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An eruv tavshilin for cooking refers to "mixing of [cooked] dishes", whereby one prepares a cooked food prior to a Jewish holiday that will be followed by the Shabbat.

Normally, cooking is allowed on Jewish holidays, but only for consumption on that day, and not for consumption after the holiday. Technically, if such a holiday occurs on Friday, cooking is allowed for the Sabbath, but the rabbis forbade this in order to prevent confusion on other years (when the holiday does not immediately precede the Sabbath) unless this ritual of eruv tavshilin is performed, which would remind the people of the reasons for the exception.

This ritual consists of cooking and baking some food for the Sabbath even before the holiday begins. Then, because the "dishes" or "servings" are "mixed", meaning we have "mixed" the time of preparation between the day prior to the holiday with a food that may be eaten on the day after the holiday (which will be the Shabbat), this thereby allows for cooking to take place on the holiday itself which is not considered a "new" cooking, but rather a continuation of the "mixed" cooking that has already "begun" before the holiday started.

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