Can you please
define the essence of the melacha called Borer?
Borer is one of the 39 melachos
of Shabbos being that it was one of the melachos incorporated in the construction
of the Mishkan. Borer means to separate or to sort the items in a mixture.
As a matter of fact there are two other melachos that also deal with sorting and
separation, namely (??) Dush
- Threshing and Meraked - Sifting. Even though they
all one of a kind in the sense that they separate between good and bad, food and waste,
nevertheless Chazal tell us that each one is a melacha in its own right.
apply to the sorting of food items as well or only to separating between waste and food?
Obviously the main feature of Borer is
to separate between food and waste in a mixture. Nevertheless Tosefos in Shabbos
74a, which is the halacha, says that Borer also applies to the sorting
of food items that are in a mixture. In other words, when there are inedible particles in
rice and one removes them or when peas and carrots are mixed and one separates the peas
from the carrots, this is the melacha of Borer.
I can understand
that extracting the inedible items from rice is Borer because it
improves the rice but peas and carrots are not impaired and that separating
them improves them, so why should that be a melacha?
Firstly it is correct that all the melachos
must improve or enhance something, as all the melachos are constructive. (Even the
destructive melachos such as demolition - Stirah, must be done for a
constructive purpose). Secondly, the Yeshuos Yaakov offers a similar argument
saying that separating one food from another is not the original melacha because
one food is not impaired by the other food.
The Biur Halacha disagrees and
says that when one wishes to separate food items in a mixture, he is declaring that one
item impairs the other (to a certain extent) and the separating of the two will enhance
and improve each particular item.
Hence separating waste from food or the
sorting of food items involves a melacha doraisso of Borer.
Utmost care must be taken when sorting or separating on Shabbos because it is a
hairsbreadth that separates between a permitted action and one that is ossur midoraisso.
How or when is one
permitted to separate items on Shabbos?
The Shulchan Aruch at the beginning of
simon 319 tells us that there are three cardinal rules pertaining to Borer
and compliancy with these rules permits Borer on Shabbos.
They are 1) removal of the food from waste,
2) with ones hand, 3) immediately prior to eating. As we will see, each one of these
criteria requires elaboration. In short we must remember: Food, by Hand, for Now or ???? ??? ????.
The most basic concept regarding Borer
is that Borer only applies to the sorting or separating of items in a mixture.
Items not mixed together may be separated or sorted. Defining a mixture is complicated
because the poskim say that a mixture is determined according to the impression of
the beholder, which only aggravates matters being that one is often unsure as to the
classification of a given situation.
For example, are bottles lined in the
refrigerator door considered a mixture? What about books on a bookshelf? How about a fly
in the soup, is it considered on its own or is it mixed in the soup? As we
progress we will Bezras Hashem attempt to answer these questions.
Food From Refuse
When food and waste are in a mixture one must
remove the food from the waste and not the waste from the food, regardless of the effort
that must be invested to remove the food and even if removing the waste would take less
time and is easier to do.
[On Yom Tov one must seek the easier method,
and if it is easier to remove the waste from the food one must do so].
the food from the waste immediately prior to eating is called ???
????? - the way one eats and hence it is not Borer.