Halacha for Monday 29 Shevat 5782 January 31 2022

Eating a Halved Grapefruit on Shabbat

Question: May a halved grapefruit be eaten on Shabbat with a spoon when this will cause the grapefruit to be squeezed somewhat?

Answer: We have already explained that one of the works forbidden on Shabbat is squeezing. We have likewise explained that it is therefore forbidden to squeeze oranges or grapefruits on Shabbat unless this is being done directly into food.

Based on this, the great Poskim of our generation discuss whether or not eating a halved grapefruit with a spoon is permissible since doing so will inevitably cause some of the pulp to be squeezed.

The Opinion of the Shoneh Halachot
The Sefer Shoneh Halachot (authored by Hagaon Harav Elazar Turchin zt”l and Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit”a) rules stringently regarding this issue. Although squeezing a grapefruit is only a rabbinic prohibition, for according to Torah law only squeezing grapes and olives is forbidden, nevertheless, there is no room for leniency.

The Opinion of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l
Maran zt”l, on the other hand, rules that since we have a rule that a rabbinic prohibition resulting directly from one’s actions when one does not wish or care for this to occur is indeed permissible on Shabbat, thus, there is room for leniency in this regard. Therefore, regarding our issue, eating a grapefruit is permissible on Shabbat. Along with the eating of the grapefruit, a rabbinic prohibition of the grapefruit being squeezed is resulting directly; however, one is not interested in this squeezing at all since the grapefruit can be eaten the same way even without being squeezed. Based on the above rule, this would indeed be permissible.

The Opinion of Hagaon Harav Avraham Chaim Na’eh zt”l
Hagaon Harav Avraham Chaim Na’eh zt”l writes in his Sefer Ketzot Ha’Shulchan (Chapter 126) that this would constitute the prohibition of squeezing. Nevertheless, Maran zt”l writes that it seems that even the Ketzot Ha’Shulchan only means that this is forbidden when one wants and enjoys the fact that the grapefruit is being squeezed in which case this is certainly prohibited. However, if the individual does not intend to squeeze the grapefruit and does not care that this is happening, this does not pose any concern.

The Opinion of Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l
Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (in his Shulchan Shlomo, Chapter 320) rules leniently for another reason which is that since squeezing a grapefruit is only a rabbinic prohibition and squeezing with a spoon is another rabbinic prohibition of performing the forbidden work in an unusual manner, this is considered a direct result of one’s actions which causes two rabbinic injunctions to ensue (since the individual is not intentionally squeezing the grapefruit and this is only happening as the result of the way he is eating it) which the Mishnah Berura permits (see Sha’ar Ha’Tziyun, Chapter 316).

The Opinion of Hagaon Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l
Hagaon Harav Elyashiv zt”l (quoted in Ashrei Ha’Ish, page 342) rules leniently on this matter for yet another reason which is that immediately when the grapefruit is squeezed, the liquid is immediately reabsorbed into the flesh of the fruit and this is similar to the law of a fruit squeezed directly onto a food which is permissible, as we have explained.

Summary: One may eat a halved grapefruit on Shabbat using a spoon although it is possible that some of the pulp may be squeezed as a result.

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