Halacha for Tuesday 25 Tishrei 5784 October 10 2023              

Halacha Date: 25 Tishrei 5784 October 10 2023

Category: Shabbat

Pickling Vegetables on Shabbat

ההלכה מוקדשת לעלוי נשמת
כל הנרצחים בפרעות שביצעו צוררי נפשינו
ארץ אל תכסה דמם, וכן לרפואת הפצועים, ולזכות השבויים האומללים, ולהצלחת חיילי ישראל בכל מקום שהם, ה' יתברך יעמוד לימין צדקם, וימגר את כל אויבינו, לא יותיר בהם נשמה, המה יאבדו ואנו נעמוד לעד לעולם עד ביאת משיח צדקינו במהרה בימינו אמן.

We are all shaken and wounded to the depths of our souls by the news of the tragedy that befell our brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel, as they were brutally attacked by blood-thirsty Arabs who spared no one, the elderly and children included. How painful is the plight of the captives; Hashem help us for Heavenly Judgment has struck us!

We must ponder this deeply, for one does not strike one's finger in this world unless it was announced so in Heaven. This was all decreed by Hashem in Heaven and we must therefore self-introspect to see where we can all repent and improve, for only Hashem can heal our wounds. Let us all pray intently to our Heavenly and Merciful Father amid a feeling of deep commiseration with all those who are suffering so terribly during this ordeal, especially the parents whose children are in harm's way as they face the enemy. Let us all feel their pain and worry and in doing so, pray fervently to Hashem that He speedily redeem us, save us from our enemies, and return peace to the Jewish nation, Amen!

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

Answer: There is a rule throughout many aspects of the Torah that “pickled is like cooked,” i.e. if cucumbers were pickled with a forbidden food, we do not merely look at the cucumber itself; rather, we look at it as if it was cooked with the forbidden food and it becomes forbidden as well (see Chullin 97b).

Nevertheless, regarding Shabbat, pickling is not biblically considered cooking. In order to explain this, let us preface this discussion:

Pickling Regarding the Laws of Shabbat
It is well-known that one of the forbidden works of Shabbat is cooking. One who does so has desecrated the Shabbat. There is no difference whether one cooks on top of an open flame or on top of an electric hotplate, for both constitute a Torah prohibition of cooking.

Only a food which was fully cooked before Shabbat, such as a cooked potato, may be reheated on an electric hotplate on Shabbat (when it is a dry food, such as a potato), for the rule is that “there is no cooking after cooking,” meaning that a fully cooked dry food may be reheated on Shabbat and this is not considered recooking it.

Nevertheless, this does not apply regarding a pickled food. For instance, if one takes pickled lemons and puts them on an electric hotplate on Shabbat, this constitutes Shabbat desecration, for a pickled food is not considered cooked.

Pickling on Shabbat
Regarding our question about whether or not it is permissible to pickle cucumbers on Shabbat, the root of the question stems from whether we consider pickling something like cooking it.

The great Rishonim disagrees about this point, for Rabbeinu Nissim (Avodah Zara 75b) is doubtful about this matter and writes that it is possible that one who pickles on Shabbat is tantamount to cooking. On the other hand, many Rishonim and Acharonim (quoted by the Bet Yosef, Chapter 321) rule that there is no biblical prohibition of cooking on Shabbat when one pickles food items; however, all opinions agree that there is a rabbinic prohibition to pickle on Shabbat, for this is similar to the cooking process.

Therefore, it is forbidden to pickle cucumbers or any other foods on Shabbat.

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