Pouring food or waste out from a vessel

Important Note 1: The following Halacha will deal with the laws of separating through spilling from a vessel. At times the separating prohibition applies as will be explained. The rulings brought below from the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch differ entirely from the rulings brought below from the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur . For this reason it is incumbent to read the summary below to understand the final ruling in what one is to do. The basic diversity between the Shulchan Aruch and the Siddur, as is understood by majority of codifiers[1], is with regards to what is considered the item being separated when one pours. Is the item being poured out being separated or is the item which remains in the cup considered to have been separated. Now, being that it is always forbidden to separate the bad from the good this question plays a pivotal role in regards to when one may separate through pouring. If one says that the item being poured is being separated then one may never pour out the bad, but may pour out the good to eat right away. However if the item which remains is what is being separated then one may pour out the bad but not the good.

Important Note 2: The following laws of whether or not one is allowed to separate liquid from solid through pouring only apply to those foods which are small enough to be defined as mixed together with their liquids. However if the liquid only contains large solid foods, then it is not defined as mixed with the liquid and thus none of the separating restrictions apply, as explained in the Q&A to the Introduction, See There!

 

  • The Opinion of Admur In the Shulchan Aruch

When one wants to eat the food being poured out:[2]

May pour up until the stream stops if does not plan to eat that which is being poured right away: It is permitted to gently pour [food or liquid] from one vessel into another in order so the residue and dregs remain on the bottom of the vessel [being poured from].

However one must be careful once the stream [being poured] has stopped and small trickles begin to drip out from the last remainder [of food that is] amongst the waste, then one must stop [pouring] and leave [that remainder of food] together with the waste.

The reason for this is because: if one were to not do so, then these last drops prove [to all] that [his true intentions in this pouring] were to separate [the food from the waste]. However during the initial pouring when the waste is not yet recognizable, then he has done no separation.

Pouring up to when the stream stops is only allowed if needed for Shabbos: However [doing the above is only allowed] if one needs the fat [or other poured food] for that day [meaning for Shabbos], as if one does not need to use it [for Shabbos] then it is forbidden [to do so as] it is forbidden to trouble oneself [to do an action] on Shabbos for [the use of] a weekday.

In a case of loss may have a gentile do it even for a weekday: However if one suspects that [the fat may perhaps] lose [its substance] or spoil [if he were to not separate it now] then it is permitted for him to remove it through a gentile.

The reason for this is: because the prohibition to trouble oneself and prepare on Shabbos for a weekday is a Shvus [which is a] Rabbinical prohibition, and in cases of loss it is permitted to ask a gentile [to do an action for oneself] with regards to all [actions that are] Rabbinical prohibitions, as was explained in chapter 307 [Halacha 12].[3]   

If one wants to eat that which is being poured right away: One who pours liquid from one vessel to another [in order to eat the liquid being poured right away] is not required to stop [pouring] once it begins to trickle drops [of the liquid].

The reason for this is: because it is permitted to separate food or liquid from amongst residue in any case that one plans to eat or drink it right away so long as he does not separate it through using a vessel but rather does so with his hands as was explained [above in Halacha 4].

The definition of using hands to separate: Now, although here he is [separating through] pouring from one vessel to another [and thus is not doing the separation with his hands], nevertheless [it is permitted since] the core of the separation is being done through ones hands, and it is only considered that one is separating with a vessel when one separates using a cloth or basket and the like.   

Tilting a barrel of wine in order to pour it out:[4] It is permitted to [tilt] a barrel [by] elevating [one side of it] over an item in order so that the wine pour out of it well.

Now, although that through this wine is also poured out from amongst the sediment, [nevertheless] this is not considered like separating so long as [he has not poured out so much to the point that] drops have not yet begun to trickle from amongst the sediment as explained above.

 

When one wants to eat the food remaining in the pot:[5]

Fat which floats on the surface of food is forbidden to be entirely poured out even when done in order to eat the food right away. [See Q&A 1]

The reason for this is: because [the fat and the food] are two types of food [in which case we say] that food which one plans to eat right away is considered the “food” while the other is considered the waste, and [thus] upon pouring out the fat which one does not want to eat it is considered like separating waste from food [which is forbidden].

 

  • The opinion of Admur in the Siddur:

Removing a fly from ones soup: The only solution that remains is to pour out from the cup until the waste comes out from it.

The reason that tilting it out is allowed: As since the removal of the waste is being done through him holding the cup of liquid in his hand and tilting it with his hand this is considered separating food from waste which is permitted to be done in order to drink it immediately.

 

Summary: Pouring a substance from a pot of food, whether one wishes to pour out the food or the waste:[6]

Based on the rulings in the Siddur and the Shulchan Aruch:

Before it begins to trickle out: One is allowed to pour one food from another food without the separating restrictions up to the point that the item being poured out begins to trickle out from the item that remains [see Q&A for the exact definition]. Thus one may do so even to eat later on, on Shabbos. It however may not be done in order to eat during the week as is always the law regarding preparing on Shabbos for after Shabbos.[7]

When it begins to trickle out: Once the food being poured begins to trickle out then if one wants to eat what is being poured it is forbidden to continue pouring [see footnote][8] even in order to eat that food right away. Furthermore, even if one wants to eat that which will remain in the pot and thus wants pour out what he does not want, nevertheless one is to be stringent to not continue pouring, even if he desires to eat the remaining food right away. [see footnote][9] This however is with exception to when the food being poured out is inedible and is being poured out through the food that he desires to eat right away, such as tilting a cup and having the fly spill out together with the liquid.

Note: The above restrictions only apply by liquids which are defined as “mixed” with the foods that are in them, such as that the solids are small. However if the liquid only contains large solid foods, then it is not defined as mixed with the liquid and thus none of the separating restrictions apply, as explained in the Q&A to the Introduction, See there for examples!

    

Q&A of the above Halacha with regards to vegetable soup:

Note: In all cases that one plans to eat both the liquid and vegetables during the meal then the Borer restrictions  do not apply according to many opinions [see Halacha 6 Q&A “Desires to eat both foods right away”]. Thus according to those opinions the laws mentioned below only apply to cases that one does not plan to eat the liquid or the vegetables at all during that meal.

 

May one pour out small vegetables from soup in order to eat the vegetables right away [and not eat the soup that meal]?

Based on the ruling in the Siddur this is forbidden even if one desires to eat the vegetables right away [and according to Rav Farkash’s understanding when done to eat right away it is a mere stringency to avoid doing so].

If however one also pours out liquid together with the vegetables seemingly this is allowed.[10]

With regards to large vegetables, see Introduction above that they do not contain the Borer restrictions.

 

May one pour out small vegetables from soup in order to eat the soup right away?

One should be stringent not to do so due to the ruling in Shulchan Aruch [and according to Rav Farkash’s understanding this is forbidden even according to the Siddur].

If however one also pours out liquid together with the vegetables seemingly this is allowed.[11]

 

May one pour the liquid out from the soup in order to eat the liquid right away, having the vegetables remain in the pot?

If the vegetables are floating on the top of the soup then this is forbidden based on the ruling of the Siddur [and according to Rav Farkash’s understanding when done to eat right away it is a mere stringency to avoid doing so].

If the vegetables are on the bottom of the pot then it is permitted according to all to pour out soup to the point that the liquid begins to drip out from amongst the vegetables.

 

May one pour the liquid out from the soup or chulent in order to eat the vegetables/chulent which will remain in the pot?

If the vegetables are floating on the top of the soup: This has the same law as Q2.

If the vegetables are on the bottom of the pot: It is permitted according to all to pour out soup to the point that the liquid begins to drip out from amongst the vegetables.

 

May one pour out the soup from the vegetables if he wants the soup and another wants the vegetables?

Seemingly this should have the same ruling as the above Q&A.

 

May one spill the liquid out of a canned food, such as oil from a tuna can and the like?[12]

The rule: If the food that is within the can is in small enough pieces to be defined as mixed together with the liquid, then the separating restrictions [written in the summary] apply. However if the liquid only contains large solid foods, then it is not defined as mixed with the liquid and thus none of the separating restrictions apply, as explained in the Q&A to the Introduction, See There!

Examples:

  • Canned whole pickles/sardines/eggplant: Are not defined as mixed and thus may have their liquid removed in any which way.
  • Canned cut pieces of pickles/sardines/eggplant: Are defined as mixed and thus retain all the separating restrictions explained.
  • Canned olives: Are defined as mixed and thus retain all the separating restrictions explained.
  • Canned Tuna: Is defined as mixed and thus retains all the separating restrictions explained.
  • In cases that the separating restrictions apply one may never partially open the can, or puncture a hole in it and then drain out the liquid through it by turning the can over. However to open the can and spill out the liquid by tilting it, is allowed so long as the solids are sunk to the bottom and thus the liquid is floating on top, and even this is only allowed until the point that the liquid begins to trickle as explained in Q 4.

 

May one spill out the unwanted fat that is on the surface of soup or chulent?[13]

One may do so by spilling it out together with some of the soup, or through leaving a nice amount still on the surface of the soup/chulent. However one should be stringent not to spill it out entirely due to the ruling in Shulchan Aruch [and according to Rav Farkash’s understanding this is forbidden even according to the Siddur].

 

May one spill out the whey that is on the surface of a yogurt or cream cheese? [14]

One should be stringent not to do so due to the ruling in Shulchan Aruch [and according to Rav Farkash’s understanding this is forbidden even according to the Siddur].

Regarding removing the whey with a spoon, see Halacha 8

 

May one tilt out the liquid of a pot through holding back the food with a spoon?[15]

No.

 

May one pour from a tea pot that has a strainer on its top to prevent the leaves from falling in the cup?[16]

It is permitted to pour tea up to the bottom of the pot where the tea is mixed with the leaves.[17] 

To pour out the tea past this point[18] many Poskim[19] allow doing so [even according to the ruling of Admur in the Siddur which views that which is left in the pot as that which is separated, and thus should ideally be prohibited[20]]. However others[21] have written that one is to be stringent.

In any event when relying on the lenient opinions he should only do so for right away use[22].

 

May one pour tea out of the cup which contains the tea bag?[23]

Yes this may be done according to all.[24]

Regarding other questions which relate to tea, see chapter 3 Halacha 1 Q&A.

 

How much fat is one required to leave on the surface when removing the fat due to desiring only the food that is under?

It is not enough to simply leave a mere sliver of fat which in any case would be very difficult to actually separate from the food [without taking the food with it], rather one must leave over a recognizable amount, enough of an amount that it could technically be easily removed from the milk.[25]


[1] So explains and rules: SHU”T Divreiy Nechemia 21, Ketzos Hashulchan 125/9 and footnote 21, Sefer Oar LeTziyon. As opposed to the ruling of Rav Farkash in Shabbos Kehalacha in which he understands that there is no dispute between the Siddur and Shulchan Aruch as will be explained within the footnotes of the summary see there.

[2] 319/18

[3] To note however that there it was only permitted in a case of great loss, and not any case of loss. The difference is that here the prohibition is not an actual Shvus and thus is permitted even without great loss.

[4] 319/20

[5] 319/19

[6] The following summary which takes into account the major difference of opinion between the Alter Rebbe in the Siddur and in his Shulchan Aruch is based on the summarizations and rulings of the Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 125 Halachas 8-11, and footnotes there, as well as partially on Shabbos Kehalacha Vol 2 pages 113-122. To note however that there are differences between the final conclusion of the Ketzos Hashulchan and Shabbos Kehalacha as will be explained in the relevant footnotes.

The following is the summary based on solely the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch:

Pouring out the food that one wants to eat, leaving the waste on the bottom: [Halacha 18] Is allowed to be done without the separating restrictions up to the point where the food being poured out begins to trickle out from the waste.  Thus one may do so even to eat later on, on Shabbos. Although it may not be done to eat by the weekday as is always the law regarding preparing on Shabbos for the week. Once it begins to trickle out it may only be poured out in order to eat right away, being that all the separating restriction then begin to apply.

Pouring out the waste from the food leaving the food on the bottom: [Halacha 19] Is only allowed to be done up to the point that drops of the waste begin to trickle out from the food, even if one plans to eat it right away.

[7] 319/18 regarding pouring out food and 19 regarding pouring out waste.

[8] Based on the ruling in Siddur, as is understood by the Ketzos Hashulchan and others. However in Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 121 Rav Farkash rules simply that “one who desires to be stringent should never pour out the good” and not that doing so is forbidden. This is due to the fact that he explains there that in truth even according to the Siddur, Admur holds that the food being poured is considered to be that which is being separated. See there for a further analysis on this subject.

[9] To suspect for the ruling in Shulchan Aruch 319/18. So rules the Ketzos Hashulchan in 125 footnote 25, despite the ruling in the Siddur in which this is allowed. To note however that Rav Farkash in Shabbos Kehalacha Vol 2 p. 121 rules that it is forbidden [and not just a mere stringency] to pour out that which one does not want, as according to his view even according to Admur in the Siddur that which is being poured is considered to be that which is being separated. For a further analysis on this subject see Shabbos Kihalacha there.

[10] See Q&A 5

[11] See Q&A 5

[12] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol 2 p. 360

[13] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 121

[14] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 121

[15] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 151

[16] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 368

[17] As is always the rule regarding pouring one thing from another, as the fact that there is a strainer on the top of the pot does not make a difference in this regard.

[18] The problems faced in doing so is that a) one is separating with a vessel [the strainer that is attached to the top of the kettle] and b) According to Admur in Siddur one is separating the bad from the good.

[19] So rules Shevisas Shabbos,  Chazon Ish, Ketzos Hashulchan 125 footnote 21, Rav SZ”A.

The problems mentioned in the previous footnote are answered in the following ways according to the lenient opinions: a) The tea leaves are fit to be drank together with the liquid [by most people] and thus it is permitted to strain the liquid from it, as is explained in the laws of straining. [Minchas Shabbos/ Ketzos Hashulchan] b) One does not intend to separate the leaves from the tea but rather just to drink the tea. [Ketzos Hashulchan] c) A vessel which is designated to separate for only right away use, as is a kettle, is not included in the separating restrictions. [Rav SZ”A in Shulchan Shlomo].

[20] So is proven from the fact that the Ketzos Hashulchan which rules like Admur in the Siddur rules that it is allowed in our case for the reasons mentioned in the previous footnote.

[21] Sheivet Halevy, and other Poskim brought in Kaf Hachayim  319/113.

[22] So rules Rav Farkash, as then one can also join in the reason of Rav SZ”A mentioned in the previous footnotes.

[23] Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 2 p. 372

[24] As a tea bag is not defined as mixed when within water. However one may not pour to the very end to the point that liquid drains from the actual tea bag, as this poses a possible filtering prohibition, as explained in Halacha 4 Q&A with regards to removing the tea bag from the cup and having it drip into the cup.

[25] So rules the Ketzos Hashulchan [125 footnote 24]

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