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Peninei Halakha > Shabbat > 11 - Borer (Separating) > 12. Separating Broth from Pieces of Food in Soup

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 in section 3). However, one may separate them in the normal course of eating, as long as the three conditions for derekh akhila delineated in section 2 are met (okhel from psolet, not with a specialized implement, and for immediate consumption).

Therefore, if one wants to eat the broth immediately but not the vegetables (rendering them psolet for him), he may tip the soup pot and pour off the broth into a bowl. Although the broth is being removed from the mixture, it is not prohibited because the okhel is being removed from the psolet. However, one may not do this with the help of a strainer or even a utensil that is not specifically designed for separating (such as a fork or spoon) or a pot cover (by bringing it close to the bowl and opening it slightly, allowing only the broth to pass though). In contrast, one may use a ladle and fill it only with broth. Since using a ladle is the normal way of removing soup, it is not considered straining with a utensil.[13]

If one wants to eat only the vegetables and noodles, he may not tip the pot to pour out the broth. This is considered removing psolet from okhel, which is forbidden even if his objective is to eat the vegetables and noodles immediately. In contrast, one may lift the ladle out of the soup while holding it close to the side of the pot, in such a way that it will fill with only vegetables and noodles, because he is merely taking the food that he wants and not performing an act of separation. Once the ladle is out of the pot, one may not pour broth from the ladle back into the pot, because that would indeed be removing psolet from okhel.

If the vegetables and noodles fell to the bottom of the pot and there is clear broth above them, that broth is not considered mixed with them. Therefore, even one who wishes to eat the vegetables may remove the broth on top with a ladle or tilt the pot and pour off the broth. However, after pouring off this top layer of broth, one may not continue tipping the pot to remove the soup that is mixed with vegetables and noodles.[14]

[13]. If one removes okhel from psolet for immediate consumption using an implement that is designed specially to separate (such as a strainer), he transgresses a Torah prohibition. If he separates using of an implement that is not designed specifically for straining (such as a fork or a pot cover), it is only rabbinically prohibited, since it is an unusual way of separating. SSK ch. 3 n. 177 rules that it may be prohibited to hold a spoon or ladle against the side of a pot to collect only vegetables, as this is straining with the help of an implement. For this reason, Menuĥat Ahava 2:7:34 forbids gradually filling up a ladle with soup in such a way that only liquid will fill it. Orĥot Shabbat 3:75-76 quotes lenient opinions on this matter. Nishmat Shabbat §144 does so as well. It seems that in practice one may be lenient since there is no prohibition on removing okhel from psolet in the normal way for fairly immediate consumption, and this position is reflected in the main text. Regardless, this is a case of doubt about a rabbinic law, where we typically rule leniently.[14]. Shabbat 139b and SA 319:14 explain that one may gently pour wine from one bottle to another. To avoid Borer, one must take care to stop pouring when the flow of wine stops, before the drops of wine percolating through the lees start to come out. In this case there is a disagreement about whether one may pour out those last drops of wine for immediate consumption. Most poskim permit this; since he wants the wine that he is pouring off, this is considered removing okhel from psolet, which is permitted for immediate consumption (MA; MB 319:55; Yalkut Yosef 319:45). However according to R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi (in vol. 1 of his siddur) and Eglei Tal, what is left in the receptacle in his hands is the result of Borer, meaning that he has removed psolet from okhel, which is forbidden even for immediate consumption. In sum, according to most poskim, soup mixed with vegetables and noodles may be spilled off in order to eat the soup immediately. Although some prohibit this, maintaining that it is considered removing psolet from okhel, the halakha follows the majority of poskim who maintain that it is considered removing okhel from psolet. We may add to this the factor that some poskim permit removing psolet from okhel if it is for immediate consumption (Rid and Tur), as explained above in n. 1. Furthermore, some maintain that there is no prohibition of Borer for liquids unless the separating is performed with an implement that is specially designed for the purpose (Responsa Maharitatz Yeshanot §203). But one may not spill off the soup in order to eat the vegetables, since according to the majority of poskim that qualifies as removing psolet from okhel.

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