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  1. Oreg was utilized in the Mishkan to produce the curtains that were eventually draped over the Mishkan[1] and was accomplished through the repeated threading of horizontal strings (the weft) through vertical stings (the warp) on a loom.[2]


  1. Mishna Shabbos 73a and Rashi s.v. HaPotzeah

  2. The Rambam (Peirush Hamishnayos Shabbos 7:2) defines this melacha as the chibbur, compilation/assemblage, of multiple entities. The concept of chibbur in the melacha of oreg also seems to arise from the Yerushalmi (Shabbos 13:1), which attempts to align R’ Eliezer, who holds that one must make three stitches in the beginning of a garment to be chayav for Oreg, with the position of R’ Yehuda, who holds that one needs to sew three stitches between two pieces of clothing in order for them to be considered connected for the issur of Kilaim. By making such a comparison, the Yerushalmi seems to suggest that having a chibbur in Oreg is critical for R’ Eliezer.
    The Rambam’s understanding of Oreg seems to be manifest in several other places as well. The Gemara Shabbos on 75b records the position of the Chachamim that if one is “midakdek,” he is chayav for Oreg. Several explanations are provided for what midakdek means (See Rashi and Meiri 75b) however Rabeinu Chananel 75b explains that it refers to the process by which one pushes the stitches together after they are woven. This seems to shift the focus of Oreg from the action of weaving itself to the chibbur of the strings. Additionally, the Minchas Chinuch (32:17) quotes the Magen Avos who explains that for all melachos which have a shiur, measurement, listed in the mishna (Shabbos 73a), there is no issur chatzi shiur. For example, one has not violated the prohibition if he or she has only woven one string, part of the shiur. The idea that two strings are fundamental to Oreg suggests that melacha is defined as creating a chibbur.
    Perhaps this idea of chibbur relates to another concept, which arises regarding Oreg. The Gemara Shabbos on 105a states that if one sews the lip of a garment, he is chayav even if he sews the length of only three batei nirim, a shiur less than the standard length of m’lo hasit, which one ordinarily must sew in order to be chayav for Oreg. The Gemara explains that this case is analogous to sewing a small belt, which is only three batei nirrim in length. The Ritva 105A explains that since we find a begged, the belt, which has a size of only three batei Nirim, sewing this length for the lip of the garment will be sufficient to be a violation of the melacha of Oreg. The Ritva seems to view the melacha of Oreg not just as the action of threading a string through other strings, but rather as the production of clothing. This approach may also limit the scope of materials to which Oreg is applied. Tosfos on Shabbos 94 s.v. v’ki, attempt to explain why braiding one’s hair would not be considered Oreg while braiding three strings together would. Their first answer is that something can only be considered Oreg if it is with clothing, and not hair. More strikingly, the case of the threads appears on Shabbos 64b in the context of being classified as tumas begged, the size needed for a begged to become ritually impure. Tosofos’s seamless integration of hilchos Tumah with Shabbos further emphasizes Oreg’s focus on the begged.
    This further explains the position of Rav Ashi on Shabbos 104b that even the Rabanan, who normally require two strings for a chiyuv of Oreg (Mishna Shabbos 73a), require just one stitch when it is the last stitch in the garment. One way to understand this is that since the whole melacha is defined as producing a begged, when one actually finishes the begged with his stitch, he does not have to do a second stitch to be chayav. Perhaps the Rambam who emphasized the element of chibbur agrees with the Ritva because when one combines multiple stitches, he makes a surface area which will constitute a portion of a begged.