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"Bitul Regarding the Linen Fibers that are found in the Cotton Fill of Shoulder Pads" – Aug ‘06
We would like to discuss shoulder pads that are constructed by placing raw fibers in between two layers of felt. The raw fibers are pressed and matted between two felt pad covers .The cotton fill sometimes contains linen fibers.
Question: Are the linen fibers botel? Answer: There are two cases:
1) The linen and cotton fibers are all the same color.
2) The linen fibers are a different color than the cotton fibers.
Case #1: If the fibers of linen are the minority and are not noticeable because they are the same color as the cotton fibers, the poskim have paskened l’heter, since they are botel. [If the fibers of linen are the majority, even though they are not noticeable, then bitul obviously does not apply.]
Case #2: If the fibers of linen are a different color than the cotton and are clearly noticeable, for example the linen fibers are brown and are mixed with white cotton fibers, it is a mach'lokes of poskim whether the fibers are botel.
What is the basis of the argument? The Tashbeitz [Vol 2, Teshuvah 4] says in the name of the Rashba, Ran, Ra’avad, and Tosafos: “The general rule of bitul does not apply when the issur is noticeable”[The Gilyon Ma’harsha (Yora Deah, 98:4) and the Taz (Orach Chaim, 632:3) say that this general rule because it is noticeable it isn't botul even if it is the minority is a din Mideoraisa,.
The Levush (see Minchas Yitzchok, Vol 10, end of response 97) says that this is only a din Miderabbonan.]What is the reason that something that is noticeable (nickar) cannot be nullified by the majority (botul berov)?
There are two explanations given:
1. Because the rule of nullification applies only when everything is totally mixed together. If the issur is noticeable, it is not mixed together.
2. The Tashbeitz says that the rule of nullification applies when everything is mixed together, if however the issur is situated in a known place, i.e. on the surface and not blended in with the heter, it can simply be removed. Why apply the rule of bitul when you can simply remove the issur?
The difference between these two explanations would be, if the issur is noticeable but it is not removable, according to the first explanation, the fact that it is noticeable renders it a separate entity, therefore the rule of bitul will not apply. [The fact that it is not removable does not change the ruling and it remains ossur.]
However, according to the second explanation, being noticeable is not the deciding factor. It all depends on if the issur is removable. Therefore, if the issur is not physically removable, even if it is noticeable, the rule of nullification (bitul) will apply. Rashba says that if an issur is noticeable but not removable, the rule of bitul will apply. [see Minchas Yitzchok (Vol 10, end of response 97) ]
The Tzemach Tzedek (Yora Deah, response 70 #5) adds that if it is only possible to remove the issur with great effort, one can rely on bitul. [See Malbushei Yesha (2, seif 11)]
Conclusion: If the fibers of linen are the minority but are noticeable, for example the linen fibers are brown & are mixed with white cotton fibers, then: According to the Tashbeitz, Rashba and Tzemach Tzedek; even though the linen fibers are noticeable, the rule of nullification applies, as explained above.
However some poskim paskened that there is certainly a makom to be mach'mir and it is appropriate to have these types of shoulder pads removed. They base this on the fact that, as noted above, some poskim conclude that the general rule of nullification does not apply when the linen fibers are noticeable, even though it is not possible to remove them.
Shoulder Pads -Joseph Abboud Men’s SuitR’ Dovid Ginsburg (Chicago) found brown linen fibers in the white cotton fill of a Joseph Abboud men’s suit, as seen in pictures below.