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 #11 – Ofeh/Bishul (Baking/Cooking)

February 10, 2015, by

As noted earlier, the first eleven melachos 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. […]

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 […]


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 […]

Melacha #7 – Boreir (Sorting)

April 23, 2014, by

As discussed in Mitzvah #32, there are 39 categories of constructive labor called melachos. These are the acts that were performed in the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). These and similar actions are forbidden on Shabbos. Once a week for 39 weeks, we will briefly discuss one of the 39 melachos. In the previous melacha, […]