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Piled Items And Borer

The Daily Halacha Moment - Piled 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)


Question:

Are items that are piled on top of each other subject to the Melachah of Borer?


Answer:

Even larger items that are piled on top of one another can be considered a mixture, and subject to the melachah of Borer. [1] Examples of this include:


a. If one has a pile of books that are piled on top of one another and are each clearly visible as different books, such as if they differ in size and color, it is permitted to take from the middle of the pile, since such a pile is not considered a “mixture” in regards to the melachah of Borer. [2] One may not take out a book from a pile of all slightly similar books, unless it is for immediate use.[3] If one does not need it for immediate use, then one should read from some of it upon picking it out.[4]

b. A pile of towels or shirts that are hanging one on top of another does not pose a problem of Borer when removing one item from the pile, since each item is clearly distinguished either by its mere size or color. However, if the items are piled in a messy way, and each item is not discernable, such a pile is considered a mixture and is subject to the rules of Borer. [5]

c. Similarly, a pile of different plates that are more or less the same size and not easily distinguished one from another is subject to the rules of Borer. [6]


Excerpted from R’ Yonatan Nacson’s ‘Laws of Shabbat’, vol. 1 p. 364.


Sources:

[1]. Mishnah Berurah 319:15.

[2]. See Aruch HaShulchan 319:8-9. See also Yabia Omer, vol. 5, 31:4 and Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 211. Regarding a pile of books that are in a dark room, and are not easily distinguished between one another because of the lighting, many poskim state that it is not considered Borer if the only reason why it is not distinguishable is a result of the lighting and not the actual mixture (see Chut Shani, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 70 and Orchot Shabbat, ch. 3, footnote 17). However, Igrot Moshe, O.C. 4:74, Borer §12 and Shevut Yitzchak, vol. 10, p. 35, state that one should not pick out a book or clothing from a pile without knowing for sure that one is picking out what he needs. Rather, one should take the pile to a properly illuminated place and only then take what he needs from the pile.

[3]. See Kaf HaChaim 319:25.

[4]. Halichot Shabbat, Malka, vol. 1, p. 287.

[5]. See Ma’aseh HaShabbat, vol. 1, p. 95.

[6]. See Ma’aseh HaShabbat, vol. 1, p. 95.


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