on Shabbos

1. The rules of the prohibition and when it applies:

A. The Principal prohibition-Tearing with intent to re-sew:[1]

One who tears [an item] with intent to re-sew it, in the way to be explained below in B, is liable [to bring a sin offering] being that [doing so] is amongst the principal Shabbos prohibitions. As in the Tabernacle a skin curtain which a worm had fallen on and drilled into it a small round hole, [then[2]] in order to sew it one would need to tear the hole from above and below in order so the sewing not be made in overlaps. Thus, one who tears without intent to sew is exempt [from Biblical liability of the sewing prohibition[3]] although doing so is Rabbinically forbidden [as will be explained][4].


B. Tearing without intent to re-sew:[5]

Although one who tears is not liable unless done on condition to re-sew it [afterwards] nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden in all scenarios [even when destroyed without intent to re-sew].


C. Tearing with intent to sew but not in a better way than done originally:[6]

One who destroys a building with intent to return and build it, or one who tears with intent to return and sew, is not Biblically liable unless his intent is that the latter building be greater than the former, and by sewing that the [torn] cloth [be re-sewn to a better result than it was originally prior to the tearing]. As without the destroying and tearing it is completely impossible to fix the building and cloth that they be improved.

Other Opinions-Even by destroying no need for improvement:[7] There are opinions which say that even by actions of destruction it is not necessary that the improvement be better than the way it was originally.

Other Opinions-One is liable for work even if not done for use of its body[8]: All the above is in accordance with those who say that an action which is not done for the need of its body one is exempt on and is only Rabbinically forbidden. However, there are opinions which argue on this and say that even work which is not done for the need of its body one is Biblically liable for.

The Final Ruling:[9] [Due to the above lenient opinion one] therefore does not need to reprimand people who are lenient [to ask a gentile in a time of distress to destroy an item when they do not plan to rebuild it in a better] being that they have upon whom to rely. However, every person should be stringent upon himself like the first opinion which is the main [Halachic] opinion.

D. Prohibition only applies by tearing apart many entities:[10]

(Regarding [the] tearing [prohibition] there is only a prohibition [involved] when one tears and separates many entities which have [become] attached, such as one who tears a garment woven from many threads. However, paper which is a single entity does not contain within tearing it or cutting it the tearing prohibition.[11]) For other opinions see footnote.[12]


May one separate the glued areas of a sealed bag or box?

According to those who hold that opening cans on Shabbos is forbidden due to Tikkun Keli, it is to be opened in a destructive manner, just as they rule by cans.[13] However, according to those who hold that cans may be opened in a non-destructive manner then seemingly it is permitted to open an envelope even in the area of the glue, by separating the two parts.[14]

What is the definition of a single entity?

This matter requires further analysis as to its exact definition [i.e. is a modern piece of paper made of dust of wood considered a single entity?]


E. The law if the sewing was only meant to last temporarily:[15]

If a launderer sewed the collar [of a shirt together], or [in a case that] a pair of shoes have been sewed together in the way that is done by professionals, then it is forbidden to cut them or to tear them from each other.

The reason for this is: because by sewing there is no difference whether it was made to last or not to last, and destroying the sewing always contains [the] tearing [prohibition]. Now, although one who tears is not liable unless done on condition to re-sew it [afterwards] nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden in all scenarios [even when destroyed without intent to re-sew].

Other Opinions: [However,] there are opinions which allow tearing or cutting stitches that was not made to last.

The Final Ruling: The main Halachic opinion is like the latter opinion, although nevertheless one should not be lenient in front of an ignoramus.[16]


Summary: Cutting and tearing sewn threads:

The tearing prohibition applies when one tears or separates two entities from each other, even if one does not intend to reattach them[17], if the attachment was meant to last. The tearing prohibition does not apply by tearing a single entity. If the sewn items were meant to be eventually torn then it may be torn, However, not in the presence of an ignoramus.

  • In all cases that there is no tearing prohibition involved in tearing an item one must verify that there is as well no cutting and fixing prohibition involved in doing so.


Why did the Alter Rebbe bring the first opinion as a Stam to only then not rule like it?

This matter requires further analysis.

2. Tearing leather:[18]

It is permitted [for a person[19]] to tear leather that covers the mouth of a barrel of wine [or other liquids[20]] as explained in chapter 314 [Halacha 12], [when done for a Shabbos need. One need not worry (about any tearing prohibition involved in doing so)[21]]

The reason and avoiding the cutting prohibition-340/17:  Being that the leather is a single entity, [thus] the tearing prohibition is not applicable to it, but rather only the prohibition to cut it if he is particular to cut it to a specific measurement as explained there [in chapter 314/16].)

The reason- 314/12: A person may tear the hide which [seals] the opening of the barrel of wine when done for ones needs of Shabbos because tearing a detached item is allowed to be done even initially. [If done for no need at all, then it contains a destroying prohibition.]

Avoiding the fixing prohibition: [However, this is only allowed] as long as one does not intend to make something similar to a drainpipe out of the torn skin [i.e. a funnel] being that doing so is considered like fixing a vessel.



A piece of leather may be torn if one does not tear it into any specific measurement and does not make it into a new use through tearing it. It is thus permitted to tear the leather cover of a barrel in order to pour from the bottle.

3. Separating papers and other items that are glued together:[22]

One who separates attached papers is [liable for doing] an offshoot of [the] tearing [prohibition], as one who attaches papers or skins with glue of the scribes and the like is [doing] an offshoot of the sewing [prohibition] and he is liable [and the tearing prohibition applies to all cases that the sewing prohibition applies].

Separating items which were accidently attached: However, this only applies when the attachment was done for it to last, However, pages of books which have been attached to each other through wax [which fell on them] or at the time of their binding, are permitted to be opened on Shabbos [if one will not be tearing any letters in the process].

The reason for this is: as since [this attachment] was not made to last and furthermore it was done on its own without intent, therefore it is not at all similar to sewing, and it does not contain [the] tearing [prohibition].       


Summary-Separating glued items:

It is forbidden to separate glued items if the items were glued to be permanently attached. If they are not meant to be attached and were accidently glued on their own, as occurs during book binding that glue or wax attaches pages together, then they may be separated on Shabbos.



May one separate items that were intentionally glued for temporary use?[23]

This may be done, However, not in the presence of an ignoramus as rules Admur regarding tearing a temporary stitch.


May one cut attached pages of a new book which were forgotten to be cut during the binding?[24]

No, [as doing so involves the prohibition of fixing a vessel].


May one tear glued pages of a book if doing so will tear some of the letters or the paper?[25]

Will tear letters: It is forbidden to be done due to the erasing prohibition.

Will tear part of the paper: Some[26] have written against doing so [even according to Admur which holds there is no tearing prohibition in tearing a single entity] due to that it is fixing a vessel.

May one place a band-aid on a wound on Shabbos?[27]

See Practical Q&A below

May one use diapers on Shabbos which are fastened using a piece of tape or Velcro which is attached to the diaper?

See Practical Q&A below!

Examples [Halacha 4-6]

4. Cutting and tearing threads sewn in for temporary use, such as to attach a pair of shoes together:[28]

See above 1E!


Summary: Cutting and tearing sewn threads:

Threads which were sewn for temporary usage and are meant to be eventually torn may be torn on Shabbos so long as one does not do so in the presence of an ignoramus.

5. Removing entangled clothing from thorns:[29]

One whose clothing became tangled in thorns is to remove it in private[30] [see footnote] and [carefully by] taking his time [to remove it], in order so it not tear. And if it [nevertheless] tears [despite ones being careful] then this is [Halachically] meaningless being that one had no intent to do so and it was not an inevitable occurrence, as since he [was careful to] slowly remove it, it was possible for it not to tear.

6. Breaking an almond using a cloth:[31]

It is permitted to break an almond with a cloth, and we do not suspect that perhaps it will tear, as will be explained in chapter 508 [Halacha 3].


[1] Admur 302:4

[2] Lit. and

[3] Admur 317:7: One is not liable for [the] tearing [prohibition] unless he [tears it] with intent to re-sew.

[4] Seemingly, there is no Koreia prohibition by skin tapestries as it is a single entity.

[5] Admur 302:4; 317:7

[6] Admur 278:1

[7] Admur 278:2

[8] Admur 278:3

[9] Admur 313

[10] Admur 340:17

[11] This answers a question raised on the Michaber 340:13 [brought in Peri Megadim and Biur Halacha Ein Shivrim] which writes that if one tears paper, he is liable for Tikkun Keli, and thus the question is asked why one is not liable for also tearing. Thus, Admur suggests that by a single entity it does not apply. However, see next footnote.

[12] The Mishneh Berurah in 340 Biur Halacha “Eiyn Shovrin” argues on Admur and says that the prohibition applies even when tearing a single entity. He suggests answering the question mentioned in the above footnote that the tearing prohibition only applies when there is benefit to both sides being torn, as opposed to by paper that one is tearing it to simply use the torn piece and thus the other side does not benefit. He concludes with a Tzaruch Iyun. To note that there are Poskim [Minchas Yitzchak 1:77] which have learned from this Biur Halacha then when tearing in a way of destruction it is completely permitted. The Tzitz Eliezer seems to side with Admur’s ruling, as is evident from his leniency by cotton balls. [see Q&A]

[13] See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Bris Olam Koreia 7; based on Chazon Ish 61:2; SSH”K 28 footnote 14-15

[14] Ketzos Hashulchan ibid

The reason: Although on the onset it seems that doing so should be forbidden due to Koreia, as it is forbidden to separate glued items, as written in 340:17, nevertheless in truth one can argue that in this case it is permitted to do so as a) the prohibition only applies by two entities that are glued together as opposed to a single entity, and b) It was sealed with intent to be opened, and is hence a temporary sealing. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid]

[15] Admur 317:7

[16] Perhaps from here we can learn a Heter to take apart the bottle caps as the ring was attached for temporary purpose, and hence there is no Tikkun Keli

[17] In such a case it is Rabbinically forbidden. It is Biblically forbidden if torn with intent to re-sew, and according to some only if one has intent to re-sew in a better way than it was originally.

[18] Admur 340:17

[19] Admur 314:12

[20] Admur 314:12

[21] Admur 314:12

[22] Admur 340:17

[23] Minchas Yitzchak 8:31

[24] Piskeiy Teshuvos 340:31

[25] SSH”K 28:1 footnote 4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 340:31

[26] SSH”K 28 footnote 5 in name of Rav SZ”A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 340:31. There they write that it contains a tearing prohibition [according to the M”B in contrast to Admur] and a “fixing a vessel” prohibition.

[27] Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:21

[28] Admur 317:7

[29] Admur 302:4

[30] So explains the Karban Haeidah on Yerushalmi 7:2. The reason for this is so it does not appear to others like he is fixing a vessel.

However, the Pnei Moshe explains that it means that the case is referring to that thorns got stuck onto his clothing and have penetrated inside [Tzina-private-here means inside] and he desires to remove them to prevent the thorns from causing him pain. Vetzaruch Iyun as to which commentary Admur agrees with.

[31] Admur 302:4

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