Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us
Shabbat, 20 Adar 5773 / March 2, 2013

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Kilaayim - Chapter 10

Video & Audio Classes
Show content in:

Kilaayim - Chapter 10


The prohibition against mixed fabrics in clothes involves only wool1 and linen, as [Deuteronomy 22:11] states: "Do not wear sha'atnez, wool and linen together." In seaports, there is something like wool that grows on stones in the Mediterranean Sea2 whose appearance resembles gold and it is very soft. It is called kelech.3 It is forbidden [to be mixed] with linen because of the appearance it creates, because it resembles lambs' wool. Similarly, silk and kelech are forbidden because of the appearance it creates.4


אין אסור בכלאי בגדים אלא צמר ופשתן בלבד שנאמר לא תלבש שעטנז צמר ופשתים יחדיו ויש בכרכי הים כמו צמר שגדל על האבנים שבים המלח תבניתו כתבנית הזהב והוא רך ביותר וכלך שמו ואסור עם הפשתן מפני מראית העין שהוא דומה לצמר רחלים וכן השירים והכלך אסורין מפני מראית העין:


When a ewe is born to a she-goat, one is not liable for [mixing] its wool [with linen]. It is, however, forbidden according to Rabbinic decree, because of the impression it creates.

If wool and linen are connected in any manner, they are considered mixed fabrics according to Scriptural Law.5What is implied? When wool and linen were mixed together, combed together, and made into a smooth mass, they are considered as mixed fabrics. If they were mixed and combed as one and then a garment was woven from this combed fabric, they are considered mixed fabrics.


רחל בת עז צמרד אין לוקין עליו משום כלאים אבל אסור הוא מדבריהם מפני מראית העין כיון שנתחבר הצמר עם הפשתן צד חיבור בעולם הרי זה כלאים מן התורה כיצד צמר ופשתים שטרפן זה עם זה ושע אותן ועשה מהן לבדין הרי אלו כלאים טרפן וטוה אותן כאחד וארג בגד מטווי זה הרי זה כלאים:


If one sewed woolen fabric to linen6 - even if he sewed them with silk, sewed a woolen garment with linen thread, or a linen garment with woolen thread, one tied woolen threads with linen threads or braided them together, or even if one placed wool and linen together in a sack or a basket and wound them,7 they are considered as mixed fabrics. Even if one tied a braid of wool to a braid of linen, even if there is a strap of leather in between,8 they are considered mixed fabrics. [This law also applies] if one folded over woolen and linen fabric and tied them together. [The rationale is that the prooftext states:] "Wool and linen together." Since they are combined - regardless of how - they are forbidden.


תפר בגד צמר בשל פשתן ואפילו תפרן במשי או שתפר בגד צמר בחוטי פשתן או בגד פשתים בחוטי צמר או קשר חוטי צמר בחוטי פשתים או גדלן אפילו נתן צמר ופשתים בשק או בקופה וכרכן הרי אלו כלאים ואפילו קשר גדיל של צמר בגדיל של פשתן אף על פי שהרצועה באמצע וכן אם כפל בגדי צמר ופשתן וקשרן הרי אלו כלאים שנאמר צמר ופשתים יחדו מכל מקום כיון שנתאחד נאסר:


What is the source that teaches that all these prohibitions are Scriptural in origin? [We derive this from the fact that] the Torah had to explicitly state that kilayim are permitted in tzitzit.9 As we learned according to the Oral Tradition,10 the passage concerning kilayim11 was positioned next to the passage concerning tzitzit12 solely to teach that kilayim are permitted in tzitzit. Now the tzitzit are strands that are tied together. Thus it can be derived that a connection of this type in a situation that does not involve a mitzvah is forbidden according to Scriptural Law.13 For the Torah would not exclude something that is forbidden only according to Rabbinic Law.


ומנין שכל איסורין אלו של תורה שהרי הוצרך הכתוב להתיר כלאים בציצית כמו שלמדו מפי השמועה שלא נסמכה פרשת כלאים לפרשת ציצית אלא להתיר כלאים בציצית והציצית חוטין קשורין בלבד הן מכלל שחבור כזה שלא במקום מצוה אסור מן התורה שאינו ממעט בתורה דבר שהוא אסור מדברי סופרים:


There is no minimum measure for kilayim. Even the smallest thread of wool in a large linen garment or a thread of linen in a woolen garment is forbidden.14


הכלאים אין לו שיעור אפילו חוט כל שהוא של צמר בבגד גדול של פשתן או של פשתן בצמר אסור:


[The following laws apply when] one mixed the wool of ewes with the wool of camels and the like and made thread from them. If half [of the mixture] is from the ewes, it is considered as kilayim with flax. If, however, the majority is from the camels, it is permitted to mix them with flax, because the form of the entire mixture is that of camel wool. We do not pay attention to the strands of wool that are mixed with them, for they are not threads of wool.15


צמר רחלים וצמר גמלים וכיוצא בו שטרפן זה בזה וטוה מהן טווי אם היה החצי מן הרחלים הרי הכל כצמר רחלים והרי הוא כלאים עם הפשתן ואם היה הרוב מן הגמלים מותר לערבו עם הפשתן מפני שצורת הכל צורת צמר גמלים ואין חוששין לנימות של צמר המעורבת בהן מפני שאינן חוטי צמר:


Therefore when sheep hides are used to make garments,16 they are permitted even though they are sewed with flax. We are not concerned with the strands of wool - even though they become entwined with the linen threads used to sew it, because the wool is insignificant because of the minute amount that is there.17


לפיכך עורות הכבשים שעושין מהן בגדים אע"פ שתופרין אותן בפשתן מותרין ואין חוששין לנימות של צמר אף על פי שנכרכו בכלל חוט הפשתן שתפרו בו שהרי בטלו במיעוטן:


Similar [laws apply when] hemp and linen were mixed with each other. If the majority is hemp, it is permitted to weave these threads with woolen threads. If they are half and half, it is forbidden.


וכן הקנבוס והפשתן שטרפן זה בזה אם רוב מן הקנבוס מותר לארוג הטווי מהן עם חוטי צמר ואם היו מחצה למחצה אסור:


If a person makes a garment entirely out of camel's wool, rabbit wool, or hemp and weaves one thread of [sheep's] wool on one side and one thread of linen on the other side,18 it is forbidden as kilayim.19


העושה בגד כולו צמר גמלים או צמר ארנבים או קנבוס וארג בו חוט של צמר מצד זה וחוט של פשתן מצד זה הרי זה אסור משום כלאים:


When a woolen garment becomes torn, it is permitted to join it together with threads of linen and tie them, but one may not sew them.20


בגד צמר שנפרם מותר לפרוף אותו בחוטי פשתן וקושר אבל לא יתפור:


A person may wear woolen garments and linen garments and tie a belt around them from the outside,21 provided he does not wind together cords [of each fabric] and tie them22 between his shoulders.


לובש אדם בגדי צמר ובגד פשתן וחוגר עליהם מבחוץ ובלבד שלא יכרוך את המשיחה ויקשור בה בין כתפיו:


It is permitted to make mixed fabrics and sell them.23 It is forbidden only to wear them or cover oneself with them.24 [This is derived from] the verses [Deuteronomy 22:11]: "Do not wear sha'atnez" and [Leviticus 19:19: "A garment that is of mixed fabrics, sha'atnez] shall not come upon you." [The association of the verses implies] that to be forbidden, [a garment must] "come upon [you]" as one wears it. If, however, it comes upon one not in a manner of wearing, i.e., a tent that is kilayim, it is permitted to sit under it.

Similarly, it is permitted according to Scriptural Law to sit on spreads25 that are made of kilayim. For "Shall not come upon you" [implies], that you may spread it under you. According to Rabbinic decree, however, even if there are ten spreads one on top of the other and the bottom one is kilayim, it is forbidden to sit on the top one, lest a strand [of kilayim] becomes wound around one's flesh.


כלאי בגדים מותר לעשותם ולמוכרם ואין אסור אלא ללובשן בלבד או להתכסות בהן שנאמר לא תלבש שעטנז ונאמר לא יעלה עליך העליה שהיא דרך לבישה אסור אבל עליה שאין דרך לבישה כגון אהל שהוא כלאים מותר לישב תחתיו וכן מותר מן התורה לישב על מצעות של כלאים שנאמר לא יעלה עליך אבל אתה מציעו תחתיך ומדברי סופרים אפילו עשר מצעות זו על גבי זו והתחתון שבהן כלאים אסור לישב על העליון שמא תכרך נימא על בשרו:


When does the above apply? With regard to [spreads made from] soft [fabrics], e.g., curtains and sheets. With regard to [those made from] firm [fabrics] that will not become wound [upon a person's body], e.g., pillows and cushions,26 it is permitted to sit or lie upon them, provided one's flesh does not touch them.27


בד"א ברכין כגון יריעות ושמלות אבל בקשין שאינן נכרכין כגון כרים וכסתות מותר לישב ולהסב עליהן והוא שלא יהיה בשרו נוגע בהם:


Similar [laws apply when] a drape is made from kilayim. If it is soft, it is forbidden lest a servant lean against it and it become draped around his body.28 If it was firm and would not be draped, it is permitted.


וכן הפרוכת שהיא כלאים אם היתה רכה אסורה שמא יסמך לה השמש ותעלה על בשרו ואם היתה קשה שאינה נכרכת מותרת:


It is permissible to wear slippers29 from kilayim that do not have a heel.30 [The rationale is that] the skin of the foot is tough and does not derive satisfaction as does the skin of the other [portions] of his body.


מנעל שהוא כלאים ואין לו עקב מותר ללובשו שעור הרגל קשה הוא ואינו נהנה כשאר עור הגוף:


Seamtresses sewing garments may sew [kilayim] in their ordinary manner,31 provided they do not intend [to benefit from them,32 using them as a shield] against the sun in the summer and the rain in the rainy season. The meticulous33 sew [with the garment lying] on the earth.34

Similarly, people who sell garments may sell them in the ordinary manner,35as long as they do not have the intent that the kilayim on their shoulders will protect them from the heat in the summer and warm them in the rainy season. The meticulous [hang the clothes on] a pole extended over their backs.


תופרי כסות תופרין כדרכן ובלבד שלא יתכוונו בחמה מפני החמה ובגשמים מפני הגשמים והצנועין תופרים בארץ וכן מוכרי כסות מוכרין כדרכן ובלבד שלא יתכוונו בחמה שיציל להם הכלאים שעל כתפן מן החמה ולא יתכוונו בגשמים להתחמם בו והצנועין מפשילין במקל לאחוריהן:


A person should not pick up a hot egg with a cloth that is kilayim for he is [then] benefiting from the mixed fabrics as protection from the heat or from the cold.36 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


לא יקח אדם ביצה כשהיא חמה בבגד כלאים שהרי הוא נהנה בכלאים מפני החמה או מפני הצינה וכן כל כיוצא בזה:


A person should not wear kilayim [even] temporarily and even on top of ten other garments in which instance, he is not deriving benefit from [the mixed fabrics].37 This is forbidden even to deceive customs inspectors.38 If one wears them for such a purpose, he is liable for lashes.


לא ילבש אדם כלאים עראי ואפילו על גבי עשרה בגדים שאינו מהנהו כלום ואפילו להבריח את המכס ואם לבש כן לוקה:


The prohibition against [wearing] kilayim applies only to garments that [are worn] to provide warmth, e.g., a long shirt, a hat, pants, a belt, a dress, knee pants, gloves, or the like. However, small belts that people make with their pockets prepared to hold money, spices, or the like are permitted [despite the fact they contain kilayim] even though one's flesh touches them, because this is not the ordinary way in which one warms himself. [The same principles apply with regard to] a rag on which one places a bandage, poultice, dressing, or the like.


אין אסור משום כלאים אלא בגדים שהן דרך חימום כגון הכתונת והמצנפת והמכנסיים והאבנט והשמלה ובגדים שמחפין בהן את השוקים ואת הידים וכיוצא בהם אבל צלצולין קטנים שעושין אותן העם בבית יד שלהן לצרור בהן מעות או תבלין וסמרטוט שמניחין עליו רטיה או מלוגמא או אספלנית וכיוצא בהן הרי אלו מותרין אע"פ שבשרו נוגע בהן שאין דרך חימום בכך:


A forehead piece of leather, silk or the like to which are attached strands of wool and strands of leather that hang over a persons face to chase away flies are not [forbidden] as kilayim, because this is not the manner through which a person derives warmth.


ציץ של עור או משי וכיוצא בהן שתלה בהן חוטי צמר וחוטי פשתן מדולדלין על פני האדם כדי להפריח הזבובין אין בו משום כלאים שאין דרך חימום בכך:


It is permitted for a person who is leading animals to hold the leashes attached to them in his hand even though some of them are linen and some of them are wool. [He may] even wind them around his hand. If, however, he ties them all [together],39 they are considered as kilayim40 and it is forbidden for him to bind them around his hand.41


המנהיג בהמות ומכניס חבלים לתוך ידו מהן פשתים ומהן צמר הרי זו מותר ואף על פי שכורכן על ידו אבל אם קשרן כלן נעשו כלאים ואסור לו לכרכן על ידו:


Towels used to clean hands,42 cloths used to wipe down utensils and land,43 mantles for Torah scrolls,44 and a barber's cloth45 are all forbidden [to be made from] kilayim.46 [The rationale is that one's] hands touch them and they always become wound around the hands and warm them.


מטפחות שמקנחין בהן את הידים ומטפחות שמספגין בהן הכלים והקרקעות (ומטפחת ספר תורה) ומטפחות ספרים אסורים משום כלאים שהרי הידים נוגעות בהן והן נכרכין על היד תמיד ומתחממין:


[The following law applies to] tickets47 that launderers and weavers make for clothes so that each person could identify his own. If the ticket was of wool on a linen garment or a linen ticket on a woolen garment, it is forbidden even though it is not significant for him.


אותות שעושין הכובסין והגרדין בבגדים כדי שיהא כל אחד מכיר את שלו אם היתה אות של צמר בפשתן או פשתן בצמר הרי זה אסור אע"פ שאינו חשוב אצלו:


When a person joined a woolen cloth to a linen cloth with one thrust [of the needle and thread], they are not considered as having been joined together48 and they are not considered as kilayim.49 If he gathered the two heads of the thread [and tied them] together50 or [joined the cloths with] two thrusts [of the needle and thread],51 they are considered as kilayim.


בגד צמר שחברו עם בגד פשתן בתכיפה אחת אינו חבור ואין זה כלאים קבץ שני ראשי החוט כאחד או שתכף שתי תכיפות הרי זה כלאים:


It is permitted to make shrouds for the deceased from kilayim, for the deceased are not obligated in any mitzvot.52 [Kilayim] may be used as a saddle-blanket for a donkey53 and one may sit on it, provided his flesh is not touching it.54 He should not place this saddle-blanket on his shoulder even to take out the compost.55


מותר לעשות מן הכלאים תכריכין למת שאין על המתים מצוה ולעשות ממנו מרדעת לחמור ויושב עליה והוא שלא יהיה בשרו נוגע בה ולא יניח מרדעת זו על כתפו אפילו להוציא עליהן את הזבל:


It is permissible to carry a corpse or an animal that is dressed in kilayim on one's shoulders.56


המת והבהמה שהיו מלובשין כלאים מותר לנושאן על כתפו:


When a thread of linen becomes lost within a woolen garment or a thread of wool becomes lost within a linen garment, the garment should not be sold to a gentile lest the gentile sell it to a Jew.57 Nor should he make it a saddle-blanket for a donkey, lest another person find it and tear it of the saddle-blanket and wear it, because the kilayim are not discernable within it.

What can be done to correct the situation regarding this garment? It should be dyed. Because wool and linen will not dye in the same manner. Thus [the lost thread] will become recognizable and then he should remove it. If it is not recognizable [after the dying], it is permitted [to use the garment], for perhaps [the lost thread] fell off. After all, he checked and did not find it. As we explained already in the laws of forbidden intimate relations,58 any prohibition arising from a doubt is of Rabbinical origin. Therefore, [our Sages] were lenient because of the doubt.59


בגד צמר שאבד בו חוט של פשתן או בגד פשתן שאבד בו חוט של צמר הרי זה לא ימכרנו לנכרי שמא ימכרנו הנכרי לישראל ולא יעשנו מרדעת לחמור שמא ימצא אותו אחר ויקרענו מעל המרדעת וילבשנו שהרי אין הכלאים ניכר בו וכיצד תקנת בגד זה צובעו שאין הצמר והפשתים עולים בצבע אחד ומיד הוא ניכר לו ושומטו ואם לא ניכר הרי זה מותר שמא נשמט והלך לו שהרי בדק ולא מצאו וכבר בארנו בהלכות ביאות אסורות שכל איסור ספיקות מדברי סופרים ולפיכך הקלו בספק:


When a person purchases woolen garments from gentiles, he must check them very carefully, lest they be sewn with linen thread.60


הלוקח כלי צמר מן הנכרי צריך לבדקו יפה יפה שמא הן תפורין בפשתן:


When a person sees kilayim that are forbidden by Scriptural Law on his friend - even if the latter is walking in the market place - he should jump up and rip it off him immediately.61 [This applies] even to his teacher from whom he has learned wisdom.62 For [the obligation to] honor people at large does not supercede a negative prohibition in the Torah.63

Why is such [a prohibition] superceded with regard to returning a lost object?64 Because the prohibition involves financial matters.65

Why is [a prohibition] superceded with regard to the ritual impurity associated with a corpse?66 Because Scripture made an exclusion regarding his sister.67According to the Oral Tradition,68 it was taught: For his sister, he may not become impure, but he may become impure for a corpse that it is a mitzvah to bury.

If, however, a prohibition is Rabbinic in origin, it is superceded by the consideration of a person's honor in all situations. Although the Torah states [Deuteronomy 17:11]: "Do not deviate from any of the statements they relate to you,"69 this prohibition is superceded by considerations of a person's honor. Accordingly, if [another person] has upon him sha'atnez that is forbidden according to Rabbinical law, one may not rip it off him in the marketplace, nor must [the person himself] remove it in the marketplace until he reaches home. If [the sha'atnez was forbidden] according to Scriptural Law, he must remove it immediately.


הרואה כלאים של תורה על חבירו אפילו היה מהלך בשוק קופץ לו וקורעו עליו מיד ואפילו היה רבו שלמדו חכמה שאין כבוד הבריות דוחה איסור לא תעשה המפורש בתורה ולמה נדחה בהשב אבדה מפני שהוא לאו של ממון ולמה נדחה בטומאת מת הואיל ופרט הכתוב ולאחותו מפי השמועה למדו לאחותו אינו מטמא אבל מטמא הוא למת מצוה אבל דבר שאיסורו מדבריהם הרי הוא נדחה מפני כבוד הבריות בכ"מ ואף על פי שכתוב בתורה לא תסור מן הדבר הרי לאו זה נדחה מפני כבוד הבריות לפיכך אם היה עליו שעטנז של דבריהם אינו קורעו עליו בשוק ואינו פושטו בשוק עד שמגיע לביתו ואם היה של תורה פושטו מיד:


A person who wears kilayim or covers himself with them is liable for lashes. If he was wearing kilayim the entire day, he is liable only for one set of lashes.70 If he repeatedly stuck his head in and out of the garment - even though he did not take off the entire garment, he is liable for each time [he stuck his head out].71

When is he liable for only one set of lashes? When he received one warning. If, however, they warned him and told him: "Take it off, take it off," and he continued to wear it and remained wearing for the amount of time necessary to remove it and put it on after they warned him, he is liable [for lashes] for each interval that he waited,72 for he was warned regarding it and, nevertheless, did not remove [the forbidden garment].


הלובש כלאים או המתכסה בו לוקה היה לבוש בכלאים כל היום כולו אינו לוקה אלא אחת הוציא ראשו מן הבגד והחזירו הוציא ראשו והחזירו אע"פ שלא פשט הבגד כולו הרי זה חייב על כל אחת ואחת במה דברים אמורים שהוא חייב אחת כל היום כשהתרו בו התראה אחת אבל אם התרו בו ואמרו לו פשוט פשוט והוא לבוש בו ושהה כדי לפשוט וללבוש אחר שהתרו בו הרי זה חייב על כל שהייה ושהייה שהתרו בו עליה ואף על פי שלא פשט:


[The following laws apply when] a person dresses a colleague in kilayim. If the wearer acted consciously, he is liable for lashes73 and the person who dressed him is liable for "plac[ing] a stumbling block before the blind."74 If the person wearing the garment did not know that it was kilayim and the person who dressed him acted willfully, that person is liable for lashes75 and the wearer is exempt.


המלביש את חבירו כלאים אם היה הלובש מזיד הלובש לוקה והמלביש עובר משום ולפני עור לא תתן מכשול ואם לא ידע הלובש שהבגד הוא כלאים והיה המלביש מזיד המלביש לוקה והלובש פטור:


When priests wear their priestly garments when they are not performing service even though they are in the Temple,76 they are liable for lashes because the sash contains kilayim77 and license to wear it was granted only while performing service, for that is a positive commandment like tzitzit.78


כהנים שלבשו בגדי כהונה שלא בשעת עבודה אפילו במקדש לוקין מפני האבנט שהוא כלאים ולא הותרו בו אלא בשעת עבודה שהיא מצות עשה כציצית:

Blessed be the Merciful One who grants assistance.

סליקו להו הלכות כלאים בס"ד:


When the term "wool" is used without any adjective, it refers only to sheep's wool (the Jerusalem Talmud, Kilayim 9:1).


Although the Rambam uses the term Yam HaMelech, his intent is the Mediterranean Sea and not the Dead Sea. See Hilchot Tzitzit 2:2 and his Commentary to the Mishnah (Keilim 9:1) for other examples of such usage.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:2), the Rambam states that this fabric is a type of silk. Others identify it with cissaros blossoms.


For silk resembles linen and kelech resembles wool (ibid.).

Rav Yosef Corcus and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 298:1) state that certainly a mixture of wool and silk should be forbidden. Nevertheless, he continues that at present, silk is very common and recognized by everyone. Hence, there is no need to forbid it, because of the appearance it will create.


The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, meaning that making a smooth mass is not sufficient to create an article forbidden by Scriptural Law. To explain the difference of opinion: The Mishnah (Kilayim 9:8-9) states:

The prohibition against kilayim applies only with regard to fibers that are spun into thread and woven, as it is written: "Do not wear sha'atnez," [i.e., the prohibition applies to fibers that] are made into a smooth mass, spun, and woven.... Sheets of fabric are forbidden for they have been made into a smooth mass.

In his commentary to that mishnah, the Rambam states:

"Made into a smooth mass"- This refers to making fabric. It involves smoothing down the surface of the substance made into a even mass....

"Spun" - This involves mixing wool and linen together and spinning them into threads.

"Woven" - That [these threads] should be woven together.... It implies connection and establishing union.

If one mixed wool and linen together, spun them into threads, wove them into a garment, and smoothed its surface..., that garment will be considered as mixed fabrics. This applies with regard to mixed fabrics as defined by Scriptural Law. For, [according to Scriptural Law, a garment] is not considered as mixed fabrics unless [making it] involved all these three activities. Anything other than this [that involves wool and linen] is mixed fabrics [only] according to Rabbinic Law.

Some of the Geonim wrote as above. I, however, consider that as incorrect. Instead, any one [of these activities] is sufficient to cause a garment to be considered as mixed fabrics according to Scriptural Law. The statement in tractate Niddah [61b which implies that all three activities are necessary] is not the wording of the Talmud, but an interpretation.

Our translation is taken from Rav Kappach's translation of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah which is a revised edition. Originally - and this is the version followed by the standard published text of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah - the Rambam wrote that the ruling that all three activities are necessary for the prohibition to be of Scriptural origin is "a correct ruling, concerning which there is no doubt." Thus originally the Rambam also subscribed to the opinion followed by the Ra'avad [which is also shared by Rashi (Niddah, loc. cit.), but later changed his mind [adopting the view stated here and in Tosafot (Niddah, loc. cit.)]. The Kessef Mishneh and the Radbaz discuss the issue in their glosses to the Mishneh Torah. See the Tur and commentaries (Yoreh De'ah 300. The Siftei Cohen 300:1 writes that the majority of the authorities follow Rashi's view. It must be emphasized that all of the opinions maintain that any combination of wool and linen is forbidden according to Rabbinic Law, the debate involves only the extent of the Scriptural prohibition.


In the previous halachah, the Rambam stated that any one of the following activities: making fabrics into a smooth mass, spinning, or weaving them is sufficient to incur liability. He also gave examples regarding the first two types of activities mentioned. As mentioned in the previous note, he interprets the term "weaving" as creating a connection. In this halachah, he gives examples of how creating a connection between two fabrics causes one to be liable.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:10), the Rambam explains that the sack or the basket causes the two fabrics to be considered as one. It is forbidden to carry the sack or basket on one's back, lest it be considered that one is benefiting from mixed fabrics.

This follows Rav Kappach's amended text of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah. The standard printed text follows a slightly different version.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.:9), the Rambam explains that we are speaking about attaching a thread of wool to one side of a leather strap and a thread of linen to the other. Since the two fabrics are connected, the Scriptural prohibition is involved. See Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 300:5) which takes a somewhat more lenient position.


According to Scriptural Law, on a linen garment, the white strands of the tzitzit should be made from linen, while the techeilet (sky-blue) threads should be made from wool dyed that color using the blood of a chilazon. Although this is the Scriptural Law, according to Rabbinic decree, safeguards should be taken and mixed fabrics should not be used for tzitzit. See Hilchot Tzitzit 3:6-7.


Menachot 39a.




I.e., it is not necessary that the fabrics be spun and smoothed out together.


Unlike the laws of kashrut, concerning which a forbidden substance can become betal, of no consequence, if the kosher substance is greater than it according to Scriptural Law and 60 times its size according to Rabbinic Law, there is no such leniency in this instance.

Tosafot (Nidah 61b) explains the rationale for this ruling. Generally, a forbidden entity can become nullified, because it is of no consequence when compared to the kosher substance into which it is mixed. Such logic does not apply in this instance, because there is no prohibited object to be nullified. Both the linen and the wool are permitted. Hence, they remain significant no matter how small an amount there is.

Rabbenu Asher quotes this explanation, but questions it, noting that seemingly the same concepts apply with regard to a mixture of milk and meat. Both of them are permitted; it is their mixture that is forbidden and yet, one can become betal if there is 60 times the presence of the other substance. Rabbenu Asher, however, distinquishes between the two instances. In a mixture of milk and meat, what is significant is the flavor of the food. Hence, if the flavor of either the milk or meat can be detected, it is forbidden. If not, it is permitted. In the case of a mixture of fabrics, the existence of the mixed fabrics itself is what is forbidden. Hence, since neither are forbidden, they cannot become nullified. See Siftei Cohen 299:1 and Turei Zahav 299:1 who also discuss this concept. See also Halachah 27 which explains what should be done to detect a thread that is kilayim.


The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh explain that this is not a contradiction to the previous halachah. Indeed, were one to have separate threads of sheep's wool, the garment would be forbidden even if they were mixed with many times their sum of camel wool threads. For the sheep's wool threads are never nullified. In this instance, however, there is room for leniency, because there are no sheep's wool threads. As the threads are being made, the sheep's wool is combined with the camel's wool and since the majority is camel's wool, it is the determining factor. These concepts are also reflected in the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 299:1).


I.e., of leather, not of wool.


The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's rationale, explaining that it runs contrary to the principle stated in Halachah 5. He follows his thesis stated previously - see the notes to Halachah 2 - that according to Scriptural Law, mixed fabrics are only forbidden when they are smoothed into an even mass, spun, and woven together. If only one of those activities is performed, the prohibition is merely Rabbinical. In this instance, there is only one activity. Hence the prohibition is Rabbnical and since the amount of woolen strands are small is not substantial, there is room for leniency.

The Radbaz supports the Rambam's rationale, explaining that the fundamental point here is that the strands of wool are not threads. Hence, they are not of significance and the laws of mixed fabrics do not apply regarding them.


And thus they do not touch each other.


See Halachah 3.


With regard to tzitzit, tying causes the garment to be considered as kilayim, because the wool and the linen are themselves tied together. In this instance, by contrast, the linen is not tied to the wool, but rather tied around it like a belt [Tur (Yoreh De'ah 300)].


Surrounding both garments, but not tying the two together. Even though he cannot remove either of the garments without untying the knot, it is permitted. See Siftei Cohen 300:10.


I.e., tie the linen and woolen garments together.


I.e., there is no prohibition against benefiting from them.


I.e., covering oneself with a blanket made from both linen and wool.


I.e., blankets or sheets spread on the floor or on furniture.


Our translation is taken from Rav Kapach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:2) who interprets the Arabic term the Rambam employs as referring to cushions one places behind his back for support.

The Ra'avad cites the Jerusalem Talmud (Kilayim 9:1) which qualifies the leniency, stating that it applies only when the pillows and cushions are solid. If they are stuffed, they are forbidden lest they become wound around a person's flesh. This view is also cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 301:1).


I.e., there must be something else interposing between one's flesh and the kilayim.


Note the gloss of the Radbaz who explains why the Rambam deviates slightly from the wording used in his source, Beitzah 14b.


Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:6). The slippers were worn to walk on cushions and spreads and not for the person's own benefit.


The Radbaz asks: Since the person is not benefiting from wearing the slipper, what difference does it make whether it has a heel or not? He explains that if the slippers have heels, they appear as functional garments and hence, it is forbidden to wear them if they contain kilayim. Alternatively, if they have a heel, it is impossible that they will not warm one's feet. The Kessef Mishneh states that indeed even if the slippers have heels, it is permitted to wear them. The Rambam mentions slippers without heels, only because that was the kind of slippers worn at the time.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 301:13) quotes this law also with regard to wearing slippers like rubbers that are kilayim.


I.e., draped over their legs.


As mentioned above, the prohibition against kilayim is twofold: not to wear them and not to have them come upon one's person. It is forbidden to wear kilayim under any circumstances (see Halachah 18), but it is forbidden to have them come upon one's person only if one benefits [Yevamot 4b; Beit Yosef (Yoreh De'ah 301)]. In this instance, although he may actually benefit from the kilayim, since he does not have the intent to benefit, the benefit is not significant. See the notes to Halachah 18.


Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:5).


So that the kilayim will not be draped over their bodies at all.


I.e., draped over their shoulders and thus they are carrying the garments that are kilayim on their bodies.


I.e., holding the hot egg will warm the cloth which in turn will warm his hands.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, noting that the Babylonian Talmud (Beitzah 16a) rules that there is no prohibition in a similar instance. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh show a source for the Rambam's ruling in the Jerusalem Talmud (Kilayim 9:3) and explain that there is no contradiction between that ruling and the passage from Beitzah.


In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro connects this ruling to the concepts explained in Halachah 16. Wearing kilayim is forbidden under all circumstances, he explains, even if one does not receive any benefit. When, however, kilayim merely "come upon" one's body, there is no prohibition when one does not derive benefit. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 301:5), he quotes the Rambam's ruling.

The Tur and the Rama follow the opinion of Rabbenu Asher who maintains that even wearing kilayim is permitted, provided one does not intend to benefit from wearing them. This touches on an issue of a larger scope: Whether a prohibited that is not performed with the intent to benefit is forbidden or not. The Rambam apparently maintains that it is forbidden, while Rabbenu Asher maintains that it is permissible. This explanation is, however, difficult, for in Hilchot Shabbat 1:5, the Rambam rules that according to Scriptural Law, there is no prohibition when one performs an act without an intent to benefit. The Radbaz explains that there is a difference of opinion concerning this matter among the Sages. Since the prohibitions of the Sabbath are regarded seriously by people at large, in that context, the Rambam did not worry about taking the more lenient position. The laws regarding kilayim are not considered as severe. Hence he felt it necessary to take a more stringent position. See also the Turei Zahav 301:7 and the Siftei Cohen 301:8 who offer explanations of the Rambam's view.


I.e., if one's personal garments are not subject to customs duty, but merchandise is, one might desire to wear garments of kilayim that were meant to be sold so that they will not be considered as merchandise and thus he would avoid paying customs duty for them. See Rav Kapach's edition of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:2).

See Hilchot Gezeilah 5:11-12 on which basis it can be derived when it is permitted to deceive a customs inspector and when doing so is forbidden.


The Turei Zahav 300:11 maintains that we are speaking about a permanent knot, i.e. a double knot, even though the Beit Yosef states that one knot is sufficient for there to be a prohibition involved.


Since they are tied together, they considered as connected and part of one garment.


For his hand will be warmed by them (Siftei Cohen 300:12). Even though he does not intend to benefit from the activity, it is still forbidden as above. As in Halachah 18, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 300:6) follows the Rambam's view, the Rama follows the opinion of Rabbenu Asher who grants leniency in such a situation.


Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:3).


Here the Rambam uses a slightly different interpretation than that found in his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.).


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam explains this term as referring to the cloths which a person holds when reading from the Torah.


The cloth a barber puts on the shoulders of the person receiving a haircut (ibid.).


In his initial version of his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.; which is followed in the standard printed version of the text), the Rambam rules that there is no prohibition involved in these instances. Later, however, based on the ruling of the Jerusalem Talmud, he changed his mind and forbade them for the reason given here.


In the Talmudic era, laundry tickets were made of small fragments of cloth. If they were kilayim, there would be a difficulty involved.


This concept also has ramifications with regard to the laws of ritual purity. If they are connected so loosely and an object that conveys impurity touches one, the other does not become impure, nor is one liable for separating them on the Sabbath [Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:10)].


In the above source, the Rambam explains that if the two cloths are pulled in opposite directions, they will separate effortlessly.


The bracketed additions are made on the basis of the commentary of the Rav Ovadiah of Bartenura to the above mishnah and the Turei Zahav 300:3. It appears from the Rambam, that he changed his understanding of the mishnah slightly, for there he interprets the two clauses as complementing each other and describing the same circumstance. Here, however, he describes them as two separate instances.


The Radbaz notes that that in Hilchot Shabbat 10:9, the Rambam rules that for a person to be liable, in addition to sewing two stitches, he must tie the threads in a knot. He explains that the laws of the Sabbath are stricter than those applying to kilayim. For one to be liable on the Sabbath, one must perform a labor that has a permanent effect, while to be liable for kilayim, all that is necessary is that the two garments be connected at the time.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 300:2) quotes the ruling of the Rambam. The Tur and the Rama follow the opinion of Rabbenu Asher who maintains that to be liable, one must tie the two threads.


Tosafot, Niddah 61b notes that we must be careful not to wear tzitzit in the presence of a corpse lest this be considered as "mocking the poor," i.e., mocking the dead who can no longer observe the mitzvot [see Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 23:4)]. Nevertheless, wrapping a corpse in a garment that is forbidden is not considered as mockery, because since the person is not deriving benefit, even during his lifetime, there would be no prohibition.

The Or Zerua, Vol. II, sec. 421, emphasizes that even after the resurrection of the dead, there will be no difficulty with the dead being clothed in kilayim, for in that future era, the observance of mitzvot will be nullified.


Provided it is obvious in contrast to Halachah 27.


For it is firm and thus, as stated in Halachah 13, will not become wound around his body.


For this is "bringing kilayim upon oneself." Furthermore, we cannot say that he is doing this unintentionally, because he is using the saddle-blankets to protect him from being sullied by the compost.


This situation resembles the sellers of clothing mentioned in Halachah 16.


See Halachot 6-7 above which emphasize that a thread of shaatnez can never become nullified.


Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 18:17. See also Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 16:1.


The Ra'avad takes issue with the Rambam on this point. He agrees that according to Scriptural Law, one is not liable in a situation of doubt, but maintains that our Sages required us to be stringent when there is a doubt. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh agree with the Ra'avad in principle, but explain the Rambam's words as follows: Because all that is involved is a Rabbinic prohibition and this is an exceptional and abnormal situation, our Sages granted leniency.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 302:1) quotes the Rambam's ruling. The Tur and the Ramah follow the approach of the Ra'avad and allow leniency only when the prohibition against kilayim is Rabbinic in origin.


This law is relevant at the present time as well, because the thread and the lining of garments are often made from linen. For this reason, Sha'atnez laboratories have been established in most major cities to examine garments to see if they contain linen.


Despite the embarrassment it might cause, because every moment he wears it, he transgresses the prohibition against kilayim.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 303:1) quotes the Rambam's ruling. The Tur and the Rama maintain that this ruling applies only when the person is conscious of the transgression he is performing. If, however, he performs the violation unintentionally, the garment should not be removed from him in public.


Whom he is obligated to honor (Hilchot Talmud Torah, ch. 5).


Berachot 19b quotes Proverbs 21:30: "There is no wisdom; there is no understanding; and there is no counsel against God" and concludes: "Wherever there is a desecration of God's name (i.e., the transgression of a prohibition in public), deference is not granted to a master's honor."


I.e., the Torah forbids ignoring the lost object and not trying to return it to its owner (Hilchot Gezeilah Va'Aveidah 11:1). Nevertheless, if the person who discovers the lost object is a Torah scholar and it is compromising to his honor to return it, he is not required to do so (ibid.:13).


A person can waive his colleague's obligation to him with regard to financial matters. Hence, we assume that he would waive return of the article in consideration of the Sages' honor.


I.e., a priest who is ordinarily forbidden to come in contact with the ritual impurity resulting from a human corpse (Hilchot Evel 3:1) must bury a corpse that has no one else to bury it (ibid.:8).


He is commanded to become impure for the burial of all his immediate relatives with the exception of his married sister (Leviticus 21:3).


Berachot, loc. cit.


I.e., one of the 365 prohibitions in the Torah forbids us from deviating from the commands of the Sages [Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 312) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 496), Hilchot Mamrim 1:2].


For it is considered as if he violated only one transgression.


Provided he received a warning each time (Kessef Mishneh).


Although a person who violates a prohibition without committing a deed is not liable for lashes, there is a difference in this instance, because wearing the garment is considered as committing a deed (Ritba, as quoted by Kessef Mishneh).


He is not considered as if he did not perform a deed when committing this transgression, because as in the previous halachah, wearing the garment itself can be considered a deed. Moreover, when a person dresses a colleague, the person being dressed helps to some degree. That is sufficient a deed to warrant lashes (Kessef Mishneh).


See Hilchot Rotzeach 12:14 which interprets this phrase from Leviticus 19:14 as a prohibition against causing a person who is unaware to commit a spiritually undesirable act.


In one of his Responsa (Klal 2, Responsum 16), Rabbenu Asher differs and maintains that there is no prohibition involved other than "placing a stumbling block in front of the blind" and one is not liable for lashes for violating that prohibition since it is of a general scope.

The Radbaz explains that the Rambam considers the prohibition against Kilayim as also applicable to a person dressing a colleague. He questions, however, why the Rambam does not rule in a similar manner in Hilchot Nazir 5:20.


The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this point, maintaining that as long as the priests are in the Temple, it is permitted for them to wear the priestly garments.


See Hilchot K'Lei HaMikdash 8:1, 11. The Ra'avad questions why the Rambam singles out the sash, other priestly garments (e.g., the choshen and the ephod) also contain kilayim. The Kessef Mishneh states that the Rambam chose to highlight a garment used by an ordinary priest, not one used by the High Priest.


And the observance of a positive commandment supercedes that of a negative commandment.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.