Tying Head Covering on Shabbat

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Hello Derecheha! Beezrat Hashem I am getting married soon and I had a question about head coverings: is it permissible for one to tie a headscarf on Shabbat? If so, is there a certain way which is ideal regarding the amount or type of ties? Thank you so much!

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Asked on December 19, 2021 10:35 am
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Mazal Tov!

On Shabbat, it is permissible to tie or untie a knot that is neither a kesher uman, a craftsman’s knot, i.e. tight and durable, nor a kesher shel kayama, a knot that is permanent or meant to stay in place for a full day or more (Shulchan Aruch and Rema 317:1, Mishna Berura 317:1,14). Tying the ends of a scarf into a simple overhand knot (like this), as is typically used, meets this standard (with or without the ends tucked in).

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach views women tying even a double knot on a headscarf on Shabbat as falling under the definition of a permissible knot.

Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilchetah 15 Note 175

“I heard from Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that women’s custom to tie two knots, one above the other on a head scarf, that one can say that this is not a strong or very tight knot at all and awaits untying within a day…”

However, it follows that on Shabbat one should still not tie a very tight double knot in the headscarf or a knot of the sort that women tend to leave in place even after removal. (Some decorative knots, for example, could fall under this category.) Rather, one could employ a double knot with a little slack, and untie it upon removal.

Tichel-tying can sometimes be challenging in the beginning. You can take additional halachic comfort in knowing that it’s permissible on Shabbat to untie even a tight knot if it was tied unintentionally, since such a knot is considered non-lasting (Mishna Berura 317:23).

See more Q&A here.

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Answered on December 19, 2021 10:39 am