From the Rav’s Desk: Opening a bottle cap of wine on Shabbos if one is Machmir

  1. Question: [Thursday, 20th Menachem Av, 5781]

In our family we follow the ruling that it is forbidden to open bottle caps on Shabbos. This Shabbos we ran out of wine and needed to open a new bottle which was not opened from before Shabbos and did not know what to do. The wine bottle has a regular metal cap, and we do not have any bottles with a cork that can be opened. What are we to do?



In such a case, you may simply puncture the top of the cap using a pointy knife, making sure not to cut through any letters or pictures, and pour the wine through the hole that was created. Once a hole has been made you may then even open the cap as usual. However, in order to avoid a question of revealed wine regarding the remaining wine in the bottle, you should either pour the wine into a decanter, or cover it with a cup and the like.

Explanation: According to all opinions, it is permitted to make a hole in the cover of a vessel, and hence even according to those who are stringent not to open wine caps on Shabbos, they are allowed to puncture a hole into it. The only thing that needs to be avoided is the erasing prohibition which can be transgressed if one ruins a picture or letter. Now, once the cap has a hole in it, it is no longer considered a usable vessel and therefore may be twisted off the wine bottle even according to those who are generally stringent, being that the reason for their stringency is due to Tikkun Keli, and once a hole has been made so it can no longer hold liquids and properly cover the bottle, it is no longer able to become a Keli.

Sources: See regarding making a hole in a cover: Admur 314:14; Michaber 314:6; M”A 314; See regarding the allowance to twist off the cap once a hole is made: SSH”K 19:18 footnotes 71-72

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