shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Terumah

I am supposed to separate mixtures with my hands.  Does that mean I cannot remove food from a mixture with a fork?

In the last sheet we mentioned that in order to separate foods or to separate waste [1] from food on Shabbos one must comply with three rules namely: separate by hand; separate immediately prior to eating; separate the items you need from amongst the items not required 'Ochel B'Yad M'Yad'.

The requirement of removing by hand is to ensure that the separation shall be called 'Derech Achila'  and not 'Derech Brerah'. Since optimally one separates food and waste with a k’li, using one’s hand (in conjunction with the other two conditions) negates that feature because one eats with one’s hand.

Twice the Mishna Berura [2] states that a spoon is a k’li and may not be used to separate and in another [3] states that one may use a spoon. The solution is that where the spoon enhances separation it is called a k’li and when it does not and is merely being used as an extension of one’s hand, it is permitted.

For example, the M”B states that it is forbidden to use a spoon to remove cream floating on top of the milk. Clearly by using a spoon one is able to remove cream more deftly than with one’s hand, therefore it is categorized as a k’li. On the other hand removing a solid item from a liquid will not make a difference whether it is removed with one’s hand or with a fork. [4]

Incidentally, a fairly large piece of chicken in a soup is not called a mixture [5] because each item is clearly distinct and not ‘mixed’ with the other. As such the chicken may be removed for later, or if one wants the soup and not the chicken, the chicken may be removed. If however there are vegetables in the soup then the chicken is ‘mixed’ with the vegetables and the laws of borer apply. Nevertheless one may use a fork or a spoon to remove the chicken from the vegetables because the spoon does not improve separation.

Therefore we say that a k’li is defined as any instrument that separates items in a more advantageous manner than one’s hands.

Which keilim are forbidden?

Strainers, sifters, apple corers, olive pitters [6] are all keilim used for separating and are forbidden for use on Shabbos.

My teapot has a strainer built into its spout; may I use the teapot on Shabbos?

First we must explain that when the tea is clear and the tea leaves are lying on the bottom of the teapot one may pour to one’s heart's content, because one is not separating anything. When the tealeaves are circling the tea or when the tea is nearly finished, the strainer will allow the tea to pass through but not the leaves.

Initially we would say that such a teapot is forbidden for use on Shabbos being that it is a special k’li used for straining. In fact there is a se’if in the Shulchan Aruch [7] that says that one may not wedge straw and splinters into the k’li used for removing wine from a barrel because it is a perfect k’li.

However, the Chazon Ish [8] states that one may use the teapot because it is not similar to using a sifter and is similar to using one’s hand which is permitted when removing the food from the waste prior to consumption.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach also [9] states that the use is permitted and explains that ideally the melacha of Borer is meant for later - for storage, but a k’li, which is primarily used for separating food immediately prior to consumption negates the purpose of Borer and is also called ??? ?????, similar to separating with one’s hands and is permitted. In addition he permits the placing of rice inside a saltshaker. Ordinarily we would say that it is considered separating the salt from the rice with a k’li, but since it is a k‘li that separates for immediate use, it is permitted. [10]

Is one permitted to use the lid of a pot to strain the soup?

A useful and simple method for separating the vegetables from a soup is to open the lid of a pot a crack and pour the soup through the gap. Rav Moshe Feinstein [11] states that one must avoid this, being that it is the same as separating with a k’li. However Rav Shlomo Zalman, although he at first said [12] that holding a spoon adjacent to the side of a pot and separating is similar to using a k’li, he later thought [13] that it is no different from using a k’li that is primarily used for separating immediately prior to eating.

[1] The word ‘waste’ is a substitute for the word ?????. We could not find a more suitable word.

[2] Simon 319:55,62.

[3] Simon 319:66.

[4] Rav Sternbuch pointed out that some poskim disagree with this M”B. I found Rav Shlomo Zalman also saying that when removing the cream and eating it right away it is permitted, see the SS”K 3 footnote 130. Rav Sternbuch concludes that a rav should be asked as to the correct conduct.

[5] SS”K 3 footnote 127.

[6] Even though some of the olive is removed with the pit and some of the apple is removed with the core, nevertheless it is a k’li specifically used for removing p’soles and may not be used on Shabbos.

[7] Simon 319:13.

[8] ??' ?"? ?"? "?? ?????".

[9] SS”K 3 footnote 125.

[10] SS”K vol. III (??????? ????????) footnote 125. Although the holes of the saltshaker are not there in order to separate between the rice and the salt, nevertheless the holes consciously perform that function.

[11] ??"? ??"? ?"? ???? ??? ?' ??'.

[12] SS”K 3 footnote 159.

[13] ??????? ???????? ???? ??"?.

Food For Thought

When eating boney fish, am I permitted to remove the bones from the fish?

Does it make a difference whether the fish is intended for a child?

Are there any special halachos to be complied with when eating watermelon?

If I mistakenly separated food contrary to the halacha am I permitted to eat it?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Midrash says, 'Ki Lekach Tov Nasati Lachem', Hashem says that although I gave you the Torah I cannot depart from it, and therefore wherever you take it, please take Me with you.


Rav Shalom Shwadron Ztz”l says that we have an opportunity to make the package deal of our lives. Not only can we bring the Torah into our lives and into our homes, we can also bring Hashem Yisborach himself. We all have the ability to materialize this incredible idea, b’hatzlacha.

For a printed version, click here.


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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.