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The Principles Of Bishul

Definition Of Terms Used Frequently In The Laws Of Bishul

The Dinim Of Keli Rishon, Sheni, Shlishi

Bishul Achar Bishul Cooking After Cooking

The Practical Applications Of Bishul

The Dinim Of Shehiya

The Dinim Of Chazarah

The Blech

Electrical Appliances And Heating Systems

The Laws Of Cooking On Shabbos
Based on the Sefer Shabbos KeHalachah
by Rabbi Y. Farkash
Following the rulings of the Rebbeim of Chabad

Chapter 5
The Practical Applications Of Bishul

by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov

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  Bishul Achar Bishul Cooking After CookingThe Dinim Of Shehiya  

In this section we shall present many of the practical applications of the laws of Bishul. This may involve some repetition of the above-stated principles but will be a useful summary for the student.
  1. Serving Food from a Pot

    that Is Standing on the Fire

    There are some Poskim who are of the opinion that one may not stir food (even if fully cooked) if it is standing on the fire (even if the fire is covered with a blech). The accepted practice is to be stringent and follow this opinion. As such, one may not serve food from a pot that is standing on the fire. The pot must be removed from the fire.[1]

    Even when the pot has been removed from the fire it may not be stirred. However one may use a spoon to remove food from the pot - even from the bottom of the pot.[2]

    In the case of a pot standing on a blech, it is not necessary to take the pot totally off the blech in order to serve. Rather, it is sufficient to move the pot onto a part of the blech that does not have the power to heat food to Yad Soledes Bo. The food may then be served, and afterwards the pot may be moved back to the part of the blech directly over the flame.[3] If the pot is removed totally and one wishes to return the pot, then the rules of returning a pot to the fire - as explained in a later section - must be observed.

    In all cases one must take care that when one removes the lid of a pot it should not become cold, for this would present a problem of re-heating the liquid on the underside of the lid. Obviously if the lid is removed for a few seconds just to view the contents, the lid would not become cold. However if the intention is to remove some of the contents of the pot, and the lid would be removed for some time, in which case the lid may become cold, then it may be preferable to keep the pot covered with the lid, and only remove it when actually removing the food. Alternatively, one could place the lid on the blech to keep it warm.

  2. Covering a Pot with a Lid while the Pot Is on the Fire

    An uncovered pot of partially cooked food may not be covered with a pot lid as this would speed up the cooking process. The lid holds in the heat and allows the food to cook faster, which is an act of Bishul. Therefore great care must be taken not to lift the lid off such a pot, as it would be prohibited to return the lid.

    However, one may cover a pot of fully cooked food, even if by covering it one increases the bubbling.[4]

    In practice, if one wishes for example to check the cholent on Friday night, one must make sure that it is fully cooked before the lid is removed. (Today one may purchase Pyrex/glass covers which solve this problem.)

  3. Pouring Hot Water into a Wet Cup

    1. If a cup has been rinsed under the tap, it should be dried[5] before hot water is poured into it from a Keli Rishon.

    2. If a dry cup was filled with hot water which has since cooled down, and one wishes to add more hot water, then:

      1. if the remaining water is still warm (even though less than Yad Soledes Bo), more hot water may be added directly from the Keli Rishon, but,

      2. if the remaining water has totally cooled down, the water must be emptied and the cup dried before adding more hot water.

    3. Usually when making a hot drink in a Keli Shlishi, a dry cup is taken to use as a Keli Sheni to transfer the hot water from the Keli Rishon into the Keli Shlishi. If this Keli Sheni needs to be filled a few times in order to make a few cups of drink, it is not necessary to dry the cup every time. Rather, as soon as the water has been poured into the Keli Shlishi one may refill the cup without having to check to see that it is dry.[6]

    As regards a thermos, see footnote.[7]

  4. A Ladle

    A ladle being used to serve soup should preferably be kept in the pot between servings. If the ladle was removed and the droplets of soup on the ladle have cooled down, then the ladle must be dried before reinsertion into the pot.

  5. Adding More Food to a Wet Keli

    If one wishes to add:

    1. more hot soup from a Keli Rishon to soup remaining in a Keli Sheni, or

    2. more cholent to a plate with cholent remains, then, if the remains are still warm, the soup/cholent may be added. However, if the remains are cold, a new bowl/plate should be used.

  6. Adding Salt to Food

    1. One may not add salt to a hot, dry food in a Keli Rishon; however, salt may be added to hot, dry food in a Keli Sheni.[8]

    2. One may only add salt to a hot liquid if it is in a Keli Shlishi (or by Irui Keli Sheni). Therefore practically, one may only add salt to hot chicken soup if the bowl is a Keli Shlishi.[9] The same would apply to cholent.

  7. Adding Baked Food to Hot Liquids

    Bread, biscuits or matzah may not be added to a Keli Rishon or Sheni. Therefore one may not dip a biscuit into a cup of tea that is in a Keli Sheni, nor may one add matzah to chicken soup in a Keli Sheni. It is permitted in a Keli Shlishi (or Irui Keli Sheni).[10]

  8. Lokshen

    Dry cooked lokshen may be put into a Keli Rishon that has been removed from the fire. (Of course it may be placed in a Keli Sheni or placed in a bowl, with soup then added with a ladle.)

    If the lokshen is wet to the touch, it may not be placed in a Keli Rishon. However, it may be placed in a Keli Sheni or placed in a bowl, with soup then added with a ladle.[11]

  9. Soup Nuts

    Soup nuts that are deep-fried may be added to a Keli Sheni (or even a Keli Rishon removed from the fire). However, soup nuts that are baked may not even be placed in a Keli Sheni because of Bishul Achar Afiyah. However, they may be placed in a Keli Shlishi (or Irui Keli Sheni). If in doubt as to how the soup nuts were processed, only add to soup in a Keli Shlishi.[12]

  10. Making Coffee

    A cup of coffee should be made on Shabbos in the following way:

    1. Take a dry cup. If the cup has been rinsed, it should be dried.

    2. Fill the cup with hot water from the kettle.

    3. The hot water should then be poured into a second cup (a Keli Shlishi) in which one then puts the coffee granules.

    There are opinions that allow instant coffee, milk and sugar to be added to a Keli Sheni, however it is always preferable to use a Keli Shlishi.

  11. Making Tea

    1. Instant tea should be prepared in the same way as coffee (Irui Keli Sheni) as stated above.

    2. Many people prepare a tea essence before Shabbos (i.e., they pour hot water onto a few tea bags[13] in a tea pot, allow it to brew, and then remove the bags. Some then place the pot on the blech). This essence, hot or cold, may be added to a Keli Sheni.

    3. Tea Bags. One may make tea on Shabbos using a tea bag inside a Keli Shlishi. As regards removing the tea bag, one should not remove it with one's fingers but with a spoon.[14] Furthermore, one should not squeeze the bag upon removal from the cup.[15]

    4. Herbal teas in a bag must be prepared in a Keli Shlishi.

    5. As regards placing a slice of lemon in the tea, see footnote.[16]

  12. Adding Hot Water to Tea/Coffee

    If the tea/coffee was prepared as above, and it has cooled below Yad Soledes Bo but is still warm enough to drink as a hot drink, then one may add hot water directly[17] from the kettle.[18]

    Note that a tea bag was used to make the tea, and the tea bag is still in the cup, one may not add hot water from the kettle.[19]

  13. Instant Soups

    Most instant soups have been already completely cooked and therefore may be prepared using an Irui Keli Sheni or in a Keli Shlishi.[20]

  14. Instant Mashed Potatoes

    Instant mashed potatoes may be made in a Keli Shlishi. However a thin mixture should be made and it must be mixed employing a shinui.[21] See Section 5:17.

  15. Ketchup

    Ketchup may be added to a hot solid, e.g., meat, hot potatoes, etc., if the solid is in a Keli Shlishi.[22]

  16. Frozen Foods

    A frozen liquid[23] should not be placed in a warm place in order to melt it, even though there is no possibility it will be heated to Yad Soledes Bo. However, if needed for a child, one may be lenient.[24]

    For example, if one needed to feed some frozen soup to a baby, it may be placed near a fire to warm slightly.[25] However, this is only permitted in an area where even if it were left for a while it would not reach the temperature of Yad Soledes Bo. In an area where it would reach Yad Soledes Bo - even after an hour - the soup may not be placed even for a minute.[26]

  17. Food Preparation for a Child

    1. Milk Powder

      Milk powder for a baby should be prepared using an Irui Keli Sheni, i.e., fill a dry cup with hot water from the kettle and then pour the water onto the powder inside the baby's bottle.

    2. Instant Cereal

      Instant cereals should be prepared using an Irui Keli Sheni.[27]

      Since it is prohibited on Shabbos to create a thick mixture (this being the Melachah of Losh/Kneading), when preparing cereals on Shabbos, one must take care to make a thin mixture and use a shinui (an unusual method). Therefore:

      1. If during the week one would usually put the cereal in the bowl first and then add the liquid, the order must be reversed on Shabbos; i.e., first pour the liquid in the bowl and then add the cereal.

      2. The mixture should be mixed with a spoon employing an unusual method; e.g., instead of moving the spoon around the bowl in a circular movement as would normally be done on a weekday, the mixing should be done in a criss-cross manner.[28]

    3. Warming a Bottle of Milk

      A baby's bottle of cold milk may be placed in a Keli Sheni to warm up. This would be permitted even if the temperature of the milk would rise above Yad Soledes Bo.[29]

      Alternatively, one may make an Irui Keli Rishon onto the outside of the bottle.[30]

      One may also place a bottle of milk that has been in the refrigerator and is too cold to give the baby, near the fire so as to warm it slightly.[31] (See Section 5:16) Near the fire means near the blech, but under no circumstances may the bottle be placed on the blech.

  18. Eggs and Onion Mixture

    In making an eggs and onion mixture on Shabbos there are a number of issues to be considered:[32]

    1. Peeling the eggs and onion: Due to the prohibition of Borer, the peeling must be done immediately prior to the meal.

    2. The peels are muktzeh and may not be moved. Ideally, the eggs should be peeled over the garbage in a way that the shells fall into the garbage as the egg is peeled. (Alternatively, one may place a piece of challah[33] inside a bowl and then peel the eggs into the bowl - the piece of challah allows the bowl to be carried although it contains the egg shells - as explained in the dinim of muktzeh).

    3. If the egg is stamped, one should be careful not to break the shell where the stamp is - this is due to the prohibition of erasing writing.

    4. Grinding - It is preferable to cut the onion into pieces larger than the norm. This is due to the melachah of Tochain/Grinding. However if one needs to chop very finely, this should be done close to the meal.[34]

    5. The egg (or liver - if added) may not be ground using a grinder or masher, i.e., a specific utensil for the purpose of grinding.

    6. Mixing - One should employ a shinui (an unusual method) when mixing the egg/oil/onion mixture. First, one should place the oil in the plate and then the other ingredients. When mixing, one should do so using criss-cross movements.

    7. One should not smoothen the surface of the mixture due to the prohibition of Memarei'ach/Smoothing.

    8. One should not build the mixture into shapes.

  19. Washing Netilas Yadayim

    When washing Netilas Yadayim, one should be careful that no water splashes onto a blech, hotplate or hot pot, and becomes cooked.

    Furthermore, after drying one's hands, one must be careful not to place the towel on a hot radiator. This would cause the water to evaporate and hence an act of Bishul.

  20. Adding Hot Water to Cholent

    See Section 8:7.



  1. (Back to text) One may not remove a piece of food from a pot with a fork since it is tantamount to stirring. However a piece of food that is lying on the surface of the food in the pot may be lifted out with a fork since no stirring will occur (Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 220).

  2. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 218. If a pot was removed from the fire and one found that not all the contents of the pot were fully cooked, then (in addition to the prohibition of returning the pot to the stove) one may not remove food from the pot using a spoon or ladle as long as the contents of the pot are Yad Soledes. The contents should be transferred to a Keli Sheni and then served (ibid., p. 219).

  3. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 226.

  4. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 230.

  5. (Back to text) There are opinions who say that it is sufficient to vigorously shake out the drops of water from the cup, and even if a few drops are still left, they are to be considered negligible. (This would certainly be sufficient if the remains in the cup were from a pre-cooked liquid.) It is preferable however to wipe the cup dry (ibid., p. 116). When wiping the cup one must avoid any question of Sechita, i.e., squeezing any liquid out of a cloth. Accordingly, the Alter Rebbe (302:23) rules that one should not dry a narrow cup with a cloth, as one may come to squeeze the cloth against the side of the cup. See however Mishnah Berurah, Biur Halachah 302:12. Shmiras Shabbos KeHilchasah, ch. 12:21, permits drying wet dishes and cups with a dish cloth and only prohibits drying a narrow cup with a cloth (as mentioned by the Alter Rebbe) in which case it is inevitable that one may squeeze the cloth. Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 117 suggests that in such a case one should wipe the cup dry with one's finger.

  6. (Back to text) Ibid.

  7. (Back to text) A thermos flask is almost impossible to dry properly, therefore: a) if the thermos was rinsed with water from the tap, it should subsequently only be filled with hot water using an Irui Keli Sheni. (The same ruling would apply to a hot water bottle); b) If the thermos contained hot water that has since cooled, one may be lenient, and after shaking out the flask thoroughly, one may refill it directly from a Keli Rishon. See Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 116.

  8. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 285.

  9. (Back to text) Ibid.

  10. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 286.

  11. (Back to text) Ibid., pp. 145-6, p. 286. Lokshen made specially kosher for Pesach by frying eggs in a little oil and then shredding may not be placed in a Keli Sheni (on a Yom Tov that falls on Shabbos) as this would be considered Bishul after Afiyah. However, Irui Keli Sheni or in a Keli Shlishi is permitted (ibid., p. 286).

  12. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 286.

  13. (Back to text) If tea leaves were used, there is an additional problem of Borer (see Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 269). To simplify matters, and also because the use of a tea bag is more common nowadays, we cited only the case of tea essence made with a tea bag.

  14. (Back to text) Regarding the question of whether removing the tea bag is an act of Borer and why it should be removed with a spoon, see ibid., p. 270, fn. 15.

  15. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 270. According to the Alter Rebbe, it would be prohibited to pour the tea into a different cup leaving the tea bag behind in the original cup. This would be an act of Borer (ibid., p. 271).

  16. (Back to text) As regards putting a slice of lemon into a Keli Sheni - there are conflicting views among the Poskim. There are those who are stringent and only allow the lemon to be placed in a Keli Shlishi, however there are lenient opinions who classify the lemon as Tavlin and allow the slice of lemon to be placed in a Keli Sheni (see ibid., p. 273).

    Lemon juice may definitely be added to a Keli Sheni, however it is prohibited to squeeze a lemon into tea.

    The Mishnah Berurah permits the lemon to be squeezed into sugar that is subsequently mixed into the tea, however the Tzemach Tzedek says this is prohibited (ibid., p. 274).

  17. (Back to text) Some Poskim are of the opinion that if one pours directly from a kettle onto milk, and the steam of the milk rises to the tap of the kettle, then one may not pour hot water from this kettle onto meat. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 105:3, Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 451:59, Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 393 - see also later in this book, Sec. 8:7, point 6.) Therefore if one needs to add hot water to milk remains, it is preferable to first pour the hot water into a clean cup and then add it to the milk. In this way one avoids creating any milk/meat problems with the kettle.

  18. (Back to text) See footnotes to Sec. 3:4 "Irui Keli Rishon" where it is explained that in truth, even if the tea/coffee is now cold, it is permitted to add hot water from the kettle due to a combination of two disputed points: a) whether Bishul applies to a cooled, pre-cooked liquid; and b) whether Irui is prohibited on a liquid. In this case, i.e., Irui Keli Rishon on a pre-cooked liquid, one may in fact be lenient. However to avoid confusion to the student, we have in the text followed the simple rule of Bishul Achar Bishul regarding a liquid, i.e., if the liquid is still warm, even though below Yad Soledes, Bishul does not apply.

  19. (Back to text) Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 269.

  20. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 275.

  21. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 276.

  22. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 290.

  23. (Back to text) An uncooked frozen food is muktzeh as it has no use on Shabbos. We are talking here of a ready-to-eat frozen food like cooked soup that has been frozen. Such food is not muktzeh.

  24. (Back to text) This rule is due to the prohibition of Nolad - see Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 320:16. See also above, Sec. 4:5.

  25. (Back to text) Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 212.

  26. (Back to text) Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 318:24.

  27. (Back to text) See Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 277.

  28. (Back to text) If such a mixture is prepared in a bottle, the bottle must also be mixed in an unusual way. If usually one would mix the bottle by shaking it up and down, then one could make circular or criss-cross movements. However this is only necessary if the resultant mixture is a thin mixture, but if it is a liquid (as in the case of infant formula) no change in the method of mixing is required (ibid., p. 276).

  29. (Back to text) Ibid., pp. 60, 280. The bottle should not be totally immersed in the Keli as this would be a problem of Hatmanah (ibid., pp. 63, 281).

  30. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 34.

  31. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 281.

  32. (Back to text) See ibid., p. 288.

  33. (Back to text) Placing the challah inside the bowl allows the bowl to be moved since a base for both a permitted item (the challah) and a muktzeh item (the egg shells) may be moved. Responsa Minchas Yitzchok 5:125 specifies that only bread should be used as the permitted item, however Responsa Oz Nidbru 7:51 states that even a utensil, e.g. a spoon, may be used as the permitted item.

  34. (Back to text) Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 321:10.

  Bishul Achar Bishul Cooking After CookingThe Dinim Of Shehiya  
     Sichos In English -> Books -> Halachah & Customs -> The Laws Of Cooking On Shabbos

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