August 31, 2017
Beis Moshiach in #1083, Halacha 2 Go

Selected Halachos from theOne Minute Halachaproject

By HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Shlita,
Mara Dasra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights


Question: P’soles (waste or unwanted food) may not be separated from ochel (desirable food) on Shabbos due to the issur (prohibition) of the melacha of borer (selecting). When using a keli (utensil designed for separating)ochel may not be separated from psoles either. That being the case, may a non-electrical salad spinner be used to dry lettuce on Shabbos, since it separates the lettuceochel, and the water, p’soles?

Answer: One of the key principles in Shulchan Aruch for determining what constitutes the act of borer which is forbidden on Shabbos, is that borer is as follows: It applies only when separating two distinct items that are mixed together, such as nuts and raisins, whereas removing an element within a particular item of food or drink that is generally considered indistinguishable, like sediment in wine or pulp in orange juicealthough technically separableis permissible.

Therefore, if there is a small amount of water left on lettuce, it’s permissible to use a salad spinner on Shabbos to get rid of the water. This is because lettuce is perfectly edible if it’s slightly wet, and most people wouldn’t mind. Drying lettuce with a salad spinner would only be considered borer to an istenis, a person who is very particular, and who absolutely couldn’t eat lettuce if it was slightly wet.

Another reason why drying lettuce is permitted is that removing moisture from lettuce is comparable to rinsing fruits and vegetables, which isn’t considered borer (for various reasons), and is permissible on Shabbos.

Although there are some contemporary authorities who are more stringent and rule against doing this, the accepted halacha is that using a salad spinner to remove moisture from lettuce on Shabbos is permissible.


Separating two leben containers which were connected since production is forbidden on Shabbos for two reasons: the melacha of mechatech (the prohibited act of cutting something down to a desired size), and primarily the issur of tikkun mana (the prohibition of fixing a vessel), a derivative of makeh b’patish (literally, the strike of a hammer, indicating an act of completion). This occurs at separation, since the connected items were not considered a user-friendlyvesseluntil they were separated

Similarly, separating two ice pops on Shabbos that were attached since production (as opposed to having been separated previously and later reattached) poses the same two problems described above: cutting the ices to the desired size, and fashioning a useable bag of ices. 

Some poskim offer various justifications to explain why the above prohibitions dont apply in these cases, and permit separating them on Shabbos. However, one should avoid these issues and make sure to separate them before Shabbos.


Although the Gemara cites a shortened nusach (textual variant) of the bracha of Kiddush Levana (Blessing the New Moon) for women, the accepted custom is that women are not mekadeish the levana. The Magen Avraham explains that the Gemara was not referring to women per se but to men who were not knowledgeable enough to recite the full text of the bracha, and were therefore provided with an abbreviated version which was easier to master. (The invention of the printing press was still a long way off when the Gemara was being compiled, and Siddurim were not readily available.)

Why are woman not obligated in Kiddush Levana? The case can be made that this bracha constitutes a mitzvos aseh she’hazman grama (a positive commandment that is time bound), which women are typically exempt from. However, Ashkenazim follow the practice that women may perform such mitzvos if they so choose, so the custom that women avoid reciting Kiddush Levana remains unexplained.

A kabbalistic reason offered by the Shelah is that Kiddush Levana serves as spiritual rectification for the sin of the Eitz HaDaas (the Tree of Knowledge) so women, who bear a certain degree of culpability for that sin, do not take part.

An alternative, halachic explanation given is that Kiddush Levana takes place under the open sky, yet kol k’vuda bas melech p’nima (the honor of a king’s daughter is within); congregating outside is at odds with a Jewish woman’s appropriate level of modesty.

Whatever the reason may be, our custom is that women don’t say Kiddush Levana.


Seifer Torah must be treated with utmost respect, to the extent that, absent certain conditions, it may not be moved from one location to another. The Zohar is very stringent on this point, and even forbids moving Sifrei Torah mi’bei kenishta l’bei kenishta (from one shul to another); some poskim maintain that they may not even be moved from one room to another. Taking a Seifer Torah out into the street would clearly be prohibited, unless it is for a Hachnasas Seifer Torah (dedication of a new Seifer Torah) or similar occasions clearly sanctioned in Halacha. Therefore, when moving a Seifer Torah, serious care must be taken to ensure that the necessary conditions are met:

Meyached lah makom: a designated place for the Seifer Torah must be established at the new location a day or two in advance of the move; or alternatively

K’vius: when a Seifer Torah is taken to a beis ha’avel (a mourners home), it is customary to use it at least three times for krias haTorah (reading the Torah), thus giving it permanence at its new location. Nonetheless, a special place should still be set aside for it.

However, if a Seifer Torah located elsewhere is needed temporarily by an existing minyan (quorum of ten men) and its extremely difficult for the group to move, there is room to permit bringing the Seifer Torah to them, so that they can meet their obligation of krias haTorah.


If someone is considering adopting a child, it cannot be stressed enough how crucial it is for them to discuss the halachos involved with a competent Rav in order to determine what the permissible options are. There are quite a number of halachic issues that need to be addressed. For example, if the child is not Jewish, it must be ascertained that the conversion process is conducted according to halacha.

With regards to a Jewish child, one of the issues are: Halacha mandates that they be told very early on that they are adopted—lest they believe that their adoptive parents and siblings are their biological family. Being ignorant of their status would likely result in the violation of the halachos of yichud (seclusion with someone of the opposite gender) and chibuk v’nishuk (hugging and kissing a member of the opposite gender), which may be permitted among biological family members but are forbidden after a certain age if the child is adopted. There is even the remote possibility that a biological brother and sister might marry each other if they are unaware that they have been adopted.


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