Filtering with cloth

Filtering liquids with a cloth:[1]

White liquids: It is forbidden to filter water or white wine and the like [of other liquids], using a [non-designated- See Q&A] cloth, due to the whitening prohibition, being that soaking a cloth is considered laundering.

The reason why there is no whitening prohibition involved by a strainer as opposed to by a cloth: [A typical cloth which is not designated to be used as a strainer does contain a laundering prohibition with clear liquids being that one is particular that the cloth not be wet and thus may come to squeeze it or intend to whiten it.] However a strainer is made for this purpose and one thus does not care to squeeze [out the liquid which it absorbs] and as well does not care to whiten it at all, therefore its whitening does not pose a problem to prohibit soaking it in liquid due to this even according to those opinions which say that the soaking of a cloth is [considered] laundering it.

Colored liquids: However red wine or beer or other liquids which do not whiten of which we do not suspect that one may come to squeeze [a cloth soaked in these liquids] as explained there [in chapter 320 Halacha 21] then it is permitted to strain it with a cloth even if [the liquids] are slightly murky to the point that most people would not drink them without filtration. [See Q&A]

The reason that filtering even murky colored liquids in a cloth is allowed is: because since nevertheless it is possible to push oneself to drink these liquids, [filtering them] is therefore not considered actually separating, and was [thus] allowed to be done through an irregularity, such as by using a cloth. [See Q&A]

Other Opinion with regards to colored but murky liquids: [However] there are opinions which prohibit [filtering even with a cloth] in this scenario [that the colored liquids are slightly murky].

The Final Ruling: It is proper[2] to suspect for this latter opinion.

If the colored liquids are very murky: However if the [colored liquids] are completely murky to the point that it is not possible to drink them in this state, or [in a case that] they have sediment [within them] then it is forbidden to [filter them] even using a cloth, according to all.

 

A. Not to indent the cloth to intake the liquid:[3]

Upon filtering with a cloth slightly murky [colored] liquids one must beware to not make an indent within the cloth in order for it to intake the liquid. Rather one is to pour the liquid on to it and let it form an indentation on its own in order to differ from the way this is done during the week. [4]  [See Q&A]

 

B. Sifting with an Egyptian basket[5]      

Any liquid which is permitted to filter with a cloth is permitted to be filtered with an Egyptian basket[6] as long as one does not lift the basket from the bottom of the lower vessel [in which one is filtering into] the height of a handbreadth, in order to differ from the way this is done during the week.

However that vessel which is made like a sieve which is used to filter, since it is designated for this purpose, it has the same laws as does a filter[7] which is that one may only filter with it clear liquids which do not have dregs.

 

Summary- Filtering with a cloth :

Note: The summary takes into account the crucial clarification which is discussed in Q&A 1 with regards to a designated cloth.

A cloth designated to be used to filter:[8] It is allowed for one to filter in a designated cloth any liquid, even white, even if it is a bit murky to the point that most people would not drink it in its current state [although in such a case one may not make an indentation in the cloth and may only simply pour the liquid into it]. Nevertheless, it is proper to be stringent to not filter liquids that are a bit murky to the point that majority of people will not drink them.

However if the liquids are completely murky to the point that it is not possible to drink them in this state, or in a case that they have sediment within them then it is forbidden to filter them even using a cloth.

A cloth that is not designated to be used for a filter[9]: All white liquids are forbidden to be filtered through such a cloth due to the laundering prohibition. Colored liquids however do not have a laundering prohibition and are thus allowed to be filtered in all cases that it is allowed to filter with a designated cloth, as explained above.  [Nevertheless according to some filtering colored liquids may pose a dyeing prohibition- See Q&A below]

 

Q&A

May one filter water with a cloth that is designated to be used for the purpose of filtering?[10]

Yes. In such a case it has the same status as does a filter.[11]

 

May one who is particular to never drink a certain unfiltered liquid filter it on Shabbos with a cloth?[12]

If the water is slightly recognizably dirty, but nevertheless majority of people will drink from it then: It is forbidden to filter it on Shabbos[13]. Thus those people which are particular to only drink filtered water must prepare water from before Shabbos if the water is slightly dirty. However if one would be willing to drink the liquid unfiltered in a pressing situation then it is permitted for him to filter it with a cloth [however not with a filter, as explained above in Halacha 1 Q&A there.]

If the water is clean: and one thus simply desires to make it clearer then it is allowed for one to filter it even if he is always particular against drinking it without filtering it.[14] Nevertheless there are opinions which are stringent even in such a case to prohibit a person which is always particular to filter the water from filtering it on Shabbos. Thus according to those opinions people which are particular to only drink filtered water must prepare water from before Shabbos.

If one does not yet know the state of the water, such as water which enters directly from the tab into a filter, then it has the same status as clear water.[15]

 

Does filtering colored liquids through a cloth contain the dyeing prohibition? [16]

There exists different explanations to this query. The following are those opinions:

Tehila Ledavid[17]: The dyeing prohibition only applies to cloths that are common to be dyed and by them one should be stringent. However cloths which are not normally dyed there is no suspicion for dyeing, and it is allowed. Thus here that Admur allows the filtering of colored liquids through cloths it is referring only to using cloths that are not commonly dyed and thus do not contain the dyeing prohibition.

Ketzos Hashulchan[18] explains that perhaps the dyeing prohibition only applies by very red wine, although by light red wine it does not, and thus those areas where Admur stated that it is allowed is because he is referring to light red wine.  He then concludes that one who wants to do according to all opinions, should use a designated cloth for filtering the wine.

Rabbi Farkash:[19] Argues on the above two answers and rather explains: According to Admur, he learns like those Rishonim that learn that wine [and other fruit juices] are never considered to dye a cloth but rather its color dirties a cloth, and thus it is never applicable to the prohibition of dyeing. It is however applicable to strawberries and the like which can be used for dyeing.

Conclusion: One who wants to follow all opinions, should use a designated cloth for filtering the wine.

 

May one filter semi-murky liquids with a cloth that is designated to be used for the purpose of filtering?[20]

Yes. This is despite the fact that a designated cloth has the same ruling as a filter, as explained in Q&A.

 

If the city water is undrinkable, such as it has sand in it or worms and thus must be filtered, is there any way to do this on Shabbos?[21]

If there is no other water available one may attach a cloth, which is designated only for filtering, to the sink faucet and use it to filter the water for both drinking and washing. One should only filter the water for right away use.[22]

It is forbidden to use an undesignated cloth for the filtering, and as well even a designated cloth may only be used when attached to the sink faucet. 

 

Does this restriction of not making an indentation apply as well to non-murky liquids?[23]

This restriction only applies to when straining murky liquids. However by clear liquids it is allowed to make an indentation for the liquid to fall in.

 


[1] 319/13

[2] Lit. Good

[3] 319/15

[4] This restriction only applies to when straining a) murky liquids b) with a cloth. However by clear liquids even by a strainer it is allowed to make an indentation for the liquid to fall in. [Ketzos Hashulchan 125/13 footnote 33, Mishneh Berurah 45, Shabbos Kihalacha Vol 2 p. 354]

[5] 319/16

[6] This refers to a basket made of different willows and papyrus plant [Rama]

[7] This vessel is not actually considered a filter being that it does not hold back the dregs of the wine. Nevertheless since it filters out twigs and filth therefore it has the same status as does a filter. [M”B 52]

[8] Based on Halacha 13 and so rules Ketzos Hashulchan 125 footnote 30, and Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 page 350

[9] 319/13

[10] Ketzos Hashulchan 125 footnote 30, and Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 page 350

[11] Being that once it is designated for that purpose we no longer suspect of the laundering prohibition, as explained in the Alter Rebbe’s reasoning behind why a filter does not contain the laundering prohibition with clear liquids.

[12] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 351

[13] So rules Peri Megadim 319 M”Z 6

[14] Based on ruling of Rav SZ”A regarding Pesach cloth, and Minchas Yitzchak 7/23, Ketzos Hashulchan and others that by waste that is not recognizable the separating prohibition does not apply. So is also implied from the Lashon of the Peri Megadim which is the source for the stringency which mentions “water that has small twigs” in his case of a particular type of person.

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 125 footnote 37

[16] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 page 352 and 384

[17] 319/16

[18] chapter 146 Badei Hashulchan 14 number 13

[19] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 page 352 and 384

[20] Ketzos Hashulchan 125 footnote 30, and Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 page 350

[21] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 362

[22] This is in based on the Minchas Yitzchak [7/23] which allows using a cloth that is attached to the faucet being that since one uses the cloth for all waters which come from the sink, including washing and the like, therefore even the water used for drinking is not considered problematic. To note however that not all accept this argument [See Ketzos Hashulchan 125/37 end from which it is proven that he did not hold of this Heter].

[23] Ketzos Hashulchan 125/13 footnote 33, Mishneh Berurah 45, Shabbos Kihalacha Vol 2 p. 354]

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