shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Emor

Is one permitted to squeeze lemons in order to make lemonade on Shabbos?

In the first instance we would say that it is forbidden, because in previous shiurim it was explained that when people squeeze fruit for juice, it is forbidden for everyone to do so. The Bais Yosef [1] himself was perturbed by this as he says that the people of Egypt were accustomed to squeezing lemons into sugared water and the sages did not remonstrate against them doing so.

Accordingly the Bais Yosef offers two explanations why it should be permitted:

The first being that the prohibition of squeezing fruit only applies when the beverage is consumed undiluted, but when always mixed with another beverage it is permitted.

The second being that squeezing fruit is prohibited when squeezed into an empty cup but is permitted when always squeezed into a beverage.

Lemons in Egypt were always squeezed into sugared water and therefore that custom complies with both explanations.

Nowadays however lemons are squeezed into empty containers as well and therefore should it not be forbidden to do so?

Correct, the Mishna Berura himself points that out. The M”B [2] says that since nowadays lemons are squeezed to fill barrels in the thousands and only later is the juice mixed with sugared water and the like, one must squeeze lemons onto sugar [3] and add the concoction to water. (As to the amount of sugar required for this method, we will soon see). He does not permit squeezing lemons into an empty cup or into water. The Kaf haChaim [4] brings many other poskim who prohibit squeezing lemons on Shabbos to make lemonade and he also advocates squeezing the lemon onto sugar and then adding it to water.

Does that mean that I am forbidden to squeeze a lemon into my tea on Shabbos?

I am afraid so because one is squeezing a fruit into a liquid and therefore the squeezed juice is classified as a liquid, and forbidden. The modus operandi would be either to squeeze a lemon onto sugar and add the sugar to the tea or to squeeze lemons before Shabbos and add the juice to tea on Shabbos.

When squeezing lemon onto fish or salad, how much of the juice must be absorbed into the food?

The lemon that is squeezed onto fried fish is absorbed into the fish and therefore it is considered as separating a food from a food. When squeezed onto lettuce salad, for example, it is not absorbed into the lettuce but since it enhances the lettuce, it is permitted.

We find proof in Hilchos Yom Tov that such an action is permitted. The Mechaber is dealing with the problem of milking on Yom Tov, which as we know is a Biblical prohibition. The proffered solution [5] was to milk onto bread, by which the milk is absorbed into bread thereby utilizing the rule that says that squeezing onto food is permitted.

Obviously it would be ineffectual milking 10 liters of milk onto one slice of bread, but when the majority of milk is absorbed in the bread this solves the problem.

The next solution was to milk onto food that would be enhanced by the milk. Here too the Mishna Berura [6] says that it suffices if the majority of the milk enhances the food.

We see that the liquid does not have to necessarily be absorbed into the food – suffice that it enhances it. Therefore we are safe to say that one may squeeze lemons onto a lettuce salad. [7]

If we revert to our case of squeezing lemon onto sugar, the halacha is that the majority of the squeezed lemon must be absorbed into the sugar. It would not help to squeeze an entire lemon onto a few grains of sugar. If one requires more lemon one must use correspondingly more sugar.

[1] Page 434 in the Machon Tur 5 lines from the bottom.

[2] M”B simon 320:22.

[3] The Chazon Ish in simon 56:7 disagrees with this solution saying that if the intention is to drink the lemon juice it does not help to first squeeze it onto sugar.

[4] Simon 320:36.

[5] See the Shulchan Aruch in Hilchos Yom Tov simon 505:1 and M”B 6.

[6] M”B simon 505:5.

[7] See the SS”K 5:7.

Food For Thought

What is the halacha with regards to squeezing the excess liquid from a pickle?

Is one permitted to crush ice in order to produce cold water?

What about placing ice cubes into an empty cup without crushing them?

What if the top of the jug of water iced up and the way to the water is to break the ice on top of the jug, is it permitted?

Answers coming next week.

Vort On the Parsha

The Possuk says “that you shall call them ????? ??? these are My festivals” (23:2). The S’forno beautifully explains that Hashem says that when B’nei Yisroel will sanctify the festivals, and the people will gather on those days in order to learn Torah and exult with their Creator, and then the festivals will be Mine. If on the other hand they will not sanctify the festivals and they will rather utilize them for frivolity and mundane pleasures, the festivals will be theirs. Those festivals will be of the type Hashem says to the prophet “I despise your festivals”.

This is a lesson for us as to how one is supposed to treat the festivals and on even a more regular basis, how one is to treat the Shabbos Kodesh. The Shabbos is intended for us to recharge our spiritual reserves. Of course Hashem wishes us to enjoy the Shabbos and therefore implemented the concept of Oneg Shabbos. Yet it is to be used as a tool to sanctify the Shabbos.

For a printed version, click here.


One may receive and distribute these weekly shiurim by calling or writing: Office 99 Rechov Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim,
Phone Numbers:U.S. and Canada 732-370-3344 Israel 972-8-974-4177
 South Africa 2711-728-4275 England 44161-792-2492 Australia 61-296835626 Switzerland 41-4333-3088
e-mail:, or, weekly sponsorships are available as well. 

If you would like to send a question to Rav Ostroff, you can write to him at

Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.