Medicines are forbidden on shabbos for the non-critically ill because in the old days, they had to be ground with a pestle beforehand.

Must not spices also be ground? How come spices are not also forbidden?


Great question! I believe the answer is because the sages forbade using items that are meant solely for medicinal purposes. However in the case of spices you are allowed to use it for two reasons: 1: onlookers will assume you are consuming the spice for food not for medicinal reasons. 2: since using spices as a medicinal remedy isn't common, the sages didn't forbid a person from using spices as a remedy.

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  • But if meds are out because they are commonly ground, why shouldn't spices go with them, also being commonly ground? – MTL May 30 '14 at 5:52
  • There is a general rule, anything regarding relief for a מוחש (ailment) is rabbinically prohibited on shabbos. However at the same time if a person is bedridden then he is in a higher class of מוחש and he is classified as חולה שאין בו סכנה (person who is very ill but isn't life threatening ill) for such a person only rabbinic prohibitions are removed which would obviously include taking medicine – David Feigen May 30 '14 at 5:53
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    Go back to the question....he is not asking "why aren't spices subject to the gezeira against refuah baShabbos as it is?" ...he's asking "if the reason for the gezeira is a concern for grinding spices, then why wasn't a gezeira made for spices also?" – MTL May 30 '14 at 17:48
  • Spices are also ground – MTL May 30 '14 at 17:49
  • Thank you for clarifying. To my knowledge, I don't believe there was a gezeira against the concept of items that were ground before shabbos. – David Feigen May 31 '14 at 0:43

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