Halacha for Tuesday 4 Shevat 5777 January 31 2017

Salting Vegetables on Shabbat

In the previous Halacha we have discussed the prohibition to pickle vegetables on Shabbat, for “pickling is like cooking” and just as it is forbidden to cook on Shabbat, it is likewise forbidden to pickle vegetables and the like on Shabbat.

Salting Radish, Onion, and Garlic
Besides for the prohibition to pickle vegetables on Shabbat, our Sages have also prohibited doing things which appear like pickling on Shabbat. It is thus forbidden to salt several pieces of radish, onion, or garlic together on Shabbat, for it is common to pickle them using salt and the salt diminishes some of the vegetable’s sharpness. It is nevertheless permissible to dip a piece of onion in salt on Shabbat and eat it immediately, for in this way, it is noticeable that one is not doing so in order to pickle it and only means to eat it.

Salting a Vegetable Salad
Based on this, a certain Torah scholar deduced that one may not pour salt onto a salad that contains tomatoes on Shabbat, for this appears like he is pickling vegetables, which is forbidden on Shabbat. He quotes the Kaf Ha’Chaim (Chapter 321, Section 19) as ruling accordingly.

However, it seems that one may act leniently in this regard, for it is completely unusual to pickle tomatoes which are in a salad and it is noticeable that one is not doing so in order to pickle them; rather, one is doing so to add some taste to them. Even according to the more stringent opinions, if after one pours salt on top of the salad, one pours some lemon juice or oil (which diminishes the power of the salt) on top, there is no prohibition at all.

Maran zt”l writes (in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Part 4, page 457) that those who are stringent and pour some lemon juice or oil on top of the salt are especially praiseworthy. However, according to the letter of the law, one may act leniently in this regard. Even if the salad contains cucumbers which are commonly pickled, it is still permissible to do this for several reasons.

Pouring Sugar onto Fruits
There is likewise a dispute between the luminaries of our generation whether or not one is permitted to pour sugar on top of fruits, such as strawberries and the like, when it is known that the sugar will cause a change in the fruit, similar to pickling. This is especially true since it is common to can fruits in sugar nowadays. If so, it seems that there is room for stringency in this regard.

Nevertheless, halachically speaking, Maran zt”l (ibid. page 457) rules that this is permissible (as long as this is being done in order to eat from the fruits on Shabbat itself), for coating something with sugar does not constitute “salting” at all. The same applies with regards to the laws of salting meat in order to remove the blood from within it where pouring sugar on the meat has no effect at all. If so, there is indeed no comparison between pickling with salt and “pickling” with sugar. Hagaon Harav Ben-Zion Abba Shaul zt”l rules leniently as well (in his Ohr Le’Zion, Volume 2, page 247).

Summary: One may not salt vegetables that are commonly pickled, such as onions, garlic, and the like, on Shabbat. However, it is permissible to dip several pieces one by one and eat them immediately. It is permissible to sprinkle salt over a vegetable salad. Those who are stringent to pour some lemon juice or oil on top of the salt afterwards are especially praiseworthy. It is permissible to pour sugar over strawberries as long as one plans to eat them on Shabbat (so as not to prepare for a weekday on Shabbat).

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Pausing Silently in the Middle of the Amida Prayer

The Amida prayer must be recited with continuity. One may not interrupt one’s Amida prayer for any reason. In the previous Halacha, we have written that if one begins reciting the Amida prayer and senses a foul odor emanating from a baby and the like, one must stop praying immediately, for......

Read Halacha

If One Must Rise Before a Rabbi Every Time He Enters the Room

Question: The custom in our community is to rise every time the rabbi of the synagogue enters the sanctuary. Even if the rabbi enters the synagogue several times, we rise for him every time. Recently though, one of the members of the synagogue raised issue with this and said that the more observant ......

Read Halacha

Question: What should one do if one senses a foul odor, such as from a baby and the like, while one is standing and reciting the Amida prayer?

Answer: The Torah states, “And your camp shall be holy.” We derive from this verse that one may not pray, recite a blessing, or any other words of holiness when there is something repulsive, such as excrement or a foul odor in the area. Thus, one may not pray when a child is running a......

Read Halacha

Cooking by Non-Jews in Restaurants or Hotels

Question: We have written in the past regarding a restaurant where a Jew ignites the flame in the morning that although a non-Jewish cook places the foods on the fire, it is nevertheless permissible to eat in such restaurants and this does not constitute a prohibition of foods cooked by a non-Jew. R......

Read Halacha


Prayer Texts

The various texts of the prayer found among the various communities of the Jewish nation all have strong and holy roots. Therefore, one should not deviate from the prayer text that one’s forefathers were accustomed to. Hence, a Sephardic individual should not adopt the prayer text of Ashkenazi......

Read Halacha

The Obligation to Stand While Kaddish and Barechu are Recited

Question: When the Chazzan or an individual receiving an Aliya to the Torah recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation replies “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must the congregation rise completely or partially or is there n......

Read Halacha

Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, Isra......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b)......

Read Halacha