Is one allowed to use a shaker to strain an alcoholic drink on Shabbos? I have been told that it is mutar to use a pitcher with an ice guard on Shabbos, but I do not know the reason why this is not considered borer; the drinker clearly does not want the ice, which I would imagine gives the ice the status of psoles. Does anyone know the source for this heter, and whether it applies to using a shaker for cocktail mixing? Thanks!

  • eykanal, Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this excellent question! I've been wondering this myself, both about the pitcher and the shaker.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 12:42
  • I can't say for sure, but I think the reason why the ice-in-pitcher case is not a problem is because the ice cubes are big and identifiable in relation to the water they are in. One is permitted to remove a large carrot or matza ball from his bowl of chicken soup if it is undesirable to him. It is not considered borer to do so.
    – jake
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 13:35
  • @jake, what about the fact that you're not cleanly separating the two (but are, rather, leaving water with the ice)?
    – msh210
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 14:32
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    Remember to always CYLOR Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 15:54
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    @eykanal, I recommend that the next time you see your Rabbi, you discuss this again, this time armed with whatever sources and arguments are developed here.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Borer is the purification of a mixture using methods reserved for storage, as opposed to eating. For example, when you purify a mixture through removing the unwanted, that is a method that is normally used for storage, not eating.

When you remove the wanted substance from the unwanted with a "purifying instrument", like your pitcher, you have purified using an eating method with one exception: "Purifying instruments" are used for storage, not eating. But in halacha, you are deemed to have used that instrument only if it was practically functional.

The Rema ( O.C. 319:10)paskens that one may purify water from impurities using a strainer since most would drink the water with the impurities (with a possible exception to an istanis acc. to Biur Halacha). Although I would assume manual removal of the impurities from the water would be borer, the instrument cannot be said to be functioning in a halachic sense since the water is already "pure". (It's a fine split, but makes sense.)

Similarly, a posek told me that I may use a salad spinner o Shabbos for a different reason in addition to the Rema. As a senif lehakel, R' Moshe held that a purifying instrument is specifically where it is doing a job which cannot be done manually. The salad may be dried by waving it back and forth. The same is true for the ice water.

In summary, this pitcher is not a functioning kli borer as implied by the halacha.

To answer your beverage question, you would have to post more detail.

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    Thanks for the answer, but I'm still worried. Everything I've seen has indicated that there are three separate criterion for borer to be allowed; (1) food from waste, (2) immediate use, (3) separation via hand (not instrument). See here and here. You focus on the "immediacy" aspect, but all must be addressed, from what I understands. The Rema you mention sounds very relevant, I'll have to check it out.
    – eykanal
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 16:13
  • Regarding more detail, how much more do you want? A cocktail shaker is used to chill a drink. It has three parts - cup, lid with strainer on top, and a cap. Pour drink into cup, add ice, cover with capped strainer, shake, remove cap, pour drink out of strainer (so ice remains inside).
    – eykanal
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 16:18
  • Lastly - and I'm done now with the comments now, really :) - can you provide a source for the Rema?
    – eykanal
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 16:20
  • I never mentioned immediacy. I think you are looking at the trees and not the forest. If a swimming pool area has a rule not to jump, the intent is not to restrict anyone whose feet pushes up a drop to "jump" into the pool. The rule against jumping is an application of the broader rule of "no dangerous activity". Your rules are applications of a broader melacha (explained in my first paragraph). That is why meisir klippa is allowed even though it is "good from bad", it's not categorized storage-method purification, but as eating-method.
    – YDK
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 16:39
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    I'm not an expert bartender, but I think with respect to mixed drinks, that's similar to asking whether people would eat their plate when having dinner :) The ice isn't meant to be part of the drink, but rather just to cool it. I'm answering this way because the ice isn't supposed to be there any more than a toothpick is "part" of a hors d'oeuvres.
    – eykanal
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 16:49

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