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When setting the table on Shabbos, is one permitted to make a fancy napkin presentation ?


When setting the table on Shabbos with napkins, is one permitted to make a fancy napkin presentation rather than a simply fold? For example, to create a rose shape or a crown shape? Can one create a decorative presentation that is not meant to represent anything? For example, a pouch shape (where the utensils are inserted into the napkin), or a pyramid or a tube?


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Before answering your question let me just comment that some of the settings are very pretty and talented (I have some relatives that would love to know ow to make some of them). Regarding making them on shabbos, according to most poskim it is problematic. The reason being is that it is considered tikun mana by fashioning the napkin into a specific shape. Simple folding of the napkin, to a rectangle of triangle is fine, but making them fancy is problematic on shabbos. This does not mean that we cannot have nice napkin setting on shabbos, we can and we should, just that the actual folding of the napkins should be done before shabbos.



Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 11-40 ftnt 163, Shevet Halevi 5-35(2), Orchos Shabbos 8-37, The 39 Melachos pg. 933, Chut Shani 2 pg. 213, Piskei Teshuvos 302-12, Rivivos Eprayim 1-223(8). It should be noted that even the poskim that permit folding paper napkins were only permitted it since the napkin gets thrown out after the meal, and not with cloth napkins.

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