Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Vayakhel
קטגוריה משנית
To dedicate this lesson
Dosh in the Mishkan
The thirty-nine categories of forbidden Shabbos work (melachos) are derived from activities that were necessary for the construction of the Mishkan. When was dosh performed in the Mishkan?
In the course of dyeing the various fabrics used in the Mishkan, vegetable ingredients were used. After these herbs were picked (the melachah of kotzeir), bundled (the melachah of me’ameir) and gathered in from the fields, several steps were required to have a usable product. The first step in this process was dosh. Since people are more familiar with wheat than the herbs used in the mishkan, we will use wheat as our example.
Wheat grows on stalks, each stalk containing orderly husks that include the edible kernels or seeds and the inedible chaff. Threshing separates the kernel from the chaff by beating or other application of pressure. Over the course of the centuries, various methods of threshing were used. Originally, it was accomplished by the farmer simply stomping on piles of grain. Eventually, hand tools were developed. One such device is called a flail. This is a free swinging stick tied by rope to the end of a long handle. By swinging the handle in a downward motion, the free-swinging stick would hit the grain with great force. Sometimes animals were used to thresh, either by having them tread upon the piles of stalks or by harnessing them to wooden platforms that had grooves and ridges underneath, which they would pull over the stalks.
The melachah of dosh involves breaking the physical bond between the edible kernel and the inedible chaff. After the melachah of dosh, the next melachah is winnowing, which, in earlier days, used the wind to blow away the chaff now that it had been physically separated from the kernel. At this point, the melachah of boreir, selecting, was performed, which involved removing heavier items, such as pebbles, that had remained with the kernels, now referred to as grain.
Nowadays, these melachos, reaping, threshing, winnowing and selecting are all accomplished by a single machine called a combine. (It is called a "combine" because it is a combination of a reaper and a thresher.)

Wheat and Dates versus Grapes
The Torah prohibition against dosh is the separating of food from the inedible matter to which it is attached (Rabbeinu Chananel, Shabbos 74a; Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chayim 320:3). The Gemara (Shabbos 75a) rules that this melachah applies only to items that grow from the ground, such as wheat, legumes and dates, all of which are mentioned specifically in the halachic literature (Tosafos, Shabbos 73b, s.v. ve’achas).

Let us now examine the melachah of dosh as it relates to legumes, such as peas. Many have heard the expression, "like peas in a pod," which indicates that two individuals or items are identical in the same way that one would not be able to tell the difference between two peas. Peas grow in a pod, which is connected to the plant. The pod, which is originally soft and edible, eventually becomes hard and almost wood-like. Since the pod is inedible, extracting peas from their pod on Shabbos is prohibited min haTorah because of dosh.

Dates grow on date palm trees in a most interesting fashion. Unlike most other fruits, in which each individual fruit is connected to its own stem and the stem in turn is connected to the tree branch, dates grow on strands. Dozens of long strands grow from a stalk produced by the date palm, and each strand contains dozens of dates. In some varieties, the dates grow in a way that they are reminiscent of grape clusters. The Rishonim write that detaching dates from their strands on Shabbos is prohibited because of dosh (Rashi and Ran, Shabbos 73b).

Dates versus Grapes
The question that needs to be addressed at this point is: What is the difference between dates and grapes? The halachah is that one may separate grapes from their cluster on Shabbos. Why is it a Torah prohibition to detach dates from their strands (even after the stalk has been cut from the tree) whereas it is permitted to detach grapes from their strands? Understanding this point will give us a better grasp of the melachah of dosh and when it applies.

Food Preparation or Otherwise
There are numerous approaches in the Acharonim regarding how to explain the difference. We will discuss the explanation suggested by the Eglei Tal. This classical work, which analyzes in great detail the first twelve of the thirty-nine melachos of Shabbos, was authored over a hundred years ago by Rav Avraham Bornstein, the first Sochatchover Rebbe and the author of the Avnei Nezer, and his son, known as the Shem Mishmuel, who succeeded him as Sochatchover Rebbe. The Eglei Tal explains that dosh applies only when one is not preparing food for immediate consumption (Dosh, end of subparagraph #11). However, when the edible item is disconnected from the non-edible in order to eat it or use it immediately, there is no prohibition of dosh. Since the detaching of wheat, peas and dates from their non-edible parts is not performed while one eats them, their processing is included under the melachah of dosh. On the other hand, it is common to serve clusters of grapes and remove grapes from the cluster as one eats. Therefore, detaching the grapes from the cluster does not involve the melachah of dosh.

Some maintain that it is forbidden to remove the outer layer covering garlic cloves on a head of garlic. We are not referring to the peel covering each individual garlic clove, but rather the peel covering the entire head. Therefore, it is preferable to remove this peel before Shabbos (Eishel Avraham [Butchatch] 319:8; Shevisas HaShabbos, Boreir #24; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:15).

As we have mentioned in other articles, each main category – av melachah – of the 39 melachos has subcategories – tolados. Although the toladah itself was not performed in the mishkan, the toladah is similar enough to the av that Chazal determined that it is included in the prohibition and it is forbidden min haTorah.
One of the tolados of dosh, mefarek, is very pertinent. Mefarek, which literally means, "to unload," here means extracting juice from the fruit and is therefore similar to the melachah of dosh.
There are three categories of fruits included in the prohibition of mefarek:
1) One who squeezes olives for their oil or grapes for their juice transgresses a Torah prohibition (Shabbos 143b; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 120:1). This is because the most common use of both of these fruits is for the extracted liquid.
2) There is a Rabbinic injunction against squeezing a fruit that is normally eaten, but is also occasionally juiced. Examples of this include apples and pomegranates (ibid.).
3) Fruits that are almost never juiced may be squeezed on Shabbos (ibid.). However, contemporary poskim point out that since nowadays it has become common to juice almost all fruits, it is forbidden to squeeze them miderabbanan (Orchos Shabbos 4:11). I would personally rule that it is permitted to squeeze the juice out of cantaloupe or zucchini.
It should be noted that some contemporary poskim are unsure concerning the severity of the prohibition against juicing oranges and grapefruits. Since nowadays the most common use of these fruits is for their juice, it might be prohibited min haTorah to squeeze them (see Chazon Ish, Orach Chayim 33:5; Orchos Shabbos 4:12 and footnote #17).

Liquids as Food
The Gemara (Shabbos 144b) states: "A person may squeeze a cluster of grapes into a pot but not into a bowl." Rashi (ad locum) explains the difference. When the Gemara permits squeezing the juice into a pot, it is referring to a pot that contains food. Since the juice is being squeezed directly into food, the juice is not viewed as liquid but rather as food. On the other hand, when the Gemara forbids squeezing the grapes into a bowl, it speaks of an empty bowl. Although one does not usually drink liquids from a bowl, and it would therefore seem obvious that the juice is not being extracted to be used as a beverage but, rather, to be used as an ingredient in food, this is still not permitted since it is not evident that this is the intent.
The question that we need to resolve is, what difference does it make why the liquid is used? The answer is that the reason why mefarek, extracting juice from a fruit, is prohibited is because one is separating liquid from a solid. When one squeezes juice into a food, that liquid is being used as food and therefore this extracting is not considered mefarek. However, when squeezing it into an empty bowl, the juice is treated as a liquid, and therefore this act is prohibited due to the toladah of mefarek.
The majority of the Rishonim (see Beis Yosef, Orach Chayim 320:4) rule this way, and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 320:4) codifies it as halachah. However, one of the early Rishonim, Rabbeinu Chananel (cited in Shu"t HaRosh 22:1), maintains that it is forbidden min haTorah to squeeze grapes into food. Because of this view, the poskim rule that, although it is permissible to squeeze grapes into food, it is better not to do so; hamachmir tavo alav bracha, one who acts stringently will be blessed (Mishnah Berurah 320:17).
Based on the wording of the Chayei Adam (Hilchos Shabbos 14:3), some contemporary poskim suggest that this stringency need be observed only regarding grapes and olives, which are forbidden to be squeezed min haTorah. However, concerning other fruits where the prohibition is only rabbinic in nature, one may squeeze them directly into food.
The poskim also point out that, even according to Rabbeinu Chananel, it is permissible to squeeze lemons onto food, such as fish or salad, on Shabbos. This is because lemon juice is not drunk straight as a beverage, but it is either sweetened, mixed with other liquids, or used as a condiment. Although there is much discussion in the poskim as to whether one may squeeze lemon juice into an empty cup or into a liquid (see Mishnah Berurah 320:22), the Mishnah Berurah rules that if one wishes to squeeze it onto food, he does not have to be concerned about the stringent view of Rabbeinu Chananel (Biur Halachah 320:6, s.v. lischot).

Some Limitations
When squeezing fruit juice into food on Shabbos one has to be careful of several points:
1) The squeezing must be done by hand and not with a juicer or any other utensil specialized for squeezing (Ketzos Hashulchan #126, Badei Hashulchan #19).
2) One is permitted to squeeze the fruit juice directly onto food. It is not permitted to extract the liquid into a cup or bowl and then pour it into the food (Mishnah Berurah 320:18).
3) In addition, one of the following two conditions must be met:
a) Most of the extracted liquid becomes absorbed into the food, or
b) The extracted liquid is used to enhance the food. In this case, one may squeeze the juice onto the food even if it is not absorbed. For example, one may squeeze lemon onto fish even if the juice is not absorbed into the fish, since it enhances the flavor (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah 5:7).

Tea, Lemon and Sugar
One may not squeeze fruit juice into a liquid, but, under some circumstances, we noted that one may squeeze juice onto food. This is because squeezing juice directly onto food is considered removing food (the juice) from other food, which is not an act of dosh. However, squeezing juice into a liquid, is separating liquid from a fruit and is not permitted. Based on this, one may not squeeze a lemon into tea on Shabbos.
May one squeeze a lemon into sugar and then place that sugar into tea? Is extracting the juice into the sugar viewed as adding it to food, which is permitted, or, since his intent is to place it into tea, do we view it as squeezing into liquid? The poskim are divided on this issue, some permitting it while others forbid it (Chayei Adam, Hilchos Shabbos 14:4; Mishnah Berurah 320:22; Chazon Ish 56:7).

Sucking Fruit
The poskim (see Rema 320:1 and Mishnah Berurah ad locum) disagree as to whether or not it is permissible to suck the juice out of a piece of fruit. On the one hand, doing so is an act of mefarek, extracting juice from the fruit and should be forbidden. However, those that permit this suggest two reasons to be lenient:
1) This is not considered to be the normal way of squeezing.
2) Sucking the juice out of the fruit is viewed as "eating" as opposed to "drinking." As such, the extracted liquid is viewed halachically as being a food, and one is merely separating food from food, which is permitted.
The Mishnah Berurah (ibid.) rules that one should not suck the liquid out of grapes and olives, as it is forbidden min haTorah to extract juice from these fruits. However, one may be lenient to suck the juice out of other fruits, since squeezing them is forbidden only miderabbanan. Germane to the Mishnah Berurah’s conclusion not to suck grapes and olives, he prohibits this only when the fruit is mainly outside of the mouth with a small portion inside. However, if one inserts the entire piece of fruit into his mouth, he is allowed to chew it to extract the juice and then discard the rest of the fruit. This is because such an act is viewed as eating and not drinking (Mishnah Berurah 320:12).
It is important to point out that, based on what we wrote earlier concerning the question of whether squeezing oranges or grapefruits is prohibited min haTorah or miderabbanan, it might be forbidden to suck the juice from them (Orchos Shabbos 4:22).

The Fruit Salad Crises
Our next topic for discussion concerns dosh while making fruit salad on Shabbos. What does making a fruit salad have to do with dosh? Let us explain.
As we have seen, there are different levels of prohibition when it comes to squeezing fruit. Some fruits are forbidden min haTorah while others are forbidden only miderabbanan. In addition to the fruits that Chazal forbade squeezing, they created another injunction called, gezeiras mashkin she’zavu, "the decree against juices that have flowed," in which they prohibited drinking fruit juice that oozed out of fruit on its own on Shabbos. They were concerned that if one may drink this juice, he might squeeze the fruit on Shabbos.

All Juices are not Created Equal
Chazal did not forbid all juices equally. Rather, they instituted a multi-tiered decree. In the case of grapes and olives, since there is a Torah prohibition to squeeze them, any juice or oil that oozes from them is forbidden to drink until Shabbos is over. Furthermore, the juice or oil is muktzah and may not be moved until Shabbos is over. These rulings are true regardless as to whether the grapes and olives were purchased to eat as table fruit or for these extracts.
Germane to other fruits, which are not usually purchased for their juice or oil, Chazal forbade eating the liquid that oozed out on Shabbos only if the fruits were purchased to extract the liquid. However, if they were purchased to serve as table fruit, Chazal did not forbid the liquids that flow out on their own (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 320:1; Shulchan Aruch Harav 305:32 and Kuntres Acharon ad locum).
Therefore, when making fruit salad on Shabbos, the status of the oozing juice will depend on which fruits one is using. The juice that oozes out of the grapes while cutting will be forbidden both to drink and to move. However, the juice that comes out of other fruit is permissible, assuming that it was purchased to serve as table fruit (Orchos Shabbos 4:26-29).

Study and Review
The halachos of Shabbos are both numerous and complex. We spend a full fifteen percent of the week hosting our weekly visitor, Shabbos Hamalkah. It behooves us to dedicate time on a consistent basis in order to become proficient in these most important halachos.

This Shiur is published also at Rabbi Kaganof's site

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