Yom Tov Activities: D-F


Replacing Doors

You may not replace a door on its hinges and you may not replace a sliding door onto its track on Jewish festivals.

REASON: This is due to the melacha of boneh (building).


Turning Off Electrical Devices

You may not turn off or disconnect an operating electrical device (such as an alarm, appliance, light, oven, or any machinery) on Jewish festivals, even using a shinui and even if the noise will prevent you from sleeping. You may ask a non-Jew to turn it off, but you may not ask a Jew, not even a child below bar/bat mitzva age.

NOTE: If the device catches on fire, you may call the fire department or unplug it. However, there must be an actual danger or actual fire in order for you to disconnect it yourself.  You may not disconnect the device if there is only a chance that it will catch fire, unless an indirect means (grama) is possible (in which case, it would be permissible; consult a rabbi).

Electric Eyes

On Jewish festivals, when walking into the path of an electric eye:

You may walk into one that prevents a door from closing.

You may not walk into one that causes the door to open.


Riding Elevators

You may ride an elevator on Jewish festivals if:

The elevator stops at all floors, or

A non-Jew pushes the button in order to ride the elevator himself.  But:

You may only get off on the floor he or she has stopped at (he or she may not push a button for a different floor for you).

You must enter the elevator while the door is already opened but has not yet begun to close (since your presence keeps the door open but does not cause it to open).

NOTE: You may not ride an elevator at all if a Jew pushes the button to any floor.

Riding Escalators

You may ride escalators on Jewish festivals if they run constantly and are not controlled by a foot treadle or an electric eye.



You may not exercise on Jewish festivals to strengthen your body. You may exercise on Jewish festivals for enjoyment, for socializing, or other fun purposes if:

No melacha is involved, and

It does not appear to be for healing (refu'a) or health purposes.

EXAMPLE: You may run on Jewish festivals if you like to run. You may not run on Jewish festivals if you don't like running but would do it to lose weight or to get in shape.


You may swing and fly on a trapeze on Jewish festivals.

Roller Blading

You may roller blade on Jewish festivals.


You may not swim on Jewish festivals.


You may change weights on barbells or on a completely mechanical (no electrical parts; no timers or indicators) weight machine on Jewish festivals but only for enjoyment, not for exercise.


You may stretch on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat) to make yourself more comfortable but not if it appears that you are doing it as exercise for health.


Moving a Fan

You may pick up and move a fan on Jewish festivals if you need it elsewhere.

NOTE: You may not plug in the fan or unplug it on Jewish festivals.


Turning On Flashlight

You may not turn a flashlight on or off after sunset at the beginning a Jewish festival (until the holiday is over).

Flashlight On before Festival

If you turn on a flashlight before a Jewish festival starts, you may carry the flashlight with you if you need the light.


Introduction to Jewish Festivals and Food Preparation

Food preparation forbidden on Jewish festivals includes these forbidden melachot:

Preparing soil for planting (choreish)

Causing plants to grow (zorei'a)

Harvesting (kotzeir)

Gathering (mi'ameir)

Threshing (dash; such as milking a cow into clean container or squeezing juice for drinking)

Winnowing (zoreh)

Selecting (boreir) (for exceptions, see Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Selecting/Boreir)

Grinding (tochein) (Grinding may be OK with a shinu'i; ask a rabbi for specific cases)

Sifting (merakeid).

However, you may do all food preparation necessary for baking or cooking food for that day--from kneading dough (kneading, or lash) to cooking and baking (ofeh) from an existing flame.

NOTE: You may not use electric appliances to knead dough and you may not turn on an electric oven.

Checking Product for Bugs on Jewish Festivals

You may check produce for bugs on Jewish festivals.  You may remove the bug but not by hand.

EXAMPLE: You may rinse a bug off produce.

NOTE: You may not kill bugs on Jewish festivals (or Shabbat). To do something that is certain to kill the bug is forbidden; if might not kill the bug, it is OK.

Cooking from an Existing Flame

You may cook food on all Jewish festivals (except Yom Kippur or when they coincide with Shabbat) as long as the fire, oven, or other cooking appliance:

Has been on since before the Jewish festival began, OR

Is lit during the Jewish festival from an existing flame, such as from a pilot light or yahrzeit candle lit before the Jewish festival began.

Asking Non-Jew To Turn on a Stove or Oven

You may directly ask a non-Jew to turn on a stove or oven for you.

NOTE: Be careful about bishul akum problems if a non-Jew will then be cooking food for Jews on that stove or oven.

Digital-Display Ovens and Stoves on Jewish Festivals

You may not adjust digital-display ovens and stoves (and also refrigerators or other electronic devices) on Jewish festivals unless they were designed for Jewish festival use.

Raising Flames/Heat

On Jewish festivals, you may adjust (analog-only) temperature controls of gas and electric stoves and ovens UP when the heating element is ON, as verified by an indicator light or some other means.

Lowering Flames/Heat

On Jewish festivals, you may adjust (analog-only) temperature controls of gas and electric stoves and ovens DOWN but ONLY to prevent the food's getting overcooked or burnt (not for convenience or to save money). One permitted way to lower a burner temperature is to put a pot of water on the burner and lower the flame so the water does not boil away (but you must use some of the heated water during the holiday!).

NOTE: For an electric stove or oven, you may only adjust the temperature DOWN when the heating element is OFF, as shown by an indicator light.

NOTE: An analog control used on Jewish festivals must allow continuous changes to the temperature:  if an analog control has discreet settings, it may not be used on Jewish festivals!

Cooking on First Day for Second Day

You may not cook on the first day of a Jewish festival for the second day. But you may cook enough food for both days in the same pot, even l'chatchila (but not bein ha'shmashot). You must eat at least a normal-sized portion before sunset on the first Jewish festival day.

Personal Eruv Tavshilin

One person per household should make an eruv tavshilin in order to allow cooking on a Jewish festival for the next day, if the next day is Shabbat.  The person sets aside something cooked and something baked and says a formula (which can be found in most siddurs).

NOTE: An eruv tavshilin made by one person covers everyone in that household, including guests staying over for that Jewish festival--even if he or she did not intend it to cover anyone else.

Eating Eruv Tavshilin Food

You are not required to eat food set aside for an eruv tavshilin, but the custom is to eat it for se'uda shlishit.

Rabbi's Eruv Tavshilin

If you forgot to make an eruv tavshilin, you may rely on the eruv tavshilin said by the local rabbi only once in your lifetime.

Making Ice Cubes

You may fill an ice cube tray on Jewish festivals if you intend to use the ice cubes on the same day.

How Finely You May Grind

You may not grind, grate, or even finely chop or dice food on Jewish festivals. You may not use a garlic press on Jewish festivals.

The minimum size before violating the melacha of tochein varies by the type of food. The resulting pieces must be somewhat larger than the size you would normally use.

Salting Food

You may not salt certain foods, whether cooked or raw, on Jewish festivals if the:

Foods have a shell, such as corn kernels (on or off of the cob), beans, peas;

Salt has not been heated previously (such as during salt processing) and the food you are salting is hot (over 120° F, or 49° C); or

Salt will materially change the flavor of the food, especially if it causes a chemical change, as when salting cut or chopped onions or salting tomatoes.

NOTE: You may dip the tomato or other food into salt using your hand as long as you eat the food immediately afterwards.

NOTE: If the food has oil in it, you may add salt even if the food contains onions or has a shell.

NOTE: Even a thin layer of oil will exempt the salt.

NOTE: You may pour salt into a liquid or a liquid onto salt, but you may not make a saturated salt solution on Jewish festivals.


Issues of boreir are almost always d'oraita, not d'rabanan, and therefore we are stringent in applying restrictions concerning boreir.

Unlike on Shabbat (when you must remove some good along with the bad so as not to violate the melacha of boreir), on Jewish festivals you may remove the bad from the good if it is easier to take the undesired food from the desired food.

Desired from Undesired

You may select desired food from undesired (or inedible) substances if you follow these two rules:

  1. Cannot Use Specialized Separating Utensil

Don't use a utensil--such as a slotted spoon, peeler, or sieve--that is specialized for separating:

Food from other food, or

Food from other substances.

NOTE: You may remove dirt from a carrot's surface by scraping the peel with a knife (a tool not specialized for separating food), but not by using a peeler.

EXCEPTION: As on Shabbat, an action necessary to eat a food normally (derech achila) does not violate the prohibition of boreir. So you may peel a food that is normally separated from its peel or shell in order to be eaten, as long as you do not use a specialized instrument to do so.


You may peel an orange by hand, with or without a knife.

You may remove the shells from peanuts by hand.

You may remove the shell from a hard-boiled egg by hand.

  1. Do This Shortly before You Eat the Food

Prepare the food soon before it will be eaten.

NOTE: You may prepare the food as much in advance as you would normally prepare a meal which you will eat--even as much as several hours.


On Jewish festivals, you may:

Remove fish bones from fish while you are eating the fish or just before eating it.

Cut open a melon such as a cantaloupe and remove any seeds normally.

Separating Good Food from Bad in Your Mouth

You may separate food inside your mouth while eating, even if you remove the bad from the good, on Jewish festivals (it is not boreir.)

Salt Shaker with Rice

You may not, due to boreir, use a salt shaker into which rice has been added (in order to keep the salt dry).

Lemon Seeds

You may remove lemon seeds (pits) from food, such as after you have squeezed out some lemon juice, but not with a specialized utensil such as a sieve or slotted spoon.

Washing-Draining Food

You may wash and drain olives and other canned fruits and vegetables on Jewish festivals (it is not boreir unless the food in the can is dirty).

Dropping Unwanted Food

When you have food mixed with non-desired substances, you may remove the non-desired ones by picking up the entire mixture and letting the non-desired elements fall away.

Challa Not Separated before Festival

On Jewish festivals, you may not separate challa from loaves baked before the festival, as follows:

In Eretz Yisrael, you may not eat bread from which challa was not separated if required (for more details, see Separating the Challa Portion and Challa Separation) until after the Jewish festival ends and you have separated the challa.

Outside Eretz Yisrael, you may:

Leave one loaf until after the Jewish festival,

Eat as much as you want of the remaining loaves, and then

Separate the challa from the loaf after havdala.

NOTE: If the bread was baked on a Jewish festival, you may separate challa on the Jewish festival.

NOTE: This is true even for loaves that came from dough of more than 2.5 lbs of flour.

Squeezing a Lemon

As on Shabbat, on Jewish festivals you may squeeze a lemon (or other fruit) onto solid food—or mostly solid, even wet, food--that you will eat right away, but not into a container or into a liquid.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their website for more information.