Is it an issue of creating a Kli (vessel) on shabbos?

There is a prohibition of making a vessel out of food (The Rambam says making cheese is prohibited because of בנין)

Is it considered a כלי מוסתקי - a flimsy vessel that is permitted to open on shabbos?

Is it considered חותלות - a protective wrapping?

See the Shulchan Aruch (314 1-8)

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    A couple of points - cheese is nothing to do with making a vessel. Also, are you talking about cutting in half to drink the coconut milk out of or to reuse with external liquids?
    – user15253
    May 10, 2018 at 11:35
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    @Orangesandlemons what? Making cheese מגבן is chayav on Yom tov because of בנין. I was referring to the sugya of יש בנין באוכלין. It's מחבר חלקים חלקים. Acc. To the Rambam May 10, 2018 at 11:37
  • @Orangesandlemons external liquids as well. May 10, 2018 at 11:40
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    What are you asking? If someone wants to open a coconut to access the food and drink inside, whats the issue? So once its open, why can't you just continue using it? Please clarify how you encountered the coconut, what it looks like now, and what action you intend to do with it. Also, why do you suspect that would be asur on shabbos? May 10, 2018 at 12:16
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    Making vessels out of food and the known issue of cheese making being "binyan" are two things that have nothing to do with each other IMHO. May 10, 2018 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


Living as I do on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, I feel rather well qualified to answer this question. A coconut shell is indeed חותלות - just as we can't eat an orange without peeling it, we can't drink the coconut water or get at the coconut meat without smashing the coconut shell open.

That said, how are you doing that? In my home, a machete is a specialized instrument used only for opening coconuts. In other homes in my area, it's an all-purpose tool, used for gardening, cooking, and home improvement. Which would you in good conscience hold by in your case?

Also, what are you doing with the coconut shell afterwards? Kavana has a role to play in this aspect- if you are keeping it indefinitely to use as a cup,coaster, ashtray, keyholder or whatever that's one thing; if you're just drinking the coconut water and then throwing it in the trash at the end of shabbos, quite another.

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    Besides the good halachic answer, thanks for sharing an interesting cultural aspect that many of us are not familiar with. Until now, I've never heard of a machete being used for anything other than war.
    – DanF
    May 10, 2018 at 15:28
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    I thought that was a joke but I see your profile - this is an amazing life background !
    – mbloch
    May 10, 2018 at 16:40
  • Thanks, @mbloch! The real question, of course, is whether or not a potential shidduch match would feel that way ;) May 10, 2018 at 21:41
  • @DanF A machete in war? No, no... A machete is used here for all sorts of things too. :) But I live in Texas,
    – ezra
    May 11, 2018 at 16:52

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