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2. Cutting foods to small pieces:
The cutting of foods to very small pieces [Dak Dak] is included in the Melacha of grinding. The following laws will discuss as to which foods this prohibition applies:
What is the definition of cutting small?
If it is cut small to the point that it is similar to a ground product, one is liable for grinding. If however it is cut slightly larger than this, one is not liable, although it is still forbidden to do so. There is no known measurement for what is defined as small, and one must thus always be very careful to cut the pieces largely in order to avoid the prohibition. Some Poskim however rule that cutting small is defined as cutting it to whatever size one usually cuts it to during the week, while cutting large is defined as slightly larger than one’s normal size of cutting. Others rule that so long as the food is not cut small enough to the point it does not require chewing top be eaten, it is not defined as small.
Strips: Some Poskim rule cutting very thin is equivalent to cutting into very small pieces, even if the slices remain long. Other Poskim however rule that it is not considered grinding.
Slices: Some Poskim rule that cutting a food into slices, such as cutting a cucumber into round slices, is not considered grinding even if it is cut very thin, even according to the stringent opinion above. Others however rule it is considered grinding according to the above strict opinion.
A. To cut spices with a knife:
Spices other than salt: It is forbidden to cut pepper with a knife [into small pieces] even in order to eat immediately. The above law applies for all spices which are commonly only eaten when mixed [with other foods]. [See Q&A]
Cutting salt with a knife: It is forbidden to cut salt very small with a knife.
The reason for this is: (because since [salt] is only fit to be eaten when mixed into other foods it therefore has the same laws as do spices and is not comparable to meat and cheese even though it too does not derive from growing on the ground just like they.)
Thick pieces of cooked salt: This [prohibition to cut salt to small pieces] only applies with salt that was initially thick. However, salt which was initially thin and was then cooked and became [thick] pieces is permitted to be cut very thin with a knife just as it is permitted to do so by bread being that there is no [prohibition to] grind a previously ground [food].
Summary of cutting foods that are only used to season foods:
Spices and salt may not be cut to very small pieces even in order to eat right away.
May one cut fresh jalapeño peppers to small pieces in order to eat right away?
Yes. However dried hot peppers may never be cut into small pieces.
Is a cinnamon stick considered a spice or a food?
Seemingly it is considered a spice and thus may not be cut small even in order to eat right away.
May one grate horse radish, or cut it very small?
No. It is forbidden to do so even in order to eat right away. One may not even grate it using a knife. Thus, it is only permitted to cut it to large pieces.
Are onions and garlic considered spices?
Onions: No, as stated explicitly by Admur below in Halacha C-See there for their ruling!
Garlic: No, as at times it is eaten plain. They thus have the same law as all foods which grow on the ground, as explained in Halacha C below- See there!
May one cut sugar cubes into small pieces [i.e. Is sugar considered a spice]?
One may cut sugar cubes into small pieces even for non-immediate use so long as one plans to eat it on Shabbos. Nevertheless some Poskim rule that sugar cubes do contain a grinding prohibition, and therefore in their opinion it is best to be stringent and only do so for right away use, in which case it is allowed according to all.
B. Cutting into small pieces foods that do not grow from the ground:
Any food which is fit to be eaten in its current form [without needing to be mixed with other foods] and does not grow on the ground, of which its species does not contain the concept of grinding at all, such as cooked or roasted meat or cheese and the like, then it is permitted to cut it very thin (even [when done] not in order to eat right away), being that there is no grinding [prohibition] by foods.
Hard Cheese: [Furthermore] even very hard cheese is allowed [to be cut small] being that it is [still] possible to be chewed, albeit with difficulty, and [thus] has a status of [a readily edible] food upon it.
If a person cannot chew: ([Furthermore] it is allowed to be cut even by a person who cannot chew.)
Raw Meat: However [soft] raw meat, since it is only fit for the strong minded which are willing to chew it in an irregular way [meaning while still raw], [therefore] it does not have the status of food on it for this matter and [the] grinding [prohibition] is applicable to it. Therefore, it is forbidden to cut [Kosher] raw meat very thin to [feed] the birds [unless one does so to feed them right away. It is however permitted to cut Treif meat into very small pieces to feed the birds even later on Shabbos.]
The reason that it being fit for dog does not render it the status of food: Now, although it is fit for dogs [nevertheless] it does not receive the status of food due to this being it is not designated [to be given] to dogs but rather for people or for birds due to its value, and for them [the meat] is not fit [to be chewed] without this cutting. [Thus, the food is not yet considered to be food at this stage.]
Foods that do not grow on the ground which are edible in their current state: Do not have the grinding prohibition and may be cut even small.
Foods that do not grow on the ground which are inedible in their current state: Such as raw meat contains the grinding prohibition and thus is forbidden to be cut very small.
C. Cutting into small pieces foods that grow from the ground:
All the above refers to food that does not grow from the ground, however any food that grows from the ground, even if it is food that can be readily eaten has [the] grinding [prohibition] apply to it.
The reason for this is: because amongst these species [of foods are] foods that are ground, such as grains and legumes.
Vegetables and Fruits: Therefore it is forbidden to cut a vegetable very small in order to eat it, and so too [it is forbidden to cut very small] dried dates and carobs for old people, and if one does cut them very small then he is liable for grinding.
Crumbling and cutting bread: It is permitted to crumble bread very small for chickens and doing so does not involve the grinding prohibition. [It is likewise permitted to cut bread to small pieces.]
The reason for this is: because the grain from which the bread was made had already been previously ground and there is no [prohibition to] grind a previously ground [food].
Cutting small with intent to eat right away: [However] all this refers to when one cuts [the food] and leaves it [there] not planning to eat it right away but rather to eat later on. However, it is permitted to [even initially] cut [food] very small in order to eat it right away or for others to eat right away or for chickens to eat right away.
The reason for this allowance is: because [the Torah] did not forbid a person to eat his food in big or small pieces and thus [we see that] it is the way of eating to eat also small pieces and anything that is done in a way of eating carries no prohibition as was explained in chapter 319 [Halacha 1] regarding separating food from its waste in order to eat it right away that it does not contain any prohibition since this is the way of eating and it is allowed to even initially do so.
Other Opinions: There are opinions which question this allowance [to cut small when intending to eat it right away].
The Final Ruling: It is proper to suspect for this latter opinion and be careful to cut the vegetable (which is called lettuce) into slightly large pieces as then according to all opinion there is no grinding prohibition involved. However, in our provinces it is the custom to cut radish very very small as well as onion and they have upon whom to rely on [Halachically]. Nevertheless, at the very least they must beware to not begin to cut them until after [the men] leave the Shul being that it may only be done in actual proximity to the meal as was explained in chapter 319 [Halacha 4] regarding separating [food from its waste]. [See Q&A regarding if when cutting large one may do so even much time prior to the meal!]
Summary of cutting foods that grow on the ground
Foods which have never before been grinded small: Such as all fruits and vegetables, is Biblically forbidden to cut small in order to eat later on. Regarding cutting them to eat right away it is disputed if doing so is forbidden, and it is proper to be stringent to cut the pieces slightly large. Nevertheless, those communities which are accustomed to be lenient have upon whom to rely, so long as they do so right before the meal. [See “The Laws of Borer” Halacha 4 regarding the exact definition of “right away”]
Foods which have been already ground: Such as bread of which its grains were already grinded to flower, and precooked salt which had dissolved and the reformed a block, is allowed to be cut small even to eat later on.
When cutting the food slightly large may one do so even much time prior to the meal?
Some Poskim rule that even when cutting to slightly large pieces it must be done in close proximity to the meal. However, from Admur ibid it is implied that when cutting to slightly large pieces he may do so whenever he wishes so long as he intends to eat the food on Shabbos.
What is the definition of cutting small?
Some opinions rule cutting small is defined as cutting it to whatever size one usually cuts it to. Thus, cutting it slightly larger would mean to cut it larger than one usually would cut it during the week.
Others however rule that there is no known measurement for what is defined as small, and one must thus always be careful to cut the pieces slightly large.
May one cut a fruit/vegetable to very thin slices [long but thin]?
Some Poskim rule that it is forbidden to do so as cutting very thin is equivalent to cutting into very small pieces, even if the slices remain long. Other Poskim however rule that this is permitted to be done.
If one transgressed and cut fruits/vegetables into small pieces not in close proximity to the meal, may the food still be eaten?
Advertently: If one advertently cut the food into small pieces much time prior to the meal it is forbidden to eat the food.
Inadvertently: If it was done inadvertently [such as one forgot about the prohibition and the like] it is permitted to eat the food. However some Poskim are stringent in this matter.
Transgressed and mashed food in regular way: Permitetd as many Poskim rule there is no prohibition involved at all.
Trangressed and crushed spices in regular way: Seemingly is forbidden according to all even if done inadvertently. Vetzaruch Iyun
D. What items may be used to cut with? May graters and the like be used? 
A knife/chisel/ax: [It is allowed to be cut] whether with a knife or with an ax or a chisel as although these are vessels designated for prohibited use it is allowed to move them in order to use [for a permitted purpose] as explained in chapter 308 [Halacha 12].
A Grater: It is forbidden to grate the cheese [or any food, including bread], even one that does not grow on the ground, very thin with a dented grater which has sharp teeth (that is called Riv Eizin [grating iron] in Yiddish) even in order to eat right away.
The reason for this is: as since the vessel is designated for this use, doing so is considered a mundane action, as is crushing spices with a pestle and mortar. [However, with regards to foods that grow from the ground this is Biblically forbidden to be used even if done to eat immediately.]
Other cutting vessels: This law applies for any other vessel that is designated for this use of cutting small.
Using a grater or other instruments made for cutting items small:
It is forbidden to grate any food very thin with a grater, or with any vessel made to cut items small, even in order to eat right away.
Examples of utensils which are designated for grinding and thus may never be used on Shabbos:
· Mincer, including a garlic mincer. [Using a garlic mincer to grind garlic on Shabbos would entail a Biblical grinding prohibition.]
· Pepper mill
· Vegetable chopper [a set of blades which revolve around an axis and cut the food placed in them into small pieces.]
May one use a knife which is specifically made for cutting small?
Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to use such a knife at all, even with foods that do not have a grinding prohibition, and even in close proximity to the meal. Other Poskim however rule it is permitted to use such vessels. Practically, one is avoid using it on Shabbos.
May one use an egg slicer on Shabbos to cut eggs?
Yes. However, some Poskim are stringent in this matter.
May one use a bread machine to slice bread on Shabbos?
If doing so does not involve electricity it is allowed. One may even adjust the blades to fit the sizes of the slices that he desires. However, some Poskim are stringent in this matter.
May one use the above vessels to grind the item to large pieces?
Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so. Some write one may not use a vegetable chopper even with its large set of blades due to that it is also at times used with its small set of blades, and hence contains Uvdin Dechol.
May one use a vegetable chopper with a large set of blades?
Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so. Some write one may not use a vegetable chopper even with its large set of blades due to that it is also at times used with its small set of blades, and hence contains Uvdin Dechol. If, however, the chopper has only a single set of large blades, it is permitted to be used for all foods, being it does not cut into small pieces. However some Poskim are stringent in this matter.
E. Cutting non-food items into very small pieces:
Even if one is not meticulous on the sizes, if he cuts [wood] into very thin pieces in order to light up a fire [with them], then he is liable for [the] grinding [prohibition].
Practical Summary-Cutting foods to small pieces:
Foods may only be cut small if either:
A. They have already been previously ground,
B. Have never been previously ground but do not grow on the ground, and are edible in their current state, and are not used as a spice. [Those that are accustomed to cut very small those foods that grow from the ground and are not a spice have upon whom to rely if they do so right before the meal. However, it is best to be stringent to cut the pieces slightly large. According to all it is forbidden to cut such foods much time prior to the meal.]
 Shabbos 74a “Parim Silka” as explained in Rashi; Michaber 321:12; Rama 321:9; Admur 321:10; See Tur 321 that it is not actual Tochein but is similar to Tochein
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 321 footnote 151; Shabbos Kehalacha 21 footnote 40 and 56
 Biur Halacha 321:12 “Hamichateich”
 Yireim brought in Biur Halacha ibid
 Az Nidbaru 12:22
 Minchas Shlomo 1:91-13; Peas Sadcha 1:38; Or Letziyon 2:47-25
 Tzemach Tzedek in Mishnayis Shabbos 7 based on Shabbos 74b; Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 2; Shabbos Kehalacha 21:29
 Igros Moshe 4:74-Tochein 3; Minchas Shlomo 1:91-13; and so rules plainly Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:4 
 Shabbos Kehalacha 21:29; Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:14; Orchos Shabbos 5:3-4; See also Igros Moshe 4:74;
 Dvar Halacha 5:4, brought in Shabbos Kehalacha ibid footnote 67
 Admur 321:7; M”A 321:9; M”B 321:25
 Mishneh Berurah 321:25 and Ketzos Hashulchan 129:2. Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur omitted this point
 Admur ibid; based on implication of Rambam 21:18; P”M 321 M”Z 10; Iglei Tal 11; Tehila Ledavid 321:8; Kaf Hachaim 321:48
The reason: This is forbidden due to it not being Derech Achila, as spices are not eaten directly and are rather placed into foods. [P”M ibid]
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to cut spices small when done to eat right away. [Shaar Tziyon 321:30] Other Poskim leave this matter in question. [Peri Megadim and Elyah Raba]
 Admur 321:12; Rama 321:8; M”B 321:27
 Admur 321:12
 In other words: Although salt does not grow on the ground, nevertheless it contains a grinding prohibition being that it is used as a spice. [See Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 12]
 Admur 321:12; Rama 321:8; Kol Bo; M”B 321:30
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 12
 As since today many people eat them while still fresh, prior to them drying up and becoming very spicy, they therefore do not have the status of a spice and rather have the same status as foods that grow on the ground, of which there is a dispute as to whether they may be cut small for immediate use. [ibid]
 As they are never usually eaten plain and thus have the status of a spice. [ibid]
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 13
 It used to be that cinnamon sticks were eaten plain, and it is for this reason that Admur rules in the laws of blessings [Seder Birchas Hanehnin 6:19] that its blessing is “Hadama”. However today since eating the sticks are unheard of, perhaps it has lost its food status and is only considered a spice and thus today may not be cut small even if one will eat them right away. [ibid]
 Admur 504:4; M”A 504:7; Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 13
 As it is never eaten plain and is thus considered a spice. [ibid]
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 14-regarding garlic
 Vetzaruch Iyun as in 318:11 Admur rules that onions
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129:4 footnote 16
 M”B 321:30; Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 16, and Peri Megadim 321 M”Z 10
Sugar cubes do not contain the grinding prohibition as there is no grinding after grinding. It is similar to pieces of salt which have been cooked and turned into solid pieces which do not contain the grinding restrictions. [Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 16, M”B and Peri Megadim 321 M”Z 10.]
 Shevisas Shabbos Tochein 16
 His reasoning is because this rule that grinding does not apply by previously ground items was only said by bread since it is a soft food, however by other items which become hard like sugar the grinding prohibition remains. His proof is from the fact all agree grinding applies by earthenware even though it was previously ground.
The Ketzos Hashulchan 129:3 sides like the Peri Megadim that there is no grinding prohibition by sugar. He negates the source of the Shevisas Shabbos saying the above law by earthenware does not apply by items that have grown on the ground.
 Aside for the Ketzos Hashulchan’s argument that sugar does not contain the grinding prohibition, he further argues that even if it does using a knife to cut it is considered a great irregularity and hence allowed. Thus, in his opinion there is no need to be stringent at all to cut it for right away use, even under the basis that it contains the grinding prohibition.
 Sugar is not considered a spice as it is edible on its own and hence may be cut for right away use. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid]
 Admur 321:8; M”A 321:10; M”B 321:31
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the Grinding prohibition applies towards meat, being the animal feeds off the ground. [brought in M”B 321:31] Some Poskim rule the Biblical Grinding prohibition applies even towards foods that do not grow from the ground. [Shiltei Giborim 32 in Rif; Rivash 184; Nishmas Adam 17:2; brought in Kaf Hachaim 321:52; Chazon Ish 57; Piskiey Teshuvos 321:12] Some Poskim rule a Rabbinical grinding prohibition applies towards foods that do not grow from the ground. [Beis Yosef 340; P”M 321 M”Z 10; Tehila Ledavid 321:7; Iglei Tal Tochein 21; Shut Rebbe Akiva Eigar 21 leaves this matter in question]]
 Admur ibid; Michaber 321:9; Tosafus Shabbos 74
 Admur ibid; M”B 321:31
 See M”A 321:10 and M”B 321:31 that since there are opinions [Tosafus and Rosh] that rule there is no grinding prohibition by foods, therefore we are lenient like the Terumos Hadeshen to say there is no grinding prohibition by foods that don’t grow from the ground.
 Admur 321:8; M”A 321:12; M”B 321:36
 Admur ibid; See M”A 321:10
 Admur 321:9
 Lit. well. Meaning that the thought does not disgust them.
 Ketzos Hashulchan 131:3; Biur Halacha 324:7 “Veayin Leil”
 As concludes Admur in next Halacha 321:10 [brought in C]; So rules M”B 321:33; Biur Halacha 321:9 “Veinan”; Ketzos Hashulchan 131:3
Other opinions: Some Poskim leave this matter in question. [P”M 321, brought in Biur Halahca ibid]
 Biur Halacha 324:7 “Veayin Leil”; Ketzos Hashulchan 131 footnote 12
 Admur 321:9
 Lit. importance
 Halacha 8
 Halacha 9
 Admur 321:10
 Lit. complete food
 Admur ibid; Michaber 321:12
 See M”A; Biur Halacha 321:12 “Lifnei Zekeinim”
 Admur 321:12; Rama 321:8 as expalined in M”B 321:30 and Olas Shabbos
 Admur ibid; Rama 321:12; Rashba 4:75; Ran 32b
 Admur ibid; Beis Yosef; M”B 321:43
 Admur ibid; M”A 321:15; M”B 321:44
 Admur ibid; M”A ibid; M”B 321:44
The reason one may use a knife for this purpose even though one may nopt use a vessel for Borer: This is because a knife is considered Derech Achila regarding cutting, just as using the hands is cosndiered Derech Achila regarding Boroer. [Biur Halacha 321:12 “Midi Dihavei”]
 See Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 3 which learns that the same laws which apply to allow one to do Borer apply here as well, as by both cases the permission is based on that it is done in the way of eating. Thus to grate vegetables using a designated vessel for grating would contain a Biblical prohibition according to all, just as is the law by Borer.
 M”A 321:15 In name of Shiltei Giborim; M”B 321:45
 Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Beis Yosef; M”B 321:45
 Admur 321:10
 Admur 321:10 and 12
 Beis Yosef 321; Biur Halacha 321:12 “Hamechateich”; SSH”K ; Shabbos Kehalacha 21:23
 See Shabbos Kehalacha 21:23 footnote 57
 Az Nidbaru 12:22
 Yireim brought in Biur Halacha 321 “Hamichateich”
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 2
 So rules Tzemach Tzedek in Mishnayis Shabbos
 Igros Moshe 4:74-Tochein 3; Minchas Shlomo 91:13; and so rules plainly Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:4
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 5; M”B 321:45
 This means one did so despite having knowledge of the prohibition.
 Based on the general rule of Meizid by Dirabanan on Shabbos as brought in 339:7; Mishneh Terumos 2:3
 Just as is the rule with all Shabbos transgressions which are done intentionally. [See “Laws of Cooking” Chapter 2].
 Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 5; Aruch Hashulchan 321:9; Shevisas Hashabbos Tochein 5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:14
The reason: The reason for this is because a) there are opinions [Rambam] which hold that the Biblical grinding prohibition only applies if one plans to cook the grinded food. And b) Since here one is allowed to cut thinly prior to the meal, there is no worry that if we allow the inadvertent sinner to eat the food then people will do it advertently and say that it was inadvertent, as they could simply do it near the meal. [Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 5]
 Chayeh Adam 17:2; M”B 321:45; Levushei Mordechai Telisa 167
 Admur 321:8; Michaber 321:10; Rivash
 Admur ibid; Mishneh Shabbos 122b; M”A 321:12; M”B 321:36
 Admur 321:8; Michaber 321:10; Rivash 184; M”B 321:30 regarding cooked salt
 Biur Halacha 321:12 “Lifarer”; Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 17; Iglei Tal; Shevisas Hashabbos Tochein 15; See Shabbos Kehalacha 21 Biurim 24
 Admur ibid; M”B 321:36
 Admur ibid; M”A 321:12; Rivash ibid; M”B 321:36
 Rivash 184; Ketzos Hashulchan 129 footnote 6 [see also footnote 3 and 4]; M”B 321:45; Biur Halacha “Midei Dehavei”
The reason: It is Biblically forbidden to use any grinding designated vessel for foods which have a grinding prohibition, even if done to eat right away, as using such vessels is not the way of eating but rather the way of working. This is in addition to it being due a mundane act. [ibid]
 Admur ibid; M”A ibid; M”B ibid
 Halacha 8
 SSH”K 6:2
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:13; Shabbos Kehalacha 321:17
 M”B 321:45; Biur Halacha 321:12 “Midi Dihavei”; SSH”K 6:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:13; Shabbos Kehalacha 21:17
 The reason: This is due to Uvdin Dechol, and if one uses it with foods that have a grinding prohibition, then it is likewise forbidden due to grinding, even if done in proximity to the meal, being that also Borer is forbidden when done with a vessel that is designated for this purpose, even if done in proximity to the meal. [M”B and Biur Halacha ibid]
 Aruch Hashulchan 321:9; Igros Moshe 4:74-1; See Shabbos Kehalacha ibid footnote 50
 Igros Moshe 4:74-4; Koveitz Mibeis Levi 8:16; SSH”K 6:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:13; Shabbos Kehalacha 321:20
 Beir Moshe 1:38; Mishneh Halachos 5:53
 SHH”K 6:11
 Beir Moshe 1:38; Mishneh Halachos 5:53
 Igros Moshe 4:74-4
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 321 footnote 142
 Igros Moshe 4:74-4
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 321 footnote 142
 See Igros Moshe 4:74-4; Koveitz Mibeis Levi 8:16; SSH”K 6:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 321:13; Shabbos Kehalacha 321:20
 Beir Moshe 1:38; Mishneh Halachos 5:53
 Admur 314:16
BUT it is forbidden to feed on Shabbos animals that one is not responsible for, so why there is a discussion about preparing the meat for the birds?!
Who says the Halacha is talking about un-owned birds. Establish bit to refer to one’s pet or farm birds which he may and must feed on Shabbos.