The General law

The Av Melacha:[1]

The action of Meameir [gathering stalks] is one of the principal Shabbos prohibitions which occurred in the Tabernacle with the planted herbs.

 

The Biblical Prohibition:[2]

A.  The Gathering is being done in area of growth unless being pressed into one mass

First Opinion: It is only considered [the Melacha of] Meameir when one gathers [the produce] in the area of its growth, similar to the harvesting of stalks of which the ears of grain are gathered in their area of growth.

Second Opinion-Making items into one mass: ([However] there are opinions which say that one who presses fruits [together] until they form one mass is liable for Meameir even when he does so not in the place of its growth such as) one who gathers figs and makes from it a round cake [of pressed figs] or punctures the figs and enters a rope through them until they gather and form one mass, then this is an offshoot of the Meameir prohibition and one is liable, and so too any cases of the like.

The Final Ruling: (One must be stringent like their words [of the latter opinion).

 

B. Items that grow from the ground:

The [Biblical] Meameir prohibition only applies with [the gathering of] items which grow from the ground. [However Rabbinically it applies to all items as will be explained next.]

 

The Rabbinical prohibition-Gathering items that do not grow from ground in their area of growth:[3]

Rabbinically gathering is forbidden to be done even with items that do not grow on the ground, [meaning that it is forbidden] to gather them in their area of growth.

Example-Gathering salt from their deposits: For example [it is Rabbinically forbidden] to gather salt from the evaporated deposits of water, [these deposits] evaporates the water and create the salt and so too with all cases of the like.

 

Permitted form of gathering-Gathering from out of the area of growth:[4]

First Opinion: If the [fruits] have dispersed into another area [out from its original place of growth] then it is permitted to gather them as written in chapter 335 [Halacha 5].

Second Opinion-Making items into one mass out from their area of growth: ([However] there are opinions which say that one who presses fruits [together] until they form one mass is liable for Meameir even when he does so not in the place of its growth such as) one who gathers figs and makes from it a round cake [of pressed figs] or punctures the figs and enters a rope through them until they gather and form one mass, then this is an offshoot of the Meameir prohibition and one is liable, and so too any cases of the like.

The Final Ruling: (One must be stringent like the words [of the latter opinion and thus not turn into one mass, items that are gathered even out of their area of growth].)

Gathering all the food together versus a little at a time: Scattered fruits: See Halacha 5. Other items: See Halacha 5 Q&A there!

Placing the gathered item into a basket: Scattered fruits: See Halacha 5 Other items: See Halacha 5 Q&A there!

 

Summary of Gathering items on Shabbos:

In area of growth: It is forbidden to gather items together within their area of growth. This applies to both items which grow from the ground [in which case gathering them in their area of growth is Biblically forbidden] and items that do not grow from the ground such as salt [in which case gathering them there consists of a Rabbinical prohibition].

Out of area of growth: It is forbidden [according to some Biblically] to gather items together and press them into one mass, such as a fig ring, even out of their area of growth.

It is permitted to gather items out of their area of growth if one does not press it into one mass.[5] Regarding gathering the items into one basket and gathering them all together in one time-see the next Halacha!


[1] 340/15

[2] 340/15

[3] 340/15

[4] 340/15

[5] So is implied from Admur and so rules M”B 340/37. However Piskeiy Teshuvos 340/24 brings from Bris Olam that gathering items even out of their place of growth is forbidden due to Meameir. Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol on his source.

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