Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah Content Editor at the Orthodox Union. He is the author of five books, including The Tzniyus Book. His latest work, The Taryag Companion, is available from OU Press as well as on Amazon.

Melacha #14 – Menapeitz (Combing)

June 10, 2015, by

After shearing the wool off of the sheep and scrubbing it clean, the wool had to be combed to untangle it. This is the melacha of menapeitz. Menapeitz applies to any material that can be processed into a textile-like form, whether it’s wool, cotton, polyester or even straw. However, it only applies to hair or […]

Melacha #13 – Melabein (Laundering)

May 29, 2015, by

So, here we have wool that has been shorn off the sheep and we are ready to turn it into cloth. Wool is pretty filthy at this point, so the first step in the process is to clean it. The wool has to be scrubbed in water, and then bleached to purify it of debris. […]

Melacha #12 – Gozeiz (Shearing)

April 29, 2015, by

The first eleven melachot were agricultural in nature, relating to the production of dyes (and/or the lechem hapanim). The next thirteen melachot were those involved in making the curtains and coverings of the Mishkan. The first step in the production of cloth is gozeiz, shearing the sheep. The melacha of gozeiz entails more than just shearing […]

Melacha #11: Ofeh/Bishul (Baking/Cooking)

February 10, 2015, by

As noted earlier, the first eleven melachot are collectively referred to a “sidurah d’pas,” the order of bread. Accordingly, the eleventh melacha listed in the mishna (Shabbos 4:2) is ofeh (baking), the final step in making bread. However, while the show bread was used in the Mishkan, it was not a part of its construction. In […]

Melacha #10: Losh (Kneading)

December 26, 2014, by

After sifting, the flour was mixed with water to make dough. The combination of a liquid with solid particles to form a paste-like consistency (or firmer) is the melacha of losh. Losh includes both the initial introduction of liquid to these particles as well as the subsequent mixing. According to losh, one may not prepare […]

Melacha #9: Merakeid (Sifting)

October 23, 2014, by

After the grain was ground into flour, it was sifted to remove any kernels that might not have been sufficiently pulverized. The melacha of merakeid involves passing something through a sifter of some kind to remove an undesirable element. A practical example of merakeid: some people keep a few grains of rice in their salt […]

Hoshanos

September 29, 2014, by

Hoshanos are the prayers recited when the congregation forms a processional with lulav and esrog in hand. The name comes from the refrain of “hosha na,” meaning “please save.” This processional is based upon what was done in the Temple. The mishna in Succah (4:5) describes how on each day of Succos, the kohanim (priests) […]

Tu b’Av: The Kosher Alternative to Valentine’s Day

August 6, 2014, by

Before we discuss Tu b’Av, let us first examine why Orthodox Jews do not observe Valentine’s Day. After all, it’s a day dedicated to love – isn’t that a good thing? A Catholic Holiday? For starters, the full name of the holiday is “Saint Valentine’s Day.” You are probably familiar with St. Patrick’s Day. Similarly, […]

Melacha #8: Tochein (Grinding)

May 15, 2014, by

After the impurities were removed from the grain, it was ground to make flour. The melacha of tochein (grinding) involves breaking something down into smaller pieces, thereby making it useful for a new purpose. For example, while slicing vegetables is permitted on Shabbos, dicing them into small pieces may violate the melacha of tochein. Tochein […]