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The Melachah Of Borer (Separating)

The Daily Halacha Moment - The Melachah Of Borer (Separating)

״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)


What is the melachah of Borer?


After threshing and winnowing, pieces and pebbles remained that could not be separated by the wind because they were too heavy, nor could they be separated by sieve since the pieces were too large. Therefore, the remaining pebbles and pieces were separated by hand. The act of sorting the pebbles and pieces from the ground wheat constitutes the melachah of Borer.

Borer is essentially selecting or sorting of a mixture. This is accomplished by taking out one variety that one does not want (referred to as “pesolet”) from another that is wanted (referred to as “ochel”).[1]

Borer applies to all food items and even liquids. Separating impurities from a liquid[2] or even separating a liquid from another liquid is considered Borer. [3]

Similarly, borer also applies to sorting clothing, utensils, and other objects that can be considered a “mixture". [4]

Excerpted From Yonatan Nacson’s ‘Laws of Shabbat’, vol. 1 p. 349-350


[1]. Rashi, Shabbat, 73b, “Haynu.”

[2]. Shulchan Aruch 319:10.

[3]. See Mishnah Berurah 319:62.

[4]. Taz 319:12; Shulchan Aruch HaRav 319:8; Chayeh Adam 16:5; Mishnah Berurah 319:15; Ben Ish Chai, Beshalach, 2:13; Kaf HaChaim 319:25; Yabia Omer, vol. 5, 31:3; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 327.

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