Normally, I try to take off each type of item alone from the Shabbos table (first all the flatware, then all the appetizer dishes, etc.) so that I needn’t sort any mixture in the kitchen. On occasion, guests bring things into the kitchen to be helpful. What is the correct way to handle a plate brought into the kitchen with large pieces of food on it as well as flatware? (My counter is far too small to leave the plate standing this way till Shabbos is over!)
Thank you very much!
If there isn’t too much on the plate, even if there are a few pieces of large food and two pieces cutlery they are not a taroves, and you may separate them. However if there is a lot of food mixed with different cutlery, such as if a few plates worth of leftovers were put all on to one plate before they were brought in to the kitchen then it would be a taaroves. (Exactly at what point it becomes a taaroves, is not clear. I once heard that R’ S. Z. Auerbach zt”l once said regarding this part of hilchos borer that “borer is not meburar to him”).
Try to make sure that the cutlery is taken out before the leftover food from the plates are piled together. If that wasn’t done then you have a significant borer issue here. What you may do is to remove a piece of silverware and then immediately use to clean off some of the garbage on the plate, Then take the next piece of silverware out of the mixture and do the same. This would be permitted because then you are removing the good in order to use it right away, which is permitted.
O:CH 319-1. Note; to remove the silverware and wash them right away is not advisable. See Shulchan Shlomo 319-4 pg. 377, that R. S. Z. Auerbach zt”l that taking the silverware out in order to wash them would not be considered taking the good for now. This is because the silverware is not being used for now, but is only being prepared for the next meal, and will only be used later; therefore it is considered being done for later.