Sorting By Hand
One of the 3 conditions mentioned in earlier Shiurim is to sort by hand. The reason it is permitted to
sort by hand is because it is considered ה יל כ א ך ר ד ,while using a k’li is considered the habitual way to
sort and therefore forbidden.
It is important to stress, that using the hand to sort makes sorting permitted, only if the item is
prepared just prior to the meal, and the food is separated from the refuse. If any of these conditions
is not met, it is forbidden.
The main question is: if the use of a spoon or a fork is considered the extension of the hand and hence
permitted, or it is considered a k’li and hence forbidden.
The Mishna Berura seems to contradict himself, in paragraph 55 and 62 he appears to forbid even the
use of cutlery while in paragraph 66 he clearly permits it.
The SS”K 3:45 and footnote 126 cites the Igeiross Moshe [1:124] and the Minchas Yitschak [9:32] who
resolve the contradiction by differentiation on the reason of the use. If one uses a spoon not to dirty
his hands, it is permitted. However, if the intention is to facilitate the sorting, since it is easier with a
spoon, then it is forbidden.
• Separating the fish flesh from the bones [not the opposite] is permitted with a fork, as
its main purpose is to enable eating in a decent manner, it is generally not used to sort.
• A holey spoon, on the other hand, is mostly used to separate solids from liquids, and
hence is forbidden, even if used during the meal as its main purpose is sorting.
• It is forbidden to grab a fistful of mixed silverware and “blindly” remove one piece and
place it into its compartment in the drawer or on the table, as after all, it is considered
sorting the silverware for later use.
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