Monday, June 25, 2012

Folding a tallis on Shabbos


May I fold my tallis after davening on Shabbos morning?

There are three halachic concerns related to folding one's tallis:
• Folding fabric is a way to maintain its clean, crisp look, and can be a form of the forbidden melachah of melaben (whitening).
• If folding improves the tallis, making it more usable, then one could be liable for metaken (making an item functional).
• Since the next use of the tallis will be after this Shabbos, one could be liable for hachanah (preparation for after Shabbos), even if the next use will also be on a Shabbos.

Some authorities are lenient, contending that folding a tallis does not improve it and is not on the level of "cleaning". Others recommend folding the tallis off of the normal crease, to avoid improving it.

The Maharil, an early Ashkenazi authority, folded his tallis right after Shabbos. This practice is laudable, as it begins the week with a mitzvah and with preparation for the next Shabbos.

(Tosafos Shabbos 113a mekaplim; Magen Avraham 300: hakdamah; R' Akiva Eiger on Magen Avraham 302:6; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 302:12; Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 15:45; Az Nidbiru 7:88, 8:27; Badei haShulchan 4:117:8)

Have a great day,


  1. Instead, however, I see the Talleisim rolled up softly in a ball and left for others. What would be the ideal for shul owned talleisim that others use for Aliyas during Torah reading? Is there a different standard for those than one's personal tallis.

  2. Hi Michael,

    I think a shul tallis could be better until minchah, as there would be no concern for preparing for after Shabbos; I am preparing for another user on this Shabbos. Even after minchah, perhaps I could contend I was cleaning up the shul.

    Further, one could suggest that this folding is highly temporary, since we expect it to be undone in a couple of hours.