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Weekly Halacha

Selected Halachos Related to Parshas Emor

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.

The seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest ... you should not do any work (23:3)


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. 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 change 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.] Cold: below 60-70 degrees Warm: between 70-80 to 110 degrees Hot: over 110 degrees(1) Scalding: about 140-150 degrees(2) Boiling: 212 degrees Cooked: completely cooked, ready to eat. Dry food item: any food item which contains virtually no 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 [see more details further]. 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 than 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 procedures like freeze-drying etc., which are not considered, halachically, as "cooking."


Pour ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise over any hot food served on a plate(3). Pour cold gravy or cold soup on any hot food served on a plate(4). Some poskim hold that unless the liquid is somewhat warm, it should not be poured over a davar gush(5).

Pour lemon juice, which is generally cooked before processing(6), into a cup of hot tea(7).

Add sugar or salt [or any other previously cooked spice] to any food served on a plate or in a cup(8).

Add soup croutons to a bowl of hot soup(9). Add cooked noodles to a pot of hot soup which has been removed from the fire(10).

Put pasteurized butter or margarine on a hot potato(11). Some poskim advise against this(12).

Place an ice cube or cold water into a cup of hot tea or a bowl of hot soup(13). If the tea or soup is scalding, some poskim advise against this(14).

Eat hot cholent, whether it is soupy or lumpy, together with cold cuts or other pieces of cooked, cold meat(15).

Dip challah into hot soup or hot cholent(16).


Dip a piece of cake or a cookie into hot tea or coffee(17). Place a pickle, or any other uncooked food item, on top of or underneath a hot davar gush.

Place a slice of lemon into a cup of hot tea(18). Pour uncooked spices (cinnamon, pepper) on a davar gush(19). Dip a davar gush into cold gravy(20).


Place dry, cold(21) meat, chicken or kugel on top of a soup or cholent pot which is on the blech or in a crock-pot(22). If these items are wrapped in aluminum foil, the foil should be partially unwrapped to avoid the prohibition of hatmanah(23). Place dry, cold meat, chicken or kugel on top of a radiator(24). Place cold foods [dry or liquid] near a fire so that they can be warmed, provided that the foods are placed far enough away from the fire so that they could never become hot(25). Pour hot water from an urn on a baby's cold milk bottle(26); Pour hot water from an urn into a vessel, then place the milk bottle into it(27). The bottle should not be submerged entirely so as to avoid the prohibition of hatmanah(28). Lift off the lid of an urn and replace it, if the water inside was previously boiled(29). Add hot water from the urn to the soup or cholent pot. See pg. 211-212 for the many details involved.


Place cold food [dry or liquid, cooked or uncooked] directly on the fire or on any area of the blech where the food could become hot(31).

Place cold liquid, such as soup or gravy, near enough to a heat source which will cause it to become hot(32). Place a cold, wet ladle [either from tap water or from previously ladled soup] into a pot of hot soup, even if the pot is presently not on the fire or blech(33). Pour hot water from the urn directly into a cup containing a tea bag, cocoa or chocolate milk(34). Pour hot water from the urn directly into a cup containing instant tea, coffee or cocoa(35). Place a tea bag in a cup of hot water, or to pour hot water from a cup over a tea bag(36). Add sugar or salt to a pot of hot liquid which was on the fire or blech and then removed(37). Stir hot food in a pot which is on the fire or blech, even if the food is completely cooked(38). Stir hot food in a pot which has been removed from the fire or blech, if the food is not completely cooked(39). Dish out food from a pot which is directly on a flame(40), whether the food is completely cooked or not(41). Even if the pot is too heavy to pick up and remove from the fire, it is still prohibited to dish out food from a pot which is directly on a flame(42). Cover a pot which is on the fire, unless it is clear beyond a doubt that the food inside is completely cooked(43). Wipe wet hands with a towel, and then drape the towel over an urn or oven(44).


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Based on Igros Moshe, ibid.

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

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

7. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1, note 149); since it is permitted to reheat cold liquids in a kli sheini.

8. 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).

9. 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 shelishi.

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

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

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

13. Since water does not become cooked in a kli sheini; Shaar ha-Tziyun 318:68.

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

15. Since the meat is already cooked.

16. 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 the davar gush can only "bake" the challah, which is permitted.

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

18. 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.

19. Since solid food is like a kli rishon.

20. Mishnah Berurah 318:78.

21. This should not be done for frozen items which have ice crystals on them, since cooking ice is prohibited; Minchas Yitzchak 9:31.

22. O.C. 253:5 and Beiur Halachah 253:3. See Chazon Ish 37:14 for an explanation of why this does not constitute roasting after cooking.

23. The poskim disagree over whether hatmanah is a problem in this case: Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-3 and Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Me'or ha-Shabbos 1:86) are stringent, while Harav S.Y. Elyashiv and Harav Y.Y. Fisher (ibid. 84) are lenient. [This also seems to be the view of the Chazon Ish 37:32.] If the purpose of the aluminum foil, however, is to serve as a plate [and not to retain heat], all poskim agree that it is permitted. If more than one piece of aluminum foil is wrapped around the food item, all poskim agree that it is prohibited; see Machazeh Eliyahu 32.

24. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-34. See preceding footnote concerning hatmanah.

25. O.C. 318:14.

26. Since only the bottle will become "cooked", not the milk inside; Harav M. Feinstein (Sefer Hilchos Shabbos, pg. 289); Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1:50.

27. Mishnah Berurah 318:23; since re-cooking a liquid item in a kli sheini is permitted. Under extenuating circumstances, even a kli rishon which has been removed from the fire may sometimes be used, see Shevet ha-Levi 5:31.

28. Mishnah Berurah 258:2; Minchas Yitzchak 8:17, unlike Shulchan Aruch Harav 318:23 and Chazon Ish 37:32, who are lenient.

29. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-14. It is also permitted to dish out water from an urn.

30. This review does not discuss the opening and closing of thermostat controlled ovens on Shabbos.

31. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-31,32.

32. O.C. 318:14-15.

33. Since cooking or reheating liquids in a kli rishon is prohibited.

34. This is strictly prohibited, since these are foods which were not cooked before Shabbos.

35. Even though instant coffee and tea are generally processed (cooked) foods, several poskim hold that one should not pour hot water directly from a kli rishon over them for several reasons; see Sefer Hilchos Shabbos, pg. 298.

36. Since tea leaves can easily become cooked in a kli sheini, and even by boiling water poured upon them from a kli sheini; Mishnah Berurah 318:39.

37. Mishnah Berurah 318:71, since in the opinion of some poskim, soluble foods dissolved in liquids are in themselves considered liquid and are subject to the prohibition of cooking cold liquids. It is permitted, however, to add precooked seasoning [sugar or salt] to solid food, e.g., a hot potato, since in that case the seasoning does not dissolve - see Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1, note 173*.

38. Mishnah Berurah 318:118. See Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-8 for an explanation of why it is prohibited to stir food which is completely cooked.

39. O.C. 318:18.

40.But if the food is on the blech and not directly over the fire, many poskim permit scooping out food from the pot; Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-11.

41. Mishnah Berurah 318:113.

42. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-9. See Chazon Ish 37:15, who is somewhat more lenient.

43. O.C. 254:4; 257:4. See Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74:10, who may hold that it is forbidden to cover a pot which is on the fire even if the food is completely cooked, but other poskim clearly permit this, and Harav Feinstein himself is quoted (The Shabbos Kitchen, pg. 9) as having given oral permission for this.

44. Mishnah Berurah 301:169.

Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1999 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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