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Am I allowed to rip something on Shabbat?

Am I allowed to rip something on Shabbat?


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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Discussion (8)
March 24, 2014
Toilet paper - biblical days?
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?
Meira Shana
San Diego
June 9, 2013
Clothing tags
What about tearing tags off clothes?
New York, ny
August 25, 2009
tear clothes on Shabbat
Can you tear clothes on Shabbat if you put on sack cloth?
Carol Gordon
Easton, PA
July 15, 2009
re: ripping TP on Shabbos
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.
Yehuda Shurpin for
July 12, 2009
toilet paper
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.
Jacksonville, FL
July 9, 2009
re: ripping TP on Shabbos
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.

Dallas , Texas
May 27, 2009
Re: Ripping Toilet Paper
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.
Naftali Silberberg (Author)
May 26, 2009
tearing toilet paper
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!
Indianapolis, IN