< Lesson 9: Making Guacamole for Shabbos

Lesson 10: Making Egg Salad and Tuna Salad on Shabbos

It is a time-honored tradition to have egg salad, or eir mit tzvibel (eggs with onions), on Shabbos (Shabbat). The symbolism of this is that when the Jews were in the desert, and the man (manna) fell before Shabbos, for them to eat on Shabbos, it tasted like any food other than a few, one of which was onions. Therefore we want to incorporate even onions in our Shabbos meal, to show our extra enjoyment on Shabbos. The reason for eating eggs is because Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) died on Shabbos, and eggs are associated with mourning.

In many Jewish homes, it is traditional to make the mixture on Shabbos, and some even go so far as to make it at the table during the meal. We will discuss the potential halachic (Jewish law-related) issues involved.

The great rabbis have told us that if this is a family tradition, one should definitely do it. But if not, it is preferable to prepare the egg salad before Shabbos, in order to avoid potential halachic concerns.

Let’s first make it the way you would on a regular weekday, and discuss the issues as we’re doing it. Afterwards, we’ll make it again the way it should be done on Shabbos.

Making Your Egg or Tuna Salad Before Shabbos

  1. Peeling the Egg
    • First we’ll peel an egg.
      • We learned in the previous lessons that peeling eggs, fruits, or vegetables, and shelling nuts, can only be done right before the time you are going to eat them. So when making this on Shabbos, you will have to think about the time that you are going to make them.
      • The egg shells are muktzeh – meaning something that may not be handled on Shabbos because it doesn’t serve a function. So on Shabbos, you’d do it directly into the garbage pail, rather than onto the counter, or another way, which we will talk about later on.
  2. Mashing the Eggs
    • Now we will mash the eggs with a potato masher.
      • Mashing the eggs is not a problem as the melachah (type of work prohibited on Shabbos) of grinding only applies to things that grow from the ground.
      • However, although eggs do not have a problem of the melachah of tochen (grinding) since they don’t grow from the ground, using a potato masher would still be a problem on Shabbos, because one is not allowed to use a device designated for mashing.
  3. Dicing Onions
    • During the week, we can dice the onions as large or small as we want.
      • On Shabbos, however, it’s prohibited under the prohibition of grinding (see previous video). Therefore, we’d need to make the pieces larger than normal.
  4. Adding Mayonnaise or Oil
    • We will now add oil to our eggs, and mayonnaise to our tuna.
      • On Shabbos, there is a prohibition of losh (kneading) – mixing a liquid with a solid to combine them into one mass.
      • If we have eggs that are chopped very finely, and mix it with mayonnaise, it will hold together very well in one mass, which would be a problem of kneading. And with the oil, it would be the same story. I don’t really add so much that it binds, so I don’t think it would be a problem, but in the next video, we’ll see how to do it.
      • Now, when I add mayonnaise to the tuna, and mix it together, I will have the same issue – the tuna is being held together in one mass by the mayonnaise.
  5. Adding salt and pepper
    • During the week, we can use a pepper grinder.
      • On Shabbos, this would be prohibited under the prohibition of grinding.
  6. Our egg and tuna salad are now ready!

Making Your Egg or Tuna Salad on Shabbos

Now we’ll show how to do it on Shabbos, if you haven’t done so before Shabbos.

  1. Peeling the Egg
    • First we’ll peel an egg.
      • As mentioned previously, any time you want to peel eggs, fruits, vegetables, or nuts on Shabbos, it must be done right before the time that you will eat, known as samuch l’seudah. You should not make your egg salad before you go to shul (synagogue). Rather, wait till after you come home and you are setting the table and getting ready for the meal.
      • Again, egg shells are muktzeh and may not be handled on Shabbos once put down, so you have two options: a. Either peel the eggs directly over the garbage can, so you don’t have to deal with the shells at all, or b. peel them onto your cutting board, then use a knife to push the shells into the garbage. This is called tiltul kil’achar yad (not moving it directly with your hands).
  2. Mashing the Eggs
    • Now we will mash the eggs.
      • As we discussed, a potato masher may not be used on Shabbos. We will therefore mash the eggs with a fork, and make sure the pieces are larger and not mashed quite as well.
  3. Dicing Onions
    • As we said, we are not supposed to do something similar to tochen (grinding), so on Shabbos we will cut the pieces of onion a little bigger than during week.
  4. Adding Mayonnaise or Oil
    • Now we want to add either oil or mayonnaise to the mixture. As we said, that can be prohibited because it’s similar to losh (kneading).
      • If the egg salad is chopped into larger pieces, we can add oil to it and mix it in the same motion as we would during the week, as it’s not creating one mass.
    • Tuna: I, following Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, do not open cans on Shabbos. I would open them before Shabbos, so that now, on Shabbos, the tuna is already in a bowl. Not all rabbis agree – you can ask your own rabbi about opening cans on Shabbos.
      • If we add mayonnaise now to the tuna, and mix it together, it will definitely form one mass. So rather than mixing it like we did with the egg salad, in a regular circular motion, we would mix it in a crisscross motion, and pick it up in between each stroke, going back and forth till we are done. The mixture will obviously not be as fine as when mixed in the normal fashion.
  5. Adding Salt and Pepper
    • Add the salt.
      • Again, we may not use a pepper grinder on Shabbos. Instead, use pre-ground pepper.
      • When mixing the spices into the tuna, again, make sure to do it in a crisscross fashion.
  6. Our egg and tuna salad are now ready!

Lesson 11: Making Salad on Shabbos >

Rabbi Pinchus Rappaport is a respected rabbi who received his Rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva of Staten Island, under the tutelage of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. He currently serves as a rabbi in Brooklyn, NY.

Since halachic opinions vary among the rabbis of different communities, Oorah and Rabbi Rappaport encourage you to direct any questions to, and get halachic guidance from, your local Orthodox rabbi. You may, however, rely on this video and email Rabbi Rappaport with questions in the interim, at askrpr2@gmail.com.

Shared as a zechus l’iluy nishmas Moshe Zeev ben Aryeh Leib

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