Is the following case a problem of "borer" (separating) on Shabbos?

We know there can be "borer" even when dealing with two edible foods, one food that a person does want to eat and the other that the person doesn't want to eat. Suppose someone used a spoon to take food from a dish, and wound up with both chicken meat and beef, but he doesn't want the chicken meat. If he tilts the spoon in order that the chicken meat falls off, leaving the beef on the spoon, is this a problem of borer?

(I picked the example of meat because that's what the actual case was, please don't read into it too much. You can change the meat for any other two foods. Apples and pears, etc, etc, etc.)

1 Answer 1


The Baal HaTanya, in his Piskei HaSiddur, Hilcheta Rabbata L'Shabbata, rules that one should remove a fly from cup of wine by spilling out the wine until the fly leaves the cup.

Since he is holding the cup of wine, and want the wine and not the cup, this is considered manually separating Food from Waste, which is permitted on Shabbat, if one wants to consume it immediately.

It would seem that the same logic would apply in this case.

Note there are some who don't agree with the Baal HaTanya (see this for example).

  • In the Siddur he is saying that you pour out the wine with the fly (at this point they are still mixed together), then you tilt the cup to break the flow (at this point you are separating/removing Ochel from Pesoles mixture). Whereas in our case by tilting the spoon ONLY the Pesoles is leaving the spoon without any flow. Commented May 22, 2013 at 22:00
  • @MeirZirkind: I understood it differently. Why should one not remove the fly with the spoon? It's not only the fly, it is also some wine. Shouldn't that make it not Borer? The Baal HaTanya is saying that everything you're removing becomes Waste, because you don't want it. You've therefore removed Waste from Food, which is forbidden. When you pour it out, the Food is in your hand, removed from the Waste, so to speak. That's why it is permitted. -- Based on that understanding, the cases are analogous.
    – Menachem
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 4:40
  • 1) The wine that is going out with the fly is not Pisoles because he really wants the wine it's the fly that is Pisoles (and even if he doesn't want that part of the wine -Min Memino is not Borer (see SA Horav 319:4). 2)See SA Horav 319:19 by pouring the fats off the food is perfect Borer. I wrote about this in 5758 (haoros.com/download.asp?kovetzID=746&ext=pdf on page 106 107). Commented May 23, 2013 at 14:27
  • @MeirZirkind: Interesting. I'm definitely not Assuk BeInyan enough to be able to respond to your Ha'arah in Haoros U'Biurim. However, as you brought in your Ha'arah, the Ketzot HaShulchan does not learn it as you did. When I learned Hilchot Shabbat (way too many years ago) I learned it with the Ketzot HaShulchan, which is where I got my understanding of the Hilcheta Rabbata L'Shabbata from. The Ketzot HaShulchan (125:8:17) clearly holds that the Baal HaTanya changed his mind: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7724&pgnum=91 ...
    – Menachem
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:57
  • ... -- this also changed the Halacha for pouring fat, as the Ketzot HaShulchan says in 125:11 -- hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7724&pgnum=98 ---- And to answer your first point second, the Ketzot HaShulchan in 125:8:17 says that the wine you take out with the fly when removing with a spoon is also Pesolet.
    – Menachem
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:59

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