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The Basics of Koshair

Bibical prohibition

  1. The Melacha of Koshair is the binding two pliable items by intertwining them such as through a firm knot or twining threads into rope. [1]
  2. A knot that’s forbidden on a Torah level is one that is both (1) professional and (2) is meant to be permanent. [2]

Rabbinic prohibition

  1. A knot that is a professional knot but isn't meant to be permanent or a permanent know which isn't professional is forbidden on a Rabbinic level. [3] Some hold that a knot which is permanent even if it's not professional is Biblical prohibited. [4]

Permissible knots

  1. A knot that’s not profession and doesn't have any degree of permanence is permissible to tie. A loose knot which isn't meant to last more than 24 hours is permissible. [5] Some authorities permit even up to 7 days. [6]
  2. Even if you personally intend to leave it less than 24 hours, if it’s a knot sometimes left permanently by people it’s forbidden Rabbinically to prevent confusion between temporary and permanent knots. [7]


  1. Any knot which is forbidden to tie is also forbidden to tighten. [8]
  2. For example, one may not tighten the double knot of the tzitzit or talit if it became loose. [9]


  1. Any knot that’s permitted to tie is permitted to untie. [10]

A bow

  1. A bow-knot, slipknot, or a single-knot isn’t a true Kesher-bind and is permissible even if it does remain in place for a while. [11] For example: a ribbon on a gift, a single bind on a shopping bag or garbage liner.
  2. After tying a bow knot (a bow on top of a single knot), as is common when tying one's shoes, one may not tie a second bow on top of the bow knot. [12]

A bow on top of a single knot

  1. According to Ashkenazim, it is permissible to tie one's shoelaces or a decorative ribbon on a blouse with a bow on top of a single knot (initial winding) only if it’s meant to be untied within 24 hours. [13] However, if one doesn't usually untie it within 24 hours (and manages to slip one's foot in and out) it would be forbidden to tie one's shoes on Shabbat. [14]According to Sephardim it is permissible even if it isn't meant to be untied within 24 hours, yet it's preferable to make sure to untie it within 7 days. [15]
  2. Someone doing the wrapping of an Ashkenaz Sefer Torah (Gelilah) and has to tie a sash around the Torah, it's preferable to just wrap the sash around the Torah and tuck in the end, however, if that's not possible then some are lenient to tie a bow on top of a single knot [16] while others are strict unless one is planning on untying it within 24 hours. [17]
  3. It is permissible to tie a necktie on Shabbat if one usually unties it within 24 hours. However if one doesn't usually untie it within 24 hours, one should tie it from before Shabbat and put it on and take it off by just tightening and loosening the side which goes around the neck, however, one shouldn't untie it on Shabbat. [18]

Double knots

  1. It is forbidden to tie a tight double knot. [19]
  2. It is forbidden to tie a single knot with one string onto itself. [20]
  3. Some permit tying a double knot if it’s not meant to last. [21] For example, it’s permissible to tie a double knot for a belt (gartel) or sash (tichel) if it’s going to be untied in 24 hours since it’s not meant to be tight. [22] Those who are stringent will be blessed. [23]
  4. If unintentionally one pulled the bow-knot of the shoelaces and it became a double knot, one may untie it. [24]
  5. One can untie a double knot that is made on a candy bag given out at shul for a simcha. [25]

Twist ties

  1. Some authorities forbid using wire twist ties to close bags unless one plans to undo it within 24 hours. [26] However, others permit. [27] It is praiseworthy to avoid using them if they will remain undone for more than 24 hours. [28]

Fixing clothing

  1. Socks or gloves that are tied together should be detached before Shabbat, but if one forgot one should untie it but ripe it so as to destroy the string. [29]
  2. One can take out the pins put into shirts in packaging to keep it from wrinkling. [30]
  3. It’s totally permitted to thread new laces into shoes to replace old laces but it’s not permitted if the shoe was never laced. [31]


  1. Mishna Brurah(317:34) quoting the Rambam, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 51:52
  2. Shulchan Aruch (317:1) in the opinion of the Rambam and Rif
  3. Shulchan Aruch (317:1) according to the Rambam and Rif, Mishna Brurah (intro to 317)
  4. The Rama (317:1) quoting the opinion of Rashi and Rosh
  5. The Rama 317:1 quoting Tur and Mordechai; Mishna Brurah (317:6) explains it as anything less than 24 hours.
  6. Rama also quotes Kol Bo and Hagot Maymoniyot. Yalkut Yosef (317:6) writes that Sephardim hold like this opinion.
  7. Magan Avraham (317:20), Kol Sinai (Koshair #3)
  8. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:50 (in new editions 15:53), Kesot HaShulchan (Siman 123, at the end of note 4), Sh"t Az Nidabru 3:22, Sh"t Bear Moshe 6:3
  9. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 799)
  10. Rama 317:1
  11. Shulchan Aruch (317:5) and implied by Rama (317:1), brought by the Yalkut Yosef (317:11)
  12. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 798)
  13. Shulchan Aruch (317:5) rules that a bow-knot isn’t a Kesher, on this the Rama adds that a bow on a single knot is permissible. The Mishna Brurah (317:29) qualifies this that it’s only where the single knot isn’t meant to last (more than 24 hours). Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:53 (in new edition 15:56) and 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 798) concur with the Mishna Brurah.
  14. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 798)
  15. Yalkut Yosef(317:11), Az Nidabru 6:22, and Rav Ovadyah in Kol Sinai (Koshair #5) rule that some permit even if the single knot is meant to last but says it preferable to be stringent if the knot is meant to last 7 days.
  16. Sh"t Tzitz Eliezer 7:29, Shalmat Chaim 185, Beir Moshe 6:55.
  17. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:53 (in new editions 15:56) is strict unless one is planning to untie it within 24 hours, however, in the footnote (15:188) he quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman who said that the minhag is to be lenient.
  18. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:58 (in new editions 15:62) permits tying a necktie on Shabbat if one usually unties it within 24 hours. In the footnote 15:208 he quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman. Similarly, 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 795-6) permits as long as one usually unties it after wearing it. See the footnote (Koshair #42) where he quotes Rav Reuven Feinstein who quotes his father Rav Moshe Feinstein that it would be permitted even if one doesn't usually untie it.
  19. Rama (317:1) quoting the Smag
  20. Rama (317:1) quoting the Hagot Alfasi
  21. Yalkut Yosef (317:8) says that some disagree and permit even a double knot as long as it’s not Kesher Shel Kayama according to the Rosh (only Kayama is a factor, not Uman) and concludes the Minhag is to permit and the stringent one will be blessed. But in a case of need there’s no need to be strict. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:52 (in new edition 15:55) agrees.
  22. Shaarei Teshuva (317:1), Tzitz Eliezer 16:10, Menuchat Ahava 14:5
  23. To be strict for the opinion of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 8:45 and Rav Poalim O”C 2:44
  24. Mishnat Halachot 3:38, Rav Ovadyah in Kol Sinai (Koshair 3:5), Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 15:56 (in new editions 15:60)
  25. Toldot Yitzchak O”C 2:11
  26. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 14:9 and (15 note 166, in the new edition note 174) quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman
  27. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, Melechat Koshair note 54) quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein
  28. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 800)
  29. Shemirat Shabbat Kahilchata 15:63 in name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, Az Nidabru 1:58.
  30. Shemirat Shabbat Kahilchata 15:64 in name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, Bier Moshe 1:22.
  31. Rav Ovadya Yosef in the Haskama of Netiv Mitzvot, Mayim Chaim Meshash O”C 1:147, Bier Moshe 2:20(2),6:59, Tefilah LeMoshe 1:58.