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Laws relating to cleaning and folding clothes (Part 1 – abridged)
MBY 302:3 Have you ever seen people who do not fold their talis on Shabbos or they fold it in an unusual manner? Paragraph 3 of this siman is the source for these practices. The prohibition against folding clothing belongs to the ‘tikun maneh’ (fixing a vessel) “family” of Shabbos melacha, or at least the rabbinic extension of it. The prohibition may possibly be mitigated if one is folding it for later use during Shabbos, but certainly with a talis, generally speaking, once someone folds it on Shabbos morning after Musaf, he is done with it for the day. To shed some light as to why there does not seem to be clarity or unanimity on the folding issue, let us quote a short paragraph from the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (80:91): “In reference to folding clothing (Footnote #219: i.e. on its creases. You may fold your talis but not on its creases. See Shulchan Aruch 302:3) there are many halachic intricacies and you should therefore not fold any garment.” The Mishnah Berura (302:281) comments: “Some authorities permit folding, but not on its original creases. This opinion appears to be correct and is supported by the poskim. Nevertheless, it is preferable to be stringent and not fold at all.”

So when it comes to folding, we see, as people commonly say when discussing halacha, “It’s not so simple (Heb. ‘pashut’)!” Obviously, this does not implicate only taleisim, but other clothing as well… (Ed. Since I was a boy, I have never folded my suit pants on Shabbos night, even when I will be wearing them the next day. Rather, I hang them up on a hook or spread them out. Don’t ask me where I picked that up, but I did pick it up!)

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