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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 Devorim


In the previous shiur we learned that it is forbidden to soak vegetables in water to rid of them their dirt. However, according to many poskim, one may wash fruit under running water.

 But did the Mishna Berura[1]  not say that it is not permitted to pour water over potatoes?

The [2] explains that the MB also agrees that washing fruit under the tap the way we usually do is not called borer but rather it is compared to peeling fruit, which is permitted prior to consumption. He explains that the MB means, as we explained, that one may not use the water as a separator, for example: it is forbidden to place potatoes etc. inside a bowl and run water into the bowl where the water would separate between the food and the dirt.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl is also of the opinion that washing fruit the way we do has nothing to do with the case of the Shulchan Aruch, [3] provided it is done just before use.

Undoubtedly, if it is possible to wash the fruit before Shabbos one should do so. Once washed before Shabbos and one wants to wash the fruit again on Shabbos for added cleanliness (and the fruit are still clean) one may certainly do so.

Other poskim [4] are not so lenient and do not differentiate between soaking and washing fruit and they therefore require that all dirty fruit should be washed before Shabbos unless it is the type of fruit that most people would consume without washing beforehand.

Am I permitted to pour out the oil on the surface of a can of tuna fish, or must I remove the tuna together with the oil?

We will begin with the simple case. The oil above the tuna fish is not mixed with the fish and hence its separation is not borer. Therefore one may pour out this oil.

            The oil mixed with the fish does not serve any other function other than enhancing the tuna fish. Therefore it is not considered a separate entity but is part of the fish and its removal is not considered to be psoles from ochel. Therefore, one may pour out the oil from the tuna can before use.

            Is it permissible to pour soup out of a pot and leave the vegetables behind or is that borer?

            When it comes to something like vegetable soup it is true to say that some people only like the soup, others only like the vegetables and some like both. Therefore the soup and the vegetables serve different purposes and are considered a mixture of two sorts. Consequently, it is borer to separate them.

If one only wants the soup, one may pour it out only prior to eating. If one wants the vegetables, one may not pour out all the soup, but rather, one must leave some of the soup together with the vegetables and thus no separation is considered to have taken place. [5]

            This halacha applies in many cases. For example, salad dressing at the bottom of coleslaw salad or pickles and olives in brine. In some cases the liquid is considered to be a separate entity to the food and in these situations the dinim of borer are applicable and in other cases the liquid is considered all part of the food and borer would not be relevant. It is preferable to seek halachic guidance as to how to proceed in each case.

            The sweater I need is in the middle of a pile of sweaters. Am I permitted to remove the top ones in order to access the one I need?

            The Mishna Berura [6] teaches us that one may move sweaters etc. out of the way in order to reach a sweater located somewhere in the middle of the pile if required for immediate use. This is also true for a pile of clothes on a chair next to ones bed when one is looking for an article of clothing somewhere in the middle. The chidush is that we do not say that removing the outer laying is itself an act of separation between the various items. On the other hand, one may not remove dirt from a mixture and say that one is merely doing so to reach the mixture, because by removing the dirt one is separating between psoles and ochel.

            Close To the Meal

            We have previously mentioned that there are three conditions that must be complied with in order to permit separating ochel and psoles. 1. Removing the ochel from the psoles and not the psoles from the ochel. 2.  With ones hand and not with a kli and 3. Immediately before use.

            How long before eating or using may it be done?

            The reason for the precondition prior to consumption is in order that the separation should be a a manner of consumption and not a . [7]

The process of (separation) when done as a normal melacha would be to remove the psoles and store the ochel in a storeroom or warehouse for later use and in order for it to be considered an act of consumption one must do the separation as close as possible to use.

            The Bais Yosef even quotes Rishonim [8] who hold that one may only separate for immediate consumption and not for the entire meal. However, the halacha is, as written in the Mechaber [9] and the Rama, that one may separate by way of removing ochel from psoles for the entire meal immediately prior to the meal whatever one needs for the entire meal, even for the last course.

            The Mishna Berura [10] comments that even if the meal is intended to take a long time one may separate before the meal, but if one separates more than is required for the meal with the intention of eating it later, even though one is merely adding items to the separating process, one is liable to bring a korban chatas, i.e. one has committed an issur doraisso.

[1] Siman 319:29.

[2] R Chaim Naaeh, in siman 125 footnote 16.

[3] SSK chapter 3 footnote 48.

[4] See " ' ".

[5] " " ' " '.

[6] Biur Halacha seif 3 leechol.

[7] MB siman 319:10.

[8] The Mordechai in the hagahos in the beginning of the 7th perek quotes the Raavan.

[9] Siman 319:1.

[10] Siman 319:4-5.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh

one must distance oneself from lies. Hashems seal is truth and speaking falsehoods is opposite of Hashems primary trait. Our power of speech differentiates us from animals and thus it may not be misused.

For a printed version, click here.



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