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On Shabbat, is one allowed to pick snacks in a bowl, under the principle of being able to pick something for immediate use, or no?

For example, if one has a fruit bowl with mangos, bananas, oranges, and apples, are they allowed to dig in to find which fruit they prefer? Same thing with say a sorted candy bowl. Would this present an issue of Borer or no?

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The laws of borer allow you to pick the good from the bad, for immediate consumption, using your hand.

In addition, not all mixtures are prohibited to pick from. Specifically, borer is permitted without the three conditions when products are easy to separate (e.g., drinks on a table), not attached (e.g., a cup and saucer), or neat and clearly distinguishable (e.g., one book in a bookshelf).

As such, there is no issue in selecting one fruit out of a bowl. What one cannot do however is to set aside all fruit you don't like to get to the one you do.

Source: Learn Shabbos in 3 Minutes a Day, pages 165, 169.

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  • In short, you are allowed to pick those ones that you want to eat, but you are forbidden to set aside those one that you don't want. Oct 24, 2023 at 11:25

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