Potzeya

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Overview of Potzeya

  1. Potzeya is one of the Melachot in the procedure of weaving the curtains. What is potzeyza? Rashi[1] explains that it is ripping the threads of a cloth in order to thin them down and then retie them. The Rambam[2], however, explains that is removing the threads from a cloth in order to mend the edge of the cloth. When removing a cloth from the loom, one way to secure the hanging weft threads is to remove some of the long vertical warp threads near the edge, fold over the weft threads or tie the edges of the weft threads together, and then reinsert the warp threads. The Rambam also writes there that a toldah of potzeya is unraveling a woven cloth in order to reweave it. Perhaps, according to the Rambam, potzeya is the twin-melacha of oreg, and is only biblically forbidden when done in order to accomplish a constructive oreg afterwards.
  2. The Raavad[3] wonders how, according to the Rambam’s definition of potzeya, is it any different from ripping, kore’ah. In defense of the Rambam, the Maggid Mishna[4] explains that the Rambam, unlike Rashi, explains potzeya to mean unwinding or unweaving, and not tearing or breaking apart a material. In any event, the Raavad explains potzeya as cutting the hanging weft threads of a cloth after it is removed from the loom. He seems to view potzeya as relating to a finished cloth and not to individual strings or knots.

Sources

  1. Shabbos 73a s.v. ha’potzeya
  2. Rambam Shabbos 9:20
  3. Rambam Shabbos 9:20
  4. Rambam Shabbos 9:20