By her loving daughter, Yehudit Atkins
23 Adar 5773 / March 5, 2013
503:1-2 Preparing food on Yom Tov for the next day Hi again! I think the following lesson is a fascinating one, because it gives us an insight into how the Sages were really out for our welfare, in the way they used the authority invested in them by the Torah to legislate halacha. In this lesson we will learn how they looked for ways we could prepare food on Yom Tov and have enough left over for the next day as well.
Let’s first give the halachic background. We have learned that on Yom Tov we are permitted to do melachos needed for food, such as cooking, baking and shechting (slaughtering). Now, all that is true for same-day use. But, am I permitted to prepare food on Yom Tov for use on the next day, if the next day is… a weekday? … a second day of Yom Tov? … the second day of Rosh Hashanah? The most urgent question is: When Yom Tov falls on Friday, how can I prepare food for Shabbos?! (Ed: There is one method for preparing on Yom Tov for Shabbos, using an ‘Eruv Tavshilin’, and that topic will be covered iy”H in MBY 527. Today’s siman will explore other solutions to this dilemma without reliance on the Eruv Tavshilin.) The simple answer to these questions is NO! – halacha does not permit melacha for preparing food on Yom Tov for use after Yom Tov, regardless of what day follows. When the Torah says “…no work may be done on them, except for what must be eaten for any person – only that may be done for you”, it means for what must be eaten on that day only! Moreover, even if the preparations for the next day do not require melacha-activity – e.g. setting the table, washing dishes, making a salad etc. – they are still prohibited to be done on Yom Tov for the following day, because to do so would violate the precept of ‘tircha shelo l’tzorech’ (expending unnecessary effort on Yom Tov.)
So, where does that leave us, especially when the next day is Shabbos – how can one prepare for Shabbos? That is the question our siman comes to address:
The ‘heter’ (permit) of ‘marbeh b’shiurim’ (making larger quantities):
The basic approach is to permit the making of extra quantities of food on Yom Tov than one will actually consume that day; then eat the “leftovers” for the next day! (You see? I told you the Sages were looking out for us!) The details of this siman lie in the specific qualifications the Sages placed on applying this ‘heter’. In short, we may add to the quantity of today’s food portions, provided that:
1) No extra melacha-activity is being done for the extra food, and
2) No extra major ‘tircha’ (effort or exertion) is being done for the extra food. (Note: Minor ‘tircha’, however, is permitted, as we will learn.)
To illustrate, suppose I am cooking up a pot of meat on Yom Tov morning for today’s seudah (meal). To cut up a few more pieces of meat into the pot than I need for today, before putting the pot on the fire, is a minor ‘tircha’, so that is permitted. I am still doing only one melacha-act, i.e. placing a pot-full of food on the fire! However, let’s say that I already put up the pot to cook, and now I want to cut up a few additional pieces into the simmering pot. Here, it would seem that I would not be permitted to add pieces, because each act of dropping a piece into a pot that is on the fire is another melacha-act of cooking. Since these extra pieces are not needed for the today’s seudah, additional melacha-acts are not authorized, right? No, WAIT! – There’s another “loophole” here: What tastes better – a pot with a few pieces of meat cooking in it or a pot filled with meat? The “gourmet” Rabbis say: a full pot! Therefore, dropping extra pieces into the pot, even if it is already cooking on the fire is a melacha-act for TODAY (i.e. to enhance the taste of the meat for today’s meal) and is permitted! [See, I told you the Rabbis are looking out for us!] (Note: This argument does not “hold water” if I was putting up a pot of plain boiled water, since additional water does not enhance the taste of the water already in the pot. Therefore, once the pot is already sitting on the fire, I am not allowed to add more water for the next day. If the pot is not yet on the fire, I can fill up the pot with extra water, because pouring in additional water is considered to be a minor ‘tircha’, not a major one. If the additional water must be drawn from the well, or the like, that would be considered to be a major ‘tircha’ and would not be allowed for the sake of extra water. I know this sounds confusing, but do you get the logic?)
Let’s now take a no-extra-melacha illustration: Suppose I am making a kind of “pancake” (Yid. ‘kremslach’) for today’s meal, which consists of shaping the batter into patties and placing them into a pan and into the oven. Am I permitted to make more than I need for today’s meal, assuming that they are all in the pan when I put them into the oven? NO, because even though no extra melacha-act is being done by making additional patties, the act of shaping the additional patties is considered to be a major (and unnecessary) ‘tircha’.
A few additional FAQ’s concerning the ‘heter’ (permit) of ‘marbeh b’shiurim’
Question: Can I put up an entirely extra pot of food today to have more for the next day?
Answer: It depends. If I know that one pot will suffice for today, and the two pots would be identical, then NO, because one pot doesn’t enhance the other, and thus the extra melacha of putting the other pot on the fire is not justified. However, here’s another “loophole”: Why not prepare the two pots of meat differently from one another – e.g. with different spices or cuisine-tastes? That way, you can eat from both pots for today’s seudah and have the rest of both pots leftover for the next day! (Yay – Sages!)
Question: What if I don’t really need any of the meat for today’s seudah - can I still make a whole pot and “say” that I need it for today? Isn’t that like cheating?
Answer: It sure seems like it, but it is permitted – as long as you make sure to eat something from the pot for today’s seudah. (Note: If the next day is a weekday, you shouldn’t take advantage of this loophole - only if it’s Shabbos or a second day of Yom Tov.) Whatever you do, don’t SAY that you are making more for the next day – that’s not allowed!
Question: Can I make the aforementioned pot of food even after I have finished eating today’s seudah, and just eat a little from the pot, as a “mid-afternoon snack”?
Answer: NO - that loophole is not allowed! The cooking must be done before today’s regular Yom Tov meal; otherwise, it is clearly cheating, even if you do eat some today!
Ed. One last question that is dealt with in this siman is the halacha of ‘b’di-eved’ (lit. “If he did it”), i.e. if someone did prepare more food than he needed for today, in an unauthorized manner, can he use the food on the next day? I think we have enough to learn for today; I don’t want to make more than we can consume, seeing that this already requires significant effort!