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Washing hands on Shabbos when there is a sponge in the sink


When I am washing for bread in someone’s house and there is a sponge in the sink and I cannot turn on the faucet because it’s Shabbos (laundering), what should I do? I cannot take out the sponge because it is mixed with dishes and things (borer).


There is no need for you to take the sponge out of the sink. First of all, if you wash into a different part of the sink and not on to the sponge, it might not absorb any water, and even if it does, it isn’t a psik riesha. Secondly, even if you would get the sponge wet, you are not doing it in order to wet the sponge and most probably it isn’t derch kibus, but derech lichluch. Additionally, the sponge is most probably made from some sort of rubber or plastic, and not from cloth, therefore it doesn’t absorb, and here is no issue of sheriah with it. ( Sechtia would apply, but not sheriah.) Nevertheless, if you want to forget about this factor, and make believe there is a borer issue here, take out the sponge together with other items, (a plate that it is resting on) then you took out god and bad, which is permitted on shabbos because that is not borer. What would be more of an issue is moving the sponge, because of sechita and muktza. Although there are ways around them, it is still better to just take it as stated above. Again, there is no need to take it out, just wash in a different part of the sink.

Best wishes


O:CH 302-10, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 15-7,9.

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