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Am I allowed to rip something on Shabbat?

Am I allowed to rip something on Shabbat?

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Tearing is allowed as long as you are not: 1. Tearing to an exact size or measurement. 2. Tearing any words or letters. 3. Creating a viable utensil through tearing (for example: tearing toilet paper). 4. Tearing apart two attached items.

Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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Rabbi Shmary Brownstein For Chabad.org September 7, 2016

Here is what is explained in “The 39 Melochos” by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat (Misrad Hasefer, corrected ed., 2004):
“According to some [authorities]… tearing for any useful purpose is… Koraya M’deoraisa [the Torah prohibition of tearing on Shabbat]. According to this view…tearing off a sheet of toilet paper from the roll… is Koraya M’deoraisa… In the case of toilet paper (that ordinarily has perforated segments), tearing along the perforated line is probably the Melocho of Mechataich (cutting to a measure size)…
“One is not permitted to tear sheets of toilet paper from a roll on Shabbos or Yom Tov, whether the tearing is done along the perforated line or in between… Tearing a sheet of toilet paper from the roll is a “constructive” act of Koraya because a usable sheet is thereby produced.
“Toilet paper should be cut before Shabbos or separated tissues should be used…" Reply

Anonymous September 2, 2016

When cutting non-perforated toilet paper, one is not really cutting anything in a shape. Just a piece of paper to be used. I fail to see how that is being creative? Reply

Meira Shana San Diego March 24, 2014

I don't think toilet paper was around in the biblical days.

Clothing was ripped to designate a mourner. Maybe tearing is not allowed on Sabbath because of that.

Then someone decided to use a black ribbon and tear/cut that instead of clothing.

The Hebrew bible has changed over the years ... have there been changes to the Torah, too? Reply

Anonymous New York, ny June 9, 2013

What about tearing tags off clothes? Reply

Carol Gordon Easton, PA August 25, 2009

Can you tear clothes on Shabbat if you put on sack cloth? Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for chabad.org July 15, 2009

In an instance where one does not have any precut paper, most Halachik authorities are of the opinion that one may tear off the toilet paper in an unusual way. However, one should be careful not to tear it along the perforated lines. Reply

Mike Jacksonville, FL July 12, 2009

I thought I read or heard somewhere that if you don't have precut paper etc you can tear toilet paper in an unusual way (e.g. by biting it off). But I'm not sure if this is right. Reply

Tevye Dallas , Texas July 9, 2009

Thank you, this explains very easily about tearing. We were having a hard time understanding why we couldn't tear TP but it was OK to tear packaging as long as it wasn't letters.

Thanks! Reply

Naftali Silberberg (Author) May 27, 2009

Indeed, you have a good point: getting paper off the roll without ripping it is downright difficult...

That is why in Torah-observant homes there's always a healthy stock of pre-cut toilet paper or tissues available for Shabbat use. Reply

Anonymous Indianapolis, IN May 26, 2009

Whoa.. "creating a viable utensil" includes tearing toilet paper? How would you otherwise get the paper off of the roll? Surely a correct observance of Shabbat does not preclude the "paperwork" following an ordinary excretory function?" Tell me it 'aint so! Reply