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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 Shoftim


The previous shiur began dealing with the issue of separating close to the meal. Separating prior to the meal involves the issur of Borer, even when the ochel is removed from the psoles by hand.

            When many guests are attending the meal, may I separate for all of them?

            The Rama [1] says that one person may separate for others even if that person is not eating at all. In other words, a cook or a server may separate for others. The heter for this is derech achila and accordingly must be done immediately prior to consumption.

One may, however, calculate the time it will take to separate items for the number of people partaking in the meal and begin separating accordingly. The reason for this heter is these circumstances are considered derech achila although one is beginning somewhat earlier than normal . [2]

Some opinions hold that even when preparing for many guests one may only begin doing borer not more than half an hour prior to the meal. [3]

            If, for example, I need to prepare the meal and part of that preparation involves borer, must I postpone the separation to as close to the meal as possible or can I include it anywhere as part of the preparation?

            The Mordechai, quoted by the Bais Yosef, says that one must commence and finish eating immediately after separation. HaRav Eliashiv shlita learns from this Mordechai that separation must be the last action performed prior to eating. In other words, separating may not be automatically included as part of the general preparations of a meal because the heter is and therefore it can only be done immediately prior to eating. HaRav Ezriel Auerbach shares the same view.

            May the housewife set the table and then go to shul?

            Ideally a person may only separate prior to the actual eating. The poskim say that separating before a meal for the entire meal is also considered . However, anything done prior to that is a classical case of separation and forbidden.

Therefore the housewife may only separate directly prior to the meal and not plan anything between the separating and the meal.

She may not intentionally plan to daven at home or go to shul after peeling eggs, sorting cutlery, peeling onions and any other separating. She may of course set the table and then go to shul if no separating is involved when setting the table.

            Is one permitted to remove a chumash from within a jumble of seforim, when the chumash is only needed after shacharis?

            The entire davening is compared to a meal, where the shachris is the first course, reading the Torah as the second and mussaf as the third. Therefore one may prepare for the reading of the Torah before davening and one does not have to wait until immediately before reading the Torah in order to find a chumash. (Seforim lined neatly on the shelf [4] are not considered in a mixture, because each sefer is noticeable and discernable as an entity in its own right.).

            Can a mother prepare the childrens clothing before going to bed at night?

            Here too separating may only be done prior to use and if the clothes are in a jumble or mixture she may not prepare the clothes before going to bed because it is separating for later on and not immediately before use. [5]

[1] Siman 319:1.

[2] MB siman 319:6.

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

[4] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in the SSK 3 footnote 197.

[5] SSK 15:42.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh

            To distance oneself from scoffing.

A simple method to deflect constructive criticism or mussar is to laugh it off, that way one need not face the rebuke or give it thought; it was simply brushed away.

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.