Halacha for Sunday 4 Shevat 5781 January 17 2021

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat?

Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just as it is forbidden to cook on Shabbat, it is likewise forbidden to pickle foods on Shabbat either.

Although all of the works forbidden on Shabbat were works that took place in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and there was no pickling done in the Mishkan whatsoever, our Sages (Shabbat 108b) nevertheless forbade pickling food items on Shabbat since “pickling is tantamount to cooking”.

Our Sages likewise prohibited doing anything which appears like pickling on Shabbat. For this reason, the Poskim, among them Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 321, Section 3), rule that it forbidden to salt radishes on Shabbat since pickling radish was common in those times and by salting radish, one appears to be pickling it.

It is therefore forbidden to salt any vegetables which are usually pickled on Shabbat, including cucumbers, and to leave them in this state until they begin to “perspire” (ooze their natural juices). This therefore the basis for the above question and it would seem that it is forbidden to salt cucumbers on Shabbat and leave them like this for several minutes.

Although several modern-day Poskim rule accordingly, nevertheless, the prevalent custom is to act leniently in this regard and many people slice cucumbers and place salt on them, relying on the fact that cucumbers are generally salted only when they are whole. There is therefore no prohibition to do so when the cucumbers are sliced (see Shevut Yaakov, Volume 2, Chapter 12). Furthermore, when this is being done for the purpose of a meal, it is noticeable that one does not intend to actually pickle vegetables. There are several proofs to this lenient approach among the works of the Poskim (see Sefer Ma’aseh Ha’Shabbat, page 217). Thus, those who act leniently have on whom to rely.

Regarding a cut up vegetable salad commonly served at meals nowadays, however, there is certainly no concern in salting it since one’s actions show that one does not intend to salt the vegetables in order to pickle them (Halichot Olam, Volume 4, page 65). This is especially true since most of the vegetables in the salad, including the lettuce and tomatoes, are not commonly pickled at all.

Summary: It is permissible to put salt into a vegetable salad on Shabbat. This is especially true when oil is being placed onto the vegetables as well. If one wishes to salt cucumbers before one of the Shabbat meals, although there are those who rule stringently on this matter, those who act leniently and do so have on whom to rely.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor- Coronavirus

“Remember What Amalek Has Done to You” On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Vayikra this year, 577......

Read Halacha

Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

Our Sages (Tosefta Pesachim, Chapter 3) taught: “We inquire about and expound the laws of Pesach from thirty days before Pesach.” Based on this, great rabbis throughout the generations have taken the opportunity to teach the laws of Pesach to the public between Purim and Pesach since eve......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim- Coronavirus

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

The Days of Purim and the Laws of Mishloach Manot- 5781

The Days of Purim Purim will be celebrated in approximately two weeks from today. This year, we must discuss several unique laws, first of all, because Purim day (the 14th of Adar) falls out on a Friday. Second of all, in Jerusalem, a “three-day Purim” will be celebrated since the 15th ......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of the Purim Feast This Year (5781)

Holding the Purim Feast at Night The holiday of Purim is different than all other holidays we celebrate in that whereas regarding other holidays the Mitzvah of partaking of a joyous holiday meal applies during the day and night, regarding the holiday of Purim, there is only a Mitzvah to hold a feas......

Read Halacha

 A Joint Mishloach Manot by Husband and Wife

Question: On Purim I stay home and I do not give out my own Mishloach Manot. May I fulfill my obligation by sending a joint Mishloach Manot along with my husband? Answer: First, let us discuss the obligation of women with regards to Mishloach Manot. A Woman’s Obligation in Mishloach Mano......

Read Halacha