Dash (Part 2) Practical Ramifications of the Melakha of Dash

  • Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon

 

THE LAWS OF SHABBAT

By Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon

 

 

 

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In loving memory of Channa Schreiber (Channa Rivka bat Yosef v' Yocheved) z"l,
with wishes for consolation and comfort to her dear children
Yossi and Mona, Yitzchak and Carmit, and their families,
along with all who mourn for Tzion and Yerushalayim.

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Shiur #10: DASH (Part 2)

 

 

II) Practical Ramifications of the Melakha of Dash

 

As we have already seen, removing grain from its stalks is the primary melakha of dash (threshing).  Any removal of food or drink from the place in which it has been enclosed is a subcategory of dash.[1]  It should be noted that actions which fall into this subcategory are still prohibited by Torah law. 

 

In light of this, peeling or shelling legumes and the like should be a Torah violation of dash; the same applies to squeezing olives and grapes (removing the liquid enclosed within them), and sometimes even to wringing out clothing.  Aside from this, there are additional actions forbidden by the Torah or the Sages because of the melakha of dash: the squeezing of other produce, milking animals on Shabbat, crushing ice, etc.  We will deal with all of these activities in the coming shiurim. 

 

Cracking Nuts

 

As we have seen above it is forbidden to remove the upper, green hull of walnuts on Shabbat, since this is a melakha normally performed in the field.  However, one is allowed to crack walnuts and to remove their hard, brown shells, since this is an act that is generally performed at home.  Similarly, one may crack open almonds or sunflower seeds (see our previous shiur about peanuts).  Similarly, the Rema (319:6) indicates that one is allowed to remove the green hull together with the brown shell below it without separating them. 

 

Apparently, since cracking nuts is a home-based activity, the prohibition of dash should not apply, and as such it should be permitted even for non-immediate use.  However, the Mishna Berura (319:24) indicates that one should only crack nuts for immediate use.  It appears that the reason for this is that while dash indeed does not apply to a home-based activity, the prohibition of borer (selecting) remains; as we have seen on in our series on borer, one may peel fruits and vegetables only for immediate use, because of the melakha of borer.  As we explained in our analysis of borer, preparation proximate to the meal is considered "for immediate use" and consequently allowed. 

 

Since cracking nuts is permissible for immediate use according to all views, let us turn to the question of method.  May one use a nutcracker, or can the nuts only be cracked by hand?  In terms of the prohibition of dash, there should not be a problem to use a utensil, because this is a home-based activity and does not fall under the rubric of dash.  However, as we have seen, the prohibition of borer is also in play; therefore, one should not be able to use a nutcracker, as borer is forbidden with a utensil. 

 

Nevertheless, the mishna (122b) states explicitly: "One may take a hammer to crack nuts."  The Eglei Tal (Borer, 10) explains that cracking nuts with a utensil is not forbidden because of borer, since the okhel (food) is still contained within the shell.  Indeed, after using a nutcracker, when one needs to discard the shards of the shell and extract the okhel from among them, one must do so proximate to eating because of the prohibition of borer. 

 

The conclusion of the Mishna Berura (319:24) is that one is allowed to remove the broken shells after the nuts have been split open (proximate to eating), and even though one removes the pesolet (refuse) from okhel, there is no prohibition of borer in this, since this is an integral part of tikkun okhel (fixing/ preparing the food).[2]  However, if the fruit has already been freed from the shell, such as sunflower seeds mixed with their hulls, one must remove the okhel from the hulls.

 

Shelling Peanuts

 

The Chazon Ish is cited (Orechot Shabbat, Ch. 4, n. 7) as allowing for the removal of the hard shell of peanuts, and Rav Neuwirth rules accordingly (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilkhata, Ch. 3, n. 92).  However, this question warrants revisiting nowadays.  In the past, peanuts were generally sold in their hard shells, and naturally the removal of the shells was a home-based activity.  On the other hand, nowadays, peanuts are almost always purchased pre-shelled, and only rarely does one find peanuts in their shells.  According to this, this should be defined as “fieldwork,” and one should forbid it, as the Shevet Ha-levi indeed rules (Vol. I, Ch. 81).

 

However, one may argue that since some people buy unshelled peanuts and even present them as such on their tables, unshelled peanuts may be considered a fully-processed food, so that removing the shell is not the “fieldwork” of creating the okhel, but rather an action of preparing the okhel for eating at home.  Although most people purchase shelled peanuts nowadays, this is only because they prefer to buy food which is ready-to-eat, not because unshelled peanuts do not have the status of okhel (see Chut Shani, Vol. II, p.  53).

 

Practically, it appears that due to this halakhic ambiguity, one should be stringent and avoid shelling peanuts in the normal way.  Nonetheless, there remains a permitted way of shelling them: one may remove the hard shell by hand, rather than with a utensil, and shell the peanuts one-by-one, and this would be allowed even if we were to classify shelling peanuts as “fieldwork,” since this is considered a major alteration.  This notion is derived from a Talmudic passage in Beitza (13b): "One who peels barley may peel one-by-one and eat."  Rashi explains (ibid, s.v. Ve-khen Le-shabbat), that there is no prohibition of dash in this, since it is done in a irregular manner.[3]  It is obvious that the thin, red seed coat may be removed normally and in great quantity (proximate to the meal[4]), since this seed coat is normally eaten, and the prohibition of dash is not applicable to it.

 

Legumes and Garlic

 

When it comes to removing legumes (such as peas) from their pods, the Mishna Berura (319:21) writes that if the pod is inedible, this is forbidden because of dash; however, if the pod is edible, there is no prohibition, because the prohibition of dash does not apply to removing okhel from okhel. 

 

It is permissible to remove cloves of garlic from the bulb; there is no prohibition of dash because this is a home-based activity (Orechot Shabbat 4:6, in the name of Rav Karelitz).  One must do so proximate to the meal, because of the prohibition of borer; we have already seen that one may peel garlic or onions proximate to the meal. 

 

Summary

 

In conclusion, it is forbidden to remove wheat kernels from their stalks (doing so with a utensil is a Torah prohibition; doing so by hand may be only a rabbinic decree).  It is also forbidden to remove the green hull on top of the hard, brown shell of a walnut or almond.  However, one is allowed to remove the brown, hard shell of walnuts or almonds, and similarly one may remove the hulls of sunflower seeds.  It is permissible to do this even with a utensil, but one must do it proximate to eating (or proximate to the meal).  Peanut shells must be removed by hand, and only one-by-one.  The thin, red seed coats of peanuts may be removed even in great quantities (but only proximate to the meal).

 

III) Squeezing Fruit

 

 

Is one allowed to squeeze an orange, carrot or apple?  May one squeeze a lemon into a cup of tea or into a salad?  May one suck the liquid out of grapes in one's mouth?  May one soak up the oil absorbed in chicken cutlets? 

 

The mishna (143b) states: "One may not squeeze produce to remove liquids from it, and if they come out on their own, they are forbidden."  This prohibition of squeezing produce is included in the prohibition of mefarek (extraction), because this is a subcategory of dash.  Just as in the prohibition of dash, one removes the okhel (kernel) from its container (husk), in squeezing (sechita) one removes the juice from the fruit (mashkeh from okhel).  The Sages forbade the juice which comes out of the fruit, even if it comes out on its own.[5]

 

The Gemara (145a) stresses that the Torah prohibition of sechita only applies to olives and grapes:

 

One may not squeeze olives and grapes, and if one does so, one is liable to bring a sin-offering... 

Rav Chiya bar Ashi said in the name of Rav, "By Torah law, one is liable only for pressing grapes and olives."

 

From the words of the Gemara (143b ff.) and the Rishonim, it appears that squeezing berries[6] and pomegranates was banned by the Sages because people were accustomed to squeeze these fruits in Mishnaic times; on the other hand, squeezing other produce, which is not ordinarily utilized for sechita, is permissible.  This is how the Rambam (21:12) rules: 

 

Mefarek is liable because of dash, and one who squeezes olives or grapes is liable for mefarek.  Therefore, it is forbidden to squeeze berries and pomegranates — since some people squeeze them like olives and grapes — lest one come to squeeze olives and grapes.  However, other produce — for example: quinces, apples and sorb-apples — may be squeezed on Shabbat, because it is not designated for sechita.      

 

In other words, there are three levels:

1.    Grapes and olives may not be squeezed by Torah law.

2.    Berries and pomegranates (which some people use for juice) may not be squeezed by rabbinic law.

3.    Other fruits (which are not normally squeezed) may be squeezed.

 

Why Does the Torah Forbid Only Grapes and Olives? 

 

The Rishonim provide a variety of explanations as to the special status of grapes and olives when it comes to sechita.

 

Rashi (145a, s.v. Devar Torah) writes: "Pressing other species is not their normal use, so it is not a melakha."  In other words, because it is not as common to squeeze these other types of produce, one is allowed to do so on Shabbat; only grapes and olives are commonly pressed by many people.

 

Why should the practice of humans influence the existence of a divine prohibition?  The Tosafot Rid (144a, s.v. Sochatin) explains that when one squeezes a fruit which is not customarily squeezed, this act is considered performing a melakha with an alteration. 

 

However, the Rashba (145a, s.v. Le-meimeihen) and the Ritva (ibid, s.v. Le-meimeihen) argue that this relates to the very nature of mefarek and dash itself: the extract and the source must be different by definition.  When it comes to juicing, the melakha is applicable only to olives and grapes, which people are accustomed to squeeze; the liquid which comes out of them has the status of a mashkeh, so that one who squeezes them is considered to be extracting mashkeh from okhel.  However, all other species, which are generally designated for eating and not for juicing, retain their okhel status even in liquid form.  Since what comes out of them is considered okhel and not mashkeh, one who squeezes them is considered to be extracting okhel from okhel — and therefore cannot be liable because of dash.[7]

 

Alternatively, the Ran (61a, Rif, s.v. Kevashin) challenges Rashi's view and writes that this rule has nothing to do with common practice: rather, only olives and grapes contain liquids which can be defined as mashkeh!  According to him, there is an essential halakhic determination here: only the juice which comes out of olives and grapes is considered mashkeh, without any connection to human practice, and therefore only in these species does one find the removal of mashkeh from okhel, which is forbidden because of dash.  The Peri Megadim (Eshel Avraham, Introduction to Ch. 320) rules in accordance with the Ran’s explanation. 

 

According to this, the special law of the liquids which come out of olives and grapes for purposes of dash relates to their special status in other contexts.  For example, many Rishonim maintain that grape juice and olive oil are the only liquids subject to the requirement to separate tithes; similarly, grape juice has its own special blessing when drunk.

 

This approach may be better understood in light of the basic concept of the melakha of dash.  As we have seen, dash is the completion of the creation of the fruit.  With other fruits, the creation of the fruit ends when it is plucked from the tree, at which point they transition to preparation as food.  Regarding olives and grapes, on the other hand, their harvest does not conclude the process of creating the food. Rather, their juice has a special status, a significance which exceeds the significance of the fruit itself (as we have seen concerning tithes and blessings), such that it stands to reason that the full preparation of these fruits is completed only when the juice is extracted.  Therefore, their sechita is forbidden by the Torah because of dash.  (The Shevitat Ha-shabbat suggests a similar approach in his Introduction to the Melakha of Dash, 2, in the name of the Pe'er Etz Chayim.)[8]   

 

Squeezing Other Produce Nowadays

 

These two understandings will impact our approach towards squeezing other fruits nowadays.

 

Nowadays, most fruits are used for sechita, and there are certain species, especially among citrus fruits, that are cultivated mainly for the sake of producing juice.  Is squeezing these fruits prohibited by the Torah?

 

If we take the first approach, the Torah prohibition for olives and grapes stems from the customary aim of sechita, so that one would violate a Torah prohibition by squeezing these fruits nowadays.        

 

However, according to the second view, that the Torah prohibition of the olives and grapes is based on the special status of the liquids which come out of them, squeezing other fruits would still not be prohibited by the Torah.

 

It is hard to resolve this debate conclusively; in any case, there is at least a rabbinic prohibition of squeezing fruits which are often juiced, while fruits which are almost never juiced may be squeezed.  Still, one must ask: how does universal practice relate to individual intent in this case?  Let us examine this.

 

Squeezing Produce Not Used for Juice

 

As we have noted, the Gemara rules that one may squeeze produce which is not ordinarily juiced.  However, there is still a question about this: do we follow the common practice?  In other words, if a given species is not generally squeezed for its juice, it may be juiced on Shabbat, because the liquid is not considered a mashkeh.  This is the simple understanding of the Rif (60a) and the Rambam (21:12; see Beit Yosef, Ch. 320), and this is the explicit view of the Ramban (144b), the Rashba (ibid), the Yere'im (Ch. 274, 132b), and others. Alternatively, perhaps one who squeezes the fruit in order to drink the liquid grants it the status of a drink by the very fact that he squeezes it, and therefore this is forbidden.  Consequently, one would be allowed to squeeze the fruit solely for the purpose of improving the fruit's taste.  This is the view of Rashi (144b, s.v. Ke-Rav Chisda) and Tosafot (ibid, s.v. Hakhei nammei). 

 

The Shulchan Arukh (320:1) rules leniently on this matter, while the Bach (320, s.v. Ve-ikka) writes that in light of the view of Rashi and Tosafot, "One should not rule leniently to allow squeezing any fruit for its juice — heaven forbid! — the way it is written in the Shulchan Arukh."  This is the view of the Taz (ibid, 1), the Chayei Adam (14:3) and others.  On the other hand, the Magen Avraham (320:1) and the Ba'al Ha-tanya (Shulchan Arukh Ha-rav 320:1) write that in principle one may be lenient, but the common custom is to be stringent.  The Bei'ur Halakha (320:1, s.v. Muttar) writes that since most Rishonim rule leniently on this issue, one need not follow the stringent views, unless one is in a place where the local custom is to follow them.

 

In practice, this dispute would appear to have very limited, if any, application, as nowadays virtually all fruits, vegetables, etc. are used for juicing to some extent.

 

Summary                                                                     

 

In conclusion, it is forbidden nowadays to squeeze any fruit or vegetable for its juice.  The squeezing of olives and grapes is prohibited by Torah law; the squeezing of other species which are customarily squeezed is forbidden either by Torah or rabbinic law; the squeezing of species which are seldom juiced is only rabbinically banned. 

 

SQUEEZING LEMONS

 

It would stand to reason that squeezing lemons on Shabbat should be forbidden, because this is a fruit which is usually squeezed.  There is even more of a reason to forbid squeezing lemons than other fruits, because lemons are not generally eaten; rather, lemons are used exclusively for sechita. 

 

However, the Rosh in his Responsa (22:2) allows squeezing lemons on Shabbat because "it is not the way to squeeze lemons for the sake of mashkeh, but rather for the sake of okhel." Similarly, the common custom among the Jews of Egypt was to squeeze lemons into sugar water — even on Shabbat!  The Beit Yosef (320, s.v. Ve-yesh litmoah) writes that one may justify the custom in one of two ways.  Firstly:

 

It may be that there is no prohibition unless one drinks the liquid squeezed out of a fruit without it being mixed into another drink.

 

In other words, only juice that would normally be drunk on its own must not be squeezed; the juice which one generally drinks only inside another drink may be squeezed on Shabbat.  What is the logic of this?  Apparently, juice such as this is not considered a mashkeh but only a garnish, because it is not drunk on its own, and therefore there is no removal of mashkeh from okhel.  The Beit Yosef continues:

 

Alternatively, it is only forbidden to squeeze the liquid alone and then to mix it, but if the custom is to squeeze its liquid into another drink, this is allowed.

 

In other words, if one generally squeezes the juice into an empty vessel and only mixes it in with other drink subsequently, squeezing it is forbidden; but juice which is generally squeezed directly into a drink does not have the status of a mashkeh, because it never stands on its own.  

The application of the Rosh’s ruling to lemon juice nowadays depends on the two reasons he provides.  According to his first explanation, squeezing lemons should be permitted, since lemon juice is not drunk on its own.  According to his second explanation, the Rosh's leniency would not be applicable anymore: in factories worldwide, huge quantities of lemons are squeezed to fill empty bottles.

 

The Shulchan Arukh (320:6) rules unequivocally on the matter: "One may squeeze lemons."  The Magen Avraham (8), the Taz (5) and the Ba'al Ha-tanya (Shulchan Arukh Ha-rav 320:10) understand that the Shulchan Arukh ruling is based on the first explanation, and thus, one may squeeze lemons even nowadays.  Rav Ovadya Yosef rules accordingly (Livyat Chen, 57). 

 

On the other hand, the Chayei Adam (14:4), the Mishna Berura (320:22; Shaar Ha-tziyun, 26) and the Ben Ish Chai (Year 2, Yitro 5) rule that the second approach is correct, and consequently squeezing lemons should be forbidden nowadays.  This is Rav Neuwirth's ruling (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilkhata 5:5), as well as Rav Moshe Levi (Tefilla Le-Moshe (Vol. I, Ch. 43; Menuchat Ahava, Vol. II, 2:6, n. 40). 

 

Putting a Slice of Lemon in a Drink

 

However, one may put a slice of lemon in cold water or in tea which is in a tertiary vessel (and according to the Chazon Ish, who believes that lemon is a garnish, even in a secondary vessel), even though it is clear that juice will flow out of the lemon into the drink, just as the Acharonim allow one to put fresh grapes into wine on Shabbat so that the grapes will split open and release their juice (Mishna Berura 320:14).

 

Summary

 

In conclusion, the Rosh allows squeezing lemons, but it is not clear what his reason is and whether it still applies today, when lemons are often squeezed into bottles.  According to Rav Ovadya Yosef, the reasoning still holds true today; however, according to many halakhic authorities, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, nowadays one should not squeeze a lemon into an empty vessel or into a drink.  Nevertheless, one may squirt the lemon directly into a salad or the like, as we will explain in our next shiur.

Translated by Rav Yoseif Bloch


 


[1] See Rashi, 73b, s.v. Mefarek; Rambam 8:7; Shulchan Arukh Ha-rav 305:28.

[2] The Mishna Berura cites the Peri Megadim who rules stringently, that one must take out the food from the shell because of the prohibition of borer; however one may rely on the Maharshal who rules leniently, that removing the shell for immediate eating is considered tikkun okhel, and the prohibition of borer does not apply.  In practice, there is good reason to be lenient in this, in light of the various leniencies concerning peeling produce.

[3] However, Tosafot (s.v. Ve-im kalaf) explain that we are talking about the thin husk of barley, to which the prohibition of dash is not applicable at all, as we cited in our previous shiur.  However, they write this only in order to explain the conclusion of the passage, which allows one to peel even a great amount of barley, and they do not necessarily claim that the assumption of the beginning of the passage is rejected, because peeling one-by-one is permitted even for produce subject to the prohibition of dash.  The Tzemach Tzedek indicates this in his Responsa (Chiddushei Shulchan Arukh, Ch. 319; also, addenda at the end of Shulchan Arukh Ha-rav), as does the Tiferet Yisrael (Kalkalat Shabbat, Kelalei Lamed-Tet Melakhot, Dash).  However, Rav Neuwirth (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilkhata, Ch. 3, n. 92) writes that the Mishna Berura (319:22) implies otherwise; nevertheless, since it is not clear that this is the Mishna Berura's intent — in fact, there are Acharonim who allow removing even the peanut's hard shell, as we cited above (even though their approach is arguable) — it appears that practically one may allow shelling the peanuts one-by-one, if one does so specifically by hand, since this is a doubt regarding a rabbinic prohibition.  Rav Moshe Levi (Tefilla Le-Moshe, Vol. I, Ch. 42; Menuchat Ahava, Vol. II, 6:3), and the Minchat Yitzchak (Vol. III, Ch. 32) concur.

[4] Many Acharonim write (Eglei Tal, Dash 5; Shevitat Ha-shabbat, Dash 5) that one may remove the seed coat of the peanuts specifically in order to eat them immediately, and this is the implication of the words of the Mishna Berura (319:24).  However, logically, there should be good reason to allow removing the shell even sometime before consumption, since most people eat the peanuts with the seed coat, and thus it is considered part of the legume, such that the prohibition of borer would not be applicable.  See the Ketzot Ha-shulchan (126; Baddei Ha-shulchan, 8) and Ayil Meshullash (Ch. 12, n. 56) who discuss this issue.

[5] We will deal with the details of this prohibition later.

[6] The Talmudic tut seems to be a mulberry (as both Jastrow and Epstein render it), but in modern Hebrew this word usually refers to a strawberry (technically, tut sadeh). 

[7] The primary melakha of dash is removing the grain from the husk, i.e., okhel from pesolet; in squeezing produce, one removes liquid from okhel, not from pesolet, and despite this, this act is a subcategory of dash, since the liquid is different in its nature from the okhel, and one creates something new by removing it from the covering in which it has grown.  On the other hand, when we remove okhel from okhel, even if the okhel being removed has been covered and hidden, this is not considered the creation of something new; it is mere tikkun okhel, and therefore it is not forbidden because of dash.  We will see another ramification of this approach for the issue of squeezing produce into okhel.  (See also our discussion above of removing legumes from their pods).     

[8] The Meiri (145a, s.v. Ma She-ameru), in the name of the "great ones of the generations", cites another explanation of the rule that squeezing is forbidden by Torah law only for olives and grapes.  He argues that there is a botanical reason: in grapes and olives, the liquid is concentrated within them; in other produce, the liquid is merely absorbed within it.  A similar view is mentioned by the Peri Megadim (Eshel Avraham, Introduction to Ch. 320, 5, end)