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Beitzah 13

BEITZAH 11-15 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim, for the benefit of Klal Yisrael


QUESTION: The Gemara says that it is permitted to *peel barley* by the cupfuls in order to remove the seeds on Shabbos. Why is this permitted more than *rolling ears of wheat* in order to remove the kernels, which the Gemara (12b) prohibits doing on Shabbos?

Second, if one may peel the barley on Shabbos, that means that until now it had not yet been brought to the silo, since it is brought to the silo only after it has been peeled from the husks. If so, it has not yet underwent Miru'ach and become Chayav in Ma'aseros. When one peels the seeds of barley on Shabbos into a hand, they should become Chayav in Ma'aseros at that moment, since that is the "Gemar Melachah," the final processing of the barley. Since Ma'aseros cannot be separated on Shabbos, why is one permitted to peel the barley on Shabbos if he will not be able to eat it in any case since he cannot separate Ma'aser from it on Shabbos? The barley should be Muktzah!

Third, why does the Gemara refer to "peeling" barley and "rolling" wheat? What is the difference between peeling and rolling? Both actions remove the outer shell of the item.


(a) TOSFOS (DH v'Im) and TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ explain that there are two different shells around the kernel of wheat. There is a thin shell which lies directly on top of the kernel, and there is a thicker shell which houses the kernel and its peel. When the Gemara (12b) says that one may not roll ears of wheat, it is talking about wheat that is within both coverings, the outer husk and the inner peel, and one wants to roll it in order to remove the outer husk. That is Asur because it is Dishah (mid'Rabanan).

Since the outer covering was separated from the seed before Shabbos, it may have been lying until now in the silo, after Miru'ach, and thus Ma'aser might have already been separated from the barley before Shabbos. Therefore, the barley which the person is peeling on Shabbos has already had Ma'aser separated from it. The seed has only its inner covering, which one is permitted to peel on Shabbos. (Removing the inner covering is not considered Dishah since the inner peel is like the peel of a fruit, the removal of which is does not fit the definition of Dishah. Dishah involves removing the *container* of the produce (such as the outer husk); removing the peel is not removing the "container.")

When the Mishnah says that one who peels ("Mekalef") barley and places it into his hand is Chayav (in Ma'aser), it is referring to barley that was not yet brought to the silo, although its outer covering was already peeled, and thus it was not yet Chayav in Ma'aser.

This also explains why the Mishnah uses the term "peeling" ("Mekalef") -- it is referring to taking off the inner peel, as opposed to the outer husk.

(b) RASHI (DH v'Ochel) explains that "Mekalef" refers to removing barley from its outer covering, not like Tosfos. Why, then, is Mekalef not considered Dishah, while "Molel" is? It could be that Rashi understands that removing the covering by an act of peeling, rather than by crushing the entire item, is not considered Dishah. That is why "Mekalef" is not Dishah, and why the act is called "Mekalef" in contrast to "Molel."

Regarding the problem of Ma'aser, TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ suggests that one separated Ma'aser before Shabbos by taking barley that had already had Miru'ach and separating Ma'aser from that barley for the barley which he intends to peel on Shabbos. The separation of Ma'aser takes effect when he peels the barley on Shabbos (as we find in Kidushin 62a).

OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that "Melilah," or rolling grains in one's fingers in order to remove the chaff, is Asur on Shabbos. (According to RASHI and TOSFOS (DH Keitzad Molel), it is Asur on Shabbos even when done with a Shinuy, and it is Mutar on Yom Tov only with a Shinuy. According to the RIF and ROSH, it is Mutar on Shabbos with a Shinuy, and it is Mutar on Yom Tov even without a Shinuy.)

Is it permitted to remove peas from a pod on Shabbos? That is, does the Halachah of Melilos apply to all types of foods that are contained within a natural shell?

The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 319:8) and ELYAH RABAH (OC 319) write that removing peas from their pod is not considered Dishah, because one could eat the pea while it is inside the shell. Since the shell is edible, it is not similar to Dishah, whereby one removes an inedible part from an edible part.

But what about opening walnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds on Shabbos or Yom Tov? The BA'AL HA'TANYA in his Sidur and the ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN (OC 319:25) indeed prohibit opening nuts on Shabbos. However, the Mishnah (Shabbos 122b, 143a) seems to clearly permit cracking nuts on Shabbos. Why is it permitted if the shell is inedible?

(a) The TAZ (OC 319:4) suggests that if the seeds are loose inside the shell (for example, when one shakes the nut he hears the fruit inside bouncing around), then it is permitted to open them, implying that it is only considered Dishah when one removes the shell of something that was attached to the shell.

The IGLEI TAL (Meleches Dash 15:3), however, questions this from Rashi in Shabbos (95b) who says that milking a goat is called "Mefarek," which is a form of Dishah, even though the milk is not connected to the udders. Indeed, the MAHARIL, cited by the Elyah Rabah (loc. cit.), and the PRI MEGADIM (introduction to OC 320) write the opposite -- if the fruit is attached to the shell, then it is *not* Dishah; only when one removes a fruit that was not naturally attached to its containing shell is it considered Dishah!

(b) The IGLEI TAL (Meleches Dash, 3:2) writes, based on the SEFER HA'TERUMAH, that any item which people normally open at the time that they eat it is not considered Dishah. Only food that is separated from its shell far in advance is considered Dishah. The TZITZ ELIEZER (10:24) writes that in determining whether or not the shell is normally opened at the time of the meal, we follow the main use of the fruit: if most of the time it is opened at the time that it is eaten, then even though there are those who open it in advance (such as food production factories), it is not Dishah. RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN (IGROS MOSHE OC 1:125) gives a similar Heter.

(c) The PRI MEGADIM (ROSH YOSEF in our Sugya) writes that he does not understand the question at all. During a meal, while one is eating, certainly it is permitted to open the shell of a nut, because that is Derech Achilah, the normal manner of eaten the item, and the prohibitions of Borer or Dishah do not prevent a person from eating k'Derech Achilah.

HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH (319:24) permits cracking open nuts for immediate consumption (without explaining why).
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