Filtering solid food parts from the same food

The general rule:[1] In scenarios others than those listed below [which involve different parts of the same food] there would be no prohibition at all, even Rabbinically, in separating [one part of the food from another part] of the same food. Meaning that one may even filter small pieces from slightly large pieces, even if he throws the small pieces to the ground, as they nevertheless do not appear like waste due to this since they are edible and are commonly eaten. [However to filter out a solid of a different food is forbidden in all cases. Regarding the definition of a same food mixture- see Chapter 1 Halacha 6.] 

Filtering mustard from bran:[2] One may not filter mustard from its bran even though [the bran itself] is also edible and the bran is [thus] not waste at all and [thus] does not contain [in separating it] the Biblical separating prohibition, as [nevertheless] it is Rabbinically forbidden being that appears like one is separating food from its waste being that one filters it in order to eat the mustard and throw out the bran.

Filtering an egg yolk from its white in order to color the mustard[3]: However if one placed the mustard into the strainer from before Shabbos [and thus filtered it out from the bran] then it is permitted to place an egg into [the strainer] in order to [have the yolk fall through the strainer and] give color to the mustard that has been filtered through it.

The reason: Now, although the yolk falls out [through the holes of the strainer] together with the mustard while the white which is [all] connected remains above with the waste, [nevertheless] this does not appear like separating food from waste being that both the yolk and the white are foods and he is not filtering the yolk from the white because he desires to eat the yolk and not the white, but rather because the yolk helps give color to the mustard as opposed to the white.

Now, although he [eventually] throws out the white together with the waste and eats the yolk together with the mustard , nevertheless since the filtering [of the yolk] is not done for eating but rather to give color, it [therefore] does not appear like separating food from waste being that in truth they are both the same type of food. 

Filtering the egg yolk from the white in order to eat it:[4] Even if one were to filter [the yolk] for the purpose of eating it, it would only be forbidden in this case [which involves an egg] being that although the white is considered a food nevertheless it is not edible in its current state, as well as that it is common to throw it out together with the waste and thus appears like waste in comparison to the yolk which is eaten the way it is together with the mustard, and would [thus be] Rabbinically forbidden [to separate in order to eat].


Separating foods through placing the mixture in a sieve and having the waste fallout from the holes:

Filtering out the waste of Karshinin: [5] One may place Karshinin[6]which is mixed with waste into a sieve even though the waste [might[7]] fall through the holes of the sieve and it is thus found that [the waste] becomes separated on its own.



Filtering  foods of the same species:[8]

If both are commonly eaten then there is no separating prohibition involved. If one is commonly throw out, then it has the same laws as eggs mentioned below. To filter out a solid of a different type food is forbidden in all cases. Regarding the definition of a same food mixture- see Chapter 1 Halacha 6.


Filtering mustard from bran:[9]

Is Rabbinically forbidden to be done, being that one plans to throw out the bran and it thus appears like food and waste.


Filtering egg yolk from the white:[10]

Is permitted to be done if one only needs to use the egg yolk to give color to a food. However if one is doing so in order to eat the yolk and throw out the white then it is Rabbinically forbidden to filter it being that it appears as if one is separating good from bad using a vessel, [being that it is common to throw out the white[11]].


Separating foods through placing the mixture in a sieve and having the waste fallout from the holes:

Is permitted to be done[12] [if it is not inevitable that the waste will be sifted out. However if it is inevitable, then it is not allowed[13].]


Q&A on sifting:

May one sift flour on Shabbos?[14]

In addition to the Muktzah prohibition doing so is forbidden also due to Miraked.


May one sift Matzah flour, baby formula and the like on Shabbos? [15]

Sifting it from waste: Although it is not Muktzah, if one desires to sift it in order to remove waste it is forbidden due to the Miraked prohibition.

Sifting it in order to spread onto food: If the flour has already been sifted and one does not need to remove any waste from it but simply desires to sift it for other intentions, such as in order to properly spread the Matzah meal on a food, then one may do so. However this may only be done if either a) one is using a sifter of the same sized holes to filter the Matzah meal or b) is using an even smaller holed sifter but the Matzah meal does not contain any waste at all which needs to be filtered.

Sifting to remove thick pieces: If the Matzah meal and the like has already been sifted and completely clean of any waste and one desires to filter it in order to remove the thicker flour of Matzah meal from the thinner flour then one may do so with an irregularity[16] such as by sifting it onto the table if one normally does so into a vessel, or vice versa if one usually does it onto a table. However even this is only allowed if the thicker pieces are themselves not very large and are thus still defined as flour, however if the pieces are large enough to be considered crumbs, sifting them is forbidden due to the Miraked prohibition.


May one use a salt shaker if there are pieces of hardened salt or rice inside?[17]

Hardened salt: This is allowed if one is not particular to throw the hardened piece to the trash, and rather does not mind using it, such as to crush it. If one is particular against using it and thus throws it out then the salt shaker should not be used.

Rice: Such a salt shaker is forbidden to be used on Shabbos as people are particular against having the rice fall into their food.[18]  Nevertheless there is an opinion[19] which permits using it. Regarding Muktzah, there is no issue involved despite that in general rice is Muktzah, being that the rice was placed in before Shabbos and was thus designated for this use.


[1] 319/22

[2] 319/21

[3] 319/21

[4] 319/22

[5] 319/11

[6] Possible this refers to the horse been which is similar to the broad been and is used for horse fodder.    

[7] Based on Chapter 324 Halacha 1 where Admur writes “that at times the food falls”. So concludes the Ketzos Hashulchan 131 footnote 17, and Shabbos Kihalacha Vol 2 page 356. Thus if it is for certain that the waste will fall through, then it is forbidden. This cannot be proven from Halacha 21 where Admur rules that placing mustard with barn in the strainer is forbidden being that there it is discussing having the bran [waste] remain above and the mustard fall out, which contains a Meraked prohibition, while here it refers to having the waste fall out on its own, which does not contain a Miraked prohibition as will explained in the introduction to the next section.

[8] 319/22

[9] 319/21

[10] 319/21

[11] 319/22

[12] Halacha 11

[13] See footnote there on Halacha 11

[14] Shabbos Kihalacha Vol. 2 p. 343

[15] Shabbos Kihalacha Vol. 2 p. 343-345

[16] This is required due to that otherwise it is considered a mundane act.

[17] Shabbos Kihalacha Vol. 2 p. 380

[18] So rules Rav Farkash and so rules Rav SZ”A in SSH”K 3 footnote 179. However he later retracts this ruling as explained next.

[19] Rav SZ”A in supplements to SSH”K.

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