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Laws of Shabbat - Class #1 An introduction to the idea of “creative labor activities.”

Laws of Shabbat - Class #1

Laws of Shabbat - Class #1 An introduction to the idea of “creative labor activities.” written

An introduction to the idea of “creative labor activities.”

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

of “creative labor activities.” written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons © 2007 JewishPathways.com

1

“Remember the Sabbath day” – Exodus 20:8. “Observe the Sabbath day” – Deut. 5:12. ‘Observe’ and ‘Remember’ were said in the same breath. – Midrash 1

Resting and Working

Many people know that Shabbat (Saturday) is the Jewish day of rest. But what does being a ‘day of rest’ actually mean?

Most basically, it means that we take a break from our regular routine. We have more time to spend on the important things: to see family and friends, to eat well, to study Torah, to rejuvenate. Shabbat gives balance and perspective to our lives and to our week. The word ‘Remember’ in the first recital of the Ten Commandments refers to these enjoyments.

Beyond relaxing, being restful also means avoiding work. The Torah defines “work” as any creative labor. If my action results in something new, it is considered ‘creative.’ This is different than the common definition we learn in physics class, which is that work results when a force is applied to an object. The distinction is important: it explains why we are permitted to move a heavy chair from one room to another, but we are not allowed to flick on a light switch.

The Torah, in its second recital of the Ten Commandments, refers to this aspect of Shabbat through the word ‘Observe.’ But it does not tell us what kind of labor to avoid. The specifics – and there are plenty of them – are spelled out in the Mishnah, the Talmud, and later texts.

Shabbat empowers us – not to discard our workaday world – but to retain our ability to be independent from it.

Our first take-home point, then, is that

Refraining

observing Shabbat.

from

creative

labor

is

an

1 Mechilta B’Chadash 7

then, is that Refraining observing Shabbat. from creative labor is an 1 Mechilta B’Chadash 7 2

2

essential

element

of

Shabbat and the Tabernacle

God created the world in six days and rested on Shabbat, the seventh day. 2 By stopping work on Shabbat, God showed that the world is complete and lacks nothing. Jews are similarly commanded to cease acts of creation (Melachot) on Shabbat, just as God stopped His work. 3 This ceasing of "work" acknowledges that God's creation is perfect and that the world can exist without active human input.

How did our sages derive the many laws of Shabbat? The Oral Law, explained by God to Moses, shows how the verses of Shabbat are juxtaposed to the commandment to build the Mishkan (the Tabernacle). 4 From this it is understood that the building of the Mishkan could not take place on Shabbat. In other words, the activities that were required for the construction and operation of the Mishkan are considered ‘work’ for Shabbat purposes.

The Tabernacle represents a microcosm of the universe – a distillation of all the energies, patterns and resources found in the material world. Therefore as the microcosm of creation, the activities performed in constructing the Tabernacle precisely parallel those acts performed by God (so to speak) in creating the world. Thus these are the same activities that we refrain from on Shabbat. 5

The 39 Melachot

The Mishnah 6 lists 39 ‘labor categories’ that were performed in connection with the Mishkan. These categories are thus the basis for the laws of avoiding work on Shabbat.

2 Genesis 2:2

3 Exodus 20:8-11

4 See the first five verses of Exodus, chapter 35.

5 Malbim

6 Shabbat 7:2.

2 Genesis 2:2 3 Exodus 20:8-11 4 See the first five verses of Exodus, chapter 35.

3

Let’s examine the first labor category, Zoreya 7 (Planting), in order to see how this works. The classic case of Zoreya is planting seeds in the ground. This activity is included as one of the paradigms of ‘work’ because bread was used in the Mishkan, and of course it is necessary to grow grain in order to have bread. So, if you plant a seed on Shabbat you have engaged in Zoreya (which is not permitted).

How about if you don’t actually plant the seed, but you do something else that will help the seed (or a plant) grow? Say you water the seed, or prune the plant, or similar activities. This isn’t exactly Zoreya, but it is similar. These activities are also forbidden, because they resemble the classic case.

In halachic terminology, the classic case in each category is known as the Av Melacha (literally, the ‘parent – i.e. primary – labor’). The similar activities are known as toladot (literally, the ‘offspring’ – i.e. secondary; singular is ‘toladah’). While there are only 39 Av Melachot, there can be many more toladot.

Torah Law and Rabbinic Law

Within halacha there are two broad sources of law: the laws of the Torah, and the laws enacted by the sages throughout the generations. Anything based on the text of the Torah, or passed orally from the time of Moses, is considered to be ‘Torah law’ (in Hebrew, mi’de’oraita 8 ). Anything else is considered ‘rabbinic law’ (in Hebrew, mi’derabbanan 9 ).

Regarding Shabbat, all of the Avot Melachot (plural for the ‘parent labors’) as well as their Toladot are considered ‘Torah law.’ This is because all of these prohibitions derive from the mitzvah to ‘observe/remember the Shabbat’.

7 Pronounced zoh-RAY-ah.

8 Pronounced mee-deh-oh-RIGHT-ah.

9 Pronounced mee-deh-rah-bah-NAHN.

the Shabbat’. 7 Pronounced zoh-RAY-ah. 8 Pronounced mee-deh-oh-RIGHT-ah. 9 Pronounced mee-deh-rah-bah-NAHN. 4

4

Both sets of laws are binding on us as Jews. However, Torah law does have an extra level of stringency, and we will often distinguish between Torah law and rabbinic law when it comes to permitting certain activities on Shabbat.

We will also see throughout this course that there are further Shabbat restrictions that the Sages put in place. These are known as gezerot and takanot (loosely, ‘decrees’ and ‘enactments’). In their great wisdom, the Sages enacted these when they felt it necessary to distance us from potential violations of Shabbat, 10 or to strengthen the spirit of Shabbat.

Shabbat is an encompassing experience, one in which we are completely immersed for 24 hours. When approaching the laws of Shabbat, many people are surprised by how they regulate every aspect of our behavior – even our speech. In practice, this takes some getting used to. But with a proper appreciation of where each of these laws derive from – and why – the observance of Shabbat can become the undisputed high point of one’s week.

The Big Picture

In this lesson, we have

• defined what ‘work’ means with regard to Shabbat

• understood that we derive the specific types of work from the Mishkan

• explained the system of the 39 labor categories

• distinguished between a ‘parent labor’ and an ‘offspring’

• understood that the halachot of Shabbat involve both Torah law and rabbinic law

Quite a lot of ideas! But these concepts are the building blocks for everything else we will do in this course.

10 See Leviticus 18:30

But these concepts are the building blocks for everything else we will do in this course.

5

With this background, we are ready to move ahead to the concept of ‘thoughtful labor’. In order to be considered ‘work’ for Shabbat purposes, an action needs to be done with intention. We will learn the several aspects of this idea in our next lesson.

For Further Reading

There are a number of excellent articles on Aish.com that discuss some of the basic ideas and ‘philosophy’ behind Shabbat. Search the website for these titles:

• Tabernacle of Time

• Rest and Relaxation

• Heaven on Earth

About the Sources

This lesson provides a general overview of the topic covered. It is intended to provide halachic principles and some examples. There are many nuances to halacha, and in actual practice one should consult with a local rabbi.

This course follows these main source materials:

The 39 Melochos by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat (Feldheim)

Principles of Hilchos Shabbos by Rabbi Daniel Schloss, based on the lectures of Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, given at the Aish HaTorah yeshiva in Jerusalem.

There are a number of other helpful studies of the labor categories, including:

the Aish HaTorah yeshiva in Jerusalem. There are a number of other helpful studies of the

6

Shemirath Shabbath by Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth (English

edition: Feldheim) (referred to in this course by the name of the Hebrew edition, Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato)

Halachos of Shabbos by Rabbi Shimon Eider (Feldheim)

The

Shabbos

Kitchen

by Rabbi Simcha

Bunim Cohen

(ArtScroll)

For those readers who wish to reference more primary sources, we provide footnotes to this important work throughout our lessons. The citations refer to a specific volume and a specific section within the volume.

Shulchan Aruch (literally: "Set Table") is the main authoritative

source of Jewish law and custom, and hence often simply referred to as the Code of Jewish Law. Written by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century, it is divided into four main sections; the laws of Shabbat are covered in the section 'Orach Chaim' (abbreviated OC).

• Many subsequent commentaries have been written on the Shulchan

Aruch. Two of the most authoritative are the 17th century Taz ("Turei Zahav) by Rabbi Dovid HaLevi, and Shach ("Sifsei Cohen") by Rabbi Shabsai HaKohen.

Mishnah Berurah is a 20th century Ashkenazi 'update' of the

Shulchan Aruch 'Orach Chaim' section, including the laws of Shabbat. It was authored by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, better known as the Chafetz Chaim, and includes his additional notes entitled Biur Halacha and Sha’ar Hatziyun. Mishnah Berurah is also available in English translation (Feldheim).

Shu”t Igros Moshe is an 8-volume work written by Rabbi Moshe

Feinstein, America’s pre-eminent authority on Jewish law in the 20th century.

8-volume work written by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, America’s pre-eminent auth ority on Jewish law in the

7

Laws of Shabbat - Class #2 Eight key conditions to constitute true “work” on Shabbat.

Laws of Shabbat - Class #2

Laws of Shabbat - Class #2 Eight key conditions to constitute true “work” on Shabbat. written

Eight key conditions to constitute true “work” on Shabbat.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

true “work” on Shabbat. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons © 2007 JewishPathways.com

1

The Basic Idea

In order for an action to be considered true “work” on Shabbat, it must satisfy several conditions. These conditions relate mainly to the concept of intention. That is, my work is only ‘work’ on Shabbat (Hebrew, melacha 1 ) if I intend to do the action I am doing.

This idea stems from the connection between Shabbat and the Mishkan (which we discussed in our previous segment). The work of the Mishkan is called by the Torah melechet mach’shevet – literally, ‘thoughtful work’. 2 (Here, we mean ‘thoughtful’ in the sense of ‘being done with forethought’). And since the labors we avoid on Shabbat are derived from the labors done in the Mishkan, this notion of ‘thoughtfulness’ applies to Shabbat as well.

For any action to be ‘thoughtful work’, the following must be true:

INTENTION

(1) You are aware that you are doing the action (2) You intend for the action to take place (3) You are doing the action because you want the logical result to follow

ACCOMPLISHMENT

(4) The action is constructive, not destructive (5) The action has a permanent, rather than a temporary, effect

MANNER

(6) You do the action in the normal way it is done (7) Your efforts directly cause the action to take place (8) You do the action using only those people who are necessary

1 Pronounced meh-la-CHAH.

2 Exodus 35:33.

place (8) You do the action using only those people who are necessary 1 Pronounced meh-la-CHAH.

2

Case Study: A Shabbat Meal Outdoors

Let’s examine the first three conditions using a scenario:

Joshua is setting up a Shabbat meal in his backyard. (His guests like to dine al fresco.) His yard has a grassy area, a dirt area, and a deck area.

First, Joshua begins cleaning up the yard. He sees a tall green item and pulls it up, assuming that it is one of his children’s toys. When he looks at it, he realizes that, in fact, it was a vine that was growing along the edges of the yard. (As we will learn, uprooting a plant is a melacha).

How do we evaluate what Joshua has done? Since he was not aware that he was pulling out a vine from the ground (remember condition #1 from the list), we do not say that he has violated Shabbat. Although he was aware that he was doing something, he was mistaken about what he was actually doing. This kind of action is not considered ‘thoughtful.’

In this scenario, when we say that Joshua hasn't done work, we mean that his action does not meet the Torah criteria for being 'work.' However, in many cases his actions are still disallowed, due to rabbinic decree, designed to strengthen and protect the sanctity of Shabbat.

Joshua then needs to drag a bench across the dirt area of the backyard. It’s possible that he will create track marks in the dirt as he moves the bench. Making such track marks is considered a form of melacha. 3 Of course, this is not his intention: he wants to use the bench during the meal, and he’s not interested in using the bench to landscape his yard. At the same time, he does intend to move the bench (see condition #2 in our list).

3 Under the category of Choresh (Plowing). We will learn about this more in lesson #3.

condition #2 in our list). 3 Under the category of Choresh (Plowing). We will learn about

3

So what should Joshua do? In this situation, it depends on the

foreseeable consequences of his action. If the bench is a light bench,

and therefore it is unlikely for it to make any track marks, he may

move it. Even though there is some possibility that track marks will be

made. As long as the making of such marks is not likely, then it is fine

to do. The fact that it is somewhat possible does not cause us to

prohibit the action.

somewhat possible does not cause us to prohibit the action. On the other hand, if the

On the other hand, if the bench is

heavy, and will inevitably make marks

in the soil, Joshua is not allowed to

move it. (What he can do is get some

friends to help him lift it, and then it

will not be dragged over the ground).

The rationale here is that, when your

action will inevitably result in a labor

that is not allowed on Shabbat, you

can’t take that action – even if you don’t intend for the prohibited

labor to take place. 4

Let's consider a similar case. Joshua wants to walk on his grass. We

might think that, since tearing up grass is normally considered

melacha, 5 a person should keep off the lawn on Shabbat, because it's

inevitable that in traversing a patch of lawn, at least some grass will

be uprooted. But here's where we make a distinction: We judge each

step individually, as a separate action. So even though you will for

sure end up with grass on your shoes, walking across the lawn is

permitted. 6

Once the furniture is in place, Joshua realizes that his yard is full of mosquitoes and other bugs. Naturally, he would like to get rid of them. He sprays the plants near the Shabbat table with some pesticides. These chemicals actually aid the plants by keeping away harmful

4 This inevitable act is referred to in halacha as Psik Raisha.

5 Under the category of Kotzer (Uprooting). This is coming up in lesson #5.

6 See Har Tzvi by Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, Tal Harim (Shochet 2. s.v. "U'B'Nogeah")

in lesson #5. 6 See Har Tzvi by Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, Tal Harim (Shochet 2.

4

insects. So this action should be considered melacha (since improving the health of a growing plant is considered ‘Zoreah’ – Planting). After all, Joshua intended to spray the plants and knew what he was doing.

Here, though, his purpose was not to improve the plants; it was solely to chase away the bugs. So the spraying is not considered melacha because it was not at all done for the usual logical reason that spraying is done – as explained in condition #3. 7

(Even though here, too, the action produced an “inevitable result,” there is a key difference: When I drag the bench, I am directly causing

the furrow

plant, that does not

directly improve the plant; rather it just prevents the plant from

becoming ruined.)

to

be dug.

But

when

I

spray

the

As this scenario illustrates, a person’s frame of mind is central to the concept of ‘thoughtful work’.

Conditions Relating to the Effect of the Action (Accomplishment)

In order to be considered melacha, an action’s effect must be constructive and must be permanent.

By ‘constructive’ (condition #4) we mean that it resulted in something beneficial. In other words, it was not a destructive act.

By ‘permanent’ (condition #5) we don’t mean something that will last forever, but something that is not temporary. This is a variable condition. For example, if I heat water on Shabbat I have done a melacha, even though the water will eventually return to room temperature. But in heating the water I have completed the action I have set out to do, and I have created something new.

7 However, if Joshua had intention both to chase away the bugs and to improve the plants, this would be forbidden.

However, if Joshua had intention both to chase away the bugs and to improve the plants,

5

Conditions Relating to the Manner the Action is Done

We’ve examined the conditions that directly relate to intent. Now let’s look at another set of conditions.

We mentioned that an action needs to be done in its usual way (condition #6). If an action is done in a non-conventional way, it is not work for Shabbat purposes. For example, you are not permitted to cut your nails with a clipper on Shabbat. 8 If you remove the nail in an uncommon manner – i.e. tearing it off – this is not work in the Torah sense (although, again, it is not permitted due to Rabbinic decree).

An action also needs to be done directly (condition #7). There are times when you can accomplish something indirectly. For example, when it’s cold in the house during the winter, you might open a window in order to bring in cold air. This will lower the temperature and will then activate the furnace. Turning on the furnace directly would be a melacha. Doing it in this indirect way depends:

• If the thermostat is very sensitive, and the cold air hits it right away, then it’s quite possible that the furnace would activate immediately. This would be prohibited.

• If the furnace would only go on after some time, the action is indirect and is not melacha according to the Torah.

The idea of using only those people necessary (condition #8) means the following: if an action requires only one person to complete it, but several people do it, no one has done melacha. This is because no one person actually did the action on his or her own.

8 Under the category of Gozez (Shearing).

This is because no one person actually did the action on his or her own. 8

6

Some Vocabulary

To round out our understanding of these ideas, here are some halachic terms:

Davar She-Aino Mitkaven – This is an action that is allowed since there is only a possibility that it will lead to something prohibited – provided, of course, that your intent is not to do the prohibited thing. (see the case of dragging the light bench)

P’sik Reisha – This is an action that on its own seems fine, but we do not allow on Shabbat, because it will inevitably cause a prohibited labor to take place. (see the case of dragging the heavy bench)

Ke-darkah – An action done in the usual way.

Shinui – An action done in an unusual way.

Gramma – An action done in an indirect way.

Summary

We learn from the work done in the Mishkan that only actions that meet certain conditions are deemed melacha on Shabbat.

There are many additional nuances to these conditions, but in this lesson we have gained an understanding of the key concepts. Now, we are ready to learn each of the 39 labor categories.

lesson we have gained an understanding of the key concepts. Now, we are ready to learn

7

Laws of Shabbat - Class #3 Rules of walking and playing on the ground. written

Laws of Shabbat - Class #3

Laws of Shabbat - Class #3 Rules of walking and playing on the ground. written by

Rules of walking and playing on the ground.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

of walking and playing on the ground. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

1

Order of Bread

Now that we’ve learned the fundamentals of the laws of Shabbat, we are ready to plunge ahead into the specifics.

The 39 labor categories that we’ve mentioned are divided into four groups. The first of these is known as ‘the Order of Bread’ (siddura d’pat), because it follows the process of baking, from seed to oven. This group includes the first 11 labor categories.

As we’ve learned in our prior lessons, each category is based on an activity done in the construction or operation of the Mishkan. The Jews needed to grow a number of items in order for the Mishkan to function properly. They grew wheat for the showbread that was placed each week on the Shulchan, the ceremonial table. 1 They also grew various herbs that were used in making dyes, which were needed for coloring threads. 2

Since the ground must be plowed in order to plant, plowing is one of the 39 categories.

So let’s start – literally – at the roots.

Choresh 3 (Plowing)

Before planting, a person needs to prepare the soil. This was (and is) normally done by loosening the soil using a plow or other instrument. Plowing is therefore the classic case of Choresh.

1 Exodus 25:30.

2 Exodus 25:4.

3 Pronounced choh-RAISH.

Plowing is therefore the classic case of Choresh. 1 Exodus 25:30. 2 Exodus 25:4. 3 Pronounced

2

(The original context of the melachot was an agricultural society. However, as we will see, even if we don’t live in such a society today, the principles underlying the melachot are still relevant to us, and have many contemporary applications).

Other activities are also included under the broad heading of ‘plowing’ – namely, activities that improve the ground and help make it ready for planting. Some examples are:

and help make it ready for planting. Some examples are: • weeding • fertilizing • clearing

• weeding

• fertilizing

• clearing rocks or other debris

• moistening the soil with water

These are all toladot (‘offspring activities’) of Choresh.

Choresh applies only to land that may be cultivated, known as arable land. In contrast, you would not violate Choresh by plowing hard clay or desert land. 4 Also, it is not considered Choresh if the soil is so loose that it would immediately fall into the space created by your plowing or digging. 5 We may explain this by saying that your action hasn’t improved the soil for planting, since the soil has gone back to its original state right away. 6

For a quick review, then:

Choresh involves the loosening of soil on arable land, in such a way that the soil remains where it is after you’ve loosened it.

4 Although if you did this, you might be violating other labor categories such as Boneh (Building).

5 See Halachos of Shabbos, IV:A:6 (p. 42).

6 See 39 Melochos, vol. 2, Hebrew section, p. 189, footnote 19.

5 See Halachos of Shabbos , IV:A:6 (p. 42). 6 See 39 Melochos , vol. 2,

3

Some Applications of Choresh

(1) Making a Pathway

Remember Joshua from lesson #2? He needed to move furniture across the dirt in his yard. In doing this, he might create a pathway in the dirt (usually called a furrow), which loosens the soil – and which is therefore melacha form of digging. 7

The halacha says that if the furniture is light – for example, a lawn chair – it will not inevitably make a pathway, and so Joshua may drag it.

On the other hand, if the object is heavy – say, a bench or table – it will in fact create a furrow because of its weight, and Joshua would not be allowed to drag it along the ground. 8

If so, you might say, how are we permitted to use strollers, carriages, or wheelchairs on Shabbat? Won’t these create furrows because of their wheels? 9

Won’t these create furrows because of their wheels? 9 Here, the halacha pays close attention to

Here, the halacha pays close attention to the physical reality. Wheeled objects like strollers actually compress the soil through the rolling motion of the wheels. This does not actually improve the ground for planting – unlike loosening the soil – and so is not considered Choresh.

7 Orach Chaim 337:1, Mishnah Berurah 4, Sha'ar HaTziun 2.

8 As we discussed in lesson #2, even if Joshua isn’t interested in making this furrow, if it will inevitably happen when he moves the heavy chair, he is not allowed to do so.

9 It is true that most of the time we travel (on Shabbat, and during the rest of the week) on paved streets. However, there are times where we need to go over soil or grass, like in a park, so the issue of Choresh is relevant.

However, there are times where we need to go over soil or grass, like in a

4

The same goes for walking on soil. The action of your foot has a crushing or compacting effect, just like a stroller. Again, this would not be the act of Choresh. 10

(2) Leveling the Ground

Another aspect of this labor category is ‘leveling the ground’, an activity called by the Talmud mashveh gumot. The typical case is creating a level playing field by filling in a hole in the ground or by removing a pile.

Applying this idea, we see that if you want to remove mud or some other item from the bottom of your shoe, you should not rub your shoe on the bare ground. This will have the effect of leveling out the ground under you. 11

Similarly, if you have an earthen floor in your house, you should not sweep it on Shabbat. Again, this would result in making the floor surface nicely even. According to most rabbinic authorities, this is not an issue when sweeping non-earthen floors. 12

And finally, if someone wants to play a ball game (for example, soccer), it should not be played on natural ground. Here, the rationale is that you may inadvertently take a time-out to level the surface so the game can be played properly. 13

level the surface so the game can be played properly. 1 3 1 0 Mishnah Berurah

10 Mishnah Berurah 314:11, quoting Magen Avraham.

11 Talmud (Shabbat 141a); Rambam (Shabbat 21:2); Orach Chaim 302:6 with Mishnah Berurah 28; 39 Melochos, p. 255. However, the Rama and Taz are lenient with removing mud from the shoes on the ground (Mishnah Berurah 302:28).

12 Biur Halacha 337, s.v. "Hakalim"; 39 Melochos, p. 259.

13 Orach Chaim 308:45 with Mishnah Berurah 158; Orach Chaim 338:5 with Mishnah Berurah 19; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 16:6.

Chaim 308:45 with Mishnah Berurah 158; Orach Chaim 338:5 with Mishnah Berurah 19; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato

5

So, regarding ‘leveling’, we have moved from the Talmud’s case to some specific modern examples. These include:

rubbing your shoe against the ground to remove something on

it

sweeping an earthen floor

playing a ball game on a natural surface

A Few General Points

In learning the basics of Choresh, the first of the 39 categories of labor, we have also learned some fundamentals about the laws of Shabbat in general. Two in particular to highlight:

(1) The principles behind the Shabbat laws are relevant to us today, even though at first glance they might appear limited to agricultural societies.

(2) The Shabbat laws are concerned even with actions that we might not have considered to be relevant.

societies. (2) The Shabbat laws are concerned even with actions that we might not have considered

6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #4 Helping trees, seeds and flowers grow better. written by

Laws of Shabbat - Class #4

Laws of Shabbat - Class #4 Helping trees, seeds and flowers grow better. written by Alan

Helping trees, seeds and flowers grow better.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

trees, seeds and flowers grow better. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons ©

1

In our previous lesson, we learned about plowing (Choresh), the first of the labor categories relevant to Shabbat. As we mentioned, Choresh is also the first labor category in the group of melachot known as the ‘Order of Bread’. This group includes, in logical order, each of the activities in the agricultural process. So, in this lesson, we turn to planting (or sowing) seeds, which would be the next thing to do once you’ve plowed a field.

Fundamentals of Zoreya

to do once you’ve plowed a field. Fundamentals of Zoreya The classic case of the melacha

The classic case of the melacha of sowing (known in Hebrew as ‘Zoreya’ 1 ) is planting a seed in a place where it is able to grow. If you place the seed in an area where it is unlikely to grow, you have not done this melacha. An example would be planting in sand or a desert area (or on some other type of non-arable land). 2 A less obvious example is planting in a place that has good soil but is frequently used by people or animals. Even though the conditions would seem to be good for growing, the constant traffic will prevent the seed from developing.

Zoreya goes beyond just planting, though. It includes anything that will enhance the growth of plant life. This includes agricultural activities such as

• watering (e.g., a lawn)

• pruning a plant or tree

• grafting two plants 3 together

• placing a covering over a tree to protect it from the cold

1 Pronounced zo-RAY-ah.

2 Recall a similar condition regarding the melacha of Choresh. See lesson #3.

3 When we use the term plants in this lesson, we mean any form of plant life. Sometimes, we will use the word ‘tree’ when it seems more appropriate; there, too, all forms of plant life are meant.

we will use the word ‘tree’ when it seems more appropriate ; there, too, all forms

2

This appears to be pretty straightforward: if we leave our gardening work for days other than Shabbat, we should be able to avoid this melacha. That’s true to some extent. But there are also other applications of Zoreya which we need to learn about.

Outdoor Issues

Many homes have outdoor areas that contain grass and other growing things. So, on Shabbat, we need to be careful about depositing water (or other liquids) onto such areas. This is especially true during the holiday of Sukkot, when our eating and other activities take place outside.

when our eating and other activities take place outside. Let’s return to our friend Joshua. In

Let’s return to our friend Joshua. In the course of his Shabbat meal in the backyard, he and his guests will need to wash their hands (i.e., perform the ritual netilat yadayim) before eating bread. Based on what we’ve learned, they should not wash their hands over the grass, nor pour any excess water onto the grass or soil. 4 This would be Zoreya, since it helps the grass grow better.

Somewhat less obviously, we will also tell Joshua and company to be careful when eating their juicy watermelon for dessert. Those seeds are slippery, and allowing them to fall into the ground would be a rabbinic prohibition of Zoreya. 5

4 Orach Chaim 336:3, with Mishnah Berurah 26; Halachos of Shabbos, V:C.1 (p. 57).

5 Orach Chaim 336:4, with Mishnah Berurah 31-2.

336:3, with Mishnah Berurah 26; Halachos of Shabbos , V:C.1 (p. 57). 5 Orach Chaim 336:4,

3

If it rained on Friday night, Joshua might find that his lawn chairs have

collected water. Before using the chairs, he’ll want to pour the water off. Pouring it onto the grass would clearly be Zoreya, based on what

we’ve learned. 6

A similar issue comes up on the holiday of Sukkot. Some people keep

their Sukkot dry by spreading a tarpaulin over the top when the Sukkah is not in use. If it rains, the tarp will collect water, and when you remove it, the water will obviously run off.

So, how do we act in these situations?

The halacha distinguishes between

(A)

a case where water will flow directly onto the grass; and

(B)

a case where water will first spill onto a solid surface (for

example, a deck) and then flow onto the grass.

In (A), you may not pour the water out, while in (B) you may. (The result is different because there is a lesser degree of directness in case B). 7

Also, you may pour the water out if the ground is completely saturated (which it would be immediately after a rain). This is because any

additional water won’t help the grass grow – since it’s already soaked

– and, as we said, Zoreya applies only when your action will enhance a plant’s growth. 8

6 Orach Chaim 357:1, with Mishnah Berurah 8; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 12:18 (51).

7 This is based on several of the conditions we discussed in lesson #2. See 39 Melochos, p. 270 and footnotes cited there.

8 Kaf HaChaim (Orach Chaim 336:3, 29).

discussed in lesson #2. See 39 Melochos , p. 270 and footnotes ci ted there. 8

4

Indoor Issues

(i) Care of Indoor Plants

Everything we’ve discussed so far has been about plant forms that are

rooted in the soil. But, maybe surprisingly, Zoreya and the other

melachot of Shabbat also apply to houseplants. (This is a complex

halachic issue; see the footnote for sources). 9

Okay, then. We won’t water our indoor plants on Shabbat.

Remember, though, that any enhancement to growth is considered

Zoreya. So we also cannot bring light into the room (by opening the

shades, for example) for the sake of our houseplants. 10 After all, this

would improve its growth. This does not mean (thankfully!) that we

have to sit in the dark on Shabbat. We can open the shades if we

want light in the room, or fresh air. We just can’t do it for the purpose

of having the light benefit the plants. 11

But wait. If we open the shades to get light, and we have plants in the

room, it is almost certain that the plants will benefit from the light

coming in. So how does the halacha allow us to bring in the light at

all?

Again, we go back to lesson #2 and the conditions we discussed there. On Shabbat, the purpose of our actions makes all the difference (combined with the factor of the benefit being “indirect”). So here, when we bring additional light into the room for our own purposes, we need not be concerned that the light will also shine onto the plants.

9 Halachos of Shabbos V:F.1 (p. 62).

10 This reasoning would also apply to any changes in the room’s air or temperature for the benefit of the plants.

11 We would have a problem opening the shades if the houseplants are actually touching the curtains. This is because, in this situation, the plants will get a direct hit from the sunlight. See 39 Melochos, p. 274.

This is because, in this situation, the plants will get a direct hit from the sunlight.

5

(ii) Flowers

Often, people have cut flowers at home on Shabbat. Assuming that the

flowers are already in bloom, they are obviously not growing anymore, so most Zoreya questions don’t apply to them. If they aren’t yet in

bloom, then doing anything that will help them Zoreya. 12

bloom would be

An issue that comes up is whether we are allowed to place flowers in water on Shabbat or replace them once they’ve been removed.

on Shabbat or replace them once they’ve been removed. The halacha decided that putting flowers in

The halacha decided that putting flowers in water for the first time is considered a tircha -- that is, effort not in the spirit of Shabbat, and which should not be done on Shabbat. (Some also say that it appears too much like actual Zoreya). 13 In practice, then, we do not do this on Shabbat. And, for the same reason, we do not refill the water in a vase containing flowers on Shabbat.

What about putting fully opened flowers that were already in water back in the water if they’ve been removed? This is permitted in case of need, i.e. to save the flowers from withering. Here, there is no tircha factor, and the flowers can’t grow any more, so there is no reason to prohibit this action. 14

(iii) Growing items in water (hydroponics)

Since the principle behind Zoreya is enhancing the growth of any plant life, it also applies to plants that are not growing in soil. Thus, for example, taking an avocado pit and germinating it in water is

12 Orach Chaim 336:11.

13 39 Melochos, p. 276.

14 Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 26:26 (91); 39 Melochos, p. 276.

Chaim 336:11. 1 3 39 Melochos , p. 276. 1 4 Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 26:26 (91);

6

considered an act of Zoreya. The same goes for placing bean sprouts, lima beans, or similar items in water or in moistened material. We do these activities to make the plants grow, and so they are covered by this labor category. 15

Summary and Review

We’ve learned that any action that is intended to enhance the growth of a plant (or the like) is considered ‘sowing a seed’ (Zoreya) on Shabbat.

Zoreya is relevant to things growing outdoors or indoors.

Common Zoreya-related examples include

• watering a plant

• pouring water onto the grass

• dropping seeds on the ground

• opening

curtains

to

let in sunlight

for the

benefit

of

a

houseplant

• putting unopened flowers into water

• sprouting something in water (even without soil)

Finally, we should mention that moving any part of an attached plant is problematic on Shabbat, due to the prohibition of ‘uprooting’ (Kotzer) and/or Muktzeh. These categories will be explained in detail later in the course.

15 Orach Chaim 336:11

(Kotzer) and/or Muktzeh. These categories will be explained in detail later in the course. 1 5

7

Laws of Shabbat - Class #5 Think twice before climbing a tree on Shabbat. written

Laws of Shabbat - Class #5

Laws of Shabbat - Class #5 Think twice before climbing a tree on Shabbat. written by

Think twice before climbing a tree on Shabbat.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

before climbing a tree on Shabbat. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons ©

1

The third melacha in the ‘Order of Bread’ is Kotzer 1 . This translates literally as ‘reaping’ or ‘harvesting’ – that is, taking a growing thing from its natural source. A simple example would be picking an apple from a tree.

Main Aspects of Kotzer

Any time you remove something growing from its source of growth, you are doing an act of Kotzer. This applies to any kind of growing thing: fruits, vegetables, grains, wood, and so on.

The growing item does not have to be attached to soil – it can be growing in another medium. So, for example, mushrooms and other fungi, which don’t grow in the ground, are covered by the melacha of Kotzer. 2 Similarly, bean sprouts that have taken root cannot be removed from their growing environment.

root cannot be removed from their growing environment. An interesting illustration of this idea relates to

An interesting illustration of this idea relates to potted plants. In halacha, a plant growing in a perforated pot (known as an atzitz nakuv) is considered to be connected to the soil in some instances. 3 Since the pot has holes, the plant can absorb nutrients from the ground when it is placed on or above the ground. For this reason, the plant is said to be ‘connected’ to the soil. So if you have such a plant, and it is placed on the soil, you may not remove it from there on Shabbat. 4

1 Pronounced koh-TSAYR.

2 Chayei Adam 12:1; 39 Melochos, p. 283.

3 Halachos of Shabbos, V.F.1 (p. 62). The perforations in the pot need to be large enough so that a small root can go through.

4 Biur Halacha 336, s.v. "Afilu." There may be other issues of muktzeh, a topic to be discussed later in this course.

336, s.v. "Afilu." There may be other issues of muktzeh , a topic to be discussed

2

Kotzer also applies when further growing is no longer possible. Let’s say our friend Joshua has a fruit tree in his yard, and he sees some fully ripened fruit on the tree. (In other words, the fruit is no longer getting nourishment from the tree). He would not be permitted to remove this fruit. 5

Let’s pause to review. Kotzer involves

• detaching a growing item from its growth source

even if that growth source is not soil

• and even if the growing item has actually finished growing

Additional Scenarios: Eat your Vegetables

(1) Fresh vegetables sold with roots attached – It is a true blessing that we are able to buy fresh produce regularly. Sometimes, we can even get items that are really fresh, maybe from a local farmers’ market. These vegetables might come with their roots attached, and sometimes even with some soil as well.

Following the ideas we’ve developed here, you would need to remove the roots or the soil before Shabbat if you wanted to eat the vegetable. Here, although the roots aren’t connected to anything, the plant is still attached to the roots and could derive some further nourishment from them. Cutting the plant from the roots would then be Kotzer. 6

(2) Vegetables sprouting in a moist environment or stored in soil – Some vegetables (such as carrots, onions, and potatoes) are often stored in a cool and moist area once they’ve been harvested. Let’s say you have some onions in your cellar, and when you go to use them on Shabbat, you see they’ve sprouted. This kind of sprouting

5 Orach Chaim 336:12

6 See 39 Melochos, p. 293.

on Shabbat, you see they’ve sprouted. This kind of sprouting 5 Orach Chaim 336:12 6 See

3

takes place because of the conditions the onions were stored in. Does this mean that if you take them out of the cellar you will be violating the melacha of Kotzer?

Actually, no. The prohibition of Kotzer doesn’t apply when the growing took place in a non-normal way. Here, the growing wasn’t “normal,” since the plant was not physically connected to any growth source. 7

A Brief Sidebar

connected to any growth source. 7 A Brief Sidebar Before continuing, let’s step back and think

Before continuing, let’s step back and think about the meaning of this melacha. If we go back to the idea of creative labor (which we discussed in lesson #1), we may better understand the idea behind Kotzer.

When we separate a growing thing from its source, we have essentially created a new entity: once the growing item is disconnected, it is no longer a plant, but something ready for human use. In this sense, it is a ‘new’ object, and therefore the act of reaping is a creative act.

On to some further applications.

Rabbinic Extensions of Kotzer

Often, the Sages extend halacha by instituting measures known as gezerot (recall this idea from lesson #1). In the case of Kotzer, there are a number of important gezerot to know.

7 39 Melochos, p. 285-86.

from lesson #1). In the case of Kotzer, there are a number of important gezerot to

4

(i) Using a tree

The Sages decided that a person should not use a tree on Shabbat. Since picking a fruit, breaking a branch, and similar activities are considered Kotzer, the Sages determined that prohibiting the use of trees would help us avoid this melacha.

What does “use” mean here? 8 Really anything that involves moving the tree, such as

• leaning on the tree

• climbing it

• shaking a branch

The gezera against using trees extends also to items that are connected to a tree. For example, if our friend Joshua placed his suit jacket on a tree branch while outside, he would not be able to retrieve it until Shabbat ended.

he would not be able to retrieve it until Shabbat ended. However, it is permitted to

However, it is permitted to use something that is only indirectly attached to a tree. For example: It is permitted to lie on a hammock, as long as the hammock is not attached directly to the tree, but is rather “attached to a hook, which is attached to the tree.” 9 (The hammock and hooks would need to be in place before Shabbat begins, and the tree sturdy enough not to move by the swinging action of the hammock.)

Interestingly, the Sages did not distinguish between living trees and dead ones. However, they did make an exception for tree stumps that are less than 11 inches (29 cm.) high. You may sit or stand on this

8 On all of these, see 39 Melochos, p. 294.

9 Orach Chaim 336:13; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 16:16.

on this 8 On all of these, see 39 Melochos , p. 294. 9 Orach Chaim

5

during Shabbat, 10 since no one would consider it to be in the same category as an actual tree.

(ii) Smelling fruits attached to a tree

It may seem logical that you shouldn’t smell a fruit attached to a tree, since you might forget that it’s Shabbat and yank the fruit off – the classic case of Kotzer. The Sages thought so as well, and therefore this action is not allowed.

You are permitted, however, to smell flowers, even those which are attached to the ground. 11

(iii) Using animals

Picture this: you’re on your horse on Shabbat, and you are riding under a tree. Some branches are in your way, so you brush them aside, breaking a few. Or, you need a branch to use as a prod for the horse, so you grab one.

As we’ve learned, removing the branch would be an act of Kotzer. So as to avoid this scenario, the Sages decided to forbid riding (or otherwise using) all animals on Shabbat. 12

At first, this may seem like an overly broad prohibition. After all, not all animals can even be used for riding. But we need to look beyond just the technical issue of breaking a branch. Animals played a major role in daily life in earlier times, and in some places they do so today as well. By setting them off limits on Shabbat, the Sages were making another significant distinction between how we behave on Shabbat compared to the other days of the week.

If you have a house pet, then, you should discuss with your rabbi how to care for the pet on Shabbat.

10 Orach Chaim 336:2 with Mishnah Berurah 21; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 26:21.

11 Orach Chaim 336:10; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 26:22.

12 Orach Chaim 305:18.

K’Hilchato 26:21. 1 1 Orach Chaim 336:10; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 26:22. 1 2 Orach Chaim 305:18.

6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #6 The prohibition of gathering together things that grow. written

Laws of Shabbat - Class #6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #6 The prohibition of gathering together things that grow. written by

The prohibition of gathering together things that grow.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

gathering together things that grow. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons © 2007

1

Till now, we’ve discussed three relatively familiar kinds of agricultural labor: plowing, planting, and reaping. Our next labor category is less well-known. The melacha of Me’amer, 1 which means ‘gathering’ or ‘bundling,’ was performed after wheat was harvested. After the sheaves of wheat were removed from the soil, they were bundled together. In this way, they could be moved more easily.

The Basics

How does this melacha apply today?

The action underlying Me’amer is to gather together or combine items that grow in the soil. (By “in the soil” we mean something that literally grows in the ground, or on a tree, which itself grows in the ground).

To start

scenario: Our buddy Joshua has an apple tree in his backyard and apples have fallen off onto the ground. 2 Many

of them are in good condition, so he gathers them up in a basket and brings them inside to eat. This is considered Me’amer.

with a straightforward

We see from this example that:

• Me’amer refers to gathering for a

useful purpose. In other words, if you

are collecting something only to throw

it out – raking leaves comes to mind –

only to throw it out – raking leaves comes to mind – 1 Pronounced meh-ah-MAYR. In

1 Pronounced meh-ah-MAYR. In the spelling of Me’amer, the apostrophe is used to separate between the two vowel sounds. 2 We will assume that the apples fell off before Shabbat. If they fell off on Shabbat, they would also be considered muktzeh – that is, restricted from being used on Shabbat. (Orach Chaim 322:3 with Mishnah Berurah 7)

be considered muktzeh – that is, restricted from being used on Shabbat. (Orach Chaim 322:3 with

2

then you have not done the melacha according to the Torah. (However, the Sages did prohibit doing this.) 3

• The items need to be assembled closely together (according to some rabbinic authorities). 4 This is why the basket is important, since it accomplishes that closeness. If you gather the fruits up with your hands, you may not have done an act of Me’amer, since the objects you’re carrying are just loosely resting on each other. 5

Limitations on this Melacha

An action is not considered Me’amer unless four conditions are met. Me’amer only applies to items that:

1. grow from the ground

2. are gathered in the place that they grow

3. are in their original state; and

4. have not previously been gathered

Condition #1 is familiar to us from previous lessons. The common situations of Me’amer involve items like fruits, vegetables, and grains. Interestingly, some authorities hold that naturally occurring rocks and minerals are also considered as “growing from the ground” for purposes of Me’amer. This would include items like diamonds and other precious gems. 6

3 Talmud - Shabbat 103a.

4 One of the things that makes halacha fascinating – although sometimes confusing – is that there are various scholarly opinions. In the course of this series, we will sometimes mention that a position is taken by a majority of authorities, or by “some” authorities. This means, of course, that other authorities do not agree with this approach. Generally, the halachic bottom line follows the opinion of the majority.

5 Ketzot HaShulchan146:49. Nevertheless, there may be other halachic reasons not to gather items by hand. See 39 Melochos, p. 306.

6 39 Melochos, p. 310.

there ma y be other halachic reasons not to gather items by hand. See 39 Melochos

3

Our example of Joshua’s apples shows how condition #2 works. He gathered up the fruits from under the tree, which is where they grow. In contrast, if you had a bag of apples you’d bought at the supermarket (before Shabbat), and the apples spilled out onto the floor, you could gather them up again. This is because the fruits are no longer in the place where they’d grown. 7

By “original state” (condition #3) we mean that the item hasn’t been physically changed from the form in which it grows. Let’s take the example of wood. Wood comes from the ground, and is thus subject to Me’amer. However, once it is changed into a specific item, it is no longer in its original state, and Me’amer doesn’t apply. For instance, if your child owns a set of wooden toys, you may help him or her clean them up on Shabbat. 8

toys, you may help him or her clean them up on Shabbat. 8 Finally, we have

Finally, we have condition #4, reflecting the idea that, once an item is gathered, the halacha does not consider any further gathering to be significant. Now, this is true only if the two acts of gathering are essentially the same. When would you have two gatherings that are not the same? A frequently cited example is stringed figs. When we buy figs today, often they are strung together in a circular shape. This stringing was done after the figs were initially gathered from the trees they grew on. The stringing is considered a second ‘bundling’ that is different from the original one. Therefore, we are not allowed to string figs (or other fruits) on Shabbat. 9

7 Orach Chaim 340:9.

8 Aruch HaShulchan 340:3. Although the toy is recognizably made of wood, the wood is not in the same form that it was when growing on the tree.

9 Orach Chaim 340:10 with Mishnah Berurah 38; 39 Melochos, p. 310.

same form that it was when growing on the tree. 9 Orach Chaim 340:10 with Mishnah

4

Me’amer Today

Despite these limitations, the issue of Me’amer may still come up today. In addition to the cases we’ve mentioned, here are a few other scenarios that involve this melacha:

Making a bouquet of flowers – since flowers grow in the ground, ‘bundling’ them together in a bouquet would be Me’amer (on a rabbinic level). 10

Re-collecting produce – Our initial case of Me’amer was gathering apples that had fallen from a tree. We then said that, once something had already been gathered, it could be re-gathered on Shabbat.

So, if Joshua had prepared a basket of apples in his yard prior to Shabbat, and the apples then rolled out of the basket, he should be able to gather them up. This is generally true, with some conditions:

(a) Joshua should gather up the fruits he needs for Shabbat only; (b) he should gather them up by hand, and not use a basket or other container. These limitations were put in place by the Sages because they felt that doing otherwise would be too similar to work activities that a person performs during the week. 11

Further Reading

• Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, The 39 Melochos, vol. 2, p. 305-313

• Rabbi Shimon Eider, Halachos of Shabbos, ch. VII

10 Ketzot HaShulchan – Badei Shulchan 146.

11 Orach Chaim 335:5 with Mishnah Berurah 18, Biur Halacha s.v. Echad. For a fuller discussion of the issue of re-collecting produce, see 39 Melochos, p. 311-12.

Biur Halacha s.v. Echad. For a fuller discussion of the issue of re-collecting produce, see 39

5

Laws of Shabbat - Class #7 Separating a growing item from its natural shell or

Laws of Shabbat - Class #7

Laws of Shabbat - Class #7 Separating a growing item from its natural shell or peel.

Separating a growing item from its natural shell or peel.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

item from its natural shell or peel. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

1

With our next labor category, Dosh, 1 we enter a set of melachot that have many practical applications. Dosh itself covers several diverse activities, most of which have to do with food preparation.

As we’ve seen, the Sages derived each of the melachot from activities that were done to build and maintain the Mishkan. 2 The first 11 melachot reflect the actions needed to prepare bread. So when we last left our wheat (back in the previous lesson), it had been bundled together after harvesting. It is now ready to be processed. The first step in the processing is to thresh the wheat, in order to separate the edible part from the chaff (the inedible part).

The activity involved in threshing wheat is separating a growing item from its natural shell or peel (i.e. husk). This activity defines the melacha of Dosh (which means ‘threshing’).

Since threshing was normally done by having people stamp on the wheat (with their feet), a person violates the Av Melacha of Dosh only if he or she uses foot power. Today, we mainly use our hands in doing the kind of work covered by Dosh. When we use our hands, we are considered to be violating a toladah of Dosh, known as mefarek 3 literally, unloading or taking apart. 4

Like some other melachot, Dosh applies only to items that grow from the ground. The Sages determined that this includes not only things like vegetables and fruits, but also to people and animals, since they depend on growing things to survive. 5 This is why activities such as milking a cow and nursing a baby are covered by the melacha of Dosh. (We will explain each of these below.)

1 Rhymes with ‘nosh’.

2 Recall Lesson #1.

3 Pronounced meh-fah-RAKE. For explanations of the concepts of Av Melacha and toladah, see Lesson #1.

4 The term mefarek is often used in discussing this melacha. For the relationship between Dosh and mefarek, see 39 Melochos, p. 319-20.

5 Orach Chaim 328:34, Mishnah Berurah 111; Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:A2 (p. 86).

see 39 Melochos , p. 319-20. 5 Orach Chaim 328:34, Mishnah Berurah 111; Halachos of Shabbos

2

We can divide the category of Dosh into a few sections, according to the type of activity being done. 6 We will look at:

(1) peeling fruits and similar items (2) extracting liquid; and (3) removing absorbed liquid

Peeling Fruits and the Like

A common application of Dosh is removing a peel. Examples include

husking corn (that is, removing the stringy, inedible layer that covers the kernels) and removing peas from an inedible pod. 7

Some other examples:

Nuts

example, almonds straight off the tree have a green outer shell, and then the brittle brown shell that encases the nut.) Removing the outer shell on Shabbat would be the type of separation that violates Dosh.

inner shell. (For

Some nuts have an

outer shell and an

Garlic – It has a thick outer peel and a thin inner peel. As with nuts, we are not allowed to remove the outer peel on Shabbat. If you want to use garlic or nuts, you should remove the outer peel before Shabbat.

Honeycomb – The honeycomb contains the honey made by bees, but itself is not edible. Therefore, removing the honey from the honeycomb on Shabbat would not be allowed.

6 This categorization was developed by Rabbi Yitzchok Berkovits.

7 If the pods are still fresh and edible, as they sometimes are, it would be permitted to remove the peas, providing that you want the peas and not the pod. This is because separating one food from another is allowed on Shabbat. Chayei Adam 14:1; Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:C.4 (p. 93).

separating one food from another is allowed on Shabbat. Chayei Adam 14:1; Halachos of Shabbos ,

3

However, not all peels are a problem. We are allowed to remove the

peel from most fruits (such as oranges and bananas) right before we

eat the fruit. There are two opinions as to why this is so. Some say it

is because Dosh does not apply to thin peels that are closely attached

to the fruit, since these peels are essentially part of the fruit itself.

Others say that Dosh does not apply to peels that remain on the fruit

until you’re ready to eat it. 8 In the case of most fruits, either of these

opinions would allow us to peel them on Shabbat.

Dosh applies to anything that grows from the

ground, including non-food plants like cotton

and flax. These plants are used to make fabrics

(the flax plant is the source of linen). Both

contain seeds which need to be removed before

the fibers can be made. Removing these seeds

is a violation of Dosh, since it involves

separating the seeds from their natural

covering. 9

separating the seeds from their natural covering. 9 Extracting Liquid To use liquids, we often need

Extracting Liquid

To use

liquids, we often need to take

them out from

their natural

containers.

In this section,

we will examine

a

number of such

examples.

(i) Nursing

As we’ve said, a person is seen as ‘growing from the ground’ because she depends on natural items for survival. So nursing a baby falls into the category of Dosh. Of course, nursing itself is perfectly fine on

8 See Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 3:29-38 (92) and 39 Melochos, p. 321-23 for more detailed explanations of these opinions. The reason we remove the peel right before we are ready to eat is to avoid the melacha of Borer, which we’ll learn later.

9 Mishnah Berurah 344:11; 39 Melochos, p. 330-32.

eat is to avoid the melacha of Borer, which we’ll learn later. 9 Mishnah Berurah 344:11;

4

Shabbat; it is vital to a baby’s health and therefore is allowed. But expressing milk for storage is not permitted. Since the baby is not benefiting from it at that moment, separating the milk from its source would be a form of Dosh. However, the buildup of milk causes discomfort to mothers. The solution is for moms to express the milk in such a way that it cannot be used afterwards – for example, into the sink or into a soapy container. 10

(ii) Milking

Just as the halacha is concerned about the comfort of people, it is also concerned with the comfort of animals. It is known that animals are also distressed when they have milk that they can’t discharge.

Although most people today are not dairy farmers, it is worth understanding how the Sages approached this issue.

is worth understanding how the Sages approached this issue. First of all, milking can be done

First of all, milking can be done by a non-Jew, since s/he is not commanded to observe Shabbat.

If that is not possible, a Jewish person may do the milking, so long as the milk does not get collected (in other words, it just falls onto the floor).

Maybe the best solution is the use of an electronic milking machine. This device is connected to the cow before the timer activates the pump, and goes on and off automatically. Using this method, it is permitted to keep the milk that is obtained. 11

10 Orach Chaim 330:8, Mishnah Berurah 32; see also 39 Melochos, p. 356, and Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:F (p. 113-15).

11 Orach Chaim 305:20; Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim 56:4); Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 27:46-8. Rabbi Eider has a helpful discussion of these issues in Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:E (p. 108-112).

27:46-8. Rabbi Eider has a helpful discussion of these issues in Halachos of Shabbos , VIII:E

5

(iii) Squeezing Juice from a Fruit

Known as ‘Sechitah,’ 12 this is probably the most well-known application of Dosh. In our next lesson, we’ll learn about these issues, by visiting Melissa in her kitchen.

But first, a review. We’ve defined Dosh as:

• any action that separates a naturally growing item from its covering (such as a shell or peel); and we explained that

• “naturally growing item” includes also animals and humans.

Some examples we’ve studied are:

• removing peas, corn, and other legumes from their inedible covers

• removing the hard outer shell of some kinds of nuts

• removing seeds from cotton or flax plants

• expressing mother’s milk

• milking a cow or other animal

12 Pronounced se-khee-TAH (Israeli pronunciation) or se-KHEE-tuh (Ashkenazic pronunciation).

a cow or other animal 1 2 Pronounced se-khee-TAH (Israeli pronunciation) or se-KHEE-tuh (Ashkenazic pronunciation). 6

6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #8 The prohibition of squeezing juice from a fruit. written

Laws of Shabbat - Class #8

Laws of Shabbat - Class #8 The prohibition of squeezing juice from a fruit. written by

The prohibition of squeezing juice from a fruit.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

of squeezing juice from a fruit. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons ©

1

In our previous lesson, we discussed the melacha of Dosh. We learned that the essence of this melacha is separating a naturally growing item from its covering (such as a shell or peel). We’ll now address one of the most common applications of this melacha.

(iii) Squeezing Juice from a Fruit

Let’s pay a visit to Melissa. She is in her kitchen, getting ready for a Shabbat meal. Among the items planned for her menu are fresh squeezed orange juice, green olives, and baked salmon.

Melissa will need to be aware of the laws of Dosh before preparing the meal. Why? Because the process of removing juice from a fruit is similar to removing an edible item from an inedible shell. When a person wants only the juice, the fruit is, for his purposes, ‘inedible’ at that moment.

So, a person is not permitted to squeeze juice out of a fruit on Shabbat, whether the juice is being squeezed into a container or into another liquid. 1 This restriction applies to nearly all fruits, but there are important distinctions. We’ll look at three different groups:

(1) olives and grapes (2) berries and pomegranates (and most other fruits) (3) melons 2

Olives and Grapes Why are the juices of these two fruits different from all others? In halacha, there are seven liquids which are considered to be significant; 3 all other liquids are of secondary importance. Olive oil and grape juice (wine) are on the “important” list. When we ‘remove’ these liquids from the fruit, it is considered Dosh according to Torah law.

1 It is permitted to squeeze a fruit if the juice goes to waste. (Orach Chaim 320:1, 18 with Mishnah Berurah 55 and Biur Halacha)

2 Orach Chaim 320:1. The discussion of the fruit groups is found in 39 Melochos, p. 333 and following, and in Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:D (p. 96-98).

3 They are: olive oil, grape juice, water, dew, honey, blood, and milk. Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 320); 39 Melochos, p. 334.

olive oil, grape juice, water, dew, honey, blood, and milk. Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 320); 39

2

Berries, Pomegranates, and most though the other fruits – Even halacha treats all liquids alike

Berries, Pomegranates, and most

though the

other

fruits

Even

halacha treats all liquids alike except for the seven special ones, the Talmud mentions the juices of berries and pomegranates as being important drinks. These fruits are sometimes eaten as fruits, and sometimes squeezed for the juice. Today, this category is broader, since many fruits are used for their juice. Common examples include apples, oranges, pineapples, grapefruit, and so on. This category is cross-cultural: any fruit that is used somewhere for juice is included.

The Sages prohibit squeezing juices from these fruits as well. 4 (This is a step below Torah law, but of course still necessary to observe.)

Melons (and the like) – There is a small group of fruits which almost no one uses for juice. The main example is melons, such as cantaloupe and watermelon. (There might be other examples, but I haven’t found any). Since these items are not juiced, the Sages did not extend the prohibition to them. Therefore, if you want to squeeze out juice from a watermelon, you may do so. 5

What does this all mean for Melissa? So far, she knows that she can’t squeeze the oranges to get the juice. (Packaged OJ will have to do.) What about the other foods she’s serving?

The olives present two further issues:

(1) Even if Melissa isn’t squeezing the olives to get the ‘juice’ (that is, the oil), when she cuts them, some oil may seep out. This action is forbidden, and the juice may not be used. A way to avoid this is to cut the olives in a way that any resulting liquid won’t be usable. For

4 They were concerned that a person might think that, if other fruits may be squeezed, olives are grapes could also be squeezed. The Sages often enacted what they called ‘fences’ to a Torah- based law, to help ensure that people would not violate it, even accidentally. 5 Orach Chaim 320:1; 39 Melochos, p. 341.

law, to help ensure that people would not violate it, even accidentally. 5 Orach Chaim 320:1;

3

example, she could cut them on a paper towel, so the liquid will get

absorbed. 6

(2) Also, some oil may seep out of the olives on its own. (This isn’t as common with packaged olives, but if you buy fresh ones, it may happen.) She wouldn’t be allowed to use this oil on Shabbat. This concept is known as mashkim she-zavu (literally, ‘liquids that flow out on their own’).

When it comes to fruits other than grapes or olives, any liquid that seeps out on its own would be usable, so long as the fruit in question was prepared for eating, not for juicing. 7

Also, it is permitted to squeeze juice from the fruit directly into your

mouth – e.g. by putting a hole in an orange and sucking. However,

this method is not permitted for olives and grapes. 8

this method is not permitted for olives and grapes. 8 Squeezing onto a solid – This

Squeezing onto a solid – This is where the salmon comes in. Let’s say that one of Melissa’s guests wants to squeeze some lemon juice onto the fish for flavor. This would seem to be forbidden, based on what we’ve said. However, there is an exception for squeezing juice onto a solid food. 9 In this situation, the juice never attains an independent status as ‘juice’: you are merely transferring one food (lemon) to another food (fish), and it is not prohibited to take one food (the juice) out of another (the lemon). 10

In order for this to be permitted, the juice needs to either improve the taste of the food, or become mostly absorbed into the food. 11

6 See 39 Melochos, p. 334.

7 Mishnah Berurah 320:6; 39 Melochos, p. 339.

8 Orach Chaim 320:1, Mishnah Berurah 12.

9 Biur Halacha 320, s.v. "L'Toch," quoting Rashi (Shabbat 144b); see Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:D.10 (p. 100).

10 Orach Chaim 320:4; 39 Melochos, p. 345; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 5:3.

of Shabbos , VIII:D.10 (p. 100). 1 0 Orach Chaim 320:4; 39 Melochos , p. 345;

4

This exception applies only if the juice is squeezed directly onto the food. It is not permitted to squeeze the juice into a container – even if this is done so that Melissa’s guests may then pour it onto their fish. This is because when the juice is gathered in the container, it is considered a liquid, not a food. And, as we’ve said, removing juice from the fruit is generally prohibited as sechitah. 12

Further, it is forbidden to squeeze juice from a fruit, directly into another liquid. For example, one could not squeeze lemon juice into a cup of tea. However, since it is permitted to squeeze lemon juice onto a solid, one could squeeze lemon juice onto a spoonful of sugar, and then mix that into the tea. 13

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far. Let’s briefly review.

The following activities cannot be done on Shabbat because they are considered sechitah (squeezing):

• Squeezing juice from a fruit, to drink the juice

• Squeezing juice from a fruit, directly into another liquid

• Using liquid that seeped out (on its own) from grapes or olives

The following activities are permitted on Shabbat:

• Squeezing juice from a fruit directly onto a solid food

• Using liquid that seeped out (on its own) from fruits (other

than grapes and olives)

There are other issues related to sechitah of fruits that we have not covered here. For further study (there’s always further study!), please see the works cited in the footnotes.

Stay tuned. There are two additional topics in Dosh, which we’ll explore in our final lesson on this melacha.

11 Orach Chaim 320:4; 505:1, Mishnah Berurah 5-6

12 Mishnah Berurah 320:18.

13 See Mishnah Berurah 320:22 regarding lemons.

320:4; 505:1, Mishnah Berurah 5-6 1 2 Mishnah Berurah 320:18. 1 3 See Mishnah Berurah 320:22

5

Laws of Shabbat - Class #9 How to clean up a spill on Shabbat. written

Laws of Shabbat - Class #9

Laws of Shabbat - Class #9 How to clean up a spill on Shabbat. written by

How to clean up a spill on Shabbat.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

#9 How to clean up a spill on Shabbat. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi

1

In our previous classes on the melacha of Dosh, we’ve talked about peeling and extracting. In this third and final lesson on Dosh, we’ll discuss removing absorbed liquids and various issues related to snow and ice.

Absorbed Liquids

(a) Absorbed in Foods

In Dosh lesson #2, we talked about removing juices that are naturally found inside a fruit. In most instances, we aren’t allowed to do this, since this is similar to removing an edible item from an inedible shell (which is the core definition of Dosh). But what if we have a food item that absorbed its liquid through cooking or pickling? 1 (i.e., the liquid in question is not natural to the food, but comes from an outside source). 2 Are we allowed to remove this liquid?

The majority opinion in halacha permits this, provided that you are squeezing out the liquid to get rid of it – in other words, to improve the taste of the food you’re eating. 3 If you want to keep the liquid for some use, then this action is not allowed.

For example, your potato pancake has too much oil, so you squeeze out the oil. Another example might be a pickle that contains too much brine.

It is worth mentioning that some contemporary writers recommend that we should act strictly and not squeeze out liquid from cooked foods. 4

1 ‘Cooking’ means cooking in a liquid. Halachically, pickling is seen as equivalent to cooking, although no heat is used. (Talmud - Pesachim 76a) 2 Talmud - Shabbat 145a; 39 Melochos, p. 343.

3 Orach Chaim 320:7; 39 Melochos, p. 341-2. There is a minority opinion, which holds that if the food was cooked in one of the seven halachically important liquids, then squeezing it would be prohibited (Biur Halacha 320, s.v. "U'LeRa"ch"). See Dosh lesson #2 for an explanation of the seven liquids.

4 Mishnah Berurah 320:30 makes this recommendation. The rationale is so that we can satisfy the minority opinion of Rabbeinu Chananel mentioned in Orach Chaim 320:7.

The rationale is so that we can satisfy the minority opinion of Rabbeinu Chananel mentioned in

2

(b) Absorbed in Fabrics

So much for food. What about a piece of material that has absorbed liquid? Are we allowed to squeeze this liquid out?

At first glance, this seems like a strange application of Dosh. After all, the classic case of Dosh is threshing wheat to remove the inedible chaff. We’ve seen how this idea is extended to a variety of situations, most involving food (i.e., naturally growing items). What has all this got to do with squeezing out water (or something else) from a piece of fabric?

Well, if we are talking about a natural fabric (like cotton or wool), then these also grow from the ground, and taking out the water is no different than taking out juice from a fruit. 5 (Note, though, that the halacha extends also to synthetic fabrics.) Some examples: a linen tablecloth on which a drink has been spilled; a sponge; a baby wipe.

on which a drink has been spilled; a sponge; a baby wipe. But didn’t we just

But didn’t we just say that where the liquid is not natural to the item, it’s okay to squeeze it out?

Here, the halacha makes a distinction between liquids absorbed in foods and those absorbed in fabrics. For foods, the liquid (e.g. cooking oil) is seen as becoming part of the food, through the cooking or pickling process. However, in fabrics, the liquid retains its ‘identity’ as a liquid, separate from the fabric that has absorbed it. This means that separating one item from the other would be considered an act of mefarek. 6 Also, the halacha points out that absorbing liquid is a natural function of fabric, and so we consider the fabric to be like a fruit, which naturally contains juice. 7

5 Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:D.19 and footnotes (p. 104).

6 Tosfot (Ketubot 6a, s.v. "Hai"). Recall from lesson #2 that this is a sub-category of Dosh.

7 39 Melochos, p. 344-45.

6a, s.v. "Hai") . Recall from lesson #2 that this is a sub-category of Dosh. 7

3

So – we are not allowed to squeeze absorbed moisture out of fabric, so as to avoid sechitah .

Practical Applications

Let’s

situations:

look

at

a

few

. Practical Applications Let’s situations: look at a few practical Using Sponges – A sponge becomes

practical

Using Sponges – A sponge becomes saturated with water from the moment it gets wet, and it is nearly impossible to use a wet sponge without squeezing out some liquid. So we do not use sponges to wash dishes on Shabbat.

If we need to wipe up a spill (on the table or the floor), we may gently use a sponge that has a handle or a plastic backing. With sponges of this type, it is not inevitable that we’ll squeeze out the water, so it is permitted. 8

Wringing out a Cloth – this is not allowed. So, if something spills, you may use a dry rag or washcloth to wipe it up, but you can’t wring out the liquid. 9

Further, if the cloth (or any towel) becomes completely saturated, you could no longer touch it. Why? Because the pressure of your fingertips will inevitably squeeze out some of the liquid. 10

parents use moist

disposable cloths (‘baby wipes’). Because it is likely that liquid will be

squeezed out when the wipe is used, some authorities say that they should not be used on Shabbat. Others permit them. 11

Baby Wipes – often, when diapering

a baby,

8 39 Melochos, p. 348-9; see contrary opinion in Halachos of Shabbos, VIII:D.24 (p. 107).

9 Beyond the issue of sechitah, which is an aspect of Dosh, when a person wrings out a cloth, the melacha of Melabein (whitening or laundering) may be involved. We’ll discuss this, G-d willing, when we get to that labor category. See 39 Melochos, p. 346-47.

10 Orach Chaim 301:46; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 15:15.

11 39 Melochos, p. 352-3.

Melochos , p. 346-47. 1 0 Orach Chaim 301:46; Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 15:15. 1 1 39

4

Showering on Shabbat – Because of the concern for wringing out materials, it is customary not to take showers on Shabbat. In a case of great discomfort, one may take a cold shower, provided that the drying towel is large, and care is taken not to squeeze one's hair. 12

to

squeeze or wring out water that is "suspended" between particles, as opposed to absorbed. For this reason, many people do not use a [synthetic] toothbrush on Shabbat, as this involves squeezing water out from between the densely packed nylon bristles. 13

Brushing

Teeth

It

is

also

prohibited

Snow & Ice

3 Brushing Teeth – It is also prohibited Snow & Ice Our last Dosh issue deals

Our last Dosh issue deals with the uses of snow and ice. In fact, this is not really an issue of Dosh, but an area that has been included in this category by rabbinic decree. The Sages felt that there was significant similarity between Dosh activities and the crushing of snow and ice, so they enacted this restriction to avoid confusion.

The basic idea of the enactment is not to crush snow or ice, since this releases water. Such crushing is known as risuk in Hebrew. 14

Because of risuk, on Shabbat we should not:

• crush ice inside a drink • chop up ice cream or sorbet in order to be able to eat it sooner • shake up a frozen liquid so as to melt the ice inside the container

The idea here is that we will be actively extracting water from the frozen material, which is very much like sechitah . 15

12 Shu"t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 4:75). 13 A new Shabbat-friendly toothbrush is on the market. The rubber bristles of the Shabbos Toothbrush™ are far enough apart that liquid does not get absorbed into the bristles and is not squeezed out. See www.kosherinnovations.com.

14 Pronounced ree-SUKE.

15 Talmud - Shabbat 51b; Orach Chaim 320:9 with Mishnah Berurah 33; 39 Melochos, p. 360-62.

Pronounced ree-SUKE. 1 5 Talmud - Shabbat 51b; Orach Chaim 320:9 with Mishnah Berurah 33; 39

5

However, we may do activities where the melting is less obvious and/or where it is clear that we aren’t interested in using the water that is released. For example, we are allowed to:

• put ice in a cold drink to make it cooler

• put ice in a hot drink to cool it off

• bring a bucket or tray of ice cubes to the table 16

We may also walk on snow or ice (for those of us who live in such climates), since it would be almost impossible to avoid this while going about normal life on Shabbat. 17

avoid this while going about normal life on Shabbat. 1 7 Finally, a word ab out

Finally, a word about spreading salt or sand on your walkway on Shabbat. This is done, of course, to melt the snow and/or to help people avoid falling. Putting out salt is fine, even though the snow will wind up melting as a result, since the melting occurs indirectly. 18 There are differing opinions about sand, since the sand does not eventually dissolve. Those who do not allow it hold that putting the sand out is like ‘building’ an extra layer onto the ground. 19

Overview of Dosh

In the past three lessons, we have dealt with one of the more complex melachot we’ve seen so far. Even with all the material we’ve covered, we haven’t completely exhausted the topic. As always, when an issue comes up, you should get advice from someone knowledgeable in this area of Jewish law.

16 Orach Chaim 320:9; 39 Melochos, p. 364-67.

17 This raises an important issue. We can’t always say that because something is too difficult, we can’t apply the proper halacha to it. In this particular case, there are reasons that enable us to be lenient: (1) the whole idea of risuk is a rabbinic decree, and (2) when a person walks on snow, he doesn’t intend to crush or melt it – he just wants to walk. (Orach Chaim 320:13 with Mishnah Berurah 39) 18 Recall lesson #2 (entitled ‘Thoughtful Work’), when we discussed the principle of indirect causation.

19 Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 25:9 (49); 39 Melochos, p. 368-69 on both salt and sand.

indirect causation. 1 9 Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 25:9 (49); 39 Melochos , p. 368-69 on both

6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #10 Separating things by use of wind or air power.

Laws of Shabbat - Class #10

Laws of Shabbat - Class #10 Separating things by use of wind or air power. written

Separating things by use of wind or air power.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

things by use of wind or air power. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga

1

We’ve spent a lot of time dealing with the labor category of Dosh. Now we’ll turn to a new melacha, called ‘Zoreh’. 1

Zoreh Then and Now

‘Zoreh’ literally means “winnowing” – that is, a further separation of the wheat kernel from inedible parts of the plant. (This process was begun by threshing, which we read about in Dosh, part #1.) To winnow, a person would toss the threshed wheat into the air, and the lighter, unusable parts (the “chaff”) would get blown off by the wind.

Zoreh is the first of three melachot that deal with separating parts of a mixture. (The other two – which we’ll examine soon, G-d willing – are Borer and Meraked.) Even back in the Talmud, the Sages wondered why we have three labor categories that deal with essentially the same activity.

One answer is that, although all of these melachot lead to a similar result, the separating is accomplished by different means. So, as we’ll see

Zoreh involves separating through wind or air power 2

Borer involves separating by hand

Meraked involves separating via a strainer or similar tool. 3

As it turns out, there aren’t that many practical applications of this melacha. Let’s examine some of them.

1 Pronounced ‘zoh-REH.’

2 Some include “the scattering of anything into the air” under the heading of Zoreh (see Jerusalem Talmud - Shabbat ch. 7; 39 Melochos, p. 375).

3 See 39 Melochos, p. 375, for a discussion of this issue, based on Talmud - Shabbat 73b.

39 Melochos , p. 375). 3 See 39 Melochos, p. 375, for a discussion of this

2

In Practice

Beyond the actual winnowing of grain, what other activities would be covered by Zoreh?

Examples would be blowing the seeds off a dandelion, or throwing confetti into the air. Similarly, one would not be allowed to shake crumbs off a tablecloth out the window, as this would probably cause the crumbs to be blown by the wind.

One contemporary author suggests that the list should also include blowing dust off a book; blowing excess sugar off a cookie or other pastry; shaking dust from a blanket; and similar things. 4

A seemingly logical extension of Zoreh would be using an aerosol spray (ozone issues aside), since this appears to work by using air power to project material outwards. In fact, however, aerosols work by using pressure, not air. Therefore, it is acceptable to use them. 5

not air. Therefore, it is acceptable to use them. 5 4 Based on Magen Avraham 446:2,

4 Based on Magen Avraham 446:2, Rabbeinu Chananel – Shabbat 74; 39 Melochos, p. 376. 5 39 Melochos, p. 377-8; Halachos of Shabbos, IX:D.6 (p. 131) as heard from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.

, p. 376. 5 39 Melochos , p. 377-8; Halachos of Shabbos , IX:D.6 (p. 131)

3

A Further Issue

Okay, you may be thinking, what if there’s no wind? Would it then be permissible to do the activities we’ve been discussing?

The halacha says that you should avoid Zoreh activities even if at that moment there is no wind or a very light wind, since wind is unpredictable (i.e. you don’t know if a strong wind is about to come along). 6

In Closing

Zoreh has a limited number of practical applications, but conceptually it’s an important link in the chain of activities comprising ‘the Order of Bread’.

We now move on to Borer (Sorting), one of the most fascinating and detailed of all of the melachot.

6 See Iglei Tal, Borer 4.

on to Borer (Sorting), one of the most fascinating and detailed of all of the melachot.

4

Laws of Shabbat - Class #11 Be careful not to separate different types from a

Laws of Shabbat - Class #11

Laws of Shabbat - Class #11 Be careful not to separate different types from a mixture.

Be careful not to separate different types from a mixture.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

different types from a mixture. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons © 2007

1

Open any book on the laws of Shabbat, and you’ll find that the section on Borer 1 is quite long. Borer is one of the most detailed labor categories, with many common applications. At the same time, the basic concepts are pretty straightforward. So once we learn the principles, we should be able to understand how they apply in real-life scenarios.

Let’s go back to the process of preparing wheat for baking. In our previous lesson, Zoreh, we learned that the wheat was winnowed to separate the inedible chaff. The next step involves further separating, by hand-picking pebbles and other debris out of the remaining wheat. 2 This action is known as Borer – literally, ‘selecting’.

From this classic case of Borer, we derive that selecting an item from a mixture is a form of labor, and therefore cannot be done on Shabbat. This melacha applies to all types of items, although most commonly we discuss Borer with regard to food.

How do we translate the concept of Borer into practical terms?

First, we need to understand what defines a mixture.

Definition of “Mixture”

In halacha, a ‘mixture’ can come about in a few ways. Items can be mixed by being

(1) mingled together, or (2) attached to each other, or (3) absorbed into each other. 3

1 Pronounced BOH-rare (Ashkenazic) or bo-RARE (Israeli or Sephardic).

2 Even today, if you buy some food products, like beans or lentils, the package says there may be small pieces of inedible matter mixed in with the food.

3 This follows Rabbi Ribiat’s classification scheme. 39 Melochos, p. 388-90, based on Tosefta Shabbat ch. 17, Tosefta Beitza ch. 1, Talmud – Beitza 12b.

scheme. 39 Melochos , p. 388-90, based on Tosefta Shabbat ch. 17, Tosefta Beitza ch. 1,

2

For example

a mingled mixture would be: a bowl containing mixed nuts;

mixed silverware (that is, spoons, knives and forks) in a drawer or rack.

an attached mixture would be: bones in chicken or fish; peels of fruits.

an absorbed mixture would be: bread crumbs in soup; an

inedible item, like a hair or a pebble, in soup or other liquid.

As we can see, the halachic understanding of ‘mixed’ is different than the common English definition. In English, we would not say (for example) that a fruit and its peel constitute a ‘mixture’. However, when it comes to Borer, the halacha views them as being mixed: they are both parts of the same item, and a person may select one of them, thereby setting aside the other part. This action of choosing or selecting is at the heart of Borer, as we’ll explain.

At the same time, there are some groupings that we might colloquially call a ‘mixture’ that the halacha does not recognize. Take the absorbed category. Here, if the two items in question are very easy to tell apart, there is no question of Borer. So, while we said that small crumbs in soup would raise a question of Borer, a piece of potato in the same soup would not raise any issues. The potato is large enough that you clearly see it as a distinct item, not as something “mixed.”

A halachic "mixture" is one that gives the appearance of a unit, rather

than just several individual objects placed near each other. This is a

subjective standard, based on the way it is perceived by the individual.

A large crate of apples and oranges may be considered a mixture, but

a small fruit bowl containing a few pieces of fruit, is not. 4

4 Rabbi Daniel Schloss (in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits), Principles of Hilchos Shabbos, ‘Borer’.

4 4 Rabbi Daniel Schloss (in the nam e of Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits), Principles of Hilchos

3

Definition of “Types”

From our discussion so far, we understand that to have a mixture, you need at least two separate types of items. How do we define when an item is a different type than another?

(i) Foods

The two basic criteria for distinguishing between food items are taste and description or function. 5 When two items have different tastes, even though they might be essentially the same thing, the halacha considers them to be different ‘types’. So, an oatmeal cookie and a chocolate chip cookie are both cookies, but are different ‘types’ because they taste different. 6

Taste is

a

pretty

easy

way

to differentiate

between

foods.

The

notion

of

differences

in

description is more subtle. It means that you could have two foods that taste the same (or very similar) but are described by different names, and are therefore different ‘types’.

Varieties of fruits are a good example. Go to the supermarket and you’ll see Red Delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, Macintosh apples, and so on. They’re all apples, and they all taste similar, but people consider them to be different enough that they are sold and marketed separately. As a result, they are different halachic ‘types’.

As a result, they are different halachic ‘types’. If foods are sold according to size, this

If foods are sold according to size, this may also be enough to classify them as distinct ‘types’. Eggs are a prime example. Whether small, medium, jumbo, or any other size, they are all eggs. However, size is

5 Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham - Orach Chaim 319:19); 39 Melochos, p. 393. In Hebrew, the word used here for description/function is ‘Shem’, which literally means ‘name’.

6 For additional examples, see 39 Melochos, p. 394 and Halachos of Shabbos, X:E.8 (p. 157).

means ‘name’. 6 For additional examples, see 39 Melochos , p. 394 and Halachos of Shabbos

4

an integral aspect of each type of egg, because people choose to buy a particular size according to their preference. 7

(Note that incidental differences in size does not render something a halachic “mixture.” For example, a bowl of sunflower seeds is not considered a mixture).

(ii) Non-Foods

So much for foods. How about non-food items?

The key element here is function. Are the items used in the same way? Let’s take the example of silverware.

On a basic level, all silverware is used for the same thing: to make it easier to eat. But of course each kind of silverware is used in a slightly different way – a spoon scoops, a fork grips, a knife cuts. And even within each of those ‘types’, there are further divisions: a teaspoon is not the same as a tablespoon, a butter knife is different than a steak knife.

tablespoon, a butter knife is different than a steak knife. When it comes to Borer, we

When it comes to Borer, we take the question of function to the most detailed level. Therefore, for example, a butter knife is considered a different ‘type’ than a steak knife, despite the obvious similarities between them. 8

this

logic,

the

we

can

following

Using

understand that

would also be deemed different ‘types’:

7 The source books are not definitive on this point, but strongly suggest that this distinction would be sufficient. Jerusalem Talmud 7:2. See 39 Melochos, p. 394-5, and Halachos of Shabbos, X:E.9 (p. 158).

8 Jerusalem Talmud 7:2; 39 Melochos, p. 395.

39 Melochos , p. 394-5, and Halachos of Shabbos , X:E.9 (p. 158). 8 Jerusalem Talmud

5

A child’s shirt and an adult’s shirt – even if the shirts are

otherwise completely identical, the size difference is essential. A child could not wear an adult’s shirt, and vice versa.

Black chess pieces and white chess pieces – here, the color

defines how they are used. In a chess game, the black and

white pieces are not interchangeable – each side can only use

its own color. 9

Looking Forward

As we’ll learn in the following lessons, there are relatively easy ways to

avoid Borer, in almost every circumstance. Selecting items is an

activity that we can do on Shabbat, provided we do so in the ways

defined by the Torah. Stay tuned as we’ll learn the big three

conditions…

9 39 Melochos, p. 395-99, discusses these and other examples.

tuned as we’ll learn the big three conditions… 9 39 Melochos , p. 395-99, discusses these

6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #12 taking the good, not the bad. written by Alan

Laws of Shabbat - Class #12

Laws of Shabbat - Class #12 taking the good, not the bad. written by Alan Goldman

taking the good, not the bad.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

#12 taking the good, not the bad. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

1

Three Conditions

In our previous lesson, we set out a framework for understanding what the melacha of Borer means. Now, we will see how it is possible to select items on Shabbat without violating this melacha.

The Sages identified three conditions for permitting selecting on Shabbat. They are:

(1) you select the item by hand (2) you plan to use the selected item right away (3) you select the item you want from the item(s) you don’t want (rather than the other way around) 1

In Hebrew, these criteria are known as: Biyad (by hand); Miyad (right away); and Ochel mi-toch Pesolet (choosing what you want from what you don’t want). In shorthand, this is called “Biyad, Miyad, Ochel.” The rhyme between the first two words helps make these conditions easy to remember.

In this lesson, we’ll explain what these criteria mean. We’ll also understand why the Sages felt that selecting in this manner made it acceptable on Shabbat.

Let’s imagine that on Shabbat afternoon, Dan and his son sit down together to learn the weekly parsha. Dan has prepared a snack bowl of pretzels, peanuts and chex. This presents a classic case of Borer, which will help us to explore the three conditions:

1 Orach Chaim 319:1

chex. This presents a classic case of Borer, which will help us to explore the three

2

Condition #1 - Selecting ‘by hand’

This means pretty much what it says. If you want to eat the pretzels, then you remove them from the bowl by hand. The idea is not to (1) use any utensil that is specifically made for selecting, such as a strainer or funnel, or (2) as we’ll discuss in a minute, use any utensil in a way that improves your ability to select the item you want. 2

When can a regular utensil be used? When it serves only as an extension of your hand – that is, when it doesn’t make any difference how the item is selected, except that it’s more convenient. 3 So let’s say that Dan brings out a bowl of melon balls – cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. If he only likes the watermelon and wants to pick those out to eat, he doesn’t have to actually pick the watermelon balls by hand (thankfully!), but can get them by means of a spoon or fork. Here, the utensil is just a cleaner and more polite way to get the food.

is just a cleaner and more polite way to get the food. What’s an example where

What’s an example where using a spoon is not allowed? Let’s say you want to remove the froth from chicken soup. Since the spoon will do a better job of separating than you could do with your hand, in this case you can’t use it. 4

2 See Mishnah Berurah 319:2

3 Shu”t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 1:124); 39 Melochos, p. 403.

4 Mishnah Berurah 319:62; 39 Melochos, p. 403-04.

Shu”t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 1:124); 39 Melochos , p. 403. 4 Mishnah Berurah 319:62; 39

3

Condition #2 - Selecting ‘for use right away’

This condition is a little trickier. The idea is that rather than preparing items ahead of time, we make our selection only when we’re ready to use the item. 5

our selection only when we’re ready to use the item. 5 Getting back to Dan and

Getting back to Dan and the snack mix. If he only likes pretzels, he couldn’t pick those out ahead of time. Instead, when he wants to eat some, he can take whatever pretzels he wants from the bowl. The idea is that we should take only what we want at the time. (Of course, we don’t usually know exactly what quantity this will be, but we guess-timate). 6 This satisfies the requirement of ‘for immediate use.’

What if it’s not practical to do the separating immediately before use? Say you are preparing a fruit salad to serve as dessert for Shabbat lunch. This involves peeling fruits, which is an act of Borer because you are selecting one part of the fruit from another part (more on this later). 7 Therefore, you should make the salad right before you are ready to use it. Does that mean that you have to make it literally right before you are serving it, or can you make it before the meal starts? Well, the halacha views a meal as one unit of time, so anything you need to do for the meal can be done just before the meal starts. 8

However, the halacha would not permit you to prepare the salad before going to synagogue in the morning, in order to save time later. This is because there would be a time gap between when you did the

5 When it is not eaten right away, it resembles the act of Borer as done in the Mishkan -- where the grain was put into storage. Thus, when it is eaten immediately, it is not a Torah-level act of Borer. (Talmud - Shabbat 74a)

6 Mishnah Berurah 319:5; 39 Melochos, p. 412.

7 You may recall that we also discussed peeling fruits in our first lesson on the melacha of Dosh.

8 Shu”t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 4:74)

also discussed peeling fruits in our first lesson on the melacha of Dosh. 8 Shu”t Igros

4

Borer act and when you actually use the fruit salad. (For this reason, it’s not unusual to see people come home from synagogue and begin a set of food preparations right before they begin their lunch meal. They are being mindful of this limitation regarding Borer.) 9

The general rule is: Ideally the selection should be done immediately prior to use. However, it is permitted to select earlier if this is the last practical moment to do so – for example, selecting before the meal begins for the sake of dessert to be eaten at the end of the meal.

Condition #3 - Selecting ‘what you want’

In this third condition of Borer, the halacha uses the term ‘Ochel mi- toch pesolet’ 10 – literally, choosing the food from the dregs. 11 This term is not to be taken literally, since (a) it applies to all items, not just foods, and (b) since the determination of what is “food” is subjective: whatever you want is, for you, “food”; whatever you don’t want is for you, “dregs.”

This means that, when selecting on Shabbat, a person needs to choose what he or she wants, rather than removing what he or she does not want. If Dan wants to eat pretzels, but not chex, then the pretzels are the “ochel” and the chex are the “pesolet.” If his son wants the chex, then for him it’s the other way around.

The Sages required this way of selecting because it is the way we usually eat (in Hebrew, derech achilah), and Borer is allowed when done in the course of normal eating. 12

An exception to this rule is where it is not possible to remove the ‘food’ from the ‘dregs’, since the food is covered by the unwanted material.

9 Yet another reason to make sure to eat something at the Kiddush before leaving synagogue!

10 Pronounced, OH-chel mee-TOCH peh-SOH-let. (Each O is a long O).

11 Rabbi Ribiat translates ‘pesolet’ as “spoiled or useless matter.” 39 Melochos, p. 404. Others simply call it “garbage.” Colloquially, people will call it ‘good’ and ‘bad.’

12 Biur Halacha 319:3; Halachos of Shabbos, X.D:2 (p. 147).

people will call it ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ 1 2 Biur Halacha 319:3; Halachos of Shabbos ,

5

Classic examples are a banana or a hard-boiled egg. The only way to get to the ochel (food) is to go through the pesolet (in this case, the peel or shell). The halacha permits this, because it views the act of peeling as a way of extracting the fruit, which is desired, from the peel, which is not desired. Thus, the principle of taking the ‘food’ from the ‘dregs’ is satisfied. 13 This is derech achila, the normal way to eat a banana. (Of course, one would still need to satisfy the other conditions of “by hand” and “right away.”)

The Cohen family sits down to Shabbat dinner. A large tossed salad is served. Rachel Cohen doesn’t like cucumbers, and wants to remove them. This would be a problem of Borer, since for her, the cucumbers are pesolet. But what if her brother Josh loves cucumbers and is happy to be the recipient of Rachel’s?

cucumbers and is happy to be the recipient of Rachel’s? In this case, Rachel can directly

In this case, Rachel can directly remove the cucumbers and give them to Josh. Why? Because Josh’s desire for the cucumbers gives them a status of ochel, and Rachel is allowed to remove ochel (the cucumbers) from ochel (the rest of the salad). 14

What’s Next?

In our next lesson on Borer, we’ll look at how these principles apply in several specific scenarios.

13 This idea also applies to food wrappers, such as those found on candies. It is permitted to remove these on Shabbat in order to eat the food that is inside. Shu”t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 4:74); 39 Melochos, p. 408-09.

14 Pri Megadim (Mishbetzot Zahav 319:2)

Shu”t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 4:74); 39 Melochos , p. 408-09. 1 4 Pri Megadim (Mishbetzot

6

Laws of Shabbat - Class #13 Exploring a full range of practical applications. written by

Laws of Shabbat - Class #13

Laws of Shabbat - Class #13 Exploring a full range of practical applications. written by Alan

Exploring a full range of practical applications.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

full range of practical applications. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons © 2007

1

Let’s remember that the essence of Borer is: selecting items from a mixture, resulting in the mixture’s being refined or improved (from the perspective of the person involved). 1 Thus, using our previous example of the bowl of chips and pretzels: when I remove the food that I want to eat, I am changing the balance of items in the bowl. That further refines the mixture from the condition it was in before I did anything to it.

Also, recall our previous lesson that to select on Shabbat without violating the melacha of Borer, one must:

(a)

Biyad - do this by hand

(b)

Miyad - for immediate use, and

(c)

Ochel - remove the good part (ochel) from the bad (pesolet)

Armed with our understanding of the principles of Borer, we now move into the full range of practical applications. Of course, there is no way to list all the possible scenarios, but we’ll address some common ones. We’ll begin, as we often do, with food-related issues.

Appetizers: Fruits and Vegetables

Outer leaves of green vegetables – the outer leaves of lettuce and similar items are usually unsuitable for eating. They are therefore considered ‘pesolet’. How, then, can we remove them to get to the fresh leaves inside (the ‘ochel’)? Just as with fruits surrounded by inedible peels (remember the banana and the egg?), we may remove the outer leaves which are preventing us from reaching the food we want. 2

Rotten spots on fruits – this is a common problem, especially as the fruits ripen. The rotten part is pesolet, whereas the good part is ochel. In order to remove the rotten part, we need to ”take some good with

1 Based on Biur Halacha 319:3; 39 Melochos, p. 406.

2 Rema – Orach Chaim 319:1 with Biur Halacha s.v. "Min"; 39 Melochos, p. 438. On fruits with inedible peels, see the end of the previous lesson.

Halacha s.v. "Min"; 39 Melochos , p. 438. On fruits with inedible peels, see the end

2

the bad”

spoiled part.

i.e.

by cutting away a

bit of the fruit surrounding the

Here we come to an important principle in Borer. If you have a mixture of ‘good’ (i.e. ochel) and ‘bad’ (pesolet), removing only the bad is forbidden. But if you remove a piece comprised of both good and bad, then the piece you removed is still a mixture of ‘good and bad,’ albeit in a different proportion. But the important point for us is that in doing so, you have not ‘purified the mixture,’ hence no act of Borer has been done.

the mixtur e,’ hence no act of Borer has been done. Melon seeds – melons pose

Melon seeds – melons pose an issue because they contain numerous seeds inside. In a cantaloupe, you could scoop out the seeds, along with a bit of the melon itself. Unfortunately, this method won’t work for watermelon. With watermelon, the seeds are embedded all over, and you will wind up getting some in your mouth with every bite. So the only good solution is to spit them out (gracefully, of course) as you eat (which seems to be the common way of eating watermelon, anyway).

Wait, you say: Isn’t this Borer, because you are removing the ‘dregs’ (watermelon seeds) from the ‘food’ (the melon)? It might seem so. However, it is halachically acceptable because spitting the pits out is considered ‘derech achilah’ – an action done in the course of eating. Borer does not apply to any action that is done with one’s mouth, i.e. actual eating. 3

A quick review:

From these examples, we’ve learned two ways that you can avoid the melacha of Borer: (1) removing some of the ‘good’ along with the

3 As Rabbi Ribiat puts it, “As a rule, the act of eating in itself can never be classified as a Melocho on Shabbos.” 39 Melochos, p. 422.

“As a rule, the act of eatin g in itself can never be classified as a

3

‘bad’, and (2) removing the ‘bad’ while you’re actually eating. We’ll keep these in mind as we move into the next part of our hypothetical meal.

Soup and Main Courses

Fly in the soup 4 – In case the proverbial fly gets into your soup (or in some other liquid), how do you get rid of it? By now, we realize that removing the fly itself would be taking ‘bad’ from ‘good’. Technically, this is not considered a “mixture,” but the custom is to use the method of removing ‘good’ along with ‘bad’ – that is, we take out the fly along with some soup. 5

Slotted spoons – A spoon that has slots at the bottom for draining liquid is a common kitchen utensil. It is useful for things like cole slaw and other foods that may have excess liquid in them. But it poses a problem on Shabbat, since the removal of the unwanted liquid is a classic act of Borer: taking pesolet from ochel. Because of this issue, we avoid using slotted spoons on Shabbat. 6

of this issue, we avoid using slotted spoons on Shabbat. 6 Removing bones – Chicken is

Removing bones – Chicken is a common food on Shabbat, and often contains bones when served. To avoid Borer, you should remove the ochel (the meat) from the pesolet (the inedible bone), either with a utensil or by eating it off the bone (as with ribs). 7 If this is not

4 As unappealing as this sounds, if you’ve eaten outdoors, you know that this does happen.

5 Mishnah Berurah 319:61; See Halachos of Shabbos, X:F.1 (p. 159-60).

6 Shvitat Shabbat, Meraked 11; 39 Melochos, p. 439.

7 There is an opinion that says you may remove the bones from the meat if (a) there is some meat on the bones and (b) you are going to eat the meat immediately. This appears to be a less preferred option. See Biur Halacha 319:4 and Halachos of Shabbos, X:F.16 (p. 171).

This appears to be a less preferred option. See Biur Halacha 319:4 and Halachos of Shabbos

4

practical or convenient, one can hold the bone steady, and pull the meat away from it. 8

hold the bone steady, and pull the meat away from it. 8 With fish bones, it’s

With fish bones, it’s trickier, since the bones are much smaller, and it’s very difficult to eat the fish off the bone. The best solution is to spit the bones out, as with watermelon pits, since this is derech achilah (the manner of eating). Where this isn’t possible, a person should remove some fish with the bone, as we saw with the rotten spots on fruit. There is an opinion which allows removal of the bones immediately before eating the fish, because this may also be considered ‘during the course of eating’. 9

When it comes to young children or older people, someone else may remove the bones for them before they eat, as it is quite difficult for them to eat the food otherwise. 10

8 Biur Halacha 319:4-5; Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim 5:5); Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 3:11.c.3 9 This is so because fish is commonly eaten in this way. For the discussion on fish, see Chazon Ish 54:3, Biur Halacha 319:4 and Halachos of Shabbos, X:F.17 (p. 172). 10 Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 321); Shu"t Igros Moshe (OC 4:75:7); 39 Melochos, p. 431.

, X:F.17 (p. 172). 1 0 Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 321); Shu"t Igros Moshe (OC 4:75:7);

5

Chicken skin – Skin may be removed, because it is considered to be an edible part of the chicken, and therefore there is no mixture of two types (recall our first lesson on Borer). 11 If, however, you never eat the skin, then it is consider pesolet and must be treated the same as with bones. 12

Trimming Fat – One may not trim the fat (pesolet) from meat. To separate the fat permissibly, one could cut the meat (the ochel) away from the fat, and not vice-versa. Alternatively, one could remove the fat as long as it has some meat still attached. 13

Baby cereal – When making this cereal, frequently the powder and milk form large clumps which are not easily edible for the baby. As we might expect, these should not be removed by themselves, but along with some of the edible cereal.

Dessert

Teabags – Drinking hot tea is very much a part of our Shabbat enjoyment. Making tea is a pretty complex affair, halachically speaking. The major issues involve the melacha of Bishul (cooking), which we’ll learn later.

From a Borer perspective, the issue is removing the teabag from the cup. What’s the problem? When we remove the teabag, liquid continues to drip from the bag. Some Sages hold that this constitutes selection – removing the liquid while retaining the tea that is in the bag (kind of like the slotted spoon we discussed before). Thus one should remove the teabag with a spoon, rather than by hand, since then the bag will not drip. 14 Although the dripping bag has enough tea-

11 ibid.

12 On a rabbinic level. See Halachos of Shabbos p. 145, 169 and Mishnah Berurah 319:7

13 There is a disagreement as to the amount of meat that must be cut away with the fat: according to the Mishnah Berurah 319:61, even a sliver of meat is sufficient; according to the Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim 54:3), a ‘significant’ amount of meat must be taken.

14 Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 3:58; 39 Melochos, p. 440.

a ‘significant’ amount of meat must be taken. 1 4 Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchato 3:58; 39 Melochos

6

water still in it, so that it can be considered taking out “good and bad” together, which is permitted, there is a problem of the sifting action of the tea bag. 15

Next up: We’ll conclude our series on Borer with one further lesson examining some common non-food scenarios.

series on Borer with one further lesson examining some common non-food scenarios. 1 5 Shu”t Minchat

15 Shu”t Minchat Yitzchak 4:99

series on Borer with one further lesson examining some common non-food scenarios. 1 5 Shu”t Minchat

7

Laws of Shabbat - Class #14 Clothes, books, silverware and more. written by Alan Goldman

Laws of Shabbat - Class #14

Laws of Shabbat - Class #14 Clothes, books, silverware and more. written by Alan Goldman edited

Clothes, books, silverware and more.

written by

Alan Goldman

edited by

Rabbi Shraga Simmons

© 2007 JewishPathways.com

Clothes, books, silverware and more. written by Alan Goldman edited by Rabbi Shraga Simmons © 2007

1

Since Borer is one of the melachot included in ‘the order of bread,’ 1 we have appropriately focused on its many food-related applications. But, like some other melachot, Borer applies also to non-edible things. We’ll learn about some of the more common situations.

Clothes

David wants to choose a suit from his closet to wear on Shabbat morning. Assuming that he has a number of different suits, selecting one from the group would be a form of Borer. This is so because even though all the items are ‘suits’, the differences among them (material, weight, color, and so on) make them a mixture of different halachic “types.” 2

Although this action falls within the parameters of Borer, David can still choose a suit by following the three conditions we’ve discussed before: making the selection

(1) Biyad - by hand (2) Miyad - for immediate use, and (3) Ochel - by choosing the desired item from the undesired ones

This seems pretty easy to accomplish, since it’s the normal way of picking out clothes. 3 There are some nuances, though. Think about the idea of “immediate use.” This means that if you need clothes for Shabbat morning, you should not select them from your drawer or closet on Friday night, since you are not going to use them until the next day.

Keep in mind that it’s only necessary to meet the three conditions when selecting from among a mixture of items (e.g. your typical teenage boy, who may arrange his clothes in one large pile on the

1 Look back at lesson #3, where we introduced this concept.

2 See our initial lesson on Borer (#11).

3 Biur Halacha 319:3; see 39 Melochos