Saturday, June 25, 2011

Use of a fork on Shabbat


One may not sort items on Shabbat, separating desired items from items that are not desired right now. This is called 'boreir'.
However, one may sort a mixture by taking the items he does want right now, assuming he will use them now and assuming he does not use a tool (like a slotted spoon) which is normally used to sort things.

The ruling:
One may use a fork to take solid food from a liquid, such as pickles from a jar, so long as one selects the items he wants, and one uses them now. Although the fork does technically sort as it leaves the liquid behind, one does not intend to sort - the goal is simply to take the pickles - and the fork is not considered a tool normally used for sorting things.

One would not be permitted to use the fork for this if he did, in fact, intend to strain the solid, removing the liquid via the tines of the fork.

(Rav Moshe Feinstein, Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 1:124)

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