Halacha for Wednesday 2 Tammuz 5780 June 24 2020

Measuring on Shabbat and Yom Tov

Question: On Yom Tov when cooking is permissible, may one use a mechanical scale (not an electronic one) to weigh the ingredients one needs for cooking?

Answer: Our Sages prohibited measuring on Shabbat or Yom Tov, for this is considered a “mundane act”, i.e. an action performed specifically during weekdays, such as while purchasing produce and the like.

For instance, on Yom Tov (Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, and Rosh Hashanah), one may take a piece of meat and cook it. Nevertheless, the Mishnah (Shabbat 28a) states that one may not weight the piece of meat before cooking it; rather, one may only take a piece based on how much it appears to the individual that is needed, but one may not weigh it.

Nevertheless, the Tur (Chapter 500) writes in the name of the Rashba that it seems from the Talmud Yerushalmi that our Sages only forbade weighing meat on Shabbat or Yom Tov when one takes meat from the butcher shop, for this very much resembles a “mundane act.” However, weighing things within one’s own home on Shabbat or Yom Tov is permissible.

On the other hand, the Rashba explains in his commentary on the Talmud that although at first he believed that weighing food items in one’s home should be permissible on Shabbat and Yom Tov, he later changed his mind and ruled that this is forbidden because it seems from the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) that there is no distinction between weighing in the butcher shop or at home and our Sages prohibited any sort of measuring on Shabbat. The Poskim and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rule likewise.

For this reason, it is forbidden to weigh food items on a mechanical scale on Shabbat or Yom Tov. It is likewise forbidden to place liquids in special measuring cups in order to determine their weight or volume, for this constitutes measuring on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Summary: One may not measure the weight of foods or beverages on Shabbat or Yom Tov, whether this is being done for the purpose of cooking or for any other reason. In the next Halacha, we shall discuss several other details regarding this law.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of the Night of Shavuot

The Source for the Order of the Night of Shavuot The widespread custom among the entire Jewish nation is to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot and immerse one’s self in Torah study until dawn. Indeed, the holy Zohar states: “The earlier righteous individuals would not sleep on this ......

Read Halacha

Blessings of Enjoyment and Keri’at Shema on the Night of Shavuot

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed the order of learning for the night of Shavuot during which it is customary to remain awake all night and study Torah. Reading the Order of the “Keri’eh Mo’ed” Let us first discuss that which we have mentioned that it is proper t......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Praying Repeatedly-A Spark of Ruach Ha’Kodesh

Question: Is it correct for one to plead and beseech Hashem for the same thing every single day or is it more proper to pray for a certain matter only several times and if one sees that one has not been answered, one should cease praying for that specific matter? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 32b)......

Read Halacha


Donating Tzedakah (Charity) in Order for One’s Son to Recover From an Illness

Question: Is it permissible to donate a sum of money to charity in the merit of which someone should become healed or for any other personal request or is it improper to do this since the Mitzvah is not being performed for the sake of Heaven, rather, for one’s personal purposes? Answer: The......

Read Halacha

Walking a Dog on Shabbat

Question: If one has a pet dog at home, either for leisure or as a seeing-eye dog for a blind individual, may one move it on Shabbat? Similarly, may one walk the dog in the street on Shabbat? Answer: We have explained in the previous Halacha that all animals are considered Muktzeh on Shabbat as M......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Chazzan’s Repetition of the Amida

-------------------------------- Along with the rest of the Jewish nation, we are heartbroken and mourn the loss of those who passed in the horrific Meron tragedy on Lag Ba’Omer. May their souls be bound in the binding of eternal life and may Hashem send consolation to their families and ma......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Bedtime Keri’at Shema Regarding Women and Following Halachic Midnight

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should recite the “Hamapil” blessing before reciting the bedtime Keri’at Shema. This blessing should be recited along with Hashem’s name like all other blessings. We have also explained that although one should preferably ta......

Read Halacha