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 Shmini

Is one permitted to remove food from the freezer, from within a mixture, [1] long before a meal (or on Friday night) in order for it to defrost before the next meal?

This is a difficult question. According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach [2] ztz”l the answer would be that it depends on the nature of the food. If it is food that is regularly kept in the freezer and one would normally only remove it a few hours before consumption in order to prevent the food from spoiling, then it is 'derech achila' and one may do so on Shabbos as well. If however it is food that can be kept in the refrigerator as well (or it can even be stored in a cupboard) and one is merely freezing it to prolong its shelf life, since it could have been removed from the freezer long before eating without any negative consequences, it is not called 'derech achila' to remove it from the freezer, and it should either be removed before Shabbos, or placed in the freezer in such a way that it is not within a mixture.

Others hold that since borer involves a melacha d’oraisso one should only prepare close to the meal. [3]

I wish to refrigerate a tin of peaches 3-4 hours before the meal. The problem is that the tin is in a jumble together with other tins. May I remove that particular tin and refrigerate it, when after all it is being removed 3-4 hours prior to consumption?

This question is similar to the previous one by way of preparing long before the upcoming meal but without a possibility of doing the separating any closer to the meal.

From Rav Shlomo Zalman [4] we can understand that since this preparation need not have been done 3 hours before the meal, rather it could easily have been done before Shabbos, it is not necessarily called 'derech achila' and therefore it may not be done. According to the stringent opinion mentioned in the previous answer, this preparation is prohibited regardless.

What if I have a bunch of tinned fruit in a jumble (the same with drinks) and I remove one of them for later but without looking at which one I take?

In such an event the tins are not regarded as two types or species and therefore the removing of one from within the mixture will not be considered separating. This is similar to a bunch of assorted colored socks and one does not need any particular color. Removing one for later would not be Borer because they would not be classed as a mixture rather as “socks” per se.

Am I permitted to sort the cutlery, i.e. knives with knives forks with forks when washing the dishes on Friday night?

Subsequent to washing silverware one usually places them into a compartment for them to dry. Since this ‘arrangement’ is a complete mixture, sorting each item into its own compartment, or setting the table on Friday night for the Shabbos day is Borer. [5]

Am I permitted to remove each piece blindly and then place it into its compartment?

No, since after all the purpose of your removing the silverware is to sort them out.

How then can they be sorted and placed in their respective compartments?

There are two answers. The first is that it is not a calamity if they are not sorted out on Friday night. The second is to blindly remove each item from the drying compartment in order to dry it, and once in one’s hand it may be placed in its respective compartment. [6] This is permitted because the intention is not to organize the silverware rather it is to dry them. [7] If the sole purpose is to organize the silverware it is forbidden.

Children playing board games on Shabbos: when are they permitted to sort the pieces, cards etc and when are they not permitted to do so?

If the cards, chess pieces etc. are in a mixture and one wishes to set up the game, one may do so, because this is sorting immediately prior to use. It is forbidden to do so if one does not intend playing right away. After the game it is forbidden to place each piece in its proper place, because one is sorting for later.

A beautiful question was raised with regards to certain card games: [8] certain card games prescribe that one discard a card from a bunch of cards in one’s hand. Is that action not one of removing the p’soles from the ochel? If another player automatically takes it, it would be permitted, but if discarded until the end of the game it is a problem. Various Talmidei Chachamim offered beautiful answers but concluded that since Borer is a melacha d’oraisso, a biblical offense, one should refrain from doing it. [9]

[1] If the item is not within a mixture there is no problem whatsoever in preparing on Friday night for Shabbos day.

[2] Based on his writings in the ??????? ???????? ??? ?' ???? ?'.

[3] See  ??"? ?????? ??????? ?"? ??' ??? in the name of the Chazon Ish.

[4] See footnote 2.

[5] SS”K 3:78.

[6] SS”K 3:78 and in footnote 210.

[7] Some authorities are stringent and say that since eventually the items are organized it is forbidden. One should therefore seek halachik guidance!

[8] We are obviously not suggesting that adults play games on Shabbos as the Shabbos was given by Hashem to be utilized for spiritual uplifting, see the SS”K 16:1.

[9] R’ Osher Weiss in his sefer on Shabbos presents a few answers and concludes that one may not rely on these answers because we do not find these heterim in the poskim.

Food For Thought

Is one permitted to squeeze fruit on Shabbos and does it make a difference which fruit it is?

If the liquid seeped out by itself am I permitted to drink it?

Is squeezing fruit for medicinal purposes permitted?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says (9:22) that Aharon HaCohen raised his hands and blessed the nation and then descended (from the mizbe’ach) after offering the korbanos.

The Targum Yonasan says that he descended with joy, where did he see that in the possuk??

R’ Aharon Cohen ztz”l from Yeshivas Chevron says that if the Torah mentions Aharon’s descent it must also have been an Avodah – a service of Hashem. Therefore it must have been b’simcha, with joy!!

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.