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Lash: Principles of Shinnui in Lisha

Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon



By Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon


Shiur #21:

Lash, Part III


VI) Principles of Shinnui in Lisha



The Gemara (156a) explains that lisha can sometimes be allowed with a shinnui (alteration; plural, shinnuyim).  In the course of the Gemara, a number of types of shinnui are mentioned:


1.    When it comes to flour made from parched grain (kemach kali) the Gemara says that one may knead it “al yad al yad” — in other words, a bit each time.[1] 

2.    Concerning shatit,[2] the Gemara says that one may knead it using a shinnui in ingredient sequence: “During the week the vinegar is [first] poured in and then the shatit, whereas on Shabbat, the shatit is poured in [first] and then the vinegar [is added].”[3]

3.    When it comes to bran (wheat husks used for animal feed), the Gemara says that one may knead it sheti va-erev (literally, warp and woof).[4]  In other words, one must not mix the flour and water with a circular motion, as is normally done; rather, one alternates between stirring the mixture horizontally and vertically.[5]  Other solutions include shaking the vessel and pouring the mixture from one vessel to another.

4.    When it comes to mustard, garlic and cress, the Gemara gives the following directions: “One may not beat them, but one may mix them.”  This is explained in one of two ways: either one must mix it gently, but not vigorously (Rashi); or one must mix by hand instead of with a spoon (Mordekhai, Ch. 433).[6]


Thus, we find that a shinnui is halakhically effective whether in the order of adding the ingredients, in the form of lisha (sheti va-erev, shaking in a vessel) or in the quantity of lisha (al yad al yad). 


However, the Gemara (156a) indicates that there are two differences between ingredient sequence and other shinnuyim.  First of all, as we have already seen, the shinnui in ingredient sequence is effective only with a belila rakka (literally, a soft mixture, i.e., a thin one), not a belila ava (thick mixture).  As we have already mentioned in the approach of the Chazon Ish, this shinnui is not a complete shinnui, and therefore it is only effective for a belila rakka, the kneading of which is prohibited only rabbinically, not for a belila ava, which may not be kneaded by Torah law.


On the other hand, the Gemara indicates that all of the shinnuyim are effective only according to the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, while the shinnui of the sequence of ingredients is effective to permit lisha even according to the view of Rabbi.  This is because according to Rabbi, even adding water is part of the lisha, and one is liable for it.  Therefore, the shinnui cannot make the lisha permissible unless it is done at the stage of adding the water — e.g., adding the ingredients in a reversed order.  The other shinnuyim are done later, at the stage of kneading, and they cannot retroactively change the status of adding the water, which has already been done.


Preparing a Belila Rakka with a Shinnui


As we have said, the Gemara allows one to prepare a belila rakka of shatit even according to Rabbi’s view, as long as one alters the sequence of adding the ingredients — normally, one pours the shatit into the vinegar, but on Shabbat one pours the vinegar into the shatit.  This is the ruling of the Shulchan Arukh (321:14):


One may knead with vinegar and the like a large quantity at one time, if it is soft; but if it is hard, it is forbidden, because it looks like lash.  (And even if it soft), one must do it differently.  How so?  One puts in the shatita, and afterwards one puts in the vinegar.


If so, one may make a belila rakka on Shabbat if one changes the order of adding the ingredients: if one generally puts in the granules and then the liquid, one should put the liquid in first; and if one normally puts the liquid in first, one should put the granules in first on Shabbat.


When There Is No Set Order


What does one do in the case that there is no customary sequence?  The words of the Taz (321:11) indicate that in this case one cannot prepare the belila at all, since however one chooses to put in the ingredients, it will not be considered a shinnui:


One is allowed to knead a [belila] rakka through a shinnui, because on a weekday one generally puts in the vinegar first and on Shabbat one puts in the flour first, so that the shinnui is obvious to everyone.  However, with matza flour, there is no known way of what is put in first in order to know what the shinnui would be.  Therefore, it is forbidden on Shabbat in any case.


On the other hand, the Terumat ha-Deshen (Ch. 53) writes that the shinnui mentioned in the Gemara, that one puts in the granules and then the liquid, is effective even in a case that there is no set order:


It appears that even for us, who have no set custom during the week as to which one to put in first, in any case the shinnui which is expressed in the Talmud suffices for our purposes. 


In practice, the Mishna Berura (321:57) rules in accordance with the view of the Terumat ha-Deshen, that when there is no set order, one should first put in the granules and after that the liquid, while the Chazon Ish (58:5, s.v. U-le’da’at; ibid. 6, s.v. Ve-im) rules that in this case, a shinnui in the sequence of ingredients would not help, but one may permit preparing the mixture through a shinnui in the form of lisha, for example that one mixes it sheti va-erev.[7]


The Chazon Ish (ibid. 8, s.v. Ha) points out that if one puts in the granules first, one should dump in all of the liquid at one time, because if one were to do it in stages, it would first become a belila ava!


One Shinnui or Two Shinnuyim?


When we change the order of adding the ingredients, must one change the form of lisha (stirring it crosswise) as well, or may one stir it normally?  The halakhic authorizes have different views on this issue.


First View


The first view is that one must change the sequence of the ingredients as well as the method of mixing.  This is what the Terumat ha-Deshen writes in his Responsa (Ch. 53):


It seems that there is a permitted method according to all views… for example, one can make a belila rakka… and it also says there (Shabbat 156a), that, according to Rabbi, one needs to make a shinnui in the [order of] adding of liquids, for example to put food into the vessel first and after that the liquid…  Furthermore, it appears that even with a belila rakka one must afterwards mix it up in the vessel itself or with one’s finger, because according to the one who says that putting liquid is not considered kneading, it does not help to perform a shinnui by putting in the food first, because one does not execute a melakha until one kneads it, and we require a shinnui in the kneading itself. 


According to him, one is allowed to knead (according to all views) on three conditions.  First of all, one must do belila rakka.  Aside from this, two shinnuyim are mandatory:


1.    Shinnui of ingredient sequence — this shinnui enables the addition of water according to the view of Rabbi, who believes that there is a prohibition of lisha in adding liquid. 

2.    Shinnui of mixing (sheti va-erev, with one’s finger, etc.) — this shinnui is to allow kneading according to the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, who believes that putting the water in is not part of the lisha, and therefore the shinnui which is done with at that stage does not make the following lisha permissible.  The melakha of lisha relates only to the act of kneading, and therefore one must introduce a shinnui specifically in the kneading process.


The Rema (321:16) seems to rule accordingly:


And if one puts the food in first and after that the vinegar or the wine and mixes it with his finger, it is allowed, because it is a shinnui, just as with shatita above.  In this way, we are accustomed to allow it through a shinnui.


The Rema is talking about belila rakka (as he writes: “just as with shatita above”), but nevertheless one may see from his words that one must both change the sequence of ingredients and mix it with a finger, i.e., change the method of mixing.[8]  This is how the Magen Avraham (24) explains his view, and it seems that the Mishna Berura (68)[9] and Ben Ish Chai (Year 2, Mishpatim 18) understood it this way as well. 


Second View


Preparing a belila rakka only requires one shinnui — either in the sequence of ingredients or the method of mixing.  This is the simple reading of the ruling of the Rambam (21:33), who mentions the shinnui in the sequence of ingredients only, and the same is implied in some other Rishonim (see Ritva and Me’iri, 156a).  This is also the simple reading of the abovementioned ruling of the Shulchan Arukh (321:14), who talks about belila rakka and only mentions the shinnui of ingredient sequence.  The Chazon Ish (58:5, s.v. U-mashma, s.v. Ve-im) rules in accordance with this view, and he argues that this is implied by the Gemara’s phrasing.   


And it is implied by the Gemara that with a [belila] rakka, it is enough to have the shinnui of putting in the flour first, and there is no need for a shinnui in the kneading, but the Terumat ha-Deshen writes that it seems that one needs a shinnui in the kneading as well… and the Derisha already disputes this. 


However, the following difficulty arises with this position: the Rambam and the Shulchan Arukh rule in accordance with the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, that one cannot be liable for lash unless one actually kneads something, not if one merely puts in water; if so, how can it be that the shinnui at the stage of putting in water makes the kneading permissible?  The act of lisha itself is not done with a shinnui!  It appears that, according to them, Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda concedes that the process of lisha includes putting the water in as well, but nevertheless is not liable for lisha unless one executes the entire process.  Therefore, even a shinnui at the stage of putting in the water is considered a shinnui for lisha (see Derisha, 321:4, s.v. U-ma She-katav Beit Yosef).[10]


Following this line of thinking, it turns out that, according to the Shulchan Arukh, who rules like Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, one can make a belila rakka with one shinnui, and one may choose whether to change the sequence of ingredients and mix normally or to put the substances together normally and change the method of mixing.  According to the Ashkenazim, who are stringent in accord with the view of Rabbi, when one makes a belila rakka, one is obligated to change the sequence of ingredients (because according to the view of Rabbi, one must introduce a shinnui already at this stage), and once one has done so, there is no need to add an extra shinnui.  The shinnui in the method of mixing is neither effective nor required, and it is useful only in a case in which the water was poured in before Shabbat (or for a belila ava under certain circumstances, as we will explain in the next shiur).




In conclusion, one is permitted to knead a belila rakka (that which can be poured continuously from one vessel to another) with a shinnui.  Many Sefardim are lenient in accordance with the simple reading of the Shulchan Arukh’s view, that one shinnui suffices, either in the sequence of ingredients or in the method of mixing.  The Ashkenazic halakhic authorities have a dispute whether a shinnui in ingredient sequence suffices or whether one must also change the method of mixing (the Ben Ish Chai also cites this stringency).


In practice, when there is no great difficulty, it is preferable to change both the sequence of ingredients and the method of mixing (as the Mishna Berura’s ruling indicates), in particular because it is often difficult to determine definitively whether a belila is rakka.  However, when there is a pressing need, one may rely on the view of the Chazon Ish and suffice with a shinnui in the sequence of ingredients.  Similarly, when one has a belila which is clearly rakka, so that there is no doubt about its thinness, one may be lenient in accordance with the view of the Chazon Ish, since the doubt is certainly only on the level of a rabbinical prohibition.


Similarly, the Minchat Yitzchak (Vol. I, Ch. 74) writes that since the shinnui in the method of mixing (after the shinnui in the sequence of ingredients) is a stringency which some people dismiss, there is no need to execute an extreme shinnui and mix it with one’s finger, as it appears from the wording of the Rema.  Rather, rather one may suffice with mixing it in a way other than the norm, and one should do so gently, not vigorously.  Thus, for example, one who normally mixes with a spoon may mix with a knife gently, and one who prepares baby food for an infant in the bottle may prepare it in another vessel (reversing the sequence of ingredients) and mix it gently, transferring it to the bottle afterwards.

Translated by Rav Yoseif Bloch

[1]     According to the Magen Avraham (321:17), the allowance of al yad al yad only applies to kemach kali.  The Mishna Berura (53) cites this view and explains it in his Bei’ur Halakha (321:14, s.v. Shema) as follows: the allowance of al yad al yad is only for something which is fit to be eaten even before the process of lisha, so that its lisha is defined as permitted tikkun okhel (food preparation), as we will discuss in a later shiur.  However, according to the Chazon Ish (58:1), the allowance exists for everything, and it is based on the concept of shinnui.  According to him, this is allowed even for a thick mixture; apparently, he understands that this is considered a full and total shinnui. 

[2]     The Rishonim argue whether shatit is made out of kemach kali mixed with liquids (Rashi, Ramban, Rashba, Me’iri) or out of coarse flour made from grain which has not yet reached a third of it ripeness (Rambam 21:33).

[3]     According to the view of Rashi et al. in the previous note, shatit is made from kemach kali as a belila rakka, and thus changing the order of ingredients is effective in such a case.  According to the Rambam cited in the previous note, the permit to knead when changing the order may be limited to coarse flour, which cannot easily be kneaded, and may not apply to kemach kali or granulate substances which can be easily kneaded (see Taz, 321:11).  However, from the words of the halakhic authorities (following the Terumat ha-Deshen which we will cite later), it emerges that the shinnui in the sequence of adding the ingredients is effective to allow lisha of any substance (within the limits which will be explained below), not only with coarse flour and the like.  This indicates that we are not concerned about the Rambam’s view.

[4]     Even though the shinnui of sheti va-erev is mentioned in the Gemara only concerning bran, the Ritva writes (156a, s.v. Amar Rav Yehuda) that it makes sense that it is effective also for kemach kali.  And indeed the halakhic authorities (see, for example, Chazon Ish 58:8) apply this permit to other cases as well.

[5]     Rashi (s.v. Sheti) implies that one is limited to one time sheti and one time erev, but the Rambam himself (21:4) makes clear that it is permitted even many times, and so writes the Bei’ur Halakha (324:3, s.v. U-maavir).

[6]     In terms of the practical ruling, the Shulchan Arukh (321:15) rules that it is permitted to mix mustard, garlic and cress gently even with a spoon, while the Rema (321:16) cites the view which limits the allowance to mixing by hand and not with a spoon.

The Bach (Ch. 321, s.v. U-ma She-katav Rabbeinu) understands that the Mechabber would allow one to mix only a small quantity gently.  However, the Chafetz Chayim (Mishna Berura 58; Shaar Ha-tziyun 74) writes that according to the Mechabber one may mix gently even a great quantity.  Nevertheless, he writes in Bei’ur Halakha (ibid. s.v. Yakhol Le-arvo) that he is flabbergasted by the idea: how is it possible to allow one to commit an act which would be kneading on a biblical level with a shinnui as small as this — whipping the mixture gently instead of vigorously?!  He concludes that this shinnui is effective only for dough which has already been kneaded on Erev Shabbat.  We will discuss in future shiurim the concept of lisha achar (after) lisha. 

This shinnui works for pulped vegetables as well. However, the shinnui of mixing by hand, which is a more significant shinnui, is apparently effective in every case, as is implied by the words of the Rema (321:16) which apply it to shatit as well. 

[7]     The Chazon Ish explains that indeed we are stringent according to the view of Rabbi, and according to him one may be obligated to change the order of adding the ingredients, and changing the method of mixture would not accomplish anything.  However, when it comes to a belila rakka, the lisha of which is only prohibited rabbinically, when we do not know what the sequence is in order to change it, one may rely on those who rule in accordance with Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, sufficing with a shinnui in the method of mixture. 

[8]     However, the Rema, in an earlier ruling there (14), does not dispute the view of the Shulchan Arukh on the issue of shatit, and this seems to imply that he concedes that the shinnui of ingredient sequence suffices — against his words here, that one must change the method of mixing as well. See the Shalmei Yehonatan 321, 14:41; ibid. 16:53.

[9]     The Mishna Berura writes earlier (57) that when we do not know the normal sequence of ingredients, it is preferable to be stringent and alter the method of mixing as well, and it is implied that the need for two shinnuyim exists only in this case, and even then it is a mere stringency, not the letter of the law.  However, from his words in section 68 it appears that one must always be stringent and employ two shinnuyim, at least in the first place.

[10] According to this, it may be that the question of whether we require two shinnuyim or one shinnui depends on the distinction we raised in our first shiur on lash regarding the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda.  According to the Terumat ha-Deshen and the Rema, Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda believes that kneading is lisha, while putting in water is not part of lisha, and therefore the shinnui of putting water in will not be effective to allow the subsequent kneading.  On the other hand, the Shulchan Arukh believes that lisha includes the entire process, implying that one must mix the substances until they are made into one agglomerated mass (just that one is liable only on the conclusion of the process).  Therefore, a shinnui in the method of mixing the substances is considered a shinnui in lisha, and one can allow the subsequent kneading.

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