Grinding foods

A. Crushing spices:[1]

Crushing with the handle of a knife: One who needs to crush peppers and the like in order to place them into food on Shabbos[2] is allowed to crush them with a great variation from the way it is done during the week, such as [to crush it] with the handle of a knife and the like, even if [crushing] a lot at a time.

Crushing with a pestle: However one may not crush them using a pestle[3] even if not made of stone as is common [to use] during the week but rather is made of wood and the like. [This applies even if one plans to eat the spices right away.[4]]

Crushing in a plate: There are opinions which say that one is likewise required to crush the spices in a plate and the like, as opposed to a mortar[5], even if one is grinding it with the handle of a knife and the like.

Crushing spices into a cloth: One may not place the pepper into a cloth and crush it with a knife [by pounding its handle] on top of it, as doing so creates a smell in the cloth [which is prohibited to do on Shabbos]. This applies even though one does not have any intent to do so as is written in chapter 511 [Halacha 7].

Other Opinions: [However] other opinions permit to crush spices inside a mortar.

The Final Ruling:  (It is proper[6] to be stringent in a situation that doing so is possible).

Grinding salt:[7] One may not grind salt with a pestle even if made of wood and rather is required to use a great irregularity such as to grind it with the handle of a knife or a wooden pot ladle. [This applies even if the salt was initially thin and only became a thick piece through cooking.[8]] [See Q&A regarding crumbling a thick piece of salt/spice/sugar with ones hands!]

 

Summary:

All spices are Biblically forbidden to be ground in their regular way, even in order to eat right away. It is permitted to grind them with a great irregularity, such as using the back of a knife. One is not to grind them into a mortar if one has a plate or other vessel available.

 

Q&A

When crushing a spice with a great irregularity must one do so in close proximity to the meal?[9]

No, it is permitted to be done so long as one is doing so to eat on Shabbos.

 

May one crumble a lump of salt or spice with his hands?[10]

Yes.[11] Thus one may crush a spice in order to smell it.[12] However some Poskim[13] rule one may not crumble with his fingers a thick piece of spice which has never yet been crushed in order to smell.[14]

 

May one crumble a thick piece of snuff with his hands in order to smell it? [15]

Yes[16], however there are other Poskim[17] which forbid doing so.[18]

 

May one crumble a piece of a spice with his hands in order to smell it?

See above in 1st Q&A! 

 

May one grind sugar cubes?[19]

It is disputed[20] whether sugar cubes contain a grinding prohibition. Practically, in any event one is not to crush it with vessels which are designated for grinding/crushing, as is the law by salt. [21]

 

May one use a spice crusher[22] to sprinkle salt or pepper?

No.[23]

 

B. Grinding foods that do not grow from the ground:[24]

Any food which is fit to be eaten the way it is [without needing to be mixed with other foods[25]] and does not grow on the ground, its species does not contain the concept of grinding at all. [See Q&A regarding how one is allowed to grind it]

Examples of such foods:  Such as cooked or roasted meat or cheese.

Raw Meat[26]: However [soft] raw meat, since it is only fit for the strong[27] minded which are willing to chew it in an irregular way [meaning while still raw], [therefore] it does not have the status of food on it for this matter and [the] grinding [prohibition] is applicable to it. Therefore it is forbidden to cut it very thin to [feed] the birds.

The reason that it being fit for dog does not render it the status of food: [28] Now, although it is fit for dogs [nevertheless] it does not receive the status of food just for this being that it is not designated [to be given] to dogs but rather for people or for birds due to its value[29], and for them [the meat] is not fit [to be chewed] without this cutting [and is thus not considered to be food yet at this stage].

What items may be used to grind with?/May graters and the like be used?[30]

A knife/chisel/ax: [It is allowed to be cut] whether with a knife or with an ax or a chisel as although these are vessels designated for prohibited use it is allowed to move them in order to use [for a permitted purpose] as explained in chapter 308 [Halacha 12].
A Grater: It is forbidden to grate any food, even one that does not grow on the ground, very thin with a dented grater which has sharp teeth (that is called Riv Eizin [grating iron] in Yiddish) even in order to eat right away.

The reason for this is: as since the vessel is designated for this use, doing so is considered a mundane action, as is crushing spices with a pestle and mortar. [See footnote [31] with regards to foods that grow from the ground]

Other cutting vessels: This law applies for any other vessel that is designated for this use of cutting small.

 

Summary:

All foods which do not grow on the ground and are currently edible, and is not used as a spice is permitted to be ground in their common form. Nevertheless it is forbidden to use a vessel which is specifically designated for grinding for this purpose.

 

May one grind without restriction foods that do not grow on the ground, or foods that have already been ground [such as bread]?[32]

Although doing so certainly does not contain a grinding prohibition, nevertheless it remains prohibited to use any utensil which is designated for grinding, as doing so is a mundane act which is forbidden to do on Shabbos, just as is the law with regards to using a grater to cut items small, as will be explained in Halacha 2D.

 

Examples of utensils which are designated for grinding and thus may never be used on Shabbos:[33]

  • Mincer
  • Mortar
  • Grater
  • Pepper mill
  • Vegetable chopper [a set of blades which revolve around an axis and cut the food placed in them into small pieces.]

 

C. Grinding foods that grow from the ground:[34]

All the above refers to food that does not grow from the ground, however any food that grows from the ground, even if it is food that can be readily eaten[35], has [the] grinding [prohibition] apply to it.[36] Thus it is forbidden to grind [the food] with a pestle, even if [the pestle is] made of wood, [and] even if done to eat immediately.[37]

The reason for this is[38]: because amongst species [of foods which grow on the ground are] foods that are ground, such as grains and legumes. [See Q&A regarding foods that are not commonly ground]

Grinding foods which are currently edible[39]: [Furthermore] even food that is readily able to be eaten [in its current state] such as dry figs and carobs for old people, as well as garlic and lepidium and the like of foods which are [commonly] ground are forbidden to be ground even in order to eat immediately. [See Q&A regarding foods which are not commonly ground]

Crushing with an irregularity: [40] It is permitted to crush them with a great irregularity such as with using a wooden pot ladle or with the handle of a knife and the like as was explained [above in Halacha 1A] regarding spices.

Crumbling bread: It is permitted to crumble bread very small for chickens and doing so does not involve the grinding prohibition. [See Q&A]

The reason for this is: because the grain from which the bread was made had already been previously ground and there is no [prohibition to] grind a previously ground [food].

Summary:

All foods which grow on the ground are Biblically forbidden to be ground in their regular way, even in order to eat right away. It is permitted to grind them with a great irregularity, such as using the back of a knife. It is permitted to grind foods which have been previously ground such as bread.

 

Q&A

May one grind without restriction foods which grow from the earth which are not commonly ground?[41]

No. All foods which grow from the ground are forbidden to be ground without a great irregularity, even if the food is not commonly ground.[42] The term “that are commonly ground” used by Admur is simply used due to that this is what is usually ground. It however does not come to exclude other foods that are not commonly ground.

 

D. Grinding food with ones teeth for later use:[43]

Food [which grows on the ground] which one does not wish to eat [himself], (or to feed to a child) right away is forbidden to chew with his teeth due to the grinding prohibition.

 

General summary-Crushing/grinding foods:[44]

  • The summary takes into account that which is explained in the Q&A!

Using utensils designated for grinding: Is forbidden by all foods.[45]

Using utensils which are not designated for grinding and in a way that is not usually done during the week[46]: Is permitted by all foods so long as one is doing so in order to eat the food on Shabbos.[47]

Using utensils which are not designated for grinding but are commonly used to grind with: Is only permitted by foods which do not contain the grinding prohibition. [i.e. Do not grow on the ground and are not a spice, and are edible in their current state {not raw meat}].

Grinding food with ones teeth[48]: Is forbidden to be done to eat at a later time [by those foods which contain a grinding prohibition]. It is permitted though to chew it to feed a child immediately.


List of conditions required for an item to be free of the grinding prohibition:

All three conditions are required if the item has not been previously ground.

  1. Is not a spice.
  2. Does not grow on the earth.
  3. Is fit to be eaten in its current state without being cut.

 

Q&A

May one grind foods which are already very small?[49]

One is to only do so with a great irregularity, as is the law by all foods.

 

May one grind bread/crackers/Matzah and other foods of the like which have been ground in their process of preparation?[50]

Yes, one may do so with any utensil that is not specifically designated for grinding.

 

Laws relating to mashing foods on Shabbos

May one mash foods on Shabbos?[51]

Mashing has the same status as crushing and thus may only be done with a great irregularity by foods which contain the grinding prohibition. [see footnote[52]] However if the food is very soft then at times the grinding prohibition does not apply. See Q&A below regarding different cases of this sort, and what is defined as mashing with an irregularity, which may be done to all foods as explained above.

  • By all foods one may never use an instrument which is designated for mashing due to a mundane act prohibition, as was explained regarding grinding.

 

May one mash all foods using a fork or spoon? Is mashing with a spoon/fork considered an irregularity?

  • Spoons:

    Either side of a spoon may be used to mash all foods. [53] However some Poskim[54] rule one may not use the front of a spoon or the front of any other cutlery for foods which contain the kneading prohibition as doing so is not defined as an irregularity.[55]

  • Forks:

    Those foods which have a grinding prohibition [i.e. grow on ground or are spices] may only be mashed with the back of the fork as opposed to the teeth.[56] The back of the fork however may be used as it is considered a great irregularity. Foods that do not have a grinding prohibition [i.e. Foods which do not grow on the ground and are not spices] may be mashed with either side of the fork.[57]

  • Knives:

One may use either side of a knife to mash a food if doing so is considered an irregular method. One may not mash and spread a hard piece of avocado and the like with the front part of the knife as doing so is considered the regular method. Some Poskim[58] rule one may not use the front of a spoon or the front of any other cutlery for foods which contain the kneading prohibition as doing so is not defined as an irregularity.

 

When mashing a food in the permitted ways must one do so immediately prior to the meal?

By foods which do not contain the grinding prohibition [i.e. Do not grow on the ground and are not a spice] this is certainly not required, so long as one plans to eat the food on Shabbos. Seemingly even by foods which do contain a grinding prohibition this is not required.[59]

 

May one mash and spread banana or avocado on bread using the teeth of a fork?[60]

If the fruit is so soft that if part were to be held in ones hand the other part would fall off, then it is already defined as mashed and thus may be mashed with any utensil that is not designated for grinding.[61]

If the fruit is not soft to this point mashing it regularly [with the teeth of a fork] contains the grinding prohibition.[62]

 

May one mash cooked fruits and vegetables using the teeth of a fork?[63]

If the food is very soft and easily mashed[64], it is allowed to mash it using any utensil which is not specifically designated for mashing [such as he may use the teeth of a fork].[65] One may thus spread jam or cooked apples onto his bread on Shabbos.

 

May one mash eggs/meat/chicken using the teeth of a fork?[66]

Yes, as these foods do not contain a grinding prohibition.

 

List of foods that can be mashed with the teeth of a fork:

  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • All Cooked soft vegetables
  • Very ripe and soft avocado or banana or other fruit

 


[1] 321/7

[2] This implies that one does not need to do so immediately prior to the meal, but rather so long as he plans to eat from it on Shabbos it suffices, unlike the law by cutting small, as will be explained. So rules also M”B 321/24 in name of Peri Megadim 321 M”Z 7.

[3] A pestle is an object made for crushing and grinding

[4] Ketzos Hashulchan 129/2 footnote 9

[5] This refers to a grinding bowl.

[6] Lit. Good

[7] 321/11

[8] Due to it being a mundane act. Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 15
If the lump is a result of moisture bringing the pieces together there is no grinding prohibition involved being that the salt was already crushed in the past. However by rock salt, which is an original block of salt crushing it contains the grinding prohibitions. [321/12]

[9] Peri Megadim 321 M”Z 7 brought in M”B 321/24 and so is implied from Admur 321/7 “One who needs to crush peppers and the like in order to place them into food on Shabbos” that one does not need to do so immediately prior to the meal, but rather so long as he plans to eat from it on Shabbos it suffices, unlike the law by cutting small, as will be explained.

[10] See Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 15

[11] Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 15 in name of M”B [321/29] regarding salt and spices.

The reason it is allowed is because using ones fingers is considered a great irregularity. [ibid] Hence it would be allowed even if the spice or salt has never yet been crushed, such as rock salt, which is an original block of salt, as doing so is considered a great irregularity.

[12] Bircheiy Yosef 321/1

[13] Iglei Tal, brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 15

[14] Vetzaruch Iyun why should this be any different than salt? I could not find the source inside the Iglei Tal to see his reasoning although perhaps one can suggest it is forbidden to do so when smelling spices as we do not view crushing spices with ones fingers in order to smell as a great irregularity but rather as the common way of smelling. This is opposed to crushing salt with one’s finger which is certainly always a great irregularity. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 15 

[16] As it was previously ground and thus no longer contains a grounding prohibition. [So rules Minchas Shabbos and so sides Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 16 that it is not similar to crushing dried mud which is forbidden, as this prohibition only applies by items such as earth and not to items which grow from the ground.]

[17] Tiferes Yisrael brought in Ketzos Hashulchan ibid

[18] His reasoning is because it is similar to crushing dried mud which is forbidden. The Ketzos Hashulchan ibid however negates this similarity stating the above law by dry mud does not apply by items that have grown on the ground.

As with regards to why it should not be permitted due it having already been ground this is because perhaps this is similar to that which is explained below regarding grinding sugar cubes in which there are Poskim which say that although it was previously ground since it has become hard the grinding prohibition remains, and this leniency of previously ground foods only apply by consistencies such as that of bread.

[19] Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 16

[20] Peri Megadim 321 M”Z 10 rules sugar has the same status as cooked lumps of salt which do not contain a grinding prohibition, as salt was previously small pieces and only becomes one piece through the cooking.

The Shevisas Shabbos [Tochein 43] rules the grinding prohibition does apply by sugar cubes. His reasoning is because this rule that grinding does not apply by previously ground items was only said by bread since it is a soft food, however by other items which become hard like sugar the grinding prohibition remains. His proof is from the fact all agree grinding applies by earthenware even though it was previously ground.

The Tiferes Yisrael rules that in any event one must do one irregularity in the crushing of it.

The Ketzos Hashulchan 129/3 sides like the Peri Megadim that there is no grinding prohibition by sugar. He negates the source of the Shevisas Shabbos saying the above law by earthenware does not apply by items that have grown on the ground.

[21] As using vessels designated for crushing is anyways forbidden due to it being a mundane act. [321/8]

[22] black and white pepper used in spice crushers.

[23] It is forbidden to do so even by salt, as this grinder is a vessel designated for this purpose and hence using it is considered a mundane act. [321/8] It is Biblically forbidden to use it to crush black pepper.

[24] 321/8

[25] Meaning it is not a spice.

[26] 321/9

[27] Lit. well. Meaning that the thought does not disgust them.

[28] 321/9

[29] Lit.  importance

[30] 321/8

[31] The Ketzos Hashulchan adds that regarding foods which have a grinding prohibition, using any grinding designated vessel is Biblically forbidden even if done to eat right away, as using such vessels is not the way of eating but rather the way of working. [See there 129 footnote 3 and 4] Thus it is not just forbidden due to being a mundane act.

[32] Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 17, SSH”K 6/2

[33] SSH”K 6/2

[34] 321/10-11

[35] Lit. complete food

[36] 321/10

[37] 321/11

[38] 321/10

[39] 321/11

[40] 321/11

[41] Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 6

[42] This is because a) doing so contains a grinding prohibition and b) using the regular tools to grind is a mundane act. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid]

[43] 321/13

[44] Halacha 7, 11 and 12

[45] This is forbidden even foods which do not grow on the ground and thus do not contain a grinding prohibition, due to it being a mundane act. [See Q&A] As well, spices and foods which grow on the ground contain a grinding prohibition in doing so, in addition to the prohibition of doing a mundane act.

[46] Such as to crush with the handle of a knife and the like.

[47] Since doing so is considered a great irregularity from its usually way, it is therefore permitted by all foods so long as one is doing so in order to eat the food on Shabbos. If these conditions are fulfilled then it is allowed to crush even a lot of the food at a time.

[48] Halacha 13

[49] See Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 16

[50] SSH”K 6/11

[51] SSH”K 6/1

[52] So rules SSH”K ibid. Vetzaruch Iyun from Ketzos Hashulchan [130 footnote 19] regarding mashing bananas of which he writes that it does not contain the mashing prohibition being that the food does not break into small pieces, and rather remains one glob, and thus does not consist of grinding. This is opposed to garlic which when mashed turns into small pieces and would thus contain the grinding prohibition. As well it seems from there that even if the grinding prohibition would apply, he holds that mashing is similar to cutting and is hence permitted to be done in close proximity to the meal. This understanding of mashing would defer greatly from the understanding of SSH”K in that mashing has a status of cutting and not crushing. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[53] SSH”K 6/8 in name of Rav SZ”A.

[54] Chazon Ish 57; Az Nidbaru 9/11 and so rules Piskeiy Teshuvos 321/?

[55] They hold one is not to novelize forms of crushing that was not mentioned in the Talmud.

[56] Being that using the teeth of the fork is the normal way of mashing during the week, which contains a grinding prohibition on Shabbos.

To note however from Ketzos Hashulchan 130 footnote 19 which implies [regarding mashing bananas with a spoon] that so long as one does not use a vessel which is designated for grinding, then it may be used to mash in order to eat right away. This would thus imply that it is always permitted to use even the teeth of a fork by any food being that it is not designated specifically for grinding so long as one desires to eat the food right away.

[57] SSH”K 6/14

[58] Chazon Ish; Az Nidbaru 9/11 and so rules Piskeiy Teshuvos 321/15

[59] Being that it is similar to crushing with a great irregularity which is not required to be done immediately prior to the meal, as explained in Halacha 1A.

Nevertheless from Ketzos Hashulchan 130 footnote 19 [regarding crushing bananas with a spoon] it is implied that it is required to be done immediately prior to the meal as is the law regarding cutting a food small. Perhaps however he learns that mashing bananas with a spoon is not considered an irregularity and that mashing has a status of cutting and not crushing, and is thus allowed to be done immediately before the meal. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[60] SSH”K 6/7

[61] Regarding if one may spread the avocado and the like on the bread in order to make it look fancier-See “Misc Shabbos Laws”

[62] So rules SSH”K ibid. Vetzaruch Iyun from Ketzos Hashulchan 130 footnote 19, which implies that mashing bananas and the like never contains a grinding prohibition. As well it seems from there that even if the grinding prohibition would apply, he holds that mashing is similar to cutting and is hence permitted to be done in close proximity to the meal according to some.

[63] SSH”K 6/10 in name of Rav SZ”A; Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 21; Igros Moshe 4/74

[64] Some write even if the food is slightly soft it may be mashed. [Tiferes Yisrael Tochein brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 321/13; In however SSH”K ibid and Ketzos Hashulchan ibid they both state the Tiferes Yisrael is stringent. Vetzaruch Iyun.]

[65] As since they are very soft they are already defined as mashed and do not contain a grinding prohibition.

One can bring a proof to this from Magen Avraham 321/29 which rules that one may spread [cooked-M”B] apples onto bread. Thus we see he learns that there is no mashing prohibition by cooked foods.

[66] SSH”K 6/14

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