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Losh was done in the mishkan for the production of dyes. The basic definition of the melacha is the
mixture of multiple substances via a liquid agent in order to create a single entity.87

There are two major

86

Mishna Brurah 321:39, 45 and Shemiras Shabbos
Kehilchasa 6:6

87

Shabbos 155b

12

limitations to this general definition. The first of which is the extent to which one must mix the substances
together. According to some poskim, the melacha begins as soon as the liquid comes in contact with the flour,
even before any mixing is done.88

Most pokim however, maintain that the melacha is only technically
transgressed once the water and flour are mixed into some sort of solid mass, which would be classified as one
entity.89

Ultimately, the Mishna Brurah brings down that one should assume like the first, more stringent

opinion.90

A second area of distinction is within understanding the particular materials being mixed together. The
gemara distinguishes between what is known as a Bar Gibul as opposed to a Lav Bar Gibul.91

The basic

distinction between the two is that a bar gibul is something which mixes easily upon addition of liquid, such as
fine powder, flour, or sand, while a lav bar gibul is something that does not.
However, within the very definition of a lav bar gibul, there is a machlokes as to what its halachic status
is. Some suggest that because these substances, such as ash or coarse sand never truly fuse with the substance it
is being mixed with even when water is added and kneading is done, it is therefore not subject to the melacha
altogether.92

Most poskim however, understand that a lav bar gibul is still subject to the melacha of losh, and
therefore in certain circumstances may be dealt with in an even more stringent manner than a bar gibul material,
for it would be culpable simply upon addition of water, without any kneading, considering that the kneading
does not accomplish anything of significance.93

Meleches Bishul (Yaakov Abramovitz)
Definition:
The definition of meleches bishul is the process of altering something with heat. Rashi94
writes that bishul occurs when the object is softened, while Rambam95

maintains that bishul can be done either

by softening or hardening.
Iglei Tal96

infers from Rambam97

that the Av of bishul is only when the change to the object is
permanent (such as baking a cake), but if the change will be undone (such as heating up metal that will
eventually cool back down) then it is only a toldah of bishul.
Presence of fire: The Gemara98

records a machlokes about cooking in the sun (bishul b’chama). Rabbi
Yose maintains that one is chayav for cooking in the sun (just like cooking on a fire), while the Chachamim are
of the opinion that bishul b’chama is patur.
Rashi99

explains the opinion of the Chachamim as follows: bishul b’chama is patur because it is not the

normal way to cook. R’ Moshe100

extrapolates from this Rashi that had bishul b’chama been a normal way of
cooking, it would be no different from cooking on a fire. In other words, bishul min hatorah can be
accomplished even without an actual fire and this is why cooking in a microwave oven is considered bishul

d’oraysa (since it is normal to cook in a microwave oven). However, R’ Shlomo Zalman101

argues that Rashi

meant that, by definition, cooking with anything other than a real fire (such as the sun or a microwave oven) is
not bishul min hatorah.

Ein bishul achar bishul: There is a principle in meleches bishul that something that has already been
cooked cannot be halachically cooked any further (ein bishul achar bishul). There is a debate among the
Rishonim concerning the point at which a food is considered to be “cooked” in this sense. Rashba102

maintains

that once a food has been cooked to the level of ma’achal ben derusai103

it cannot be cooked any further.

88

Ba’al HaTerumos, cited by Mishna Brurah 324:10

89

Rif, Rambam, Rosh, Ramban, and Ran, cited by Shaarei

Tzion 321:57

90

Mishna Brurah 324:11

91

Shabbos, ibid

92

Rambam (Shabbos 8:16). Nonetheless, the Rambam
(Shabbos 21:34) writes that would be a rabbinic concern of
appearing as lishah. Mishnah Brurah 321:50 quotes this.

93

Tosfos, Rosh, Rashba, Raavad, and Ran cited by Shaarei

Tzion 321:60

94

Shabbos 74b s.v. d’mirafei rafi

95

Shabbos 9:6

96

Bishul 9:6

97

Shabbos 9:6

98

Shabbos 39a

99

Shabbos 39a s.v d’shari

100

Vol. 3, Responsa 52

101

Shemiras Shabbos 1 note 12

102

Shabbos 39a s.v. kol sheba bichamin milifnei hashabbos

shorin oso

103

There is a further debate among the Rishonim regarding
what exactly this degree of “cooked” is. Rashi (Shabbos 20a
s.v. ben drusai) writes that it is a third cooked, while Rambam
(Shabbos 9:5) holds that it is half cooked. Shulchan Aruch

13

However, Rambam104

argues that bishul no longer applies only when the food is completely cooked and further
cooking will only worsen the quality of the food (mitztamek vera lo). Shulchan Aruch105

poskens like the

Rambam, but the Biur Halacha106

writes that if the maachal ben drusai food was returned to a covered fire then

b’dieved one can rely on the Rashba and eat it.

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