Chapter: 11 – Borer (Separating)

01. Four Melakhot Related to Borer

There are four melakhot that deal with separating okhel (food) from psolet (waste): Dash (threshing), Zoreh (winnowing), Borer (separating), and Meraked (sifting). The melakha of Dash involves detaching food matter from its husk. The melakha is named for the act … Continue reading

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02. Derekh Akhila and Derekh Melakha

The most important principle in the laws of Borer is the distinction between one who performs Borer in the manner of the melakha and one who is preparing food for immediate consumption. When okhel is separated from psolet in the … Continue reading

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03. Two Types of Food Mixed Together

Separating a mixture of two types of food also constitutes a violation of Borer. Even if both foods are edible, since they are different types and one is interested in having each type separately, each is considered psolet in relation … Continue reading

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04. The Prohibition Applies Only to Mixtures

The prohibition of Borer applies only when there are two items mixed together; if the items are not mixed, but simply next to each other, it is not forbidden to separate them. For example, if walnuts and peanuts are mixed … Continue reading

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05. Removing Psolet from Okhel

As we have seen, it is considered derekh akhila to remove okhel from psolet in order to eat it immediately. However, removing psolet from the okhel is a transgression of Borer.[4] Even when the psolet is minimal and it is … Continue reading

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06. Immediate Use

As we saw (section 2), the prohibition of Borer only applies when it is done through derekh melakha. Separating okhel from psolet in order to eat it immediately is not considered Borer because it is derekh akhila. Therefore, one who … Continue reading

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07. By Hand and Not with an Implement

As we saw earlier (section 2), one may remove okhel from psolet in the normal way of eating if three conditions are met. One of the conditions is that the separating is done by hand and not with an implement … Continue reading

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08. Removing Peels and Pits

One may remove peels from fruit in order to eat them. Even though removing the peel is similar to removing psolet from okhel, it is not forbidden because this is the normal way to eat a fruit that has a … Continue reading

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09. Bones in Fish and Meat

When eating fish with bones, one may remove the bones in the course of eating. In other words, one may begin eating the fish, and when he gets to the bones that are in his way, he may remove them … Continue reading

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10. Removing Watermelon Seeds and Rotten Fruit

While cutting a watermelon, one may remove the seeds by shaking out each slice. Any seeds that remain may be removed by hand or with a knife, because that is the normal way to eat watermelon. This is on condition … Continue reading

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11. Straining Liquids

Straining liquids can also involve a Torah prohibition, depending on the state of the liquid. If a liquid has psolet in it that makes it undrinkable, and straining makes it drinkable, then straining it is prohibited by Torah law. If … Continue reading

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12. Separating Broth from Pieces of Food in Soup

One may not separate the broth from the vegetables or noodles mixed into a soup. Although the broth, the vegetables, and the noodles are all edible, it is still forbidden to separate two types of foods (as we have seen … Continue reading

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13. Additional Laws of Separating Liquids from Solids

Since pickles are large, they are not considered mixed with the brine in which they are pickled. Thus, when opening a jar of pickles, one may pour out the brine. In contrast, since canned peas and corn are small, they … Continue reading

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14. Teapots and Tea Bags

A teapot is used to cook tea leaves and prepare liquid essence of tea from them. At the mouth of the teapot is a strainer that prevents the tea leaves from pouring freely into the cup. When the tea leaves … Continue reading

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15. Removing Insects from Food, and Additional Laws

If an insect falls into a cup of tea and is floating on top, some permit removing it on its own. Others are stringent and maintain that removing the bug on its own is Borer, because it is considered psolet … Continue reading

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16. Utensils, Games, Silverware, and Books

Just as the prohibition of Borer applies to food, it applies to other items as well, such as books, utensils, and clothing (Taz; MB 319:15). All the above rules for Borer with food apply to other mixtures as well. In … Continue reading

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17. The Melakha of Dash

The melakha of Dash involves separating the grain kernels from their stalks. This is generally done with the help of a tool or an animal (as explained in section 1). Thus, one who goes through husks by hand to separate … Continue reading

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18. Cracking Walnuts, Almonds, and Peanuts

One may crack nuts on Shabbat, even though this constitutes removing food from its casing. This is not considered Dash because Dash is a melakha that is done commercially in the field or factory at the end of the harvesting … Continue reading

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