Chapter 319

Chapter 319

The Laws of separating [items] on Shabbos

Part 1: Separating items within mixtures


The following section will deal with the laws of separating foods and other items from amongst other foods and items, such as separating cucumbers from tomatoes in a salad, or a white shirt from amongst other shirts. Doing so in certain cases involve the Borer/separating prohibition, as will be explained in this section.


Halacha 1       

Removing the waste from the food: Separating is one of the principal [Shabbos prohibited] actions, as in the Tabernacle they would separate the waste from the herbs [used for the dyes[1]] and therefore anyone who separates waste from food even with one’s hand and even in order to eat right away, is liable.
Removing the food from the waste- Using a Sieve and Sifter: However one who separates food from waste in order to eat the food right away is not liable unless he separated it with a sieve or sifter which is its common form of sifting.

Using a Knon and plate: However if one separated it with a Knon[2] or a plate[3] then he is Biblically exempt [from liability] although it is Rabbinically forbidden to be done due to a decree [that one may come to use] a sieve and sifter.

Separating with ones hands: [However] to separate the food with ones hands in order to eat right away is allowed.

The reason that this is allowed is: because to remove food from amongst waste in order to eat right away is not at all similar to any [forbidden form of] work being that doing so is the normal form of eating, as it is impossible to eat the entire mixture, [eating] the food together with the waste, and the Torah only prohibited [separating food from waste while eating when] using its designated vessel [to separate it] which is a sieve and sifter.

The reason for why removing the waste is forbidden: However to remove the waste [from the food] is not [considered done in] the normal framework of eating but is rather [considered] preparing the food so it be fit to eat which is a complete [Biblically prohibited] act. Therefore even if [the mixture contains] a lot more food than waste and there is greater bother in having to separate the food, nevertheless one may not separate the waste even in order to eat [the food] straight away.


The ruling of the Alter Rebbe in the Siddur:

Avoid eating shelled nuts/seeds on Shabbos:

It is proper[4] to avoid eating almonds and nuts on Shabbos unless they have been removed from their shells from before Shabbos.

The reason for this is: because, although even when the nut/fruit remains totally or partially in its shell [on Shabbos] it is permitted to remove its shell with ones hands and does not contain [a] separating bad from good [prohibition], nevertheless after the fruit has been removed if there remains a piece of the shell amongst the pieces of fruit/nut or amongst whole nuts, then if one removes [that shell] from there he is liable for a sin offering [if done unintentionally] and stoning [if done intentionally] for [transgressing the prohibition of] separating waste from food. Rather one must separate the fruit/nut from amongst the shells and may not touch the shells at all.

Furthermore [in additional reason to avoid nuts] even if the shells are bunched up alone without having any mixture of fruit [of the nuts] amongst them, [nevertheless] there [still remains] a great prohibition in moving them due to that they are Muktzah, as is known.

And [since] it is difficult to beware from all the above [prohibitions, therefore it should be avoided.]     


Halacha 2

Separating the food in order to eat later on

As well one who separates food from waste without intent to eat it right away but rather to leave it to be eaten later on, even [later on] that day, then it is [considered] like he had separated [the food to place it in] storage and he is liable.

The reason for this is:  because it is not applicable here to say that what he did was within the context of eating being that he is not eating it right away.


Halacha 3

What is the definition of “right away”?

The definition of “Right away” is [that the separation is done] very close to the meal, however if one does not plan to eat for a while, then it is forbidden [to separate at that time]. However so long as [one wishes to do the separation] close to the meal it is permitted for him to separate for the need of that entire meal even if [the meal itself] will be prolonged for some time.

Separating for the need of others: [Furthermore] even if other people are dining with him he is allowed to separate for the need of everyone.

If there are left-over’s after the meal: If there are remains after the meal from what had been separated [nevertheless] this does not pose any problem being that when it was separated it was done permissively.

Intentionally separating more than needed prior to the meal: However one may not conspire regarding this [and intentionally separate more food than needed prior to the meal so he have what to eat later on].


Halacha 4

Separating unwanted food from wanted food

Edible food from edible food of same species: There is only a prohibition of separating when one separates waste [i.e. inedible parts] from the food or vice versa. However if one separates food from food, even if he only wishes to eat one of them while the second one he wants to take and throw out, [nevertheless this unwanted food] is not considered waste due to this since it is [nevertheless] fit to be eaten. Therefore it is allowed to separate it from the food which one wishes to eat and doing so does not contain [the prohibition] of separating waste from food.
Edible food from food that is only edible in pressing times: [However] if [the unwanted food] is only fit to be eaten in a pressing time then even though it is not considered actual waste and there is [thus] no Biblical prohibition in separating it, nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden [to separate it] just like is the law by actual waste.

Therefore it is forbidden to remove the rotten leaves from the vegetable (called lettuce) even if they are fit to be eaten in times of need. Rather one is to separate the vegetable from the leaves, which is [separating] the food from the waste.

Waiting until after Shul to separate:  [As well] one must be careful to not separate them until after [the congregation] leaves Shul in order so [it be separated] actually close to the meal, in which case it is then allowed to separate as much as one needs to eat for that meal.


Halacha 5

Edible food from edible food of different species: However the above allowance to separate food from food only refers to when both foods are all the same species. However if one had in front of him two different types of foods which are mixed together and he wishes to separate [in order] to eat one of them right away and to place the second [food] aside to be eaten later on, then that species [of food] which one wishes to eat right away is considered the food while the other [species of] food is considered like the waste. Therefore one must separate with his hands that [food] which he wishes to eat right away from amongst the other [food], thus [separating] the food from the waste and not vice versa. If one separates it and sets it aside to be eaten later on, even [later on] that day, he is liable.


Halacha 6

Two species of fish: Two species of fish are considered two species of foods and it is [thus] forbidden to separate [them even] by hand unless [one separates] that species which he wants to eat right away and [he is] not [separating it] from [prior to the coming] meal for [the need of the next] meal.

Separating a large species from amongst a small species: [Furthermore,] even if one of the species are large and thus each species is [easily] recognizable and it is hence possible that there is no separating [prohibition] involved here at all, nevertheless one may not be lenient being that [doing so] is in question of being liable for a sin offering [meaning that it is questionable if this is a Biblical prohibition, and thus one must be stringent].
Separating large pieces from small pieces: However as long as [the mixture] is of a single species, then even though one separates large pieces from small pieces [nevertheless] this is not [Halachicly] considered separating at all being that the entire [mixture] is fit to be eaten, and there is thus no waste [in the mixture]. [It is therefore] allowed to separate from it in any way that he wishes[5] and even in order to eat it later on that day [meaning while it is still Shabbos[6]].

[Furthermore] even if the [mixture] contains two different species and one [wishes to] separate from amongst both of them together the large pieces from the small pieces, it is allowed since one is not separating one species from another.


Halacha 7

Separating lupine beans from their flowers and shells

One who separates lupine beans[7] from their waste is liable.

The reason for this is: because their waste sweetens them when they are boiled together, otherwise [the seeds] remain very bitter, therefore [the seeds] are considered the waste and the waste which sweeten them are considered the food, and it is thus found that one has separated waste from amongst food, and is [thus] liable even if he separates with his hand in order to eat it right away.


Halacha 8       

Separating vessels from waste and from amongst other types of vessels

Just like there is a prohibition of separating food [from waste] so too there is also [a prohibition in separating] other items from amongst their waste, or [in separating] one type of item which is mixed with another type of item.

Example: For example, if one had in front of him two types of vessels which are mixed together and one wants to select one type from amongst another type in order to use it, then this item [which he wishes to take now] is considered like food and the other item is considered like waste and one thus is required to remove the food from the waste and not vice versa, even in a case that one of the items is larger than the other and is [thus easily] recognizable on its own. As well one is required to separate to use right away as was explained regarding [separating from a mixture which contains] two types of food.


Part 2: The laws of Mifarek [separating grains and legumes from their peels and stalks]


The following section will deal with peeling shells/peels off of foods such as nuts and beans in a pod and the like. Doing so in addition to involving the Borer restrictions[8], as well at times involves a prohibition of Mifarek, which is to detach an item from another item, as will be explained below.


Halacha 9       

Rubbing seeds out from their stalks and pods:

Doing so with an irregularity: One may not extract seeds from stalks in the same method used during the week, which is to rub the stalks within the palms of one’s hands in order so the seeds fallout from it. Rather he must rub them with a slight irregularity using the tips of his fingers.

The reason this is allowed: Now, although by doing so he separates the seeds from the stalks with his hands, and one who separates [seed from a stalk] with his hands is [liable for transgressing] an offshoot of the threshing prohibition which is done using a vessel, as was explained in chapter 305 [Halacha 28], nevertheless [here] since he is separating it irregularly in order to eat (right away) it is permitted.

It was not decreed against doing so due to that one may come to separate [the seeds] as regularly done, being that even one who separates them in the usual method is also only considered to be doing so irregularly being that he does not take the food and actually remove it with his hands [from the stalks] but rather just rubs the stalk and causes the grains to fall and [this method] is usually only done with a vessel that is designated for threshing. However nevertheless it is Rabbinically forbidden [to separate by rubbing it with ones hands], although when this too is done with an irregularity they made no decree against doing so.

Other Opinions: [However] there are opinions which are stringent to not sort at all [the seeds out from] stalks of grains or from pods of legumes even using the tips of one’s fingers.

Rubbing off the shell of nuts: Therefore [according to this latter opinion] it is forbidden to rub out the Luz nuts[9] or large nuts from within their upper green shell which covers over their thick and hard shell, even with the tips of one’s fingers.

The Final Ruling: It is proper[10] to be stringent [to not rub off the shell] being that one can anyways break it open and eat it without needing to separate [the shell][11]. [However according to Siddur rubbing is forbidden under all circumstances].

To peel off the thin peel of nuts, grains and legumes: However it is permitted to break [the shell] and then peel off the thin peel that is on the fruit which is under the hard shell which is broken, as the separating prohibition is only applicable by the top shell.

Similarly it is permitted to peel [the chaffs of] grains and legumes which have been removed from their stalks and pods from before Shabbos, although one must be careful to only peel as much as he needs to eat right away and not for what he will need to eat later on as will be explained in chapter 321 [Halacha 19[12]]       

Peeling off the pods from legumes: However (according to all opinions) it is forbidden to peel the pods on Shabbos and remove the legumes from within them (with ones hands as doing so is [Halachicly considered] actually separating [which is forbidden]).

Moist pods: However [the populace of] the world is accustomed to allow this to be done and there are opinions which seek merit [to justify] their actions [saying] that since the stalks are still moist and thus the pods themselves are still edible, it is thus like one is simply separating food from food which does not contain the detaching prohibition as explained in chapter 305 [Halacha 28].

Inedible-dry-pods: However those legumes which their pods are not edible there contains no permission at all to remove the legumes from within them on Shabbos unless the legumes are not at all attached to their pods, having been detached from them before Shabbos and it is rather simply sitting [loosely] within [the pod]. In such a case it is permitted to remove [as many legumes from the pod] as he wishes to eat right away, however he may not do so to eat later on due to the separating prohibition.


The ruling of Admur in the Siddur:

Not to eat legumes that are still in their pods on Shabbos:

[One] needs to be very careful not to eat on Shabbos beans, whether raw or cooked, which are still in their pods.

The reason for this is: because being that their pods are not edible removing them contains the Mifarek/detaching prohibition according to all opinions, which is an offshoot of the threshing prohibition which one is liable for a sin offering and stoning Heaven Forbid.

Now, although the beans have already [become] detached [inside] from their pod through the cooking process and are thus no longer attached to it [nevertheless the above Mifarek prohibition still applies].

Sesame seeds: The same restriction applies also towards sesame seeds.

Legumes with edible pods: A meticulous person should be stringent upon himself also with regards to the species of legumes called (Arbes) when they are still attached to their pods, even though their pods are also edible, as [separating the seeds from the pods] is not clearly allowed.


Halacha 10

Shaking off the thin peel from the grains:

If one had kernels which were removed from before Shabbos from their stalks and are still mixed with their chaff[13] they may not be sifted [out] with a Kenon or plate due to a decree that one may come to sift them with a sieve and sifter in which case one is liable.

[Furthermore] even to do so with two hands, meaning to shake them from one hand to another in order to separate [the grains] from their thin peel [is forbidden]. Rather one is to sift them using a single hand placing into it all his strength in order to differ from the method that is used during the week (and thus not come to sift in a sifter). 


Halacha 11     

Placing food with its waste into water in order to remove the waste:

Food and waste which are mixed [together] is forbidden to be placed into water in order for the waste to sink to the bottom, as is the case if the waste is earth, or [so the waste] float to the top as is the case [if the waste] is straw.

Similarly Karshinin[14] may not be soaked in water in order so their waste float to the top, and as well one may not rub it with his hands to remove the waste as doing so is similar to [the] separating [prohibition].[15].

However one may place them in a sieve even though the waste [might[16]] fall through the holes of the sieve and it is thus found that [the waste] becomes separated on its own.


Supplement from chapter 321 Rama Halacha 19[17]:

Peeling foods:

It is forbidden to peel garlic and onions [as well as other foods such as apples and nuts[18]] which one [peels] to set aside [from being eaten right away, due to that this contains a separating prohibition[19]]. However [to peel them] in order to eat right away is allowed.

Throwing out the pit of foods:[20] [Contains the separating prohibition and thus may only be done in order to eat the food right away.]


Part 3: Miraked-Filtering wine, water and other liquids on Shabbos


The following section will deal with the laws of separating through using a filter. In addition to the problems of Borer that are sometimes applicable as will be explained, the prohibition of Miraked may likewise apply, amongst other prohibitions.

In essence the prohibitions of Borer and Miraked are really one and the same, being that they are both a separating prohibition. The difference between Miraked and Borer is only with regards to the form of separation.

Borer is considered separating from a solid mixture using a sifter to sift out the waste and have the food remain above. Meraked is a prohibition of sifting a solid mixture and having the food fall out and the waste remain above.

Regarding a liquid mixture Admur in Halacha 12 rules that straining it and having the sediment remain above may be Borer or Miraked. Thus by liquid mixtures it is unclear as to which prohibition applies.

The reason why this action of separating was split to two different prohibitions is because these were two distinct actions done in the Mishkan and thus were given two different names of prohibition.[21]


Halacha 12

Using a strainer

Wine with sediment: One who filters dregs [of wine], meaning that he filters it through a strainer, [has done an] offshoot of [the] separating [prohibition to separate] food from its waste using a sifter and sieve, or [has done] an offshoot of [the] Sifting/Miraked [prohibition] and is liable.

Water through dregs- winey water: However if one had placed dregs in the strainer from before Shabbos then it is permitted to pour water over it in order so the water become more [clean and] clear.


Halacha 13

Clear wine and water in a strainer: Water or wine which are clear are permitted to be filtered through a filter in order so they become even more clear, or even in order [to remove] the sediment that floats on top of the wine or [to filter out] small twigs that have fallen into it[22].

The reason that this is allowed: This is not considered like separating being that [the wine and water] are still drinkable to majority of people even without this filtration.

Filtering with a cloth:

White liquids: However with a cloth it is forbidden to filter the water or white wine and the like [of other liquids] due to the whitening prohibition, being that soaking a cloth is considered laundering it.

The reason why there is no whitening prohibition involved by a strainer: However a strainer is made for this purpose and one thus does not care to squeeze [out the liquid which it absorbs] and as well does not care to whiten it at all, therefore its whitening does not pose a problem to prohibit soaking it in liquid due to this even according to those opinions which say that the soaking of a cloth is [considered] laundering it.

Colored liquids: However red wine or beer or other liquids which do not whiten of which we do not suspect that one may come to squeeze [a cloth soaked in these liquids] as explained there [in chapter 320 Halacha 21] then it is permitted to strain it with a cloth even if [the liquids] are slightly murky to the point that most people would not drink them without filtration.

The reason that filtering even murky colored liquids in a cloth is allowed is: because since nevertheless it is possible to push oneself to drink these liquids, [filtering them] is therefore not considered actually separating , and was [thus] allowed to be done through an irregularity, such as by using a cloth.

Other Opinions: [However] there are opinions which prohibit [filtering even with a cloth] in this scenario [that the colored liquids are slightly murky].

The Final Ruling: It is proper[23] to suspect for this latter opinion.

If the colored liquids are very murky: However if the [colored liquids] are completely murky to the point that it is not possible to drink them in this state, or [in a case that] they have sediment [in them] then it is forbidden to [filter them] even using a cloth.


Halacha 14

Filtering pre-fermented wine: Wine that has just been pressed, so long as it remains within its primary fermentation [process][24] one may mix a barrel of it together with its dregs and may place it even inside a strainer.

The reason for this is because: so long as the wine is still within its [primary] fermentation the wine has not yet separated well from its dregs and thus the entire [mixture of the] wine [with its dregs] is considered one food, and there is [thus] no [prohibition] of separating food from its waste involved here.

Furthermore [there is no problem of separating here because] the wine is fit to be drunk even without filtration, and this is commonly done during the times of its pressing when all wines are murky and majority of people drink it the way it is without filtering it.

Filtering vinegar: The same applies with vinegar, which is likewise common to use even when it is still slightly thick, that it is permitted to filter it. However if [the vinegar] is very thick and is not fit at all [to be used] without filtering then it is forbidden to filter it even with a cloth.

Filtering almond milk: Similarly the milk of crushed almonds [which were made] before Shabbos is permitted to be filtered being that it is able to be drunk without filtering.    


Halacha 15

Indenting the cloth to intake the liquid

Upon filtering with a cloth slightly murky [colored] liquids one must beware to not make an indent within the cloth in order for it to intake the liquid. Rather one is to pour the liquid on to it and let it form an indentation on its own in order to differ from the way this is done during the week.[25]


Halacha 16

An Egyptian basket

Any liquid which is permitted to filter with a cloth is permitted to be filtered with an Egyptian basket[26] as long as one does not lift the basket from the bottom of the lower vessel [in which one is filtering into] the height of a handbreadth, in order to differ from the way this is done during the week.

However that vessel which is made like a sieve which is used to filter, since it is designated for this purpose, it has the same laws as does a filter[27] which is that one may only filter with it clear liquids which do not have dregs as explained [above in Halacha 12].


Halacha 17

Placing twigs into the opening of a bottle:

A vessel into which one empties the wine from the barrel may not have strongly inserted into its opening twigs and reeds, as this is similar to a filter.

The reason: Now, although it’s not an actual filter being that dregs still pass through it, nevertheless since there are twigs and dirt which do not bypass it is thus similar to a filter. 
However if [in the barrel] there is clear wine which does not contain sediment and rather only thin splinters, then it is permitted to filter it even using an actual strainer as explained above [in Halacha 13].


Pouring from one vessel to another


The following section will deal with the laws separating through spilling from a vessel. The rulings brought below from the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch differ entirely from the rulings brought below from the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur [by Halacha 24]. For this reason it is incumbent to read the summary to understand the final ruling in what one is to do.


Halacha 18

When one wants to eat the food being poured out

May pour up until the stream stops if does not plan to eat right away: It is permitted to gently pour [food or liquid] from one vessel into another in order so the residue and dregs remain on the bottom of the vessel [being poured from].

However one must be careful once the stream [being poured] has stopped and small trickles begin to drip out from the last remainder [of food that is] amongst the waste, then one must stop [pouring] and leave [that remainder of food] together with the waste.

The reason for this is because: if one were to not do so, then these last drops prove [to all] that [his true intentions in this pouring] were to separate [the food from the waste]. However during the initial pouring when the waste is not yet recognizable, then he has done no separation.

Gathering the fat off from the surface of milk: Therefore it is permitted to gather from above the fat which floats on the surface of milk[28] (called cream) and when one reaches near the actual milk he is to leave some of the fat still [on the surface] together with the milk.

Doing the above is only allowed if needed for Shabbos: However [doing the above is only allowed] if one needs the fat [or other poured food] for that day [meaning for Shabbos], as if one does not need to use it [for Shabbos] then it is forbidden [to do so as] it is forbidden to trouble oneself [to do an action] on Shabbos for [the use of] a weekday.

In a case of loss may have a gentile do it even for a weekday: However if one suspects that [the fat may perhaps] lose [its substance] or spoil [if he were to not separate it now] then it is permitted for him to remove it through a gentile.

The reason for this is: because the prohibition to trouble oneself and prepare on Shabbos for a weekday is a Shvus [which is a] Rabbinical prohibition, and in cases of loss it is permitted to ask a gentile [to do an action for oneself] with regards to all [actions that are] Rabbinical prohibitions, as was explained in chapter 307 [Halacha 12].[29]   

If one wants to eat right away: [However] if one wants to eat the [fat] right away, then [it is permitted to remove all the fat and] he does not need to have remain any [of the fat] together with the milk.

Similarly one who pours liquid from one vessel to another [in order to eat the liquid being poured right away] is not required to stop [pouring] once it begins to trickle drops [of the liquid].

The reason for this is: because it is permitted to separate food or liquid from amongst residue in any case that one plans to eat or drink it right away so long as he does not separate it through using a vessel but rather does so with his hands as was explained [above in Halacha 1].

The definition of using hands to separate: Now, although here he is [separating through] pouring from one vessel to another [and thus is not doing the separation with his hands], nevertheless [it is permitted since] the core of the separation is being done through ones hands, and it is only considered that one is separating with a vessel when one separates using a cloth or basket and the like.   


Halacha 19

When one wants to eat the food remaining in the pot

However fat which floats on the surface of food is forbidden to be entirely poured out even when done in order to eat the food right away.

The reason for this is: because [the fat and the food] are two types of food [in which case we say] that food which one plans to eat right away is considered the “food” while the other is considered the waste, and [thus] upon pouring out the fat which one does not want to eat it is considered like separating waste from food [which is forbidden].


Halacha 20     

Tilting a barrel of wine in order to pour it out: It is permitted to [tilt] a barrel [by] elevating [one side of it] over an item in order so that the wine pour out of it well.

Now, although that through this wine is also poured out from amongst the sediment, [nevertheless] this is not considered like separating so long as [he has not poured out so much to the point that] drops have not yet begun to trickle from amongst the sediment as explained [in Halacha 18].

Placing water into wine sediment in order to absorb taste: Similarly it is allowed to place water on top of sediment that is in a barrel in order for it to absorb the taste of the wine and doing so does not contain the separating [prohibition], although [this may only be done] to drink from it that day [while still Shabbos].


Miscellaneous scenarios of filtering/separating foods:

Halacha 21     

Filtering mustard from bran:

One may not filter mustard from its bran even though [the bran itself] is also edible and the bran is [thus] not waste at all and hence does not contain [in separating it] the Biblical separating prohibition, as [nevertheless] it is Rabbinically forbidden being that appears like one is separating food from its waste being that one filters it in order to eat the mustard and throw out the bran.

Filtering an egg yolk into the mustard: However if one placed the mustard into the strainer from before Shabbos [and thus filtered it out from the bran] then it is permitted to place an egg into [the strainer] in order to [have the yolk fall through the strainer and] give color to the mustard that has been filtered through it.

The reason: Now, although the yolk falls out [through the holes of the strainer] together with the mustard while the white which is [all] connected remains above with the waste, [nevertheless] this does not appear like separating food from waste being that both the yolk and the white are foods and he is not filtering the yolk from the white because he desires to eat the yolk and not the white, but rather because the yolk helps give color to the mustard as opposed to the white.

Now, although he [eventually] throws out the white together with the waste and eats the yolk together with the mustard , nevertheless since the filtering [of the yolk] is not done for eating but rather to give color, it [therefore] does not appear like separating food from waste being that in truth they are both the same type of food. 

Halacha 22

Separating food parts which come from the same food:

By eggs: [Furthermore] even if one were to filter [the yolk] for the purpose of eating it, it would only be forbidden in this case [which involves an egg] being that although the white is considered a food nevertheless it is not edible in its current state, as well as that it is common to throw it out together with the waste and thus appears like waste in comparison to the yolk which is eaten the way it is together with the mustard, and would [thus be] Rabbinically forbidden [to separate in order to eat].

By other foods: However in other scenarios [involving different parts of the same food] there would be no prohibition at all, even Rabbinically, in separating [one part of the food from another part] of the same food. Meaning that one may even separate small pieces from slightly large pieces, even if he throws the small pieces to the ground, as they nevertheless do not appear like waste due to this since they are edible and are commonly eaten.    


Halacha 23

Filtering water from insects

Filtering it prior to drinking: Water which contains worms that are forbidden to be eaten in accordance to what is explained in Yorah Deah chapter 84 [Halacha 1-3], is forbidden to be filtered even using a cloth as it is impossible to drink it without filtering it being that he may swallow one of the worms.    

Filtering it while drinking: However it is permitted to drink it through a napkin.

The reason for this is: because the separating and filtering prohibition only applies when one is mending [the food] prior to eating or drinking it in order so it be able to be eaten or drank [afterwards] as doing so is a form of an [individual] action [of separating], however when holding back the waste upon drinking in order so it not enter into ones mouth is not similar to an action [of separating] and is [thus] permitted.

The reason that doing the above does not contain a laundering prohibition: Doing so is not forbidden due to [the law] that the soaking of a cloth is considered laundering and neither due to a decree that one may come to squeeze it, being that there is only a small amount [of cloth] which is soaking in the water [as it is only] the size of the opening of his mouth, and by a small amount there is no worry [regarding the above] as explained in chapter 302 [Halacha 21].[30]

Other Opinions: However according to the [dissenting] opinion] there which prohibits [soaking in water] even a small amount [of cloth] due to [the law] that the soaking of a cloth is considered laundering, here too [according to their opinion doing the above] would be forbidden.

The Final Ruling: It was already explained there [in chapter 302] that every meticulous person should be stringent upon himself when possible.


Halacha 24

Removing a fly from ones soup or cup of juice:   

If a fly fell into a cup one may not remove only the fly from the cup being that doing so is equivalent to separating waste from food which is forbidden to be done even in order to eat right away. Rather one is to remove also some of the liquid together with the fly being that when one does so it does not appear like one is separating at all, as explained above (Halacha 14 [in the Michaber, and Halacha 18 above in the Alter Rebbe[31]]).


The opinion of Admur in the Siddur:

Introduction: The following are a number of warnings and statements to remove stumbling blocks and common and frequent inadvertent [acts done on Shabbos] which according to many of the greatest of the Rishonim doing so involves a prohibition of Kares and Sekilah when done intentionally and a sin offering for when done unintentionally, may G-d atone for us.    

Removing a fly from ones soup: One may not rely on the customary permission granted that if a fly or other waste falls into ones cup or plate then one removes it together with a spoon and takes out with the fly some liquid etc, as doing so is questionable if it contains a sin offering liability and a prohibition of Sekilah G-d forbid.

Thus the only solution that remains is to pour out from the cup until the waste comes out from it.

Blowing the fly: One may not blow on [the waste] with his mouth until it is blown out,[32] although he may blow it to bring it nearer to the wall of the cup and then tilt it and pour from it until the waste comes out.

The reason that tilting it out is allowed: As since the removal of the waste is being done through him holding the cup of liquid in his hand and tilting it with his hand this is considered separating food from waste which is permitted to be done in order to drink it immediately.

The same applies if [the fly] fell into a plate with gravy, and even with fat that floats on the surface of the gravy, one may not throw it out through a spoon taking with it some of the liquid as this is similar to removing waste from food which one is liable on. 


Catalyzing milk and beverages on Shabbos:

Halacha 25

Making cheese on Shabbos   

Making the curd: One who curds [milk], in which he takes milk and places a stomach [or other enzyme] into it in order to curd it[33], is liable for separating because he has separated the curd from the milk.

Placing the curd into a strainer: Similarly, if one places the curd into an elastic vessel[34] and the whey drips from inside it then this is an offshoot of separating food from waste through using a sieve and sifter and one is thus liable.

The reason: Now, although the curd and the milk are both a single species of food and there is [thus] no waste [here] at all, nevertheless since they are liquid substances which mix well which he is [now] separating, therefore this contains the separating [prohibition] just like one who is separating food from waste.


Halacha 26

Making hard cheese      

If one solidified [curd] and turned it into cheese he is liable for building.

The reason for this is: because anyone who gathers parts [of an item] to each other and bonds them together until they become a single substance has [transgressed] an offshoot of [the] building [prohibition].


Halacha 27     

Removing seeds and nuts from honey:

One may place sesame and nuts into honey, although he may not [gather them[35] and] separate them with his hands [as doing so is considered separating[36]].


Halacha 28     

Catalyzing beverages on Shabbos

It is forbidden to place dregs into beverages in order to catalyze it even though [the liquid] is already fit to be drunk on Shabbos being that through doing so one causes the dregs of the liquid itself to sink to the bottom of the vessel and it is an offshoot of separating similar to one who curds milk.


Halacha 29

Spitting into the wind

One who spits in the wind and the wind scatters the saliva is liable for the winnowing prohibition.

Other Opinions: However according to those opinions which say that any action done which is not for its own use one is exempt, so too here he is exempt [from winnowing]. However it is Rabbinically forbidden even if he does not intend to winnow, so long as the occurrence [of its scattering] is inevitable.

[1] The curtains and roofing in the Tabernacle were made of dyed skins. The dye was made by boiling different herbs. Prior to the boiling they would separate the mixed waste from amongst the herbs. The Melacha of Borer does not refer to the separating of waste done to the herbs of the incense as only those Melachas which were done in the process of building the Tabernacle are counted as part of the 39 Melachas, and not Melachas done once the Tabernacle was built. [Rav Ovadia Bartenura Mishnayos Shabbos 7/1]

[2] This refers to a wooden tube which is wide on top and narrow on bottom. Places the legumes in from the wide part and then shakes off its peels and the legumes fallout from the narrow bottom while the peels remain inside. [Rash in Shabbos 74a]

[3] Mishneh Berurah 2

[4] Lit. good

[5] Meaning even to separate the unwanted food from the wanted food.

[6] As otherwise this is considered preparing on Shabbos for after Shabbos which is forbidden.

[7] Lupines are a type of legume. Their [8] Based on Rama in end of chapter 321 Halacha 19, and alluded to in Admur here in Halacha 9. [see Shabbos Kihalacha Vol 2 page 290]

[9] This refers to almonds which when small are sweet and when they ripen become bitter. [Likuteiy Sichos 33 Matos]

[10] Lit. Good

[11] It seems that this is only referring to nuts, being that the shell can be cracked, however by pods being that the only option is to rub them, then doing so would be allowed with an irregularity according to the final ruling of Admur, and so is implied also from chapter 321 Halacha 1.

[12] In Rama, the end of the chapter was not printed in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch. There he explained that one may not peel onions and garlic to eat later on.

[13] Chaff  is the inedible, dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of [14] Possible this refers to the horse been which is similar to the broad been and is used for horse fodder.    

[15]  Some hold that this is not considered the way of eating and is thus forbidden. Others hold that it is like separating the waste from the good.

[16] Based on Chapter 324 Halacha 1 where Admur writes “that at times the food falls”. So concludes the Ketzos Hashulchan 131 footnote 17, and Shabbos Kihalacha Vol. 2 page 356. Thus if it is for certain that the waste will fall through, then it is forbidden. This cannot be proven from Halacha 21 where Admur rules that placing mustard with barn in the strainer is forbidden being that there it is discussing having the bran [waste] remain above and the mustard fall out, which contains a Meraked prohibition, while here it refers to having the waste fall out on its own, which does not contain a Miraked prohibition as will explained in the introduction to the next section.

[17]  The end of this chapter does not appear in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch and we have thus brought the rulings of the Rama and Mishneh Berurah as a supplement for those omissions.

[18] Mishneh Berurah 84

[19] Mishneh Berurah 83

[20] Mishneh Berurah 84

[21] Based on Shabbos Kehalacha Vol 2 page 342

[22] Today this permission no longer applies being that majority of people today are particular not to drink wine with twigs until it is filtered, being that today it is very uncommon for wine to include twigs. [Ketzos Hashulchan 125 footnote 28. Shabbos Kehalacha Vol 2 page 348]

[23] Lit. Good

[24] With red wines, the must is pressed after the primary fermentation, which separates the skins and other solid matter from the liquid. Thus during the primary fermentation the dregs still remain with the wine.

[25] This restriction only applies to when straining a) murky liquids b) with a cloth. However by clear liquids even by a strainer it is allowed to make an indentation for the liquid to fall in. [Ketzos Hashulchan 125/13 footnote 33, Mishneh Berurah 45, Shabbos Kihalacha Vol 2 p. 354]

[26] This refers to a basket made of different willows and papyrus plant [Rama]

[27] This vessel is not actually considered a filter being that it does not hold back the dregs of the wine. Nevertheless since it filters out twigs and filth therefore it has the same status as does a filter. [M”B 52]

[28] Upon standing for 12 to 24 hours, fresh milk has a tendency to separate into a high-fat [29] To note however that there it was only permitted in a case of great loss, and not any case of loss. The difference is that here the prohibition is not an actual Shvus and thus is permitted even without great loss.

[30]  There the following is explained: There is a dispute whether placing a minute amount of water on a cloth is forbidden. The first opinion holds that it is always permitted by a clean and white cloth, even when done intentionally to launder being since it is already clean laundering is inapplicable, and thus the only suspicion in such a case is that one may come to squeeze out the water and by a small amount of water this suspicion does not apply. The second opinion holds that it is always forbidden due to that even the soaking of a white cloth is itself considered laundering and is thus forbidden in all cases even when done not for the intent of laundering being that the laundering is an inevitable occurrence. A third opinion then holds that in truth the second opinion only forbids even a minute amount of water in a case that one intends to launder, however if one does not intend to launder, such as when using it to filter, then even according to them it is allowed. Thus according to two of the three opinions mentioned there it is permitted to filter through a cloth when the cloth is placed in ones mouth and the like.

[31] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol 2 page 243 note 288. There he explains that the Alter Rebbe himself never wrote this “Halacha 14” and it was rather written by the printers. In the new Shulchan Aruch of Admur they omitted this all together.

[32]  Doing so is prohibited due to the Melacha of Zoreh [winnowing] and not Borer.

[33] Cheese is made by separating the milk into solid [34] This refers to a vessel made of material that can be stretched out do to having tiny holes in it, and thus allows the milk to drip out. Similar to a plastic bag.

[35] Mishneh Berurah on 319/66

[36] Mishneh Berurah on 340/11

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.