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The Melachah Of Tochen (Grinding)

The Daily Halacha Moment - The Melachah Of Tochen 🌾

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


What is the melachah of tochen (Grinding)?


Tochen refers to the process of grinding the grains in order to make flour. Others state that this was needed in order to grind herbs into a powder that was used to produce dyes.

Tochen includes breaking down and reducing an item into small parts whereby it becomes suitable for a new use.[1] Similarly, Tochen applies to edible items such as fruits and vegetables, grain,[2] peppercorns and spices,[3] coffee beans,[4] etc. and non-edible items, such as rocks, wood, and metal.[5]

In order to transgress the melachah of Tochen, one is not limited to only grinding an entity into powder but also larger sizes, such as chopping lumber into woodchips and crushing rocks into gravel. When chopping wood, one must chop enough to be able to cook a small egg (in order to be liable to a Chatat offering).[6] Over the next couple of days we will be discussing the Halachot of tochen in more detail.

Excerpted from R’ Yonatan Nacson’s ‘Laws of Shabbat’, vol. 1 p. 373


[1]. See Rambam 7:5.

[2]. Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 74b.

[3]. Shulchan Aruch 321:7; Mishnah Berurah 321:23.

[4]. Biur Halachah 504:1, “Ve’ein”; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 268; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 381.

[5]. Rambam 7:5 and 8:15; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 3, pp. 379-380.

[6]. See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 248 and Mishnah Berurah 321:45.

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