Halacha for Tuesday 21 Cheshvan 5779 October 30 2018

Grinding Various Kinds of Spices on Shabbat-The Laws of Grinding Continued

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one of the works prohibited on Shabbat by Torah law is grinding. It is therefore a Torah prohibition to grind spices, wheat, or barley on Shabbat.

Nevertheless, there is a very important point that we must point out, for many laws regarding the prohibition of grinding on Shabbat are contingent on it.

When we discussed the detailed laws of selecting on Shabbat, we explained that there are permissible methods of selecting on Shabbat when it is being done it the usual manner of eating not forbidden by Torah law. The same applies to the forbidden work of grinding on Shabbat in that there are several permissible methods of grinding on Shabbat, as we shall discuss.

The Permissible Method to Grind Pepper on Shabbat
The Gemara (Chullin 141a) states that Rava said that one who requires pepper (the same would apply to any spice including black pepper, allspice, paprika, and the like) on Shabbat may grind it on Shabbat as long as this is being done “with the handle of a knife and in a bowl.” This means that usually, when one grinds spices, one uses a pestle (a vessel used to hit and crush the spices) and a mortar (a hard bowl in which the spices are ground).

Rava therefore says that although may not grind spices on Shabbat using a mortar and pestle, one may grind spices on Shabbat using the handle of a knife and a bowl not designated for grinding. This is obviously only permitted when one does so for one of the Shabbat meals.

The Rambam (Chapter 21 of Hilchot Shabbat, Halacha 20) rules that grinding is forbidden on Shabbat unless two conditions are met: That one use the handle of a knife to grind (and not using a pestle or the cutting edge of the knife) and only in a bowl. This means that there must be two variations from the usual method of grinding and one variation does not suffice. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 321) rules likewise. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules accordingly in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Volume 4, page 250.

Summary: Although grinding is forbidden on Shabbat, nevertheless, one may grind spices on Shabbat for the Shabbat meal when this is being done using the handle of a knife and within a regular bowl (and not one meant for grinding).

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Blessings on Thunder and Lightning

One who sees lightning recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereshit.” One who hears thunder recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Kocho Ugvurato Maleh Olam.” Until When Can On......

Read Halacha

Question: If one is in the restroom, may one speak to a friend who is outside or answer a telephone call or is this prohibited?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (62a) states: “The tradition we have accepted from our Sages regarding [how to act in] the restroom is to be modest and silent.” Similarly, the Rama in his notation on the Shulchan Aruch (beginning of Chapter 3) rules that one may not speak in the ......

Read Halacha

One Who Hears Thunder at Night

Question: If one hears thunder at night while sleeping, may one recite the blessing on thunder without washing his hands? Also, must one recite a blessing on lightning every time one sees it or is once a day sufficient? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that one who sees lightni......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

A Rainbow

One Who Looks at a Rainbow Our Sages (Chagiga 16a) state: “The eyes of one who gazes at a rainbow are dimmed, as the verse (Yechezkel 1) states, ‘Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so is the radiance around and this is the appearance of the glory of Hashem.&r......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah to Rebuke One’s Fellow and the Procedure Regarding One Who Speaks During Prayers

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the basic laws of the Mitzvah of rebuking one’s friend, as the Torah states, “You shall surely rebuke your fellow and you shall not bear sin because of him.” This means that one who sees a friend not acting appropriately must bring this to......

Read Halacha

Kiddush May Only be Recited in the Place One Eats a Meal

In the previous Halacha we have discussed the fundamental laws of Kiddush on Shabbat. Let us now discuss an important provision which exists regarding the Mitzvah of Kiddush: Kiddush may only be recited in the place one eats a meal. This means that if one hears Kiddush being recited by another indiv......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Rebuking One’s Fellow Nowadays-The Behavior of the Torah Luminaries of the Jewish Nation

The Rambam (Chapter 6 of Hilchot De’ot) writes: “The first time one rebukes an individual, one should not speak harshly such that the individual is ashamed, as the verse states, ‘And you shall not bear sin because of him.’ Our Sages expounded this to mean that I may have thou......

Read Halacha