The passuk says in Vayikra (2:13)

על כל קרבנך תקריב מלח

You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices.

The Gemara in Menachos (21a) says that this passuk is coming to teach us that:

ואפילו בשבת תקריב

Even on shabbos you must salt the korban before offering it on the altar

Why do we need an extra passuk to allow salting the animal on shabbos? What prohibition or melacha is there in salting the korban?

  • I believe I have an answer, but I don't have my sources in a row... 1) unneccessary acts/melacha on shabbos are ossur, even in the Beis HaMikdash. 2) salting meat (for preservation) is considered a form of bishul, as is washing off salt to consume it (hadachato hu bishulo) 3)since salt isn't considered food, it is muktzeh outside of food use. Since no one is consuming the meat on the mizbeach, 3) salting isn't for consumption purposes, and 2) preservation would be explicitly ossur, one would think that due to 1) you cannot salt even if it's normal, hence the gemara on the possuk. Mar 18, 2015 at 12:38
  • am i chayav on bishul for salting? Mar 18, 2015 at 12:38
  • If you are salting extensively for preservation, I believe the gemara in shabbos says yes. Normal use of salt for food flavoring is muttar (just be careful of grinding...) Mar 18, 2015 at 12:39
  • 1
    @isaacKotlicky I would like to see a mekor for that assertion Mar 18, 2015 at 14:13
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Mar 18, 2015 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Rashi in Menachos 21a ד"ה דם שבישלו says that salting blood is like cooking it, based on the rule of מליח כרותח, that salting is like boiling. The Ran in Avodah Zarah (38b in dapei haRif, ד"ה גרסינן) also seems to contemplate that salting on Shabbos would be considered cooking (arguing with the Ramban). Similarly, the Tzlach (Pesachim 74a ד"ה ואמרתי) says that it would be forbidden to salt the korban pesach, because one is not allowed to cook it except by fire, and salting is like cooking. If this is true, then one would not have been allowed to salt korbanos on Shabbos either, without a pasuk, because salting is a form of cooking.

  • How much salt are we talking about here? מליח כרותח requires a fair amount of salt (according many at least)
    – Double AA
    Mar 30, 2017 at 3:22
  • true. you were mechavein to R. Dovid Cohen's q. (no. 919) hebrewbooks.org/… truth is, the rishonim ask the q. of why we would have thought this was forbidden and give different answers. see hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=102593&rid=1347
    – wfb
    Mar 30, 2017 at 17:30
  • see comprehensive discussion here hebrewbooks.org/…
    – wfb
    Mar 30, 2017 at 17:47

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