Lash (Part 4) Preparing Belila Ava with a Shinnui

  • Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon


By Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon


Shiur #22:

Lash, Part IV


 VII) Preparing Belila Ava with a Shinnui



In our previous shiur, we examined the principles of using a shinnui (alteration) and how this affects the act of lisha and the melakha of lash, especially when it comes to kneading a belila rakka (thin mixture).  Can a shinnui be effective when it comes to allowing one to knead a belila ava (thick mixture) on Shabbat as well?


As we have seen, the Gemara (156a) explains that the permissibility of preparing a belila ava with a shinnui depends on the fundamental dispute between Rabbi and Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda. 


Rabbi believes that putting in water is part of the lisha and prohibited by the Torah, and therefore the shinnui performed in one’s kneading does not suffice to permit it.  In order to allow the preparation of dough, one must make a shinnui at the stage of putting the water in.  However, as we have already seen, the shinnui at this point is not a true shinnui, and it only allows one to prepare a belila rakka, which is only rabbinically banned, and not a belila ava which is forbidden by the Torah.  Therefore, according to Rabbi, there is no permissible way to prepare thick dough on Shabbat itself, unless one puts in the water before Shabbat. 


On the other hand, according to Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, who holds that one is not liable for the lisha until the kneading, one may allow mixing substances and preparing thick dough on Shabbat itself, if one performs a shinnui at the stage of kneading.[1]


In practice, the Shulchan Arukh rules in accordance with the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, and according to this, one may allow preparing a belila ava on Shabbat if one alters the method of mixing, i.e., that one stirs by alternating between horizontally and vertically or with one’s finger.  On the other hand, the Rema rules (as does the Ben Ish Chai) that one should take into account the view of Rabbi, and according to this one may not prepare a belila ava on Shabbat even with a shinnui, unless one puts in the water before Shabbat.


However, there are situations in which Ashkenazi practice is to prepare a belila ava on Shabbat.  The Taz (321:12) addresses some of these practices:


This requires further study even according to the view of the Rema… with regard to the practice on Shabbat to mince a radish and to mince cucumbers, and then to pour vinegar into it without performing any shinnui.  It appears that here they are not stringent… since it is impossible to do this on Erev Shabbat, because the radish’s taste would be ruined, and therefore we do not require a shinnui.  Since there is good reason to prepare it on Shabbat, they follow the letter of the law, which, as we have established, follows the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda.  If so, one must in any case not mix it vigorously or using a vessel, as I have written, and preferably one should put the vinegar in the vessel first. 


The Taz claims that even the Rema concedes that the law follows Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, and the Rema adopts the view of Rabbi only as a stringency.  Therefore, in a case of need — for example, if one cannot prepare certain foods before Shabbat because they will go bad before mealtime on Shabbat — one may prepare even a belila ava and change the method of mixing.  As an added precaution, one should also alter the sequence of ingredients.[2]


This is how the Mishna Berura rules (68; Shaar ha-Tziyun 84): when there is no possibility to prepare a mixture on Erev Shabbat, one may prepare even a belila ava as long as one mixes it with a shinnui, e.g., mixing crosswise or by shaking the vessel.  Nevertheless, it is preferable to be stringent and to change the sequence of ingredients as well.[3]


Rav Neuwirth (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilkhata 8:11) rules accordingly and adds that the same applies in a situation that one forgets to prepare the food before Shabbat and one needs it: one may prepare on Shabbat a belila ava with a shinnui, changing the sequence of ingredients as well as the method of mixing. 


The Chazon Ish (58:8, s.v. Ke-shekkoteshin) adds that even when one wants to prepare food for an infant, one may rely on Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda and prepare even a belila ava while mixing with a shinnui:


When one crushes produce with a knife handle in the appropriate way, and one wants afterwards to squeeze a lemon onto it… it is forbidden because of lash, according to those who are stringent following Rabbi.  However, since one does so to make food for infants, one may be lenient and follow the view of most halakhic authorities.  Still, one must mix it, not beat it. 


However, in other cases — i.e., whenever a food could have been prepared before Shabbat and it is not designated for an infant and the like — one must not prepare a belila ava on Shabbat, even if one does so with a shinnui.  When there is a case of great need, one may be lenient to have a non-Jew put the water in, and afterwards a Jew may take the next step and knead with a shinnui.  This is how the Mishna Berura rules (324:11) in the name of the Chayei Adam, in the case of putting water into bran for the sake of an animal:


The Chayei Adam writes that, in extreme circumstances, one may have a non-Jew do this: the non-Jew will put the water in on Shabbat and a Jew will knead with the abovementioned shinnui.[4]


An Impermeable Substance


The Tosefta (12:14) rules that:


One may pour water into flour made from parched grain, as long as one does not knead; one may put sesame and nuts into honey, as long as one does not beat it to a pulp.


Whose view does this ruling follow?  It appears that it may sometimes be permissible to prepare a belila ava on Shabbat even according to Rabbi, as the Shevitat ha-Shabbat indicates (Introduction to the Melakha of Lash, 6):


The Tosefta’s teaching that one may put sesame and nuts into honey also accords with the view of Rabbi, because Rabbi only makes one liable for adding water alone if we are talking about flour and water, in which case the mixture is formed even by adding water alone.  This is not true of sesame or mustard in honey.


In other words, the prohibition of adding water according to Rabbi applies specifically when one puts a liquid such as water into a solid such as flour, which is permeable and mixable with water from the beginning of the lisha.  However, when one adds a liquid which is particularly viscous and does not interact with the solid particles on its own — e.g., honey or jelly on breadcrumbs or adds mayonnaise to a mixture — even Rabbi would concede that there is no prohibition upon the very addition, since it does initiate any process of lisha.  Thus, even Ashkenazim can be lenient and prepare a mixture such as this by performing lisha with a shinnui (crosswise or by shaking the vessel). [5]




In conclusion, according to the Shulchan Arukh, one may be lenient and prepare a belila ava if one performs the lisha with a shinnui.  Some authorities question the effectiveness of a shinnui in the sequence of ingredients, so one should preferably alter the form of lisha.  On the other hand, according to the Rema (and some Sefardic halakhic authorities) there is no allowance to prepare a belila ava even if one does so with a shinnui, unless one puts the liquid in before Shabbat.


There are cases in which even Ashkenazim (and stringent Sefardim) allow one to prepare a belila ava with a shinnui:


1.    One may do so when there had been no way to prepare it on Erev Shabbat.  This applies to culinary considerations (the food would go bad) as well as practical ones (one forgot).  Still, one should alter the form of lisha, and preferably the sequence of ingredients as well.

2.    One may do so for the sake of an infant.  In this case, changing the form of lisha is sufficient. 

3.    In a case of great need, one may be lenient when a non-Jew puts in the substances and a Jew kneads with a shinnui.

4.    One may mix a solid with a semi-solid (i.e., a highly viscous liquid which does not permeate the particles of the solid on its own).  The subsequent lisha must then be done with a shinnui of method.




VIII) Lisha Le’altar


In the Gemara (74a), it is explained that bereira (selection) is allowed in order to eat le’altar (immediately).  In his Responsa (Vol. IV, Ch. 75), the Rashba permits techina (grinding) in order to eat le’altar.  Is one also allowed to perform lisha on a food in order to eat it le’altar?


Logically, there is a reason to expand the allowance to lisha as well.  One may recall that the view of the Rashba is that techina proximate to one’s eating is considered derekh akhila (the way of eating), and the Torah does not force one to compromise the normal derekh akhila by eating only large pieces.  Similarly, one may say that normally lisha is the preparation for baking or cooking, while creating a belila proximate to one’s eating is not the melakha of lisha but rather tikkun okhel (food preparation) and derekh akhila.[6]   


However, the Magen Avraham (321:24) writes that there is a prohibition of lash even le’altar.  The Mishna Berura (ibid. 66) follows this approach, and in formulating the rules of the melakha of lash he writes: “In all of this, there is no distinction between [preparations] for that [immediately upcoming] meal or the next.”


This is also the implication of the Chazon Ish (61:1, s.v. U-ma She-katav Ha-Taz).  The Chazon Ish discusses the question of cutting a cake with letters on it.  Normally, destroying writing comes under the rubric of mechika, erasing.  Is derekh akhila applicable to the melakha of mechika?  He concludes that there is no place to be lenient in this:


And that which the Taz has written to allow derekh akhila, just as one may select and grind derekh akhila, this is perplexing.  All eating involves separating and grinding, and when performing these actions in the course of eating it is not considered to be work or melakha at all.  Therefore, even when one prepares proximate to the meal, it is not techina or bereira, but rather it is part of the process of eating.  However, derekh mechika is not an immanent part of akhila


According to this approach, the allowance of le’altar only applies to bereira and techina, since these are actions that a person performs in a routine way anytime he eats.  For this reason, they are considered a part of the eating process, and they are not considered to be elements of melakha. Regarding other melakhot (for example, mechika or lisha) which are not integral to every act of eating, their performance is not considered part of akhila.


In addition, one should remember that even concerning tochen there are those who do not rely on the Rashba’s allowance, as we explained there. 


However, it may be that there is a case in which one may be lenient.  Rav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilkhata, Ch. 8, n. 10) writes that indeed generally there is no allowance to perform lisha le’altar, but if a given mixture is always prepared proximate to akhila — e.g., formula for a baby — it may be that its preparation is considered derekh akhila, and there is no prohibition of lash in it:


It may be that, by Torah law, lisha is defined specifically as the lash which either makes a food ready for baking or permanently makes it fit for its purpose, such as lisha of mustard and the like.  This is not so when it comes to the lisha which one performs to prepare baby formula, as its derekh akhila is only through lisha.  This lisha is always done to eat le’altar; thus, it may be that it is only called a tikkun of food and not lash It may very well be that, despite the fact that it is definitely forbidden to knead in order to eat immediately, the Torah does not forbid eating a food if its derekh akhila is only in this way and it is also evident that this is only tikkun okhel


However, given that Rav Auerbach advances this approach with some hesitation, one should not rely on it alone.  Nevertheless, one may enlist it in cases where additional doubts and reasons for leniency pertain, as we shall see in future shiurim.[7]

Translated by Rav Yoseif Bloch

[1]     The Beit Yosef (Ch. 321, s.v. Kemach) understands, following the view of the Maggid Mishneh (21:33), that according to Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda even a shinnui in ingredient sequence makes kneading thick dough permissible, and there is no need for an additional shinnui (and only within the view of Rabbi does the Gemara state that a shinnui in the order of ingredients is not effective for a belila ava).  However, the Chazon Ish (58:2, s.v. Be-Veit Yosef) disputes the view of the Beit Yosef and holds that the Maggid Mishneh indeed believes that according to Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda a shinnui is effective even for thick dough — however, he aims to limit the shinnui specifically to the kneading, not the sequence of ingredients.  This is implied by the Ramban and other Rishonim who state: only a shinnui in the act of kneading itself can allow one to prepare a belila ava on Shabbat.

[2]     In the Gemara, it is indeed said explicitly that a shinnui in the sequence of ingredients only makes the lisha permissible for a belila rakka and not for a belila ava; however, the Taz apparently believes that even for a belila ava, a shinnui in the sequence of ingredients helps to lower the prohibition to the rabbinic level, and when even Rabbi agrees that the prohibition is only rabbinic, there is more room to rely on the view of Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda.  In any case, this shinnui is only an added precaution, and when there is a need, one may rely on the Rishonim that rule like Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda, altering only the lisha itself.

[3]     However, when we are discussing a substance which is not kneadable, it is more difficult to be lenient, even if one could not have prepared the mixture before Shabbat, because according to the view of some Rishonim, Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda concedes in a situation such as this that there is a Torah-level prohibition in the very addition of the water, as we have seen above.  The Bei’ur Halakha (324:3, s.v. Ein) implies that one must be concerned about their view.  However, the words of the Chazon Ish (56:3) indicate that one may be lenient even in this situation, as long as it was not possible to prepare the mixture before Shabbat or the mixture is needed for an infant.

[4]     According to the view of the Chazon Ish (58:6, s.v. Nireh), if one needs to feed one’s animals and there is no non-Jew available, a Jew may be lenient and put water into flour and bran and knead with a shinnui, even if one makes a belila ava, since in this place of loss and animal pain, one may rely on the view of most Rishonim who rule like Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda.  (In fact, it is a bit perplexing that the Mishna Berura requires a non-Jew’s involvement, because he allows even a Jew to knead foods which cannot be prepared before Shabbat, in a case where the need is not particularly pressing — as one could always eat other foods.  Yet, in this case, in which the animals do not have other options, he requires a non-Jew’s involvement).  Practically, one should preferably either mix the substance as a belila rakka or enlist a non-Jew’s assistance, but if there is no other option, a Jew may make a belila ava.

[5]     This is also what is written in the name of Rav S.Z. Auerbach (Orechot Shabbat, Ch. 6, n. 46).

[6]     In fact, the Rashba himself, in that responsum, mentions the Gemara’s discussion (140a) concerning lisha of mustard, and there are those who understand from his words that lisha is also allowed le’altar (see the Tefilla Le’Moshe, Vol. I, Ch. 50).  However this is the not the only way to understand his statement there, and indeed some have understood it differently (see Eglei Tal, end of Melakha of Lash).

[7]     For example, when preparing formula for a baby, one may be lenient and suffice with a shinnui in the sequence of ingredients (according to the view of the Chazon Ish concerning a belila rakka).  Sometimes when the substance is very runny, one may be lenient and prepare it normally (as it may not even rise to the level of a belila rakka), and at the very least, one may do so when there it is difficult to change the sequence of ingredients. (This is because there is only a question of a question of a rabbinic prohibition: perhaps this is considered an actual liquid, which is even less problematic than a belila rakka, and there is no prohibition of lisha at all; and even if this is a belila rakka, perhaps the prohibition of lash is not applicable to any mixture which is always prepared proximate to akhila.)