Prologue:        In connection to the plague of Barad (hail), we read of the
devastating effects the Makka had upon the barley and flax industries.
However, the Torah tells us that the wheat and spelt crops were not
damaged because they are late ripening (Shemos, 9:32). Rashi explains that
since they were late-ripening, they were soft when the hail struck and
were able to bend with the wind. The flexibility on the part of the crops
enabled them to bounce back and they were not uprooted.

This lesson in flexibility has practical applications as well. The
Talmud (Taanis 20b) encourages us to be as soft as a reed and not as stiff
as a cedar tree. Avos D'Reb Nosson (41:1) offers an elaboration of this
theme. When a strong wind comes, a reed bends in the direction of the
wind. Because of this ability, despite bending, a reed does not become
uprooted. A cedar tree does not bend at all. However, when a powerful wind
comes along, the cedar tree breaks and falls.

Rav Yosef Leib Bloch (Shiurei Daas) used the example of the wheat
stalk and the reed in its application to man. A person needs to be strong
in his ideas and principles. That strength should be so powerful that
nothing should be able to uproot him from his values. But the proper way
to express these principles is like the wheat stalk and the reed. One
needs to show flexibility and softness when talking to others. One who is
obstinate and inflexible with others might seem to be strong but the lack
of flexibility on his part is really a weakness. A soft approach based on
solid convictions is the lasting approach, even in the face of strong
oppositional opinions and winds.

Soft things often bring about creasing. This week's chaburah
examines some of the issues surrounding the folding of clothing. It is

Tallis Tidying

The Talmud (Shabbos 113a) notes that one may fold his Keilim (clothes) even
4 or 5 times. Rashi explains that this is true if it will be used for that
very Shabbos. The Talmud then addresses 4 criteria that must be filled if
one is to be able to be allowed to fold clothes on Shabbos. They include
the fact that the clothes must be new and white and that the folding be
done by one person who possesses a second set of clothes that he will
alternate with. Rashi notes that absent of these criteria, the folding of
the garments appears as if one might be trying to remove stains from his
clothing, a violation of the laws of MeLaben (whitening).

Tosafos, commenting on the above notes that one may not fold his
Tallis after the services on Shabbos if it is only going to be used the
next day. Raaviah (245) adds that he agrees with Tosafos but if the
folding is not in its original folding, it is ok to do. The position of
the Raaviah is also cited by the Mordechai (Shabbos, 388) who notes that
the reason for the Heter is that if it is folded on non-familiar folds so
the folder demonstrates that he is not particular about the folding. Kol
Bo holds that today's folding is not as strong as the folding of the olden
days and thus, it would be permissible to fold things even on their
original folds.

When the issue is discussed in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 302:3), the Michaber
quotes each position. First, he notes the strict position of Tosafos as
that which is Halachic. Thus, he notes that when necessary for the shabbos
and when completing all 4 stated criteria then one may fold clothes on
Shabbos. In absence of these criteria, he may not. He then cites the
position of the Raaviah adding that "Neerayin Devarav." This statement
touched off a major debate among the Poskim (Chida among others) as to
whether the Michaber supported the position of the Raaviah or was only
quoting it as a legitimate position that we do not Paskin like.

The Chayeii Adam (24) allows one to fold his Tallis on Shabbos as
long as he does not fold it on original folds. He stresses that this is
only true if he will wear the Tallis on THAT Shabbos.  Whereas this
position agrees with the Raaviah, how does he limit it to a Tallis needed
for that Shabbos alone? Shut Machne Chaim (III:O.C. 24) explains that the
Chayeii Adam was concerned with unnecessary Tircha on Shabbos. Aruch
HaShulchan (302:10) notes that the only Tircha in folding clothing is if
one is particular about the folding.

Mishna Berurah (302:19) adds that the Halacha is like the Raaviah
and one may fold his Tallis not on the folds on Shabbos. However, he adds
that one who is Machmir, is praiseworthy. Maharsham (Daas Torah 302:3)
explains that the folding may not be done unless the folder will refold
the Tallis after the Shabbos on the correct folds. Otherwise the reverse
of the folding would be a permanent folding as far as Shabbos were
concerned. Avnei Tzedek (Shut, O.C., 30) notes that one who never folds
the Tallis the same way on Shabbos is ok. His constant changes show that
he is not intending to fold exactly and he need not redo it after Shabbos.

L'Halacha, Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchaso (15:45-46) feels that one
must fold his Tallis not on the folds and switch them from week to week or
he cannot fold the Tallis on Shabbos. Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Shut Yichaveh
Daas II:40) feels that any deviation from the pressed folds on a Tallis is
considered deviation enough and would be Mutar on Shabbos. Otheriwse he
does not recommend it but notes that those who fold their Tallesim on
Shabbos have a leg to stand on.

Shabbat Shalom