Halacha for Monday 20 Cheshvan 5779 October 29 2018

The Forbidden Work of Grinding on Shabbat

Question: May one use a manual spice-grinder on Shabbat?

Answer: The Mishnah (Shabbat 73a) teaches us that one of the thirty-nine forbidden works on Shabbat is grinding. Those works forbidden on Shabbat were the works associated with the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). In the Mishkan, herbs and other ingredients were ground in order to produce colors to dye animal hides. It is thus forbidden to grind wheat, barley, or other herbs on Shabbat.

The Rambam (Chapter 8 of Hilchot Shabbat) states: “One who grinds spices on Shabbat is liable (for Shabbat desecration).” Not only is one who grinds food items on Shabbat liable for Shabbat desecration, for even one who grinds other substances, such as one who produces sawdust from trees, has desecrated Shabbat by grinding.

It is therefore quite clear that it is absolutely forbidden to grind any kind of spice on Shabbat. It is likewise forbidden to use a manual grinder not powered by electricity (and is used by turning the device itself or a lever attached to it to grind the spices within it) on Shabbat, for grinding spices on Shabbat is a Torah prohibition.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Searching for and Renouncing Chametz

The Laws of Searching for Chametz On the eve of the Fourteenth of Nissan, which will fall out this year (5779) tonight, Thursday night, one must search for Chametz by candlelight. The candle must be made of wax (or congealed paraffin oil, common nowadays) as per the enactment of our Sages. If one ......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Elimination and Sale of Chametz

Elimination of Chametz On the morning of the 14th of Nissan, meaning this year (5779) which falls out on this coming Friday morning, one must eliminate Chametz before the last time to do so arrives. (In Jerusalem, the latest time for burning and renouncing Chametz is at approximately 11:20 AM and t......

Read Halacha

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation customarily follows this ord......

Read Halacha


Mentioning “Morid Ha’Tal” and “Barechenu”

The Amida Prayer during the Summer Months The first day of Pesach marks the end of the rainy season and as such, beginning from the Mussaf prayer of this day, “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is no longer mentioned in the Amida prayer. Instead, we say: “Ata Gi......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Matzah or a Meal on Erev Pesach and the Laws of Matzah

On the day of Erev Pesach (which is the 14th of Nissan), one may not eat Matzah so that one will be able to eat Matzah that night at the Seder with appetite. One may, however, eat Matzah on the night of the 14th of Nissan (meaning the night before the Seder night, this year on Thursday night). &......

Read Halacha

“And You Shall Tell Your Son”

Question: Does one fulfill the Mitzvah of “And you shall tell your son” on the Seder night by recounting the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt to his daughters or does only one who tells this over to one’s sons fulfill this Mitzvah? Answer: The Torah states regarding the Mitzvah......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing of the Trees

The Proper Time for the Blessing of the Trees Our Sages, who have established the Blessing of the Tress, write that the proper time for this blessing is during the month of Nissan, for it is then that trees begin to blossom and buds come forth. It would seem from the words of our Sages though that ......

Read Halacha