Is there allowed to be rice in a salt shaker on shabbat or yom tov?

Background: I was under the impression that the answer to this question is no, as for something not to be considered בורר (separating), it needs to be immediate, by hand, and taking the good from the bad. This example lacks the middle one.

Another thought was that it would be מרקד (sifting) as that is what the salt shaker head is doing.

However, when I asked someone this question, they claimed that it was not a problem based on something in shemirat shabbat k'hilcheta (2nd edition) about coffee strainers (if I remember correctly, can't seem to find it now). The claim was also that even if this was not allowed on shabbat, it was not the case for yom tov

  • are you talking about having rice in with the salt to soak up the moisture? – Menachem Jul 22 '12 at 3:00
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    Yes (needs padding). – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 3:02
  • Funny, I was about to say I think the shmirat shabbat talks about this case. – Double AA Jul 22 '12 at 3:05
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    @DoubleAA, for some reason I thought this was a classic case of something that was not allowed, looking in shimirat shabbat again now EDIT: can't seem to find volume two right now, sorry. – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 3:08

Shmiras Shabbos KeHilchasah (footnote to 3:60) quotes R' Shlomoh Zalman Aurbach that it is forbidden when the cover to the saltshaker is on.


מותר לתת גרגירי אורז (לפני שבת, ומשום אסור מוקצה) בממליחה פחותה ע"מ שיספגו את הלחות שבמלח, ובממליחה מכוסה טוב לא להוציא דרך המכסה שבה, גם אם נשאר הרבה מלח מעורב בתוך האורז

footnote 179

שמעתי מהגרש"ז אוירבעך שליט"א [ז"ל] שאסור אפילו אם יש הרבה מלח כיון דאפשר דהו"ל כבורר בנפה וכברה שאסור אפי` מעט, עכ"ד. ומ"מ יל"ע מהא דהערה קכה דלעיל

  • ba Interesting, especially considering GershonGold's answer. Does he mention a different psak there as well perhaps? – Double AA Jul 22 '12 at 4:13
  • He writes in 3:60 that it's better not to do it. He writes in the footnote that R' Aurbach says it's forbidden, but questions him – b a Jul 22 '12 at 4:16
  • Interesting. I will have to see it inside. – Double AA Jul 22 '12 at 4:18
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    Would it make a difference if it was on yom tov or shabbat? – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 21:11
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    @ba so this is borer and not meraked? or there is a similar exemption for meraked? – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 21:20


Ayil Meshulash chapter 7 note 110 & Shemiras Shabbos 3:60 both say it is permitted to use a salt shaker with rice inside on Shabbos.

The reasoning is because the salt shaker is made solely for immediate use, and therefore its use is not considered Derech Bereirah but rather Derech Achilah.

  • I understand what the words mean, but to clarify, if there is any klee that does any sort of borer that will immediately go on food this is not an issue, because it is considered part of the way that we eat? – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 3:37
  • It sounds like that to me. However as usual CYLOR. – Gershon Gold Jul 22 '12 at 3:43
  • Mind reconciling this with the answer below? – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 4:13
  • Doesn't seem to be what the SSK is saying as quoted above - there is an important caveat that the salt-shaker not be closed. – AGC Jul 24 '12 at 20:54

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