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Let's say a group of people are sitting in a room. On Shabbat, are you allowed to categorize them into groups such as:

  • Herding Men away from woman e.g at a Kiddush with a mechitza in Shul (normally that Shul doesn't segregate during Kiddushim)
  • Separating a group of children into teams e.g for Shabbat groups / games
  • If one has to physically carry inorder to fulfil borer, separating toddlers into age groups e.g for food consumption purposes (some are too young to eat certain foods)
  • It would be very hard to say that people are a mixture,unless it's 10 identical twins ,then maybe – sam Feb 20 at 16:09
  • Also there is no borer by min echad,meaning apples of different sizes and colors would not constitute a situation of borer – sam Feb 20 at 16:10
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    @AlBerko That’s only the classic case. Borer applies to any mixture. – DonielF Feb 20 at 16:38
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    I’d imagine it’s fine, since by objects you’re directly sorting them, whereas by people you’re not physically picking them up to put them into groups - you’re instructing them to move themselves. – DonielF Feb 20 at 16:39
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    @DonielF babies and toddlers have to be physically carried. Consider the Shabbat group where there are a group of babies & toddlers and they need to be separated into smaller game groups. – DanF Feb 20 at 17:05
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The Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim317,4 quotes the Yerushalmi Shabbos 7,1 that suggests that there might be Borer for Humans from humans (i assume with kids who are man handled and don't move voluntarily) according to Chizkia who says that Borer applies to the same species (e.g pomegranates separated from other pomegranates), but this suggestion of Chizkia is rejected as being not according to Halacha so there is no Borer with Humans from humans or any other same species from same species:

וזה לשון הירושלמי: "בירר אוכלים מתוך אוכלים: חזקיה אמר - חייב... על דעתיה דחזקיה אפילו עיגולים מן גו עיגולין אפילו רמונים מן גו רמונים או כיני, אפילו בני נש מגו בני נש" עכ"ל.
והכי פירושו: ששואל אם על דעתו דחזקיה אסור נמי במין אחד לברור זה מזה, ודחי לה: 'או כיני אפילו בני נש וכו', כלומר דאם כן תאמר גם כשיברור בני אדם מן בני אדם תאמר שיש בזה ברירה, בתמיה, והפליג לדחות דבר

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In the Sefer Ashrei Ha'ish it brings from a Sefer Pischei halachos that borer does not apply to a person. It states the following: “מותר להוציא פירורים או חוט מהזקן ואין נקרא בורר כי לא שייך בורר באדם״ . Translation: it is permitted to remove crumbs or a string from ones beard and it is not called borer for borer is not possible regarding people. I seem to recall the same question and answer given by Rav Elyashiv though I can’t recall where I saw it.

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