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Peninei Halakha > Shabbat > 12 - Food Preparation > 08. Squeezing Fruits

08. Squeezing Fruits

Juicing – that is, squeezing fruits in order to release their juice – is a violation of the prohibition of Mefarek, a tolada of the melakha of Dash. While Dash involves separating wheat kernels from their husks, Mefarek involves separating juice from its fruit. It is prohibited by Torah law to squeeze olives to produce oil or to squeeze grapes to produce wine. Wine and oil are important liquids, and the majority of olives and grapes are grown in order to produce these liquids. In contrast, the prohibition of juicing other fruits, which are not grown primarily for their juice, is rabbinic.[13]

One may not juice a fruit for the purpose of extracting its juice in order to drink it. However, if the purpose is to add flavor to food, one may juice fruit directly into food, since in such a case the squeezing is never viewed as producing a discrete quantity of liquid. The juice that is considered part of one food is simply transferred to another food. Therefore, one may squeeze grapes into food, a lemon into a vegetable salad, or an orange into grated carrots. Similarly, a lemon may be squeezed onto fried fish, even though the juice is not absorbed by the fish. Since it is meant to flavor the fish, it is secondary to it and considered a part of it (SA 320:4; SSK ch. 5 n. 15).

If one wishes to squeeze a lemon in order to make lemonade, he should not squeeze it into an empty pitcher or into water. Rather, he should squeeze the lemon into the sugar in such a way that all the juice is absorbed by the sugar. This way, he is transferring the juice from one food to another, which is permitted.[14]

One may squeeze out excess oil from fried foods, or excess liquid from pickled foods, in order to improve their taste. Similarly, these excess liquids may be squeezed into other food. However, if one wants the liquid that is being extracted, then squeezing these foods is prohibited (SA 320:7).

One may cut a grapefruit and eat it with a spoon, even though in the process juice will flow from it. Since most of the liquid remains in the grapefruit, it is not prohibited. One may also cut up fruit for fruit salad, even though cutting the fruit will cause a bit of juice to flow out. This is not prohibited because one does not intend to separate the juice from the fruit, and most of the juice remains inside the fruit. If there is some juice remaining when one has finished eating the fruit salad or grapefruit, one may drink the juice.[15]

[13]. In the past, some fruits were normally not juiced. Shabbat 144b permits juicing such fruit: “One may squeeze plums, quinces, and sorb apples.” Although according to a few Rishonim (Smak and Rabbeinu Yeruĥam) one may never juice any fruit, and a few Aĥaronim defer to their opinion (Ĥayei Adam 14:3; Ben Ish Ĥai, Year 2, Yitro 3), the majority of Rishonim and Aĥaronim allow those fruit to be juiced (SA 320:1; BHL s.v. “mutar”). However, today there are no fruits that are not juiced. Therefore, one may not squeeze any fruit in order to release its juice.According to Ran, the Torah prohibition of juicing applies only to olives and grapes, because squeezing them creates important beverages – oil and wine. This is also implied by Rambam, and many Aĥaronim rule this way as well, including AHS 320:10. However, Rashi, Rashba, and Ritva maintain that it is prohibited by Torah law to juice any fruit, if the majority of that fruit’s crop is used to make juice.

One may not wring out clothing that has absorbed liquid if one wishes to use the liquid, because of the prohibition of Dash. There is a disagreement whether this is prohibited rabbinically or by Torah law. If the wringing out will also clean the garment, then the Torah prohibition of laundering comes into play. (See above 11:17 and in Harĥavot; below 13:5 and Harĥavot.)

[14]. However, SA 320:6 maintains that one may squeeze lemons into an empty pitcher; since people do not drink pure lemon juice, it has no importance. Thus, a lemon is categorized as a fruit that is never squeezed for its juice; as we saw in the previous note, according to most poskim, such fruits may be squeezed for their juice. In contrast, according to Ĥayei Adam 14:4, one may not squeeze a lemon even into sugar, since one intends to turn the lemon into a drink. Most poskim, however, maintain that one may squeeze a lemon into sugar (Ĥida; Ben Ish Ĥai, Year 2, Yitro 5; and MB 320:22).

[15]. Even though it is clear that cutting a grapefruit or orange will release juice, one may cut them because this is a case of an unintended psik reisha in a double rabbinic prohibition:

  1. a) The squeezing is not being done in the normal fashion.
  2. b) The prohibition of squeezing grapefruit and oranges, according to many, is only rabbinic. Many poskim have written this, including SSK ch. 5 n. 49. In Shabbat 143b, R. Yehuda maintains that if the juice left afterward on the plate flows out by itself from fruit designated for eating, one may drink this juice. If it flowed from olives and grapes, then even if they were set aside to be eaten, one may not drink the juice. (Since squeezing out the juice is a Torah prohibition, the Sages prohibited even juice that flowed out on its own.) This is the ruling of SA 320:1. Generally, when preparing fruit salad, even if grapes are used, most of the juice is from other fruits. Even if juice does flow out of the grapes, it mixes with the other fruits and their juice. Therefore, one may drink the juice that remains. (Orĥot Shabbat 4 n. 44 states something similar to this.) The poskim disagree whether one may suck the juice out of a fruit held between the teeth. In practice, regarding grapes we are stringent, as squeezing them is a Torah prohibition (Rema 320:1). However, once a grape is actually in one’s mouth, there is no problem of squeezing (MB ad loc. 12).

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