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Dash: Squeezing Liquids Absorbed in Food

Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon



By Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon





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.



Shiur #11: DASH (Part 3)



IV) Squeezing Liquids Absorbed in Food


In our previous shiur, we dealt with the prohibition to squeeze fruits or vegetables in order to extract their natural juices.  This is prohibited under the rubric of mefarek (extracting), a subcategory of dash (threshing).  However, sometimes a food (okhel) may be saturated with a liquid (mashkeh) which it has absorbed, e.g., a pickle's juice or the oil in a doughnut or latke.  Is the squeezing (sechita) of such foods permissible on Shabbat?


The Gemara (145a) deals with this question in the context of kevashim (pickled vegetables) and shelakot (boiled vegetables) and formulates the following rule: if the purpose of the sechita is le-gufan, for their own sake, i.e., in order to allow one to eat the vegetables without superfluous liquid, there is a consensus that squeezing them is permitted.  However, if the aim of the sechita is "le-meimeihen," for their liquid, i.e., in order to use the liquid which is extracted from the vegetables, there is a dispute:


Shmuel said: "Whether kevashim or shelakot, for their own sake, it is permitted; for their liquid, it is forbidden but one is not liable..."

Rabbi Yochanan said: "Whether kevashim or shelakot, for their own sake, it is permitted; for their liquid, one is liable to bring a sin-offering."


In other words, squeezing the vegetables in order to eat them without liquid is permitted according to both views.  Conversely, squeezing the vegetables in order to use their liquids (for example, as a relish for bread) is forbidden on both views, but the Talmudic authorities dispute the status of this prohibition: Torah (Rabbi Yochanan) or rabbinic (Shmuel).[1]  Although this liquid is not the natural juice of the vegetable, but rather a liquid which it has absorbed, there is a prohibition of dash in this (at least according to Rabbi Yochanan), since one is removing the liquid absorbed in the produce.


The Reason for Allowing Sechita Le-gufan


As we have seen, according to all of the views, one is allowed to squeeze kevashim and shelakot in order to eat them without superfluous liquid, and the Shulchan Arukh rules accordingly (320:7).[2]  What is the reason for this being permissible?


Rashi (ibid, s.v. Le-gufo) explains that one who does so does not violate mefarek, "Since he does not need the liquid."  In other words, the entire nature of mefarek is removing something from its covering in order to use it, but when one does not need the extract, it is not included in mefarek at all.  Tosafot (73b, s.v. Ve-tzarikh la-etzim) write, along the same lines, that this is not derekh disha (the way of threshing).  The Ramban (111a, s.v. Hai Mesokhraita) and the Ran (41a, Rif, s.v. U-lfikakh) also state that sechita such as this is not like disha at all.  Even though the Sages do sometimes ban sechita of this sort, there is no such decree in the case of kevashim and shelakot. 


However, Tosafot in Ketubbot (6a, s.v. Hai Mesokhraita) write that generally there is a prohibition of mefarek even if the person is not interested at all in the liquid which is being squeezed; only in the case of kevashim and shelakot the Sages allow sechita, since the liquid absorbed in them is not an independent mashkeh, but rather part of the food.  Even after it is extracted from the food, this liquid is considered okhel and not mashkeh (at least when one is not interested in it), and this is like extracting okhel from okhel, which is not forbidden because of dash. 




To summarize, it is permissible to squeeze a vegetable or a fruit which has an absorbed liquid in it, if the aim is to eat the cooked food without liquid.  Therefore, it is permissible to squeeze a doughnut or latke to remove the oil or a pickle in order to remove the "juice" within it (when one is not interested in the liquid).  However, it is forbidden to squeeze a pickled or cooked vegetable in order to use the liquid, e.g., as a relish for bread.






V) Squeezing Produce into Food


The Gemara (144b) states that even though it is forbidden to squeeze produce on Shabbat, there is nevertheless a solution, quoted by Rav Yehuda in the name of Shmuel: "A person can squeeze a cluster of grapes into a pot [of food], but not into a[n empty] bowl."


The Gemara thus rules that although one may not squeeze grapes into an empty bowl, one may squeeze grapes into a vessel with food in it.  Why is this latter case permitted?  Rashi (s.v. Le-tokh ha-kedeira) explains:


It is self-evident that one does not want it for mashkeh, but for okhel; therefore, this is not the way of extracting it, and it is like separating okhel from okhel. 


In other words, the melakha of dash — particularly, its subcategory of mefarek — exists only when one removes mashkeh from okhel (e.g., from a fruit or vegetable).  However, when one squeezes straight into food, the liquid which emerges immediately enters the food, and it serves as okhel.  Therefore, this is not the squeezing of mashkeh from okhel, but removing okhel from okhel, which is allowed on Shabbat.  Tosafot (145a, s.v. Ve-Rabbi Yochanan), the Rif (60a) and the Rambam (8:10) all rule in accordance with this explanation.


The Rosh in his rulings on the Gemara there (22:3) also follows this leniency, but in his Responsa (22:1), he cites the view of Rabbeinu Chananel that Shmuel's solution is not accepted halakhically (since, according to him, Rabbi Yochanan challenges it), and therefore it is forbidden to squeeze produce into food:


Now you know that it is a dispute of the greats: Rabbeinu Chananel's halakhic ruling follows Rabbi Yochanan... and he says that Rabbi Yochanan disputes Shmuel's view.  On the other hand, Rav Alfas [i.e., the Rif] follows Shmuel, and who would stick his head between the mountains?  Whoever is stringent is praiseworthy!


The Rosh cites this dispute and recommends being stringent in this matter, for "Who would stick his head between the mountains?" — i.e., who would dare to wade into a dispute between these pillars of halakhic authority: the Rif and the Rambam on the lenient side and Rabbeinu Chananel on the stringent side?


However, the halakhic ruling of the Shulchan Arukh (320:4) is to be lenient in accordance with the Rif and the Rambam (this seems to be the Rosh's inclination as well):


It is permissible to squeeze a cluster of grapes into a pot which has a cooked food in it in order to improve the food, because this is mashkeh entering okhel, and it has the status of okhel; however, if there is no food in it, this is forbidden. 


Based on this ruling, it would appear that one may squeeze grapes into food.  However, in a subsequent ruling (7), the Shulchan Arukh cites the view of Rabbeinu Chananel: it is prohibited to squeeze cooked vegetables into a pot even if there is food in it.  The Rema adds that, according to this view, squeezing grapes into the pot is also forbidden:


In the view of Rabbeinu Chananel, whenever the liquid is needed, one is liable to bring a sin-offering even if one squeezes into a pot that contains food.    


According to him, one who squeezes a cluster of grapes into a pot violates the melakha of dash.


What is the final ruling?  What is the intent of the Shulchan Arukh in citing the lenient view initially and then mentioning the stringent one? 


The Mishna Berura (17, 30) writes that the Shulchan Arukh adds the view of Rabbeinu Chananel in order to indicate that although essentially one may be lenient in this matter, whoever is stringent is praiseworthy. 


In practice, regarding olives or grapes, one should be stringent and refrain from squeezing them directly into food, in accordance with the view of the Mishna Berura.  However, when it comes to sechita of other produce (which is forbidden only rabbinically[3]), and certainly when it comes to the squeezing of a lemon (which in some views is never forbidden, because lemon juice is not a stand-alone drink), it appears that one may be lenient and permit squeezing them into food.  This is the ruling of the Chayei Adam (14:3).

In any case, one must squeeze directly into a salad or other food, not into an empty cup or into a drink, even if one's intent is to transfer the liquid immediately to the food (Mishna Berura 320:18).[4]   


Sechita into Sugar for a Drink


Is it permissible to squeeze a lemon into sugar (into okhel which would be permitted) if one's intent is to pour the sugar into a drink (mashkeh which would be prohibited)?  The Radvaz, in his Responsa (Vol. I, Ch. 10), offers this solution:


I have become accustomed to squeeze lemons onto sugar before putting water on it, because this is mashkeh going into okhel, and it is permissible.


The Mishna Berura (22) rules in accordance with this leniency.  The Ben Ish Chai (Year 2, Yitro 5) writes that according to this one who wants to make lemonade on Shabbat must squeeze the lemon into the sugar first, and only after that may one add the water; his mnemonic is "And behold a ladder (sullam) was standing on the ground" (Bereishit 28:12) — "sullam" standing for sugar, lemon, mayim (water).


However, the Chazon Ish (56:7) disputes this.  According to him, since the lemon is ultimately designated to be added to water, it is considered mashkeh and not okhel, and this is extracting mashkeh from mashkeh:


To squeeze a lemon onto sugar... if one's intent is to put the sugar into water, it appears that this sechita is forbidden; since one's intent is for mashkeh, it is considered mashkeh...  However, if one needs to give lemon juice to a child for medical purposes, one should do so. 


Thus, the Chazon Ish prohibits this practice, allowing it only for the sake of "a child for medical purposes".


Practically, since many halakhic authorities allow squeezing lemons even into an empty vessel (since one does not generally drink lemon juice on its own), it appears that there is good reason to be lenient according to the view of Mishna Berura and to allow for squeezing the lemon into the sugar and from there to transfer it into the drink.  However, it is better to put a lemon slice into the mashkeh, thereby acting in accordance with all of the views (one should clean the peel thoroughly because of a concern of insect infestation).  As for the prohibition of cooking if the liquid is hot, see our previous shiur, in which we mentioned that the Chazon Ish allows putting a lemon in a secondary vessel, since according to him it is like a garnish.  Nevertheless, many halakhic authorities are stringent when it comes to this, and it is preferable to put the lemon into a tertiary vessel.







VI) Sucking Produce


Rabbi Eliezer of Metz, the Yere'im (Ch. 274, 133a), writes that there is a Torah prohibition to suck juice from fruit:


I am concerned that one who puts meat in soup or soaks bread in wine and then puts it back in one's mouth to suck the liquid out will be liable for this — all the more so, one should not use one's mouth to suck liquid from grapes and the like.


However, the Baal Ha-ittur (Hilkhot Yom Tov, 12) disputes this because "it is not derekh sechita with one's mouth."


Presumably, even if we do not follow the ruling of the Yere'im that there is a Torah prohibition (at least for olives and grapes), one should forbid the matter at least rabbinically because even melakha with an alteration is forbidden by rabbinical law.  Apparently, according to the Baal Ha-ittur, sechita by mouth is not a mere alteration — to extract liquid with one's mouth cannot be classified as sechita at all.


The Rema (320:1) cites the two views but does not decide between them.  The Mishna Berura (12) writes, following the Eliya Rabba, that one must distinguish between different cases:


See the Eliya Rabba, who writes that since sechita of olives and grapes is prohibited by the Torah, it is appropriate to be stringent and avoid sucking even with one's mouth, in accordance with the first approach.  However, with other foods, there is no reason to be stringent. 


Nevertheless, it makes sense that even when it comes to olives and grapes there is no reason to be stringent unless one does so in “the way of suckling” — i.e., one sucks them and does not put them into one's mouth.  However, if one puts them in one's mouth and sucks on the liquid, spitting out only the pits, according to everyone, this is the way of eating, as implied by the Peri Megadim.    


According to him, one should be stringent and not suck olives and grapes in one’s mouth, since the sechita of these fruit is forbidden by the Torah, but one may be lenient with other produce, whose sechita is prohibited only rabbinically.  According to this, it would also be permitted also to suck sauce absorbed into a piece of bread or wine absorbed into challa. 


The Mishna Berura adds that one needs to be stringent only when it comes to "the way of suckling" — i.e., one holds the fruit in one's hand and sucks the liquid from it. However, if one puts the entire fruit in one's mouth and sucks from it the liquid before one swallows it, this is not derekh sechita.  Rather, it is the way of eating, and this method is allowed even for olives and grapes. 


Therefore, one may suck pomegranate seeds even if one spits out the seeds.  Similarly, it is permissible to suck sugar cane, and one may suck juice out of half of a lemon or a slice of orange.


Translated by Rav Yoseif Bloch


[1] Rav, on the other hand, distinguishes between kevashim and shelakot: it is permitted to squeeze shelakot even in order to use their liquid, but it is rabbinically forbidden to squeeze kevashim in order to use their liquid: "Kevashim which are squeezed: Rav said, 'For their own sake—permitted; for their liquid, it is forbidden, but one is not liable...  Shelakot, whether for their own sake or for their liquid — it is permitted.'"

[2] Do we rule in accordance with Rabbi Yochanan or Shmuel?  In other words, is squeezing kevashim or shelakot in order to use their liquids forbidden by the Torah (Rabbi Yochanan) or the Sages (Shmuel)?  Rabbeinu Chananel (145a) rules like Rabbi Yochanan, that there is a biblical prohibition in this, while the Rif (61a) and the Rambam (21:13) rule like Shmuel, that there is only a rabbinical prohibition.  The Mechabber (320:7) cites the view of the Rif and the Rambam without attribution, and after that he brings the view of Rabbeinu Chananel in his name — implying that the Mechabber rules that the prohibition is only rabbinical.  As we will discuss below, this argument has practical implications for the issue of sechita into okhel, and the Mechabber brings the view of Rabbeinu Chananel in order to indicate that it is worthwhile to be stringent in this according to his view. 

[3] However, when it comes to the fruits which are designated nowadays for sechita, we noted in the previous shiur (see there) that there is a doubt of a Torah prohibition in squeezing them.  However, since sechita into okhel is essentially permissible — it is only a stringency to be concerned about the view of Rabbeinu Chananel — it appears that one may be lenient even with fruits that are generally used for squeezing nowadays.

[4] See more in Livyat Chen, 55

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