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Borer – Shabbos


Regarding borer on Shabbos, I understand that one is permitted to prepare for a meal immediately before a meal (using estimation of time it will take) and this is considered immediate use. Is one also allowed to do Borer during an earlier part of the meal (e.g. entree course) and only use it later during another course e.g. dessert? That is, does the whole meal constitute one activity and since there is no intervening activity then it is okay? Or once the meal has started, then each act of Borer must be done immediately prior to using and the whole meal does not constitute one whole activity? For instance, one may not do borer on one’s plate to prepare for eating but then go and do another activity unrelated to eating (play with a child) before eating that food that one had done Borer on?



What you are saying is only partially correct. Essentially, we may not do borer, such as taking the bad away from the good even if it is for immediate use[1]. (As a side point, a way to remember it is “Taking bad is always bad”.) The idea of immediate use is regarding the heter called “derech achila”, (normal form of eating), that it is permitted to select the GOOD from the bad if it is for immediate use. Immediate use is considered as during that block of time, which starts from the time one starts preparing the meal until the meal is finished. Therefore, you may peel an onion, during the first course, even if you want to serve it during the main course, and even it will only be an hour later.

As a side point, there are another two places that we say that it something is permitted for immediate use. When removing a peel[2], such as peeling eggs onions, even though it is removing the bad for immediate use, since it is a peel, it is considered the normal way to eat if done for immediate[3] use. Another place this applies is when sorting[4] two wanted items from each other. It may be done for immediate use. For example, if one has a mixture of silverware, and one wants to set the table[5], and put each type in its proper place. If you started preparing the meal and setting the table is one of the preparations, and right after preparing you will sit down to eat, then it is considered for immediate use. However, setting the table Friday night, for the Shabbos day or before going to daven, would not be permitted if the silverware if mixed together.  (For this there is another option; the silverware may be scattered[6] across the table, which separates them, and then they may be placed in their proper places)

Best wishes


[1] מ”ב בהקדמתו לס’ שי”ט, שו”ע ס’ שי”ט סע’ א’, ג’ ,וד’.

[2] ב”י ס’ שכ”א בשם סמ”ג, וסמ”ק, והתרומה, הגה”מ פ’ כ”ב הי”ב, ורבינו ירוחם ח”ח. ובטעם ההיתר ע’ פמ”ג ס’ שכ”א א”א ס”ק ל’ שכל שא”א בענין אחר לא נחשב פסולת מאוכל, וע’ שביתת שבת בורר ס”ק כ”ב שזה כמו הט”ז ס’ ת”ק ס”ק ד’, ובביה”ל ס’ שכ”א ד”ה לקלוף הוסיף כיון שא”א בענין אחר ודרך אכילתו כך. ע’ שביתת שבת ס”ק מ”ה מס’ טל אורות במלאכת בורר דף ל”ב עוד סברא להתיר, ע”פ דעת הערוך ערך דש שבורר אינו בדבר שמחובר, וע’ אג”ט בורר ס”ק י”א ושביתת שבת ס”ק כ”ז שדומה לסילוק מין העליון כדי להגיע לתחתון שמותר.

[3] רמ”א ס’ שכ”א סע’ י”ט.

[4] כן משמע מלשון הרמב”ם פי”ג הל’ ח’, וכן לשון השו”ע בסע’ ג’ וע’ בביה”ל סע’ ג’ ד”ה היו, ואע”פ שבפמ”ג ס”ק ב’ מסתפק בזה בראש יוסף דף ע”ד: ד”ה והנה שכן מוכח בר”מ, וע’ איל משולש פי”א הערה א’ שזה ג”כ בתוספתא פ’ י”ז הל’ ו’, וע’ אג”ט מלאכת זורה ס”ק א’ וב’,וכן בערה”ש סע’ ט’ בסוגריים.

[5] שש”כ פ”ג- פ”ד, שבת כהלכתה פי”ב- קי”ט.

[6] אג”מ א”וח ח”ד ס’ ע”ד בורר אות י”א, מקור הדברים הוא מגמ’ שבת עב. “שדא קמייהו כלכלה דפירי, וברש”י שם “אלא שטחן… ובשטוח זה נפרש האכל מאליו”, וכן ע’ שש”כ ( מהדורא ישנה) פ”ג הערה ו’ מר’ ז. ש. זצ”ל, וכן ע’ בתיקונים שם שמותר לפזר אפילו בשביל עצמו, וכ”כ באיל משולש פ”ט אות כ”ה ששמע מהרב וואזנר זצ”ל, וע”ש שכ’ שיש מפקפקים בזה.



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