Halacha Date: 1 Sivan 5778 May 15 2018
Question: Is it permissible to squeeze fruits on the Shavuot holiday?
Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have explained that any works forbidden to be performed on Shabbat are forbidden to be performed on Yom Tov as well, besides for works necessary for food preparation, such as cooking, frying, and the like.
However, in the previous Halacha, we have discussed that there are certain works associated with food preparation that are nevertheless forbidden on Yom Tov, such as harvesting wheat from one’s field or picking fruits or grapes from trees or vines.
We have already quoted the explanation of the Talmud Yerushalmi, however, let us now revisit it so that we can fully understand this matter:
The Torah states, “Only that which is performed for everyone, this alone shall be performed by you.” Immediately afterwards, the Torah states, “And you shall guard the Matzot” to teach us that the only works associated with food preparation which are permitted on Yom Tov are those beginning from “guarding and on”. “Guarding” refers to keeping the Matzot from leavening when they are in dough form. Thus, from kneading dough and on, all works associated with food preparation may be performed; however, works taking place before kneading are forbidden on Yom Tov.
Thus, although kneading dough is forbidden on Shabbat, this is indeed permissible on Yom Tov, as are cooking and baking. Nevertheless, harvesting, threshing, squeezing, and selecting which are works performed before kneading are forbidden to be performed on Yom Tov just as they are forbidden on Shabbat.
Based on this, squeezing fruits (which is a subcategory of the forbidden work of threshing since squeezing dislodges the juice from the rest of the fruit) for their juice in order to prepare beverages is forbidden on Yom Tov, for threshing is one of the forbidden works performed before the kneading of the dough when the kernels of grain were threshed in the field. Thus, this work is forbidden on Yom Tov. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 495, Section 2) rules likewise.
Indeed, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules likewise (in his Chazon Ovadia-Yom Tov, page 73) that squeezing fruits is forbidden on Yom Tov. Included in this prohibition is squeezing oranges, grapefruits, berries, or pomegranates and the like for their juice since forbidden works preceding the forbidden work of kneading are forbidden on Yom Tov, besides for several select cases where our Sages ruled leniently on this matter, as we have explained in the previous Halacha regarding grating potatoes on Yom Tov.
Summary: One may not squeeze fruits on Yom Tov (besides for lemons which may be squeezed even on Shabbat according to the letter of the law according to the Sephardic custom).