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 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 kli, using ones hand (in conjunction
with the other two conditions) negates that feature because one eats with
Twice the Mishna Berura states that a spoon is
a kli and may not be used to separate and in another states that one may
use a spoon. The solution is that where the spoon enhances separation it is called a kli
and when it does not and is merely being used as an extension of ones hand, it is
For example, the MB 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 ones hand, therefore
it is categorized as a kli. On the other hand removing a solid item from a
liquid will not make a difference whether it is removed with ones hand or with a
Incidentally, a fairly large piece of chicken
in a soup is not called a mixture 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
Therefore we say that a kli is
defined as any instrument that separates items in a more advantageous manner than
Which keilim are forbidden?
Strainers, sifters, apple corers, olive
pitters 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 ones
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 kli used for
straining. In fact there is a seif in the Shulchan Aruch that says that one may
not wedge straw and splinters into the kli used for removing wine from a
barrel because it is a perfect kli.
However, the Chazon Ish states that one
may use the teapot because it is not similar to using a sifter and is similar to using
ones hand which is permitted when removing the food from the waste prior to
Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach also states that the use is
permitted and explains that ideally the melacha of Borer is meant for later
- for storage, but a kli, which is primarily used for separating food
immediately prior to consumption negates the purpose of Borer and is also called ??? ?????, similar to separating with
ones 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 kli, but since it is a kli that separates for
immediate use, it is permitted.
Is one permitted to use the lid of a pot to
strain the soup?
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 states that one must
avoid this, being that it is the same as separating with a kli. However Rav
Shlomo Zalman, although he at first said that holding a spoon
adjacent to the side of a pot and separating is similar to using a kli, he
later thought that it is no
different from using a kli that is primarily used for separating immediately
prior to eating.