Velcro and Shabbat
Ed from the University of Georgia writes:
Is Velcro permissible on Shabbat? My thought is that unsealing Velcro must tear the threads because the material can wear out.
Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth in his classical book Shemirath Shabbath Kehilchata writes that it is permissible to use Velcro on Shabbat. Velcro is essentially the hooking of strands on the one piece through loops on the other. Even if some strands do in fact tear, they are an insignificant few, and besides, they are not designed to tear. Velcro does eventually wear out, but only after a great deal of use. An analogy would be walking across a lawn on Shabbat. Even though an occasional piece of grass may be uprooted when you walk over it you certainly didn't intend to uproot it. Since it is not certain that a strand will tear, it is not forbidden to use Velcro on Shabbat.
Just to give you a sense of how Velcro has become a part of Shabbat fashion, Rabbi Twerski of Milwaukee, who is the scion of a Chassidic dynasty, has a gartel (ceremonial belt worn during prayer) that is fastened by Velcro. And who said that Chassidic clothing is straight out of the 18th century!!!
- Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth - Shemirath Shabbath Kehilchata 15:78.
- Maimonides - Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shabbat 1:5.