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Shaatnez (a mixture of wool and linen) is forbidden to be worn. I always thought this applied only to garments but, after looking at lists of items to be checked, I see that they also list many non-garments, e.g.,

  • curtains
  • carpets (see e.g., here)
  • chairs, sofas and armchairs (see e.g., story of the Steipler's)
  • handbags
  • pillows
  • stuffed toys
  • tablecloths

My two questions are

  1. What is the basis to extend the issur to these non-garments (since nowadays no one wraps himself in a carpet, curtain or tablecloth and the other objects are not garments)
  2. What is the "mainstream minhag" with regard to checking these items? Are there communities which are strict or lenient?
  • 1
    Check out Tamid 27 – Double AA Feb 22 '19 at 3:47
  • 2
    Maybe uggs....? – sam Feb 22 '19 at 4:15
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The laws of kilae begadim are taught in the 9nth chapter of masechet kilayim. First the Mishna says that the prohibition is only on wearing as the verse clearly says.

(Kilayim 9.2) הכרים והכסתות אין בהם משום כלאים, ובלבד שלא יהיה בשרו נוגע בהן ‏

Pillows and blankets are included. The Rash explains, according to Gemara Yoma 69a, that from the verses clothes that cover the body are prohibited, and, as the Mishna says, even if they don't touch the body, e.g. if a kosher cloth isolates them from the skin.

For a pillow or a mattress: this last stringency is not mentioned because their prohibition is rabbinical. Chachamim have a doubt that perhaps a hair from the pillow will wrap around the body. When there is a separation, this Chashash is no more actual.

A saddle doesn't have the same rule as a pillow as written in Mishna 4, because it's harder. But there is an additional doubt that one may make from the saddle a patch for clothes and then the problem will be the same as for a pillow. One cannot wear a saddle on the shoulder, even to avoid getting dirty. If a hard fabric is placed on a padded mattress, it becomes equivalent to a pillow.

Towels are also prohibited d'rabanan because one may use them as gloves to protect hands. Rash in Mishna 3, following Rabbi Eliezer. Yerushalmi rules as Rabbi Eliezer.

Bath towels may be used to cover onself and are also prohibited rabbinically. Towels used at a hairdresser if there is an intent to use them as clothes are also prohibited. In Mishna Shabbat 5.3 they prohibit to keep in the hand ropes of wool and of linen knoted together because they can warm up the hand.

So in summary from your list

  • curtains -> as towels

  • carpets -> sometime a little padded and sometime have lengthy hairs

  • chairs, sofas and armchairs -> padded

  • handbags -> can warm up the hand

  • pillows -> meforash in Mishna

  • stuffed toys -> can warm up the hands

  • tablecloths -> as towels because they are sometimes used as towels

For the second part of the question, you need to check how this fabrics are made in the country they come from. In many cities in Israel there is a Shaatnez laboratory. You can ask where is that known problems. Nowadays Shaatnez is relatively rare.

  • There's also the question of which of these things actually have a chance of containing kilayim in a particular place and time. If not, they don't need to be checked even if the issur would theoretically apply. 9:7 gives the situation at the time of the mishnah, but it's different in other places. – Heshy Feb 22 '19 at 12:33
  • 1
    Thanks for this. Indeed I heard that if more than 95% of objects do not have shaatnez, they don't have to be tested, but I do not know if it is true – mbloch Feb 22 '19 at 13:43

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