Opening bottles and cans

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  1. These laws equally apply to Shabbat as they do to Yom Tov. [1]

Preferable option

  1. To avoid all forbidden activities with opening bottles and cans on Shabbat, it's preferable to open the bottles and cans before Shabbat. [2]


  1. Opening containers on Shabbat involves several prohibited activities including ripping, making a useful container, finishing a vessel, and erasing letters. [3]

Opening a bag or container on Shabbat

  1. If a container (bag, can, or bottle) is usually reused after having been emptied are forbidden to open whether or not one intends to reuse it. [4]
  2. If a container is usually used to keep the original contents after having been opened, but not usually reused, it’s forbidden to open on Shabbat. However, some are lenient if one really intends not to reuse it and one does not make a neat convenient opening. [5]
  3. It is permissible to open a container (which is usually reused or at least used to keep the original contents) if at the time of the opening (or beforehand) one ruins the container by perforating the side or bottom so that it could no longer be used. [6]
  4. It's permissible to rip open a miniature pack of sugar which is thrown out right after it's opened. [7] Similarly, one may rip open a candy wrapper, bandaid wrapper, plastic or paper seal around wine bottles or jars because these are usually ripped and discarded immediately. [8]
  5. It’s forbidden to take special care to rip a neat hole to be used as a opening or to rip open a container along the lines marked for perforation. [9]

Packages stapled close

  1. It’s permitted to remove the staples from a container stapled shut. [10]

Cardboard boxes

  1. Cardboard boxes closed with gummed paper or tape, papers stuck together, or a paper wrapper may be (ripped) opened on Shabbat only if one ruins the box in a way that it’s unusable as a container afterwards (nor is any part of it useful which is violated if one tears along the edge of prize tokens printed on the wrapper). [11]


  1. Some authorities forbid using plastic or wire twist ties (twisters) to close bags unless one plans to undo it within 24 hours. [12] However, others permit. [13] It is praiseworthy to avoid using them if they will remain undone for more than 24 hours. [14]

Packages tied close

  1. It’s permissible to rip or cut string that’s used to close a container if it’s impossible to remove the string otherwise as long as cutting spoils it for later use. [15]

Ripping letter or pictures

  1. One may not rip through lettering or pictures. [16]

Closing bags

  1. One may not close a bag with a metal or plastic twister. [17]

Bottle caps

  1. One may not open a metal bottle cap for the first time on Shabbat unless one first makes a hole in the cap (with a knife) that makes it unfit for covering a bottle afterwards. [18] Some say that a less preferable option is to twist off the cap and discard it immediately (and it may be useful to have another cap handy). [19]
  2. However, it’s permissible to open plastic bottle caps on Shabbat. [20]

Plastic protective seal

  1. It is permissible to remove a protective plastic seal on yogurt containers, tubs of butter or cottage cheese, coffee jar, and wine bottles in the normal way. [21]

Metal can

  1. One should not open a metal can unless one only opens it halfway, removes the content immediately, and throws out the can. [22]

Milk carton

  1. It is forbidden to open a milk or juice carton which has a folding spigot for the first time. [23] Some say that preferably one should not open the folding spout but there is a lenient opinion to rely on. [24]

Juice box

  1. When possible the juice should be opened before Shabbat, however, if it wasn't one may insert the straw to drink the juice. [25]


  1. It’s permissible to puncture the lid of a vacuum sealed jar in order to open a jar. [26]

After the fact

  1. If one opened a can, bag, bottle or other container in a prohibited way, one may still eat the food on Shabbat. [27]

Related Pages

  1. Koreah (Tearing)
  2. Opening and Reading Mail on Shabbat


  1. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:22 (See also Sh"t Igrot Moshe 1:122)
  2. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:1, Shabbos Kitchen (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, pg 184)
  3. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 831-2)
  4. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:2, Shabbos Kitchen (pg 187-8) similarly forbids opening wrappers, bags, and boxes, unless one rips it to the extent that the bag is unusable afterwards and one is careful about not ripping the letters.
  5. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:3
  6. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:3
  7. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:4
  8. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 833)
  9. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:5-6
  10. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:9
  11. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:10-12
  12. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:13, 14:9 and (15 note 166, in the new edition note 174) quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman
  13. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, Melechat Koshair note 54) quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein
  14. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 800)
  15. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:14
  16. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:12
  17. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:13
  18. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:17 (in the new one, 9:18), Shabbos Kitchen (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, pg 184-6). Shabbos Kitchen (note 10) quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein who allowed making a hole in the cap of a soda bottle before opening the bottle.
  19. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 841)
  20. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:18 (in the new one), 39 Melachos (Rabbi RIbiat, vol 3, pg 841)
  21. Shabbos Kitchen (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, pg 188), 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 833)
  22. Shabbos Kitchen (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, pg 187)
  23. Shabbos Kitchan (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, pg 184)
  24. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 837-8) at first writes one should not open it, then writes some permit and concludes that preferably one shouldn't rely on the lenient opinion.
  25. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 3, pg 838)
  26. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:21
  27. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 9:23