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Merakaid is the action of sifting and removal of unwanted matter from a mixture using a sifter, sieve, or the like. [1] This Melacha is similar and overlaps with the halachot of Borer and Zoreh, see there for more practical examples.

  1. One can only violate this melacha using a sifting or straining device. [2]
  2. Using a strainer or colander, one may not separate noodles from soup, vegetables from a pot of water, or coleslaw from salad dressing. [3]
  3. One may not sift out clumps of powdered baby cereal from the finely ground cereal, clumps of sugar from finely ground sugar, or clumps of salt from finely ground salt. However, in these cases it is permissible to crush the clump. [4]
  4. One may not sift out clumps of confectioner sugar from powdered confectioner sugar, however, one may use a sieve to scatter the confectioner sugar on a cake. However, since a sieve is Muktzeh, if one has a non-Muktzeh scattering utensil in the house, one should use that. [5]
  5. According to Ashkenazim, one may not use a salt shaker which has rice kernels in it, placed there to absorb moisture, because in using the shaker one will be separating the salt from the rice.[6]However, according to Sephardim, it is permissible to use such a salt shaker.[7]
  6. If a tea kettle has a mixture of tea and tea leaves and at the spout of the kettle there is a mesh wiring that separate out the leaves, one may pour from the kettle as long as the tea leaves have settled to the bottom of the pot and aren't being separated from the liquid going through the spout. However, once the flow comes to a trickle one shouldn't pour from the kettle because in doing so one would be separating the tea from the tea leaves using a strainer. [8]
  7. A child who understands the holiness of Shabbat should not be let to play with a sifting toy which sifts out pebbles or dirt from the sand.[9]
  8. Draining the dressing from salad using a slotted spoon is a violation of Merakaid.[10]


  1. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 507)
  2. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 507)
  3. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 514)
  4. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 514)
  5. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 514-5)
  6. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 515) writes that it's forbidden. He also quotes Halachos of Shabbos (Rabbi Eider) who quotes Rav Moshe and Rav Aharon Kotler as agreeing. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 3:66 writes that it's better not to.
  7. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 3, pg 307)
  8. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 519)
  9. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 516)
  10. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 525)