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Edamame on Shabbos


Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 20, 5777
Shalom Dear Rabbis, Thank you for your time and service. I have been attempting to clarify whether or not it permissible to eat Edamame ( on Shabbos--most people eat them cooked and seasoned, directly from their shell. On the one hand, they seem to be identical to removing peas from a pod, which appears, if I am understanding correctly, to be prohibited by the Chofetz Chaim in Mishna Berura (319:21) when the pods are not eaten (as in the case with sugar snap peas, etc.). On the other hand, it is "derech achila" to eat Edamame directly from the pods, one at a time, by placing the pod in ones mouth and extracting the Edamame bean. Thanks for your consideration.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct in your points that there does exist a question of "Dash" (Threshing) in relation to podding legumes on Shabbat. None the less it seems that one may allow the eating of edamame on Shabbat in the way you outline. This is for two reasons (that you touched on) – firstly, even with legumes that are forbidden to open on Shabbat, if one uses a "shinui" (a change in the normal manner) by using their fingers on open them, and opens them one by one as they eat them, it is permitted (Shulchan Aruch, Orech Haim 319, 6). However, as you point out, this may not be considered as a "shinui" in relation to edamame, as it is the normal way to eat them. This though may be a reason to allow it! In the responsa of the Igrot Moshe, Rav Feinstein zt"l writes that the shells that are normally left surrounding the nut or legume until the time of eating are not considered as forbidden to remove because of Dash – rather this is the way of eating. (See The 39 Malachot, Rav Ribiat, volume 1, pages 321 – 328 for an indepth discussion of this issue). It would seem then, that those who are accustomed to eat edamame in this way on Shabbat – that is to use their fingers to shell the legume as they eat it – certainly have opinions on which to rely upon. And whilst there are always strict opinions, it seems that the basic halacha is that this is permitted. Blessings.
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