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

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha


Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

Frying Fish in a Meat Pot, Baking Fish and Meat in the Same Oven, and Maran zt”l’s Custom

There is a well-known prohibition of eating fish and meat together, as discussed by the Gemara and Poskim. Cooking Fish in a Meat Pot Although it is prohibited to cook a dairy dish in a meat pot as we have discussed in a previous Halacha, nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writ......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha