Halacha for Wednesday 24 Shevat 5782 January 26 2022

Squeezing Lemons on Shabbat

In previous Halachot, we have explained that one may not squeeze a fruit on Shabbat if there are those who usually squeeze this kind of fruit for its juice. We also explained that one may indeed squeeze fruits by hand (as opposed to using a utensil to squeeze it, which is prohibited) onto a food, for instance, squeezing an orange onto a fruit salad, in a way that the juice is absorbed by the food immediately upon being squeezed, for the entire prohibition of squeezing on Shabbat applies only when separating liquid from a solid (i.e. the juice from the fruit); however, when the liquid juice transforms back into solid form immediately upon falling into the vessel, this is permissible.

Regarding squeezing lemons on Shabbat, at first glance it would seem that this should be completely forbidden, for many people around the world squeeze lemons for their juice. In fact, the primary usage of a lemon is for its juice. Although it would be permissible to squeeze a lemon by hand onto food as we have explained above, squeezing lemons onto a liquid in order to make lemonade or squeezing lemons into an empty vessel should seemingly be prohibited. However, in the times of Maran Ha’Bet Yosef, the custom in Egypt was to squeeze lemons even for the purpose of making beverages; Maran wondered about this custom, for even Torah scholars did this and no one ever raised any opposition regarding this custom. Maran thus explained the reason for this custom as being that the only time it is prohibited to squeeze a fruit for its juice on Shabbat is only when the juice is drunk by itself without mixing any other liquids into it. However, lemon juice is not usually drunk as is; rather, it is only drunk after adding water and sugar to it (or using it to season foods) and thus, there is no prohibition to squeeze lemons on Shabbat. Many Poskim have ruled this way as well as does Maran himself in his Shulchan Aruch. Nevertheless, many other Poskim contest this ruling and rule stringently.

Therefore, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that although the Halacha on this matter follows Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch that one may even squeeze lemons on Shabbat into a liquid or an empty pitcher in order to make a beverage or salad dressing out of its juice, it is still preferable to follow the more stringent opinion regarding this matter since this is able to be done easily. This means that before one squeezes the lemon into the pitcher, one should put some sugar in it such that the lemon juice will immediately be absorbed by the sugar, for sugar is a food and not a beverage and in this way, there is no question of the prohibition of squeezing at all. Only then should one pour the water on top in order to make the lemonade. All this, however, is only a stringency, for the letter of the law dictates that one may act leniently in accordance with the opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch. Nevertheless, one should act stringently regarding this matter whenever possible.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well? Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to childre......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha