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Different Sized Items And Borer

The Daily Halacha Moment - Different Sized Items And Borer 🍲

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Are different sizes of items subject to the Melachah of borer?


In general, different sizes of a similar item, such as large apples and smaller apples, are considered one type and do not constitute a mixture, this is generally the case with food.[1] For example:

a. If one has two pieces of meat or two pieces of fish, and one is larger than the other, one may pick out the larger one even if one does not intend to eat it immediately, and one may even take out the smaller pieces that one does not want and leave behind the larger pieces that one desires.

b. If one has large and small pieces of cake, one may separate the larger pieces from the smaller pieces and place them on two different platters.[2]

In regards to items of clothing that are in a pile, even though some are larger and some are smaller, and it is difficult to differentiate one from another, the pile is considered a mixture and subject to the halachot of Borer. [3]

Excerpted from R’ Yonatan Nacson’s ‘Laws of Shabbat’, vol. 1 p. 366


[1]. Rama 319:3; Mishnah Berurah 319:15; Eglei Tal, Borer 8:17; Kaf HaChaim 319:30 and 43; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 188. Even though the Taz 319:2 is stringent and states that one should only separate what he wants to eat immediately, most poskim are not stringent like the Taz. Ben Ish Chai, Beshalach 2:2 states that one should try to be stringent like the Taz, but one who is lenient has what to rely on.

[2]. See Halichot Shabbat, Malka, vol. 2, p. 456.

[3]. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 15:44; Shulchan Shlomo 319:7; Menuchat Ahavah, vol. 2, 7:28.

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