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Items Which Are Obviously Discernable & Borer

The Daily Halacha Moment - Items Which Are Obviously Discernable & 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 items that are obviously discernable subject to the melachah of Borer?


Items that are obviously discernable and not perceived as an individual unit are not subject to Borer. Examples of this include:

a. Leftover food may be separated from one’s plate and thrown in the garbage, since the plate and the food are not perceived at all as one unit. [1]

b. If one sees a noticeably large insect on a piece of lettuce or on a fruit, one may remove the insect.[2]

c. One may remove an insect that fell into a drink; however, it is proper to be stringent and take a little of the drink along with it as well.[3] One may also blow the insect to the side of the cup, so that it can be poured out easily.[4]

d. One may pour out the liquid that is found on top of yogurt upon opening the yogurt, since the liquid is not considered mixed with the yogurt.[5]

Excerpted from Yonatan Nacson’s ‘Laws of Shabbat’, vol. 1 p. 359-360


[1]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 316; Shulchan Shlomo 319:6, in footnote; Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 2, 25:50.

[2]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 191. See also Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 3:40.

[3]. The basic reasoning why this is permitted is based on a disagreement in the poskim. According to the Maharitatz §203, anytime there is something solid that is in a liquid, there is no issue of Borer, since each item is easily identified. Others, such as the Taz 319:13, argue and state that the only way to remove a solid from a liquid is by taking some of the liquid along with the solid. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 232 states that it is proper to be stringent like the stringent opinions, but strictly speaking the halachah follows the opinion of the Maharitatz. Ben Ish Chai, Beshalach 2:12; Kaf HaChayim 319:42.

[4] Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 289.

[5]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 229. See also Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 313 who states that if the water is slightly mixed with the yogurt, then one should pour some of the yogurt out as well.

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