3. Making salt water on Shabbos

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3. Making salt water on Shabbos:[1]

A. For pickling foods:[2]

It is forbidden to make heavy salt water [on Shabbos] or other heavily salted liquids[3] in order to place [these liquids] into pickled foods, meaning [to place them in] vegetables or other foods which are pickled to be preserved (even if one plans to eat from them right away[4] in which case he is not troubling himself for only a weekday purpose)

The reason for this is: See above Halacha 2B!


B. For dipping foods into:

Enough for that meal:[5] Even to make salt water or other salted liquids not [in order to use] for pickling, but rather in order to dip ones bread into and to place it into a dish is forbidden to make a lot of it at a time[6], which is defined as making in one time enough for dipping for two meals, rather [one may] only [make] a small amount enough to for dipping for one meal.[7]

Their reason:[8] (is because when one makes a lot [at one time] it appears that he is doing so for pickling)

The condition that it must be made to eat right away:[9] [Furthermore] even when making it for [only] one meal one is only allowed to make it in close proximately to the meal [in which one plans to dip in it], however [it is] not [allowed to be made] from [before] one meal for the need of another meal. [See Q&A]

The reason for this is: because it is forbidden to salt any item which one does not plan to eat right away as explained in Halacha 321/5 [2D].

One who places oil in the dish prior to the salt:[10] [Furthermore] even if one places oil into [the dish] in between the placing of the water and the placing of the salt into it[11] [in which case] the salt will not mix in well with the water and [the oil thus] weakens its strength of being strong salt water, nevertheless it is forbidden.

Salt water made of 2/3rds salt:[12] If one places 2/3rds salt and 1/3rd water or other liquid, then it is forbidden to make even a small amount of it for the purpose of dipping in the upcoming meal. [See Q&A regarding making sugar water]

The reason for this is:[13] being that it appears like one is making the Muryus gravy to pickle fish, as it is common to make Muryus in this way, [thus it is forbidden to make as] it is forbidden to pickle on Shabbos due to the tanning or cooking prohibition as was explained.    


Summary-Making salt water or other salty liquids on Shabbos:[14]

For pickling: Is Rabbinically forbidden to be done for pickling purposes.

For dipping foods: When done for dipping it may only be done if all the following three conditions are met:

A. One does so right before the meal. [See Q&A]


B. One makes just enough to dip for that meal.


C. One has a ratio of salt that is less than 2/3.

These restrictions apply even if one places oil into the dish prior to placing the salt.


According to Admur may one make salt water even much time prior to beginning the upcoming meal?[15]

No. The wording of “from one meal to another meal” written by Admur is not exact, as Admur already stated [above in Halacha 2 C] that it is forbidden to salt anything if one does not plan to eat it right away. Thus, even for the upcoming meal salt water may only be made in close proximity to it.

If one has 100 guests for his Seder meal that falls on Shabbos, may he prepare three liters of salt water on behalf of all 100 guests?[16]

Some Poskim[17] rule it is permitted to do so. Other Poskim[18] rule it is forbidden to do so.

May one make sugar water on Shabbos with two thirds being sugar?[19]

Some Poskim rule it is forbidden. Practically this matter requires further analysis.


Compilation-Salting salad on Shabbos:[20]

All foods which salt helps to change its natural state[21], [such as] to soften[22] it or harden[23] it or remove its bitterness and other [changes] of the like, which includes all foods which are commonly pickled, may only be salted one piece at a time[24], and must be eaten immediately.[25] It is thus forbidden to salt another piece prior to eating the first piece, as doing so delays the eating of the first piece. Amongst foods included in the above category are: radish[26] or onion or garlic[27], beans and lentils[28] that were cooked in their peels, cucumbers, lettuce. Accordingly, it would be forbidden to salt a salad on Shabbos being that doing so transgresses both of the conditions, as it involves salting more than one piece of food at a time and one does not eat the salted food immediately. There is however one method available in which it is permitted to salt a salad on Shabbos, and that is through adding oil or vinegar to the food either before, or immediately after the salting. If one adds oil or vinegar to the food immediately after salting, then it is permitted to salt even many pieces at the same time and they may even be eaten later on, on Shabbos, although one must do so in close proximity to the meal.[29]


[1] Admur 321:3; Michaber 321:2; Shabbos 108b

[2] Admur 321:3; Michaber 321:2; Mishneh Shabbos 108b and Braisa there

[3] Admur ibid; M”A 321:3; M”B 321:8; Smak 281:17

[4] This implies that he plans to only eat some of them and leave some more left soaking in the liquid. So is also evident from the reasoning

[5] See Admur 473:19

[6] Admur ibid; Implication of Michaber ibid; M”A 321:4; Olas Shabbos 321:1; Taz 473:3; Chok Yaakov 473:13; Elya Raba 321 brought in M”B 321:8

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may make as much salt water as he desires. [Tosefes Shabbos, brought in M”B ibid]

[7] Admur ibid; M”A 321:4; Olas Shabbos 321:1; The Mishneh Berurah in 321:11 is not arguing on this ruling; See Ketzos Hashulchan 128 footnote 9 which questions this ruling of the Mishneh Berurah.] Vetzaruch Iyun if this means one can make enough of an amount to last two meals, or if one can only make enough for one meal, although it may be made even prior to the previous meal.

[8] Admur ibid; M”B 321:8

[9] Admur ibid; M”A 321:4 based on Ran; Ben Ish Chaiy Bo 2:19; Kaf Hachaim 321:11

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may make a small amount of salt water even for the need of another meal, so long as one plans to eat from it on Shabbos. [Elyah Raba 321:3 in name of many Rishonim; Nehar Shalom; Mishneh Berurah 321:11; Biur Halacha “Aval; See Ketzos Hashulchan 128 footnote 9 which questions this ruling of the Mishneh Berurah.] 

[10] Admur ibid; M”A 321:4, brought in M”B 321:10

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may that if the oil is placed in prior to placing in the salt, then it is permitted to be made without restriction. [Olas Shabbos; Tosefes Shabbos; Mishneh Berurah 321:10]

[11] Meaning that prior to placing salt into the dish one places oil into it.

[12] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Shabbos ibid

[13] Admur ibid; M”B 321:12 in name of Rambam and Levush

[14] Halacha 3

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 128 footnote 9

[16] See Shabbos Kehalacha 20 Biurim 27; Piskeiy Teshuvos 321 footnote 7

[17] Pnei Shabbos 321:7-3 based on Olas Shabbos 321:1

[18] Toras Shabbos 321:4

[19] Ketzos Hashulchan 128 footnote 10

[20] Admur 321:4; Michaber 321/3-6; Shabbos 108b

[21] Admur ibid Taz ibid

[22] Admur ibid; Taz 321/6

[23] Admur ibid; Rashi ibid

[24] Stam opinion in Admur; Michaber 321/3; Rambam

The reason: The reason for this is because when one salts two pieces together and certainly [when he salts] more [than two pieces] it appears like one is pickling pickled foods [which itself is forbidden due to cooking, or do due it being similar to tanning].

[25] 2nd opinion in Admur ibid; M”A 321/6; Raavan 352; Elya Raba 321/6; Bach; M”B 321/14; based on reason of Rashi behind the prohibition

The reason: According to the 2nd opinion the reason that [the Sages] prohibited to salt a few pieces at the same time is not because it appears like [one is] pickling pickled [foods], but rather is because that until one [finishes] eating the first [piece] the second piece remained in the salt and since the salt benefits it, this is similar to tanning.

[26] Admur ibid; Michaber 321/3; Shabbos ibid; See Shabbos Kehalacha 20 footnote 69 regarding radishes of today which are not very sharp, although he nevertheless concludes to be stringent.

[27] Admur ibid; Taz 321/2; M”B 321/13

[28] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Tur in name of Rabbeinu Peretz

[29] Admur ibid; Taz 321/1; M”A 321/6; M”B 321/14; Shiltei Giborim; Rashi ibid; Regarding why pouring vinegar is not considered like pickling-see Shabbos Kehalacha 20 Biurim 11

The reason: Even though salting many pieces together is forbidden [to be done] even to eat right away, nevertheless since [the pieces] do not remain at all alone with the salt, as one immediately pours on it vinegar and other species, it is [therefore] not similar to tanning. [ibid]

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