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 designed for separating. For example, one may not use a strainer to separate seeds that are mixed together with their shells, even if he wishes to eat them immediately.

Spoons and forks are not considered implements designed for separating. Rather, they assist the hand in grasping food. Therefore, one may use a spoon or a fork to remove okhel from psolet. For example, if a dish contains different types of food, one may use a fork to remove the type he wants, put it on his plate, and immediately eat it.

One may not remove olive pits with a device specifically designed for this purpose, as it is an implement designed for separating (SSK 3:59).

People often place grains of rice in salt shakers to prevent the salt from clumping. Although the holes of a salt shaker are small and only let the salt through (while blocking the rice), they nevertheless may be used on Shabbat, as their purpose is not to separate but to dispense salt. The proof of this is that people use salt shakers even when they do not contain grains of rice (see section 8 regarding a peeler, section 13 regarding a slotted spoon and Borer with a ladle, n. 15 regarding olives, and section 14 regarding a teapot).

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The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman