(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 22:07:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Music on Shabbat

QUESTION:'If it is prohibited to lace new shoes on Shabbath, then can we
tighten lose shoelaces that have come out of a few holes?

ANSWER: Thank you for your clarifying question. The basic conceptual distinction is
between USAGE and CREATION. So eg it is not prohibited to close a door in a
house (on a cold Shabboth) even though I make the house usable since this
is the ordinary USAGE of a door. On the other hand if the house never had a
door and I put one in I would be Biblically violating Shabbos. Similarly if
a house had a door which became lose and I fixed it then I have violated
Biblical or Rabbinic law (depending on how usable the door was)

Applying this to the shoelace problem we have that 1)If the shoe 'broke'
(it had no shoelaces) and I put (even an old) a shoelace in then I have
'fixed' the utensil (the shoe) and have therefore violated Biblical law. We
can NOT call it usage to replace new shoelaces since this is not normal
practice. On the other hand, 2) tightening ones shoelaces IS normal
practice and is as permissable on shabboth as closing a door to a house.
Finally if 3) the shoelace became loose (it fell out of a few holes but not
all) then it is rabbinically prohibited to 'fix' it (especially since you
can tie the shoe on the extant laced holes). (In the posting cited by Janet
above I was referring to case 3).

 The Artscroll Shabboth series was also cited. Indeed there are many
opinions on this subject and many citations. What I explained above is how
**I** understand the laws based on fundamental principles. If someone else
has a different take I would at least like a case by case explanation in
terms of fundamental principles.

Russell Hendel; Math; Towson; RHendel@Towson.Edu
Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/