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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


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



Questions for the Week of Mattos-Massei


In the previous shiur we learned that one may peel eggs on Shabbos prior to eating, based on the concept called derech achilah.

When do you decide that peeling is  and other removals of psoles from ochel are ?

The Biur Halacha [1] quotes the  saying that since one is eating in the normal fashion and peeling is the only practical way to gain access to the food, and ones intention is merely to eat that which is within the peel, it is permitted.

Peeling a banana prior to eating is not seen as separating ochel from psoles rather it is seen as a manner of eating. Even though technically, Rav Shlomo Zalman points out, one can remove the food by cutting the fruit in half and scraping out the fruit from within the peel, thereby removing the ochel from the psoles, nevertheless peeling the banana peel or the orange peel is  and permitted.

What difference does it make whether done prior to eating or for the future? 

Prior to consumption is called  but when not prior to eating one is improving and enhancing the food, the classical Borer, and is forbidden. Peeling prior to eating is a means to access the food and it is not seen as improving it, hence it does not conform to the definition of Borer

Why is one permitted to use a knife for peeling? 

The basis for this question is the fact that even when removing ochel from psoles one must use ones hand and not a special kli. Therefore it is imperative for us to know whether a knife is a kli or an extension of ones hand.

Rav Moshe Feinstein Ztzl in the Igross Moshe [2] says that a knife is not a kli for Borer. Even though one is able to remove a peel with a knife far better than with ones hands or fingers, Rav Moshe says it does not separate better than ones hands, one is using a knife because it can cut better - not because it is a better separator. A sieve is a separator a knife is not.

Does it make a difference whether the peel is edible or not?

The Magen Avraham [3] says that apples have the same rule as onions and garlic, and one may only peel apples prior to consumption. The Pri Megadim [4] asks on the MA that apple peels are edible and one should be permitted to peel even for future consumption, because it is like cutting two parts of an apple in half. [5] The Mishna Berura [6] quotes the MA as the main halacha notwithstanding that he quoted the Pri Megadim in the Shaar Hatsiun as a kushya. This means that even apples, as all fruit with edible peels, may only be peeled prior to eating.

Is one permitted to use a peeler for peeling fruit?

 We must determine whether a peeler is a sophisticated knife or a separator.

If we accept that a peeler is a separator, i.e. it is a unique kli for separating, and then it is forbidden to use it even prior to eating. Some poskim view a peeler in such a light. [7] I have recently heard that Rav Moshe Feinstein viewed a peeler as nothing more than a sophisticated knife, similar to his explanation above, and permitted using a peeler on Shabbos prior to consumption.

One must ask ones rav as to the correct conduct on Shabbos.

According to the Pri Megadim above (edible peels) using a peeler is not an issue, because removing edible peels is not Borer at all, but as mentioned we rule like the MA. 

Am I permitted to cut off a bad area of an apple? 

The bad area is considered psoles and may not be removed on its own. The way to do it is to remove it together with some of the apple, thus removing psoles together with ochel. It makes sense that if most of the apple is bad; one is permitted to remove the bad area on its own (prior to eating) because it is equal to a peel, which may be removed prior to consumption, even though it is inedible.

Is one permitted to wash fruit on Shabbos, which is in effect removing dirt etc from the fruit?

The Shulchan Aruch [8] tells us that one is forbidden to soak karshinim [9] that are mixed with peels and other refuse in water, which action will separate the karshinim from the peels. The Mishna Berura [10] adds that it is similarly forbidden to pour water over potatoes etc. in order to clean them of their soil particles.

This implies that one is forbidden to wash fruit and vegetables on Shabbos.

Many poskim want to differentiate between soaking in water and washing fruit under running water.

Rav Moshe Feinstein ztzl [11] presents a few reasons why washing fruit is permissible. 1. When dirt covers the fruit, one may wash it off prior to eating just as one is permitted to peel garlic and onions prior to consumption.

2. In many cases people eat fruit or vegetables without washing these items and in such cases the dirt is not considered psoles at all.

Rav Moshe concludes that perhaps only soaking in water is considered but washing with water is not.

To be continued beH.

[1] End of siman 321 " .

[2] " " ' .

[3] Magen Avraham siman 321:30.

[4] '.

[5] We could say that they are not arguing and are referring to different apples, but that is a .

[6] MB siman 321:84.

[7] See the SSK 3 footnote 79 in the name of the .

[8] Siman 319:8.

[9] A type of animal food.

[10] Siman 319:29.

[11] " " " ' ".


Orchos Chaim LaRosh


to extremely distance oneself from haughtiness and flattery.

            The Rosh teaches us not to flatter people. Why is it so detrimental that it is on par with haughtiness? A Jew must connect to Hashem, which means that all his actions and thoughts should lead to dveikus . Doing chessed for ulterior motives is also chessed, after all the recipient received what he needed, however ones chessed did not necessarily bring one closer to Hashem. The ultimate was not fully accomplished. Living for other people is the diametrical opposite of living for ones dveikus with Hashem and building ones pnimius. Ones pnimius should be the ultimate raison dêtre and therefore one should always eradicate feelings of fulfilling mitzvos and learning torah because other people are watching or are expecting one to behave in a certain way.

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.