Q. I went to a crowded kiddush on Shabbat and there was not enough place to hang the raincoats. The guests just pile them on a table. After the kiddush, they were searching the pile. each picking coats from the mixed pile, and putting down the unwanted ones, until finding one’s coat. Since this was a case of picking the coats not wanted to find the right one, is that not a clear case of borer pesoles mitoch ochel,(sorting and separating the unwanted from the wanted) and it should be prohibited on Shabbat?
A. Poskim permit picking unwanted items when one’s intention is to reach the wanted ones. (Mishna Berura 319: 15, Shemiras Shabbos K. 3: 47 and others, – see Piskei Teshuvos ibid n. 195), as long as it is done for immediate use.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is similar.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a