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    \Book darts are
    bookmarkers that hold
    your spot in a book. They
    can be used to mark the
    page or even the specific
    line on a page for your
    future reference. Are
    you allowed to use them
    on Shabbos? In order to
    research this subject, I purchased the elegant
    “18forty: I Read This Over Shabbos” branded
    book darts to see how they work and whether
    they are acceptable for Shabbos reading.
    Before receiving the package, I had broken
    down this question into two parts. Below I
    will explain how I revised this analysis after
    using the book darts.
    I. The Pampers Question
    In 1971, Pampers released disposable diapers
    with adhesive tape. In those days, the tape
    only sealed once. This meant that parents had
    only one chance to seal the diapers properly.
    Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Shabbos
    10:11) forbids gluing together paper using
    “scribe’s glue” (kolan shel soferim) because
    that constitutes sewing, even without a needle
    and thread. Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim
    340:14) rules likewise. This means that it
    is forbidden to tape things together because
    of the Shabbos labor of sewing (tofer), and
    it is forbidden to rip off the tape because of
    the opposite labor of tearing (korei’a). For

    this reason, most halachic authorities only
    allow using this type of disposable diapers on
    Shabbos with safety pins.
    In 1982, Huggies developed refastenable
    adhesives. This allowed parents to open and
    close the diapers multiple times. It means
    that sticking the tape was only temporary,
    which bears halachic significance. Rav
    Avraham Gombiner (17th cen., Poland;
    Magen Avraham 340:18) allows sticking and
    unsticking of glue if it is only temporary (this
    is a simplification of the issue). Therefore, in
    theory the adhesive should be permitted on
    Shabbos. However, the first unsticking of
    the tape is potentially problematic. The tape
    was covered with plastic in the factory and
    remained there for days if not weeks.
    Rav Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer
    16:6:5) considers this factory sticking
    problematic and forbids unsticking it on
    Shabbos. Rather, he requires a parent to
    prepare disposable diapers before Shabbos
    by unsticking and then resticking them
    temporarily. Shemiras Shabbos Ke-Hilchasah
    (15:81) rules similarly. Indeed, when my
    older children were little, part of my Shabbos
    preparations was taking a pile of unused
    diapers and unsticking and resticking the
    adhesive so we could use them on Shabbos.
    Some other authorities were more lenient.
    Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Yechaveh Da’as 6:24)
    does not require preparing disposable

    diapers before Shabbos. Rav Yosef Kafach,
    in an unnumbered footnote to his edition of
    Mishneh Torah (Hilchos Shabbos 10:11),
    argues that diaper adhesives do not fall under
    Rambam’s term “scribe’s glue” (kolan shel
    soferim) and therefore closing and opening
    adhesive diapers is completely permitted.
    All of this changed in the late 1990’s, when
    a velcro-like system became widely used in
    disposable diapers. Nearly all authorities
    agree that this does not fall under the Shabbos
    labor of sewing.
    II. Bookmarks and Post-It Notes
    Presumably, this same discussion applies
    to Post-It Notes and similar brands, when
    the notes are connected only by adhesives.
    Pulling off a note is similar to unsticking a
    diaper for the first time, which is problematic
    according to many authorities. Sticking
    and unsticking a note after the first time is

    different from a diaper in the sense that Post-
    It Notes are usually used once for a few days

    and then thrown out whereas diapers are
    always used for only a few hours. Therefore,
    diapers are temporary while notes usually are
    not. For this reason, some authorities prohibit
    the use of Post-It Notes on Shabbos (heard in
    the name of Rav Zvi Sobolofsky). However,
    Rav Yisrael David Harfenes (Nishmas
    Shabbos 7:206) allows using a Post-It Note as
    a bookmark if you prepare it by unsticking it
    the first time before Shabbos. Then he allows
    using it again on Shabbos to mark your
    place in the book without concern for the
    Shabbos labor of sewing because these
    are temporary placeholders that you move
    Initially, I thought that book darts are
    like Post-It Notes. If so, I would only use
    them if I unstick them for the first time
    before Shabbos. However, after receiving
    them, I saw that they are not adhesives at
    all. Rather, as one website describes the
    product, book darts are “precision-cut,
    paper-thin metal line markers that attach
    easily to any page without damaging it.”
    They are clips, like bobby pins but flat,
    smooth and shaped like an arrow.
    However, perhaps there is another
    problem of preparing for after Shabbos.
    It is forbidden on Shabbos to prepare for
    after Shabbos. Is it permissible to place
    a bookmark or a book dart in a book to
    remember your place? Shulchan Aruch
    (Orach Chaim 340:5) permits making
    a mark in a paper with your fingernail.
    Mishnah Berurah (ad loc., 25) says that
    this only applied to paper from long ago
    that was hard and the mark did not last.
    However, it is forbidden to make a mark
    in paper with a fingernail today because
    the mark is more permanent. Setting
    aside the issue of the type of paper, the
    discussion seems to imply that there is no
    problem of preparation for after Shabbos.
    For this reason, some authorities permit
    folding the corner of a page (dog ear) in
    order to remember the page. Rav Yisrael
    David Harfenes (Nishmas Shabbos

    4:393) suggests that this is not considered
    preparation for after Shabbos because it
    involves no effort. He questions, however,
    whether you are allowed to get up and get a
    piece of paper or bookmark to put inside the
    book to mark the page because of the effort
    you exert.
    Rav Avraham David Horowitz (Kinyan
    Torah Ba-Halachah 2:116:2) says that if you
    insert a piece of paper or something similar to
    mark a place in a book of Torah teachings on
    Shabbos, this is permissible because it is for
    a mitzvah. He adds that this was the practice
    of Torah leaders throughout the generations.
    Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (Responsa Ma’amar
    Mordechai 4:108) quotes a tradition from
    Rav Yosef Chaim of Baghdad that when he
    had a creative interpretation on Shabbos, he
    inserted a fruit pit into a book to mark the
    place and then after Shabbos would write
    down his thoughts. Rav Eliyahu deduces
    from this story that it is permissible to insert
    a bookmark. Additionally, Rav Eliyahu
    deduces that Rav Yosef Chaim did not feel
    comfortable folding the corner of the page,
    presumably because it leaves a permanent
    mark. Rav Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos
    Ephraim 1:238:11) quotes Rav Yehoshua
    Neuwirth, Rav Binyamin Zilber and Rav
    Yisrael Porat as allowing bending the corner
    of a page on Shabbos in theory but not
    allowing it on a Torah book even during the
    week because it is disrespectful.
    It seems that most authorities would allow
    the use of book darts and bookmarks on
    Shabbos because it does not constitute
    preparation for after Shabbos. Additionally,
    when I use bookmarks on Shabbos, I often
    refer back to the book on Shabbos. In other
    words, placing the bookmark or book dart is
    for Shabbos itself and not (just) preparation
    for after Shabbos.