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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Vayakhel – The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – Can a Quilt be Holy?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on March 7, 2024)
Topics: Rosh Yeshiva Responds, Sefer Shemot, Torah, Vayakhel

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מִלֵּ֨א אֹתָ֜ם חָכְמַת־לֵ֗ב לַֽעֲשׂוֹת֘ כָּל־מְלֶ֣אכֶת חָרָ֣שׁ | וְחשֵׁב֒ וְרֹקֵ֞ם בַּתְּכֵ֣לֶת וּבָֽאַרְגָּמָ֗ן בְּתוֹלַ֧עַת הַשָּׁנִ֛י וּבַשֵּׁ֖שׁ וְאֹרֵ֑ג עֹשֵׂי֙ כָּל־מְלָאכָ֔ה וְחֽשְׁבֵ֖י מַֽחֲשָׁבֹֽת:

“Them has He filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of workmanship, of the craftsman, of the skillful workman, of the weaver in blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any workmanship, and of those that devise skillful works.” (Shemot 35:35).


We received a quilt with Jewish-themed squares from a relative. Some of the printed fabric squares depict the Shema including Sheim HaShem (God’s name) spelled with two yodim as well as Elokeinu spelled out. Is this sheimot? Does the quilt need to go to the genizah, or at least those squares? Can one use it on a bed in a bedroom where one will be naked occasionally? I don’t know how the fabric is made. It wasn’t hand-painted, but I don’t know how it was printed or dyed. Online a similar product is just listed as “100% cotton.”


Two yodim mean nothing. It is a printer’s convention, a way of not writing Sheim HaShem. As to Elokeinu, that is a problem, at least if it is possible that one will be having marital relations in the room. See Shulchan Arukh OC 240:6 and the related Mishnah Berurah.

שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות קריאת שמע ותפילה של ערבית סימן רמ
בית שיש בו ספר תורה או חומשים העשוים בגלילה, אסור לשמש בו עד שיהיה בפניו מחיצה. (ולענין לעשותה בשבת ע”ל ריש סי’ שט”ו), ואם יש לו בית אחר, אסור עד שיוציאנו; ואם יש בו תפילין או ספרים, אפי’ של גמרא, אסור עד שיתנם בכלי בתוך כלי.

Shulchan Arukh O.C. 240:6
One may not have conjugal relations in a house that contains a sefer Torah or individual books of the Torah written on parchment scrolls unless there is a mechitzah in front of it… and if he has another house, he must remove the sefer Torah to that house; and if the house contains tefillin or sefarim, including Gemara, he must put them in a double container.

משנה ברורה סימן רמ ס”ק
(כח) או ספרים – ר”ל כ”ד ספרי קודש ומיירי שאינם עשויין בגלילה דאי עשויין בגלילה דינם כס”ת וכנ”ל:
(כט) אפילו של גמרא – ר”ל אף על גב דגמ’ לא ניתן לכתוב בדורות הראשונים משום דדברים שבע”פ אסור לאומרם בכתב אפ”ה כיון דלבסוף התירו האמוראים לכתוב משום עת לעשות לה’ הו”ל כשאר ספרי קודש וממילא היום ה”ה כל הספרים הן בכתיבה או בדפוס יש בהן קדושה [פמ”ג]:

Mishnah Berurah 240
(28)  “Or sefarim” – the intent is holy books that are not written on parchment, as those have the rule of a sefer Torah.
(29) “including Gemara” – the intent is that even though in the earliest generations Gemara wasn’t written down, as the oral law was not permitted to be written, even so, since in the end the Amoraim permitted them to be written… they are like all sifrei kodesh and nowadays the rule is that all sefarim whether hand-written or printed are considered holy.

If it is a sefer Torah or pesukim written on klaf, it needs to be behind a mechitzah. If it is a Gemara, or any sefer of a smilar kind, it needs to be in a double container. I think that God’s name would definitely be in this latter category.

If it is just about being naked and not about having marital relations, this is less of an issue, although when dealing with God’s name (as opposed to a sefer), one should be strict – see Rema (Shulchan Arukh OC 275:12) regarding neirot Shabbat (not exactly the same),

נהגו לכסות הקטנים שלא יהיו ערומים בפני הנרות, משום ביזוי מצוה. וכ”כ הרוקח.

The custom is to cover small children so they will not be naked in front of the candles, for fear of disrespecting the mitzvah.

And see, more to the point, Mishnah Berurah 45:5,

אבל אם יש שם אדם ערום אסור לכנס בה בתפילין וכתבי הקודש דאסור לעמוד לפני השם ערום.

But if someone there is naked one may not enter with tefillin or holy writings since one may not stand naked before God.

The issue of standing naked before God’s name is from Shabbat 120b, and that actually is an issur, but in a case such as ours where it is printed and not written, I don’t think it would be technically forbidden, although it definitely should be avoided.

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