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Opening Containers

Q: What is the cRc’s policy regarding opening food on Shabbos that are sealed such as Coke, bag of salad, or sugar packets. Can I open them myself, ask a non-Jew, or open it before Shabbos? What is the reason why I have to do this?

A: There is a disagreement between the Poskim as to which containers may or may not be opened on Shabbos, and we have not taken an official policy as to whether a Jew may or may open these items. For more details on this question, you might want to read the article by Rabbi Jachter which can be found at For a final decision on this and similar questions we encourage you to speak to your local Orthodox Rabbi.

The cRc has taken a stand on this question as relates to asking a non-Jew to open the container, because that question is one that is relevant to caterers who we certify as kosher. Our policies for them are:

§ Individual packets of packets of coffee, sweetener, whitener whose packaging has many words written on it should not be used because it is virtually impossible to open these packages without cutting through words.

§ Cans may not be opened on Shabbos.

§ Whenever possible, bottles should be opened before Shabbos, but if not, a non-Jew may do so on Shabbos. The same applies to aluminum foil, Saran Wrap, and disposable tablecloths.

§ Twist ties may be opened by the non-Jews.