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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


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



Questions for the Week of Yisro


Is there a problem preparing instant mash on Shabbos?

            The answer depends on the method of preparation of that particular instant mash.

If the mash binds upon pouring the water and needs hardly any mixing then one may not prepare such a mash on Shabbos. This is because the Shulchan Aruch says [1] that one may not throw flax seeds into water on Shabbos because they bind without further human intervention.

If one is required to stir the mash in order to prepare it, since it is a a thick consistency, and only if it would spoil if prepared before Shabbos, one may then prepare it on Shabbos by stirring it in a crisscross fashion. It is correct to modify the pouring order as well. [2]

            Many people make their own tehina solution. Is it permitted on Shabbos as well?        

            Preparing a tehina mixture (ground sesame seeds) on Shabbos is a classical case of a and preparation is prohibited on Shabbos. If one would make it into a liquid solution, one would then modify the pouring order and mix it by either shaking the bowl or in a crisscross manner.

However, one may prepare a thick consistency before Shabbos and dilute it with water and other liquids on Shabbos, provided that it was well mixed before Shabbos. [3]

             May one add mayonnaise to tuna fish on Shabbos?       

            Preparing a tuna fish salad shares the same halacha as preparing egg salad on Shabbos. We saw in the previous shiur that many are accustomed to preparing the egg salad on Shabbos. There definitely is preference for preparing it before Shabbos but if this is not done,[4] there is what to rely on for preparation on Shabbos. It is desirable, according to some opinions, to modify the pouring order and mix it in a crisscross motion.

            What if someone prepared a mixture contrary to the halacha bshogaig (unwittingly). May it be eaten on Shabbos?

            As with all such cases, when it is strictly forbidden and not merely stringency, the person that prepared it and the persons whom it was intended for may not eat it until after Shabbos. The Vilna Gaon holds that they may it eat it on Shabbos and the MB [5] writes that when necessary one may rely on the Vilna Gaon. [6]

If I find an apple under my apple tree on Shabbos, am I permitted to eat it?

First we must understand what problem might be involved with eating an apple that fell off a tree. We know that it is an issur doraisso (biblical prohibition) to pick a fruit off a tree on Shabbos, but once the apple has fallen off the tree what could be the problem?

The poskim tell us that there are two problems.

The first problem is that Chazal were afraid that if one were permitted to eat the apple that fell off the tree on Shabbos, one might forget oneself and pick another one and violate an issur doraisso.

The second problem is that the fruit is muktze. The reason is that when Shabbos began, it was known that the fruit was on the tree and it is therefore out-of-bounds for Shabbos. When in due course it fell off the tree it remains out-of-bounds, or muktze, for want of a halachic term. [7]

            If I do not know when it fell off the tree, may I eat it on Shabbos?

            The Yerushalmi [8] teaches us that even when in doubt one may not [9] eat the fruit.

Even if the fruit fell off the tree before Shabbos, one may not gather a few together and bring them inside, because of the issur of . [10] The maximum a person may do is eat one fruit at a time. [ is an Av Melacha and it entails the prohibition of collecting items found in the field where they were grown. This melacha involves other details which we will beH discuss in later shiurim].

            Am I permitted to fashion a toothpick on Shabbos?

             Several details must be taken into account when deciding whether one may fashion a toothpick on Shabbos.

The first pertains to muktze. If the piece of wood one wishes to fashion the toothpick from was not prepared for use before Shabbos it is muktze. The halacha talks about fashioning a toothpick from straw used to feed animals which is not muktze. [11] Another possibility is to use a matchstick. Although a match is muktze on account of it being a kli shemlachto lissur, nevertheless it may be used ltsorech gufo.

The second pertains to making a kli.

Chazal tell us that it is permitted to fashion a toothpick from food intended for an animal such as straw, even with a knife. [12]

However, if the straw is not animal food, or if one wishes to fashion a matchstick into a toothpick, it is forbidden to do so. Breaking the matchstick with ones hands is an issur drabanan and shaping it with a knife or any other instrument is an issur doraisso.

            What if there are pieces of meat stuck between the teeth and it impinges on human dignity?

We find that Chazal cared for a persons dignity and waived aside their restrictions in certain circumstances. In such a case, when a person is embarrassed to open his mouth because of pieces of food stuck between his teeth, one would assume that one would be permitted to handle muktze in order to clean his teeth. However, the halacha is that since one should have known that it is possible that it may be necessary to clean ones teeth on Shabbos, a toothpick should have been prepared before Shabbos. Therefore one may not violate any issurim. If however one is invited to a friend and thus he could not have prepared a toothpick before Shabbos and he finds himself in an awkward predicament, as mentioned, he may handle muktze to clean his teeth or even break a piece of wood with his hands (not with an instrument) and use it as a toothpick. This is on condition that it is indeed an embarrassing situation. [13]

[1] Simon 340:12 and MB 336:51, see the SSK 8:25.

[2] Based on MB 68.

[3] Based on Biur Halacha .

[4] Or has the custom to prepare egg salad on Shabbos.

[5] Simon 318:7.

[6] One needs to define what when necessary means, because obviously not everything one fancies is called when necessary. It probably means that one needs it for a major portion of ones meal, not that it is one of five other salads at ones table.

[7] Simon 322:3 and MB 7.

[8] Yerushalmi Pesachim, mentioned in Tosefos Pesachim 56b.

[9] The Shaar Hatsiun 8 explains that it is based on the concept of . Since the fruit can be eaten bheter after Shabbos, one may not eat it on Shabbos.

[10] MB simon 322:6.

[11] Simon 322:4.

[12] Simon 322:4, and see MB 12.

[13] MB simon 322:14 and Shaar Hatsiun 12.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh

            Be first to greet each person.

Saying shalom to people makes them happy; makes them feel good about themselves. Do not expect people to greet you first and only then reply, be proactive; show others that you care. We often think that by giving honor to others we lose out and it is not so, as Chazal teach us , an honorable person is one who honors others.

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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.