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This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
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- Tofair entails the combining of any two separate objects into one single entity, whether by sewing, pinning, gluing or any other means.
- Gluing together two papers or leathers with glue is forbidden.  Gluing two pieces of wood is forbidden. 
- Tofer is forbidden even if it’s a temporary connection. 
In the Mishkan
- There is a machloket where Tofair was in the mishkan. According to some, sewing was required in the mishkan in order to sew the curtains together. However, the Yerushalmi explains that the curtains were continuous without a seam and therefore did not require sewing. Accordingly, Tofair in the mishkan was not required for creating the curtains, but only for repairing them.
- Stapling papers together on Shabbat is forbidden because of Tofer.
- It is completely permitted to use Velcro diapers on Shabbat. The discussion of the poskim in the past about opening and closing diapers was all about diapers with sticky tabs and was a major dispute and not simple. However, today's diapers are generally all made with Velcro, loops and hooks, and aren't any question.
Sticky Tab Diapers
- Most authorities permit putting on a diaper on Shabbat by sticking the tabs of the diaper to the diaper. (Also see Tofer).
- Nonetheless, one should be careful and open the diaper slowly so that one doesn’t rip it and leave the tabs attached permanently.
- There are those who prohibit the use of the flaps to close the diaper when disposing of it, as that will result in a permanent connection. However, there are those who disagree and permit it.
- Diapers which have an adhesive that needs to be unfastened and then taped onto the diaper. While it is praiseworthy to be stringent and unfasten them and then refasten them again before Shabbos, one can be lenient if he failed to do so.
Tearing to Separate Flaps
- It is permitted to open a diaper on Shabbat even if the flaps are stuck to the back of the diaper and they need to be torn on the perforations to be opened.
- Buttons are permissible to open and close. 
- Some poskim say that clipping two pieces of clothing together with a pin is forbidden under the melacha of Tofer. Many others, though, argue that is permitted because the pin does not make the two pieces into one but merely holds them close together. 
- Many authorities permit using a safety pin on Shabbat. 
- Some poskim maintain that is permitted to use a zipper on Shabbat. Others, however, say that it is permitted to use a zipper only if it is meant to be unzipped in a short time. 
- Velcro is permissible to open and close on Shabbat.
- It is permitted to use velcro diapers on Shabbat.
- Some say that closing a velcro is only permitted for a temporary use and not a permanent one but some are lenient. 
- Some poskim say that it is permitted to place an adhesive note (Post-It) on a paper if one intends to remove it within 24 hours. Many discourage using a sticky for temporary use since it is usually left there for more than 24 hours. Some are more lenient if it was already taken off its pad before Shabbat. Some poskim forbid using stick notes under all circumstances.
- Post-It flags are the same as sticky notes.
- Using Blu Tack or sticky clay to stick paper to a wall or other surfaces is forbidden on Shabbat because of Tofer, attaching two objects together. Additionally, using the fun tack can violate other melachot such as Mechataich when separating a piece or Memachaik when smoothing the clay.
- If binding tape on a book has begun to curl up and become untapped it is forbidden on Shabbat to press it back down.
- Rambam Shabbos 10:9
- S”A 340:14 writes that gluing two papers together is forbidden because of Tofer.
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 340:14 there
- Rama 317:3 brings two opinions and concludes that one shouldn’t be lenient in front of an Am HaAretz. see also Darchay Moshe Simin 340 Sif Katan 2
- Rashi Parshas Teruma 26:3
- Yerushalmi Perek Klal Gadol
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 28:5
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchato 15:79, Ish Matzliach OC 340:14
- Minchat Yitzchak 5:39 (Dayan Weiss) is strict on diapers. Sh”t Bear Moshe 6:14 is lenient about using pampers on Shabbat since it’s only a temporary connection. Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 16:6 is lenient because it isn’t not even considered temporary. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat; pg 813) permits since the tabs are made to be used that way. Children in Halacha (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen; pg 212-3) and Chazon Ovadia v. 5 p. 85 are lenient. See http://www.dailyhalacha.com/Display.asp?ClipDate=7/25/2005.
- Sh”t Yacheve Daat 6:23
- Rabbi Belsky as quoted in Halachically Speaking 3:14 https://www.thehalacha.com/wp-content/uploads/Vol3Issue14.pdf 39 Melachos (Rav Ribiat; pg 814), Menuchat Ahava 2:15:11, and Rabbi Mansour (http://www.dailyhalacha.com/Display.asp?ClipDate=7/25/2005) hold that it is forbidden to wrap up the diaper after it is used since the connection will remain permanent.
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach quoted in Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata ch. 35 fnt. 67 and ch. 15 fnt. 233 explained that leaving something connected until it is destroyed if one doesn't actually care about it staying connected isn't considered as though one connected it permanently. Therefore, it is permitted to wrap up the diaper before throwing it out so that it doesn't open up and become a mess.
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 16:81. Hence when putting on the diaper you would not be "ripping" something that was "sewn" for over twenty four hours.
- Sha'arim Metzuyanim L'Halacha 80:45
- 39 Melachot v. 3 p. 846 writes that the flaps are only connected to the back of the diaper in the cutting process and because of the friction they are connected. The same is true of the packaging process. Since they are only connected temporarily it isn't koreah to tear it apart (see Mishna Brurah 340:45 regarding pages stuck together). Similarly, it isn't makeh bpatish since it already resembled a diaper when it was cut even before it was completed. Therefore, tearing these flaps isn't creating a diaper. Dor Hamelaktim v. 6 p. 3773 quotes Shabbos Home (p. 95), Children in Halacha (p. 117), Nishmat Shabbat 340:194, Mechzeh Eliyahu (Piyha Patcha Bchachma 1:12:7:1), Orchot Shabbat ch. 11 fnt. 41, Shvut Yitzchak v. 13 p. 241, Torat Hamelachot 340:34 quoting Rav Karelitz as lenient. On the other hand, they quote Rav Yitzchak Berkowitz that it is makeh bpatish to separate the sides on Shabbat since in the factory the edges are connected before it is useable since it is only cut afterwards. They include a letter from Pampers that this indeed is how it is made in the factory.
- Shimirat Shabbat K'hilchata 15:88. The reason being that one does not care about the color, even though it is convenient since the main function of the diaper is for its intended purpose and not for design it would be a davar sh'eno mitkaven.
- Sh”t Igrot Moshe 2:84 permits. The 39 Melachos by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat page 815 writes that it is clear from the Poskim that buttoning is not an issue of Tofair on Shabbos and is permitted in all cases. There are two reasons for this.
- First, using buttons isn’t a melacha if it is being used in its normal manner, Derech Tashmisho, and its functional design is to be fastened and unfastened.
- Also, Tofair only occurs when the combining medium causes them to be unified to the extent that one must “tear” them apart to detach them. However, buttoning does not actually combine two parts into one and does not require tearing to separate.
- *The Rashbam and Rabbeinu Yoel (Hagahot Mordechai Shabbat 457) hold that it is permitted to rip something that was sewn together if it is meant to last only for a short time. The Riva, however ( Ibid.), argues that it is a biblical prohibition of Korei’a (tearing), as there’s no difference whether the stitches were made to be permanent or temporary. Both opinions are quoted by the Rama 317:3.
- Rav Avraham HaLevi, chief rabbi of Egypt in the 17th century (Ginat Veradim O.C. 3:17), applies the above dispute to Tofer as well. In conclusion, he rules that there is a biblical prohibition even for non-permanent Tofer, in accordance with the view of Riva. Tal Orot (5748 edition, Yerushalyim, pp. 304-11) based on a number of Rishonim, argues that non-permanent Tofer should be considered only a rabbinic prohibition. Sheivet HaLevi 4:35 and Tzitz Eliezer 20:18 accordingly are unwilling to permit Tofer just because it is made to be non-permanent.
- Korban Netanel (Shabbat 7:50) assumes that making two stitches that are not meant to last is forbidden. Thus, he writes that he does not understand the practice of using a pin to hold two pieces of clothing together even if it is meant to be temporary. Mishna Brurah 340:27 agrees.
- Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe 2:84), however, argues that Tofer is violated only when one joins two objects to the extent that they combine to become one object. Thus, tying two things together, using a button to hold clothes together, or using a pin is not considered Tofer. Chazon Ish (Additions to 340), Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata (15:74), and Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 5 p. 138) agree.
- Korban Netanel (Shabbat perek klal gadol 7:50) forbids using a safety pin on Shabbat by putting the safety pin through a cloth. However, the achronim including Sh”t Igrot Moshe 2:84, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:70, and Kitzur Hilchot Shabbat (pg 67) permit because the pin doesn’t connect the two objects but rather keeps them close together like buttons.
- Shibbolei HaLeket (108; cited in Beit Yosef 340:7) writes that it is permitted to connect two pieces of clothing using loops and hooks and it isn’t considered Tofer. Based on this Shibbolei HaLeket, Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol. 5 pg. 140) permits using zippers on Shabbat, since the connection between the two pieces only is an external connection with interlocking pieces similar to loops and hooks. Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Halachipedia Article 5773 #13), Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:74, Sh”t Betzel Chachma 3:92, 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 818), and The Shabbos Home (Rabbi Simcha Cohen, vol 1, pg 75) agree. Rabbi Sobolofsky (“Tofer 2” min 7-8) said that another reason to be lenient is because its normal usage is to zip and unzip it, similar to closing a door (see Mishna Brurah 340:17).
- Rav Soloveitchik (quoted by Rav Hershel Schachter, Halachipedia Article 5773 #13) suggested that since the small zipper teeth interlock so much so that it becomes like one material, it could be an issue of Tofer. He added that using a zipper that one uses all the time is permitted just like a very temporary knot. Sheivet HaLevi 3:51, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky (Emet LeYacov 317:3), and Rav Yisrael Belsky (cited by [Halachically Speaking 3:14:3) agree but add that one shouldn’t zip a lining into one’s winter coat, as that is meant to be left for a long period of time. Rav Hershel Shechter (quoted by Rabbi Rosner between minutes 37:30 and 38:30) is strict for this opinion and doesn’t zipper his Shabbat Tallit bag because of this. Rabbi Rosner (between minutes 36:30 and 37:30) explained that even those who are strict to consider zippers Tofer would be lenient regarding pants zippers because anything which will be unzipped in 24 hours is considered temporary.
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:79
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchato 15:79, Ish Matzliach OC 340:14
- Torat Hamelachot v. 4 p. 149 quotes Rav Vosner and Rav Kerelitz that velcro isn't tofer. But he cites that Rav Kerelitz, Mechazeh Eliyahu, and Nishmat Shabbat 4:214 that it is only permitted to use velcro for temoprary uses but not permanent ones. Mechezah Eliyahu said that it is permitted even if it is connected for more than 7 days but not permanently. However, Peninei Halacha (Harchavot Shabbat p. 307) writes that it is permitted to close a velcro tab on a diaper even for a long time and isn't considered tofer. Ayil Meshulash Koshair 8:15 agrees.
- The Rambam (Shabbat 10:11) writes that it is biblically forbidden to glue two pieces of paper together, as this constitutes a toldah of Tofer. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 340:14 agrees. Thus, Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Halachipedia Article 5773 #13) holds that it is an issue of Tofer to place an adhesive note on the page of a sefer.
- 39 Melachos (Tofer sec. 8a and p. 822) suggests that as opposed to sewing that may be forbidden even if it is temporary because it looks like permanent sewing, gluing two papers together in a way that is clearly temporary is permitted since it does not resemble actual Tofer. Nonetheless, he writes that one should not use adhesive notes because they sometimes are left there for several days. Similarly, Rav Hershel Schachter (Halachipedia Article 5773 #13) said that putting a sticky on a piece of paper could be an issue of Tofer unless one intended to remove it a short time afterwards. The Shabbos Home (p. 78) is lenient if it meant to be removed within 24 hours.
- Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 28:8 is lenient to use a sticky note on Shabbat if it was already detached from its pad from before Shabbat and it isn't so sticky that it can't be removed without tearing the surface it was placed upon. Mishnat Yosef v. 14 p. 63 based on Yechava Daat 6:24 suggests that it is permitted even to remove the sticky note from the pad on Shabbat.
- Rav Elyashiv (Shvut Yitzchak v. 14 p. 227) forbade using sticky notes on Shabbat.
- Rav Belksy held that since post-its and post-it flags are meant to be placed on a surface and removed easily they are not subject to tofer. Nonetheless, people consider them tofer and as such should not be used. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 28:8 applied his ruling to post-it flags as well.
- 39 Melachos v. 3 p. 823
- 39 Melachos v. 3 p. 819