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Food preparation on Shabbos vs. on Yom Tov (part 1)
MBY 510:1-11 Food preparation on Shabbos vs. on Yom Tov (part 1)

Intro: This is going to be a fun lesson! We will learn about activities which – while not entirely permissible on Yom Tov - may be done in a more permissive manner than on Shabbos. While most examples are not common today, we will hopefully pick up some principles which govern the distinction between the halachos of Shabbos and the halachos of Yom Tov:

Hand-threshing: Threshing grain (i.e. detaching grain from the stalk and further extracting the kernel from its husk) is one of the Thirty-Nine Melachos (‘dush’), whose ordinary manner is forbidden on both Shabbos and Yom Tov. Hand-threshing (Heb. ‘molelin melilos’) is forbidden only ‘mid’rabanan’ (Rabbinically). [Note: The same holds true for shelling certain kinds of legumes.] On Shabbos it is forbidden to hand-thresh unless an additional ‘shinui’ (deviation from normal practice) is used – i.e. manipulating the kernels with the fingertips only. On Yom Tov, hand-threshing may be done more freely than just with the fingertips. (Note: MB cites a stricter view that Yom Tov has the same restriction as Shabbos in this regard.)

Borer (selecting): In the halachos of Shabbos (See MBY 319 ‘Borer’- Selecting) we learned the extensive topic of the melacha of ‘borer’ (selecting – i.e. separating the bad from the good.) (Note: In the above example of hand-threshing grain and legumes, the next step – blowing away the chaff/shells – would typically involve a form of ‘borer’.) On Shabbos, ‘borer’ is, of course, forbidden. The only permissible act of separating on Shabbos comes when the act is ‘derech achila’ (lit. the way of eating) – i.e. part of the eating process, rather than the preparatory processes of ‘borer’. Generally, three conditions are required for an act of separation to be classified as ‘derech achila’ and not as ‘borer’: a) For immediate use, b) good from bad and c) by hand. On Yom Tov, many applications of normal ‘borer’ are permissible under the general permit of ‘meleches ochel nefesh’ (melacha for the sake of food preparation.) Thus, the three conditions that are required on Shabbos are not required on Yom Tov! HOWEVER, two other considerations must be made for ‘borer’ to be permitted on Yom Tov: 1) Avoiding excessive ‘tircha’ (i.e. strain and exertion); thus when selecting on Yom Tov, a person should decide whether to take the good from the bad or the bad from the good based upon whichever method is easier! 2) The choice of the utensil, for although the Torah permits the use of even a standard ‘borer’ utensil (e.g. a sieve) on Yom Tov, nevertheless the Rabbis prohibited it and required that only a utensil that is not used exclusively for ‘borer’ should be used, e.g. a funnel or plate.

To be continued…

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