1. The Biblical prohibition- Tanning and salting skins

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The following chapter will deal with the laws of salting foods and items on Shabbos. Salting skins contains a prohibition of tanning. As an offshoot of this prohibition, some hold it was decreed as well not to pickle and salt food in certain ways. Others however hold that the decree against food has nothing to do with the tanning prohibition but rather was decreed due to that it appears like cooking.


1. The Biblical prohibition – Tanning and salting skins:[1]

The principal prohibition-Tanning skin:[2] One who tans skin is [transgressing one of] the principal prohibited actions being that in the [building process of the] Tabernacle they would tan the skins of the techashim and rams.

The prohibition of salting skin:[3] One who salts the skin is liable for [the prohibition of] tanning being that salting is one of the necessary components in the tanning [of leather].

No Biblical prohibition by foods:[4] However one who salts raw meat, even if he salts it increasingly in order so that it last for a long time and not get spoiled [in the interim], is not liable being that there is no Biblical prohibition of tanning foods.

Salting Fat:[5] It is Biblically forbidden to salt Cheilev/forbidden fats on Shabbos or Yom Tov [for the sake of preservation[6]], and one who does so is liable for the Miabeid/tanning prohibition.[7]


Summary- The Biblical Prohibition:[8]

The Biblical prohibition applies only to salting and tanning skins and forbidden fats, as opposed to meat or foods.


[1] Admur 321:2

[2] Admur ibid; Mishnhe 73a

[3] Admur ibid; M”B 321:8; Shabbos 75b


The Mishneh ibid lists salting and Tanning as two of the Av Melachos. The Gemara ibid asks why they were listed as two if they are really one and the same. The Gemara answered that in truth they are one Av Melacha and one must enter a different one in its place.

Is salting a Tolda of Miabeid? It is implied that although Tanning is the Av Melacha, nevertheless salting is part of this Av Melacha and is not considered a Tolda.

[4] Admur ibid; M”A 321:7; M”B 320:8; Rambam 11; Rava Shabbos 75b; See Toras Hamelachos 28 p. 64

Other opinions in Gemara and Rishonim: Raba Bar Rav Huna holds that there is a Biblical prohibition to salt meat for the sake of preservation. Some Rishonim hold like this opinion. [Tosafus Rid 75b, brought in Avnei Nezer 173; Rashba, brought in M”A ibid]

[5] Admur 499:9; M”A 499:7; Ran 5b; Implication of Michaber 499:4 as explained in Machatzis Hashekel ibid; M”B 499:13

[6] M”B ibid

[7] The reason: Although it was explained above from 321:2 that the prohibition of Miabeis does not apply to foods, nevertheless, an item that is not a complete food, such as forbidden fats, one is liable due to Miabeid if he salts them. 

[8] Halacha 2

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