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Is it forbidden according to the Torah to squeeze fruits and vegetables for juice on Shabbat? Since people juice almost every fruit and vegetable nowadays (e.g. smoothies), is it forbidden the same as grapes and olives are?

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Rabbi Ribiat discusses this in his sefer (The 39 Melochos), starting on page 333 (vol. 2).

There are some fruits that are biblically forbidden, some that are rabbinically forbidden, and some that are allowed to be squeezed for juice.

  1. The biblically forbidden fruits are grapes and olives, because they are "distinguished especially for their juice."
  2. Rabbinically forbidden fruit are any fruits that are squeezed for their juices by a "significant segment of the population." However, he does note that there are some differences between grapes and olives and these fruits, as certain rabbinic enactments do not apply to them, as they are not forbidden to be squeezed for juice on the biblical level.
  3. The fruits/vegetables that are allowed to be squeezed are those that are not commonly squeezed for juice. As you noted in your question

    these are very few, since most fruit juices are very popular. Moreover, fruits that are not regarded as juice fruits in one country may still be Halachically classified as juice fruits if that same type of fruit is commonly made into juice in another country.

    But wait! Rabbi Ribiat writes that some exceptions exist -- "[m]ost varieties of melons...are not popular anywhere for their juices and may be squeezed. These include cantaloupes, honeydew melons, and watermelons."

Please note that these halachos are subject to change, in case melons suddenly become the popular new juice fruit, or (less likely) oranges fall out of favor with juicers.

See section III of this Virtual Beit Midrash article for a more in-depth discussion of the issues at hand. (h/t Emet v'Shalom for the link)

  • Interesting, but I can see this getting quite complicated, esp. with current technology and the new "fad" diets. Juicing these days has become very popular. People are juicing beets, kale, pomegranates - pretty much everything. Would this "popularity" halacha apply to ANY juicing or only those that COULD be squeezed manually. E.g. - beet juice is usually done by machine and has become popular. If I have cooked beets, I can mash or press it and get a lot of juice. Would I be allowed, then to manually squeeze beets? – DanF Jan 25 '15 at 23:17
  • @DanF I don't think there is a difference between manually squeezing and squeezing by machine; I think the rule is "a fruit that is squeezed for its juice," whether it's squeezed by hand or by machine .....incidentally, the classical example of "Category 2" fruits are "תותים ורמונים," berries and pomegranates, which were commonly juiced in the times of the gemara. – Shokhet Jan 26 '15 at 0:43
  • This article under "III. Squeezing Fruit" goes through the sugya: vbm-torah.org/archive/hilshabbat/10hilshabbat.htm – Emet v'Shalom Jan 26 '15 at 1:24
  • I wonder if lemons would be stricter than other fruits because they are not usually used for eating, but rather they are mainly used for its juice. – Emet v'Shalom Jan 26 '15 at 1:24
  • @Emetv'Shalom Your linked article discusses lemons. "It would stand to reason that squeezing lemons on Shabbat should be forbidden, because this is a fruit which is usually squeezed. There is even more of a reason to forbid squeezing lemons than other fruits, because lemons are not generally eaten; rather, lemons are used exclusively for sechita." But there's more discussion about it, there. Nice link, thanks! :) – Shokhet Jan 26 '15 at 1:35

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