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Shatnez-Free Clothing

Shatnez-Free Clothing



You’ve heard of kosher food, but what about kosher clothes? Just like it is forbidden to eat a mixture of milk and meat, so too the Torah prohibits wearing a mixture of wool and linen. It’s called shatnez.

Why the Torah prohibits this mixture remains a mystery. Some write that the combination of these two materials confuses vital energies. Nevertheless, the matter still lies beyond our comprehension.

Suspect Materials

Based on manufacturing norms, most clothing can be presumed shatnez-freeAny cloth that might cover a person—including blankets, and even shag rugs—must be shatnez-free. Problem is that “100% wool” garments may still contain up to 5% of other materials. Also, labels often only describe the shell of the garment, ignoring padding and ornamental threads.

Nevertheless, based on manufacturing norms, most clothing can be presumed shatnez-free. Principally, you need to check your suits, skirts, woolen coats and imported pants. Call a shatnez laboratory to find out whether a particular garment requires shatnez testing.

Clearing Up Suspicion

A shatnez lab is where trained testers take appropriate samples from a garment (without ruining the garment) and examine them under a microscope to identify the fibers. Most major Jewish communities will have such a lab. They also will receive and return garments by mail. Your rabbi can direct you to the closest laboratory.

In most cases, a garment that contains shatnez can be fixed in the laboratory for a minimal cost. It’s a minor tailoring job. There is the rare case, however, when the operation just can’t be done. So hold on to your sales receipt!

More Details:

  • The rules of shatnez also apply to borrowed or rented garments, such as a tuxedo.
  • Simultaneously wearing one piece of linen clothing and another of wool is permitted—as long as the two are not connected, so that one can be removed without removing the other. (Otherwise, they are considered one garment.)
  • It’s wearing that’s forbidden; owning shatnez is okay.
  • No need to worry about camel wool, mohair, angora, cashmere, alpaca or vicuna. For the purposes of shatnez, “wool” refers only to wool from sheep or lambs.
Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Discussion (16)
September 30, 2014
The proscription doesn't apply generally to things used in temple service. Jews are specifically urged to look at their dinner tables in the same way as they might regard an altar, for instance.

The temple included a forecourt, various places of assembly for all people and for Jews,specifically, etc. You would not forbid the use of everything that concerned temple worship.

The proscription concerned only the Holy of Holies, the holiest and most reserved part of the temple. Linen and wool curtains were specified for that area.
September 30, 2014
old tradition good forever
Ancient neurology is so mysterious :)

Generally we should not mix protein with polysaccharides in our life ;)
September 4, 2014
Wouldn't the reason for this be to show us not to clothe ourselves with two kinds of teaching? World 'wisdom' and G-d wisdom? Also, as someone mentioned that it is "prescribed for the temple of the Holy of Holies..." that indicates to me that only those who are Absolutely Pure and unsullied by the world and it's ways may enter into G-d's Presence.
September 4, 2014
wool and linen
once again, becoming a Vegan (which includes no use of wool, animal skins or fur, and leather)plus only eating Vegetables and fruits, and grains; can make life very easy!
alice jena
richmond hill
July 9, 2014
Pre-Certified Shatnetz free suits
There is a store in Toronto that sells Pre-Certified Shatnetz free men's wear.
Toronto, ON
April 21, 2014
If everything prescribed for use in the Temple were forbidden for other uses, then a lot of things would be off limits: oil, for example.

As for things that are unclean, yet are not proscribed, there are many examples in the Tanach: asses, horses, and camels used for beasts of burden; and the term often translated variously as dolphin, badger, seal (and sometimes goat, probably to salve the sensitivities who don't like the idea) used as a covering for the Tent.
Jerry Schwartz
April 18, 2014
Denim is cotton, so shatnez isn't an issue.
Andy B
February 28, 2014
So all those fabrics are okay? Also is denim shatnez-full or shatnez-free?
Samantha Leon
February 13, 2014
To Samantha
The laws of shatnez apply only to linen and wool. Staff
February 10, 2014
what about acrylic, polyester, nylon, and cotton?
Samantha Leon