Halacha for Tuesday 14 Elul 5777 September 5 2017

Selecting Regarding One Type of Food

Question: If one is served a dish containing larger and smaller pieces of meat on Shabbat, may one remove the smaller pieces that he is not interested in eating or not?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the forbidden work of selecting on Shabbat. We have also mentioned that selecting is only permissible on Shabbat when three conditions are met: One must select by hand and not with the use of a utensil (such as a strainer), one must select the food from the waste and not the opposite, and one must do so in order to eat the food immediately (and not to leave it for a later time).

With regards to our question, if one is served larger and smaller pieces and one does not want the smaller ones, it would seem that if one were to remove the smaller pieces this would constitute selecting waste from food and would be prohibited on Shabbat. Indeed, the Turei Zahav rules that even when the mixture consists of one type of food, such as pomegranate seeds or smaller and larger pieces of meat, the prohibition to select on Shabbat applies here as well. This is indeed the inferred opinion of the Talmud Yerushalmi as well.

Nevertheless, it seems from the words of the Rambam, Magid Mishneh, Terumat Ha’Deshen, and several other great Poskim that the prohibition of selecting only applies to a mixture of two different foods, such as sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds; however, this prohibition does not apply to only one type of food, such as larger and smaller pieces of meat or vegetables. Based on this, if one does not want the smaller pieces of meat or the vegetable, one may remove them from the dish with the intention of eating whatever remains. Although it seems from the Talmud Yerushalmi that the prohibition of selecting applies to even one kind of food, it seems that our Babylonian Talmud disagrees in which case the Halacha is that there is no prohibition to select in our case. Indeed, the Rama rules likewise. This is indeed the correct opinion according to Halacha as Maran zt”l writes lengthily to prove that the prohibition of selecting only applies to two kinds of food and not to only one kind.

Summary: When two forms of the same kind of food, such as larger and smaller pieces of meat or a vegetable, are mixed together on a plate, one may select one from another with no concern whatsoever, as the prohibition of selecting applies only to two different kinds of food and not to only one kind. Nevertheless, regarding two kinds of fish, such as tuna and salmon, the Terumat Ha’Deshen (Chapter 57) writes in the name of the Ohr Zarua that since they each have separate names, they are considered two kinds of food and the prohibition to select would indeed apply here.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading-The Proper Procedure for One Who Has Missed Hearing a Portion of the Megillah

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor

On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Tetzaveh this year, 5777) and in the second one we read the portion of &ld......

Read Halacha

The Custom of the “Commemoration of the Half-Shekel”-5777

It is customary to donate money before Purim as “a commemoration of the Half-Shekel” which was donated by the entire Jewish nation when the Bet Hamikdash stood. This money is customarily collected on the eve of Purim before reading the Megillah, as our Sages tell us (Megilla 13b) that &l......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

The Essence of Leavening The Torah (Shemot 13) tells us regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in all of your borders.” The leaven that the Torah prohibits is produced by the combination of grain-flour and water......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur-Unique Laws for this Year

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha