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Weekly Halacha

Selected Halachos relating to Parshas Re'eh

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.

You shall roast it and eat it in the place that Hashem, your G-d, will choose (16:7)


The word uvishalta that appears in the verse above in regard to the Passover Sacrifice is a difficult word to translate. Normally, uvishalta is translated as "you shall cook". But as the Torah clearly states in Parashas Bo, the Passover Sacrifice is not allowed to be cooked; rather it must be roasted over an open fire. How, then, can the Torah state here that one should "cook" the Passover sacrifice? Rashi answers that the use of the word uvishalta in this context teaches us that uvishlata can mean both "you should cook" - as in Parashas Bo, and "you should roast" - as in our verse.

There is a well-known halachic principle that once a food has been cooked before Shabbos, it may be cooked again on Shabbos, since you cannot - in halachic terms - cook the same food twice. But can you roast a food after it is has been cooked? Can you cook a food after it has been roasted? These and other questions will be examined in the following discussion.

In order to simplify a very complicated - but very relevant - halachic problem, we will attempt to list various situations which arise on Shabbos both at the table and in the kitchen(1). To avoid confusion and for the sake of brevity, all explanations and definitions of technical terms, which are required for a fuller understanding of these halachos, appear only in the footnotes. The reader should be aware that due to the complex nature of the subject, even the slightest change from the exact case described below can cause a change in the halachah. In several instances, there is only a hair's-breadth difference between a permissible act and a Biblically prohibited one.

SOME GENERAL DEFINITIONS. All temperatures are Fahrenheit:

Hot - over 110 degrees(2)

Warm - between 70-80 to 110 degrees

Cold - below 60-70 degrees

Scalding - about 140-150 degrees(3)

Boiling - 212 degrees

Cooked - completely cooked, ready to eat.

Dry food item - any food item which contains very little liquid, e.g., bread, meat, pasta.

Liquid food item - e.g., water, soup, sauce, gravy.


No uncooked food items may be placed on or near a fire, or in a vessel that was on the fire so long as that vessel remains hot.

Once a dry food item is fully cooked, it may be reheated. A liquid item which was fully cooked may be reheated only if it is still warm from the previous cooking.

Davar gush, which is a dry, bulky item, e.g., a piece of meat or a potato, retains more heat that does a liquid. When a davar gush comes in contact with another food, the heat it has retained can heat other uncooked foods even after it has been removed from its heat source.

When we refer to items served on a plate, we are referring to items which were placed on the plate by means of a ladle, spoon, etc.

In the cases described below, we often refer to certain processed foods, such as instant coffee or salt, as "cooked". Note, though, that companies may change their manufacturing process and switch to a procedures like freeze-drying etc., which is not considered halachically as "cooking."


To pour ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise over any hot food served on a plate(4).

To pour cold gravy or cold soup on any hot food served on a plate(5). Some poksim hold that unless the liquid is somewhat warm, it should not be poured over a davar gush(6).

To pour lemon juice, which is generally cooked before processing(7), into a cup of hot tea(8).

To add sugar or salt [or any other previously cooked spice] to any food served on a plate or in a cup(9).

To add soup croutons to a bowl of hot soup(10).

Cooked noodles may be added to a pot of hot soup which has been removed from the fire(11).

To put pasteurized butter or margarine on a hot potato(12). Some poskim advise against this(13).

To place an ice cube or cold water into a cup of hot tea or a bowl of hot soup(14). If the tea or soup is scalding, some poskim advise against this(15).

Hot cholent, whether it is soupy or lumpy, may be eaten together with cold cuts(16).

To dip challah into hot soup or hot cholent17.


Dip a piece of cake or a cookie into hot tea or coffee(18).

To place a pickle, or any other uncooked food item, on top or bottom of a hot davar gush.

Place a slice of lemon into a cup of hot tea(19).

Pour uncooked spices (cinnamon, pepper) on a davar gush(20).

Dip a davar gush into cold gravy(21).


1. To be continued in next week's column.

2. Contemporary poskim debate the exact intensity of heat for yad soledes bo. It is generally accepted, though, that 110 degrees is the minimum temperature which must be considered yad soledes bo. When yad soledes bo is used for a leniency (i.e., when an item is to be considered cooked before Shabbos so that it may be reheated on Shabbos), 160 degrees is required - Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-3.

3. This is referred to as yad nichveis bo, which, according to some poskim, is hot enough to cook food items even in a kli sheini or shelishi. Many poskim, however, do not agree with this stringency.

4. Since these items are precooked - Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-5. Harav S.Z. Auerbach and Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Me'or ha-Shabbos 1:267-8) permit this for other reasons.

5. Based on Igros Moshe, ibid.

6. Since a solid food is treated as a kli rishon, and cold gravy and soup are liquid items which have cooled off and thus subject to the prohibition of cooking - Harav S.Z. Auerbach, Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (Me'or ha-Shabbos 1:265-268).

7. Even if the lemon juice was not cooked there is room for leniency, since several poskim hold that no beverages become cooked in a tea cup

8. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1 note 149) - since it is permitted to re-heat cold liquids in a kli sheini.

9. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74:-5; Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1 note 173); Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (Meor ha-Shabbos 1:257).

10. Many croutons are deep-fried, which is halachically considered as cooked and may be recooked. But this is permitted even for croutons which are baked, since we view the soup bowl as a kli shlishi.

11. Since it is permitted to recook dry items even in a kli rishon.

12. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-6.

13. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1:58).

14. Since water does not become cooked in a kli sheini - Shaar ha-Tziyon 318:68.

15. Chayei Adam, quoted by Mishnah Berurah 318:48.

16. Since the meat is already cooked.

17. Mishnah Berurah 318:47 - since it is permitted to cook a baked item in a kli shelishi. Even if the challah is eaten with a davar gush it is permitted, since davar gush can only "bake" the challah, which is permitted.

18. Rama O.C. 318:5 - since it is prohibited to cook a baked item in a kli sheini.

19. Consensus of many poskim (Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-18; Harav S.Z. Auerbach, quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1 note 150; Harav S.Y. Elyashiv, quoted in Me'or ha-Shabbos 1:221) unlike the Chazon Ish (O.C. 52:19) who tends to be lenient.

20. Since solid food is like a kli rishon.

21. Mishnah Berurah 318:78.

Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.

The Weekly-Halacha Series is distributed L'zchus Hayeled Doniel Meir ben Hinda. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr. Jeffrey Gross

The series is distributed by the Harbotzas Torah Division of Congregation Shomre Shabbos, 1801 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118--HaRav Yisroel Grumer, Marah D'Asra



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