I have been looking into natural mattresses without polyurethane in them, and some have a latex layer and one of the layers is wool.

I know that there is an issur to wear shatnez garments, but what if my mattress just has shatnez in it. Like, is it not allowed to physically be on top of shatnez?


1 Answer 1


Rav Yisroel Belsky ztl writes

In olden times, the very greatest medakdekim b’mitzvos, those Jews who were exceedingly meticulous in their observance of mitzvos, were careful never to sit on cushions or mattresses made from shredded fibers. It was a very big chumrah for two reasons. Firstly, there was only a very slight possibility that these cushions and mattresses were flexible enough to wrap around a person and give him warmth. It is permissible to sit on stiff objects, even if they contain shaatnez. Secondly, such cushions and mattresses only contain linen and wool fibers, not woven shaatnez, and the halachah follows the other Rishonim, that a mixture of linen and wool fibers is only assur miderabbanan. Thus, these pious Jews acted in deference to the lone opinion of the Rambam, and were machmir even with stiff cushions and mattresses, that could only vaguely be seen as providing warmth and protection in the manner of a piece of fabric that is worn. For these reasons, such cushions were seen by the great majority of Klal Yisroel as entirely permissible, but were avoided by the scrupulous.

The situation with cushion and mattress stuffing today is different than it was many years ago. This is due to the preponderance of cotton and synthetic fibers in the textile industry. By combining the wool and linen with a third substance (min shlishi) that is greater in proportion to either the wool or the linen, any shaatnez that might be present is nullified. Once this is done, the fibers can even be spun and woven into a fabric. Halachah permits shaatnez to be nullified even if the wool and linen combination had been created first, before the introduction of the cotton or synthetic fibers.

The fibers used for stuffing cushions are made entirely from offcuts from the garment and upholstery industries. They are sold in bulk to shredding factories, who make the stuffing that is used in anything from baseball gloves to shoulder pads to upholstery. These shredding factories purchase whatever scrap material is available. In today’s market, most of the fabrics are synthetic and wool, whilst linen accounts for only a very small percentage of the total. It is always the case that the crushed fiber fillings contain at least enough synthetics to nullify the linen, and often there is enough to nullify even the wool. This means that today, there is no reason at all to be concerned about shaatnez in cushions and mattresses.

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    This answer would be better if you were to summarise R' Belsky זצ"ל, rather than simply quoting him at length Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 19:45

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