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Two Very Different Types of Squeezing – Sechita

squeezingBy Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

It is a little known and very confusing fact that there are two different types of Shabbos prohibitions that share the same name. They are two Tolados, sub-categories, of different Malachos. Imagine as if these two prohibitions are cousins with two different sets of parents. The fact that they have developed the same name has led to much error and confusion in Halacha.

There is a food-based Sechita and a laundering-based Sechita.

Schita in regard to food is a subcategory (a Toladah) of the malacha of Dash. The definition of it involves the extraction of liquid from a solid in which it absorbs. Schita is applicable whether it is absorbed in its natural state or even in a food item that later absorbed the liquid.

Three Types of Food Schita

When discussing fruits and vegetables, Schita can be divided into three types:

Olives and Grapes (Biblically forbidden)

Fruits juices and Vegetable juices that are sold commercially (Rabbinically forbidden)

Fruits and Vegetables that are not sold commercially (permitted)

Rabbinic prohibition of Oozed

The Rabbis extended this food based sechita prohibition to also include forbidding use of liquids that naturally seeped out of fruit over Shabbos. The prohibition of this for olives and grapes is complete, for other fruits it is forbidden only if those fruits were purchased for their juice and for items that are not commercially sold the juice that oozed out is permitted.

Three Food Schita Exceptions

1] If the reason why the squeezing is being done is not for the liquid but rather to make the food taste better – then it is permitted

2] Another exception is if the liquid is being squeezed onto solid food to flavor it (See MB 505:5).

3] A third exception is sucking out the liquid with one’s mouth. One should not do this, however, with olives and grapes (See Ramah OC 320:1).

Practical Situations

Lemons may not be squeezed into tea. It may be squeezed onto sugar, however, and then put into tea. Lemons may be squeezed onto fish.

Schita Type Two Laundering Schita & Other Laundering Issues

There is a different type of Schita which has nothing to do with the Dash form of Schita, but rather is a subcategory of laundering.

The Torah prohibition of Schita applies to cloths that are absorbent. Items that do not absorb liquids but do trap liquids between their fibers so that they appear absorbent may be subject to a possible Rabbinic prohibition.

The Rabbis (See SA OC 301:48) also forbade soaking or allowing a fabric to become so thoroughly soaked that one may come to wring it out. This does not apply to paper towels or rags. Nowadays, many poskim say that it doesn’t apply to towels either.

This type of Schita is a subcategory of laundering.

The author can be reached at [email protected]

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