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Lesson 9: Making Guacamole for Shabbos

In Lesson 9 in the Shabbos (Shabbat) Kitchen series, Rabbi Rappaport shows why it’s halachically preferable to make guacamole or avocado dip before Shabbos, and what would be the halachically preferable way to make it on Shabbos if you did not do so.

There are a number of potential halachic issues that are involved in making guacamole on Shabbos:
  • Peeling the eggs
  • Mashing the avocado
  • Dicing the jalapeno
  • Squeezing lime
  • Grinding salt and pepper

Some of the above cannot be done on Shabbos, and some are questionable.

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 Guacamole Before Shabbos

  1. Avocado
    • First we’re going to open up the avocado, remove the pit, and take out the avocado from the peel.
    • Now we’re going to mash it with a fork.
      • It’s questionable if this action is considered grinding – one of the melachot (types of work) prohibited on Shabbos.
  2. Egg
    • Now we’ll peel an egg.
      • This is something that should only be done right before you are going to eat it, because of the melachah of borer (taking the bad from the good).
    • Next we’ll mash the egg.
      • Mashing the egg is not a problem as the melachah of grinding only applies to things that grow from the ground.
      • Another potential problem on Shabbos would be using a potato masher – an instrument used exclusively for grinding/mashing. This may not be done on Shabbos.
  3. Lime
    • I’d like to add some lime, and I’ll squeeze it into the avocado mixture.
      • Squeezing a fruit for its juice is something that may not be done on Shabbos, unless it’s being squeezed directly onto a solid food. (You can squeeze lemon onto fish but not directly into a tea which is a liquid.) Avocado is a solid so it would be okay to squeeze it directly into the avocado.
  4. Jalapeno
    • We’re going to cut open the pepper and remove the seeds.
      • If you’d like to have a hot guacamole and you’re adding jalapeno, be sure you don’t take out just the pits, but take some of the vegetable along with it, because one may not take the bad from the good on Shabbos.
    • Then we’ll wash it off and dice it finely.
      • Cutting vegetables into small pieces is a potential problem on Shabbos – we should not cut them into very small pieces.
  5. Spices
    • I will grind in some fresh pepper, using my pepper grinder.
      • A pepper grinder would never be allowed to be used on Shabbos.
    • Now add the salt and other spices.
  6. Our dip is ready!

Making Your Guacamole on Shabbos

We’ll now show how to make the dip on Shabbos, if you haven’t made it previously.

There are four main differences to avoid any halachic issues that we may have had during the week (however, see below for more detail):

  1. We are going to mash the avocado differently to avoid any prohibition of tochen (grinding).
  2. We are going to add the lime to the bowl before we mash the avocado, after we scoop it out, to avoid any problems of lush (kneading on Shabbos).
  3. We are not going to dice the jalapeno into small pieces – we will dice it a little bit larger to avoid something that’s comparable to grinding.
  4. The fourth thing is that we are going to make it samuch l’seudah – right before the time you are going to eat it. Any peeling of eggs, shelling nuts, cutting vegetables and fruits, etc. needs to be done right before the meal.

So let’s start!

  1. Cutting open the avocado can be done the same way it’s done during the week. Take it out of its peel, and scoop the fruit out of the avocado. The avocado is now in slices, but not mashed yet.
  2. Now, before we mash the avocado, we are going to take the lime, and squeeze it into the avocado. Why are we doing this? Because when you add a liquid to a solid to become one mass, it’s like adding water to flour to make a dough, which is lush (kneading), and we don’t want to do anything similar to kneading, so we add the liquid while there are still big pieces.
  3. Now we are up to mashing the avocado.
    • Definitely, you’re not allowed to use a potato masher or grinder or anything that’s used specifically for grinding or similar acts on Shabbos.
    • During the week we would mash it with a fork. However, since there’s a question of whether mashing the avocado is similar to taking wheat and grinding it into flour, instead of doing that, we’re going to mash it with a shinui (a change, not the usual manner), with the handle of the fork. It’s not the normal way it’s done. It will accomplish the job pretty well, but not in as finely and not in the typical way.
  4. When we add the jalapeno, we want to make sure:
    • we cut away the good from the bad, and not take the bad from the good (unless you take along some of the actual vegetable).
    • If you want very small pieces, make sure to do it before Shabbos to avoid an act similar to grinding. Now we will cut them slightly larger.
  5. The peeling of the eggs should be done right before the meal in which you are going to use them, so you don’t run into an issue of removing the shell, which is not edible, from the edible part.
  6. Now we will add the yolk to the dip, and again mash it with the handle of the fork. Egg doesn’t grow from the ground, and therefore doesn’t have a prohibition of grinding, so if we just had egg, we can do it in the normal manner. However, since there is also avocado in there, we will do it with the handle of the fork.
  7. Now we want to add spices. On weekday, we can use the pepper grinder, but on Shabbos that is prohibited – it’s real grinding! – so we will use ready ground pepper, then add the salt, cilantro, and garlic, and mix it all together with the handle of the fork.
  8. Now we have our ready guacamole, prepared in a manner that is halachically permissible on Shabbos!

Lesson 10: Making Egg Salad and Tuna 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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