Shiur #04: IV) Cooking in a Primary Vessel; V) Cooking in a Keli Sheni

  • Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon

 

LAWS OF SHABBAT: COOKING

 

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Hakarat Hatov L’Hakadosh Baruch Hu

For all the Chessed He Has Bestowed Upon Us

Ma Ashiv L’Hashem Kol Tagmilohi Alai

Mishpachat Katlowitz

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04: BISHUL

 

IV) Cooking in a Primary Vessel

 

 

Is one allowed to put spices in a pot of soup taken off the fire?

 

 

Clarifying Principles

 

First of all, let us explain the differences between different types of vessels.  A keli rishon (primary vessel) is the one that sits on the fire.  Once removed from the fire, a keli rishon is downgraded: it becomes a toladat ha-or (byproduct of the fire), because it has been heated up by the fire.  A keli sheini is a secondary vessel, such as a cup or a plate, in which a solid or liquid has been transferred from a keli rishon.  Thus, an electric urn would be considered a keli rishon, while a cup filled from it would be a keli sheini.  If one puts a teabag in a teacup filled from the urn, one is putting something in a keli sheini.

 

If one puts cold food into an empty vessel and afterwards pours onto it food from a keli rishon, this will be more serious: this is termed irui (pouring from a) keli rishon, because the liquid from the keli rishon directly hits the cold food.  Returning to our teabag, if it were put in an empty cup and then one were to pour hot water on it directly from the urn (a keli rishon), it would be a case of irui keli rishon.  If one first transfers the water from the first cup to another cup and then puts the teabag into the latter cup, one is using a keli shelishi (tertiary vessel).  If, on the other hand, we put the bag into an empty cup, and after that one pours water from a keli sheini onto it, this is considered irui keli sheini.

 

A KELI RISHON REMOVED FROM THE FIRE

 

Cooking in a Vessel on the Fire — Biblical Prohibition

 

It is clear that the prohibition of bishul is not specifically on the fire itself but rather in a pot that is standing on the fire; this is the textbook definition of cooking.  Is there a biblical prohibition when one cooks in a pot that was on the fire but was removed from it? 

 

The Mishna (38b) states:

 

One must not place an egg at the side of a kettle for it to be “rolled” (cooked).

 

The Gemara notes: “Rav Yosef says: One who rolls is liable to bring a sin-offering.”

 

Thus, the Gemara determines that putting an egg next to a kettle involves a Torah prohibition of mevashel.  The question is the following: where is this kettle (on or off the fire)?

 

Cooking in a Vessel off the Fire is Biblically Forbidden

 

It seems difficult to maintain that the kettle is still on the fire; if so, it would obviously be biblically forbidden, so why should the Gemara have any question about it?  It is clear that bishul is not limited to a case where the flames touch the food, but includes cooking something in water, in a pot, over a fire — after all, this is how the dyes were prepared in the Mishkan!

 

Indeed, the Rambam, in his commentary on the Mishna (3:3), explains that this kettle has been removed from the fire:

 

A kettle — this the name of the vessel in which water is heated, generally made out of copper or iron, and it remains hot for a long time after it has been taken off the fire.

 

This is also how the Me’iri, Ritva and Ran (ad loc.) explain.  According to this, the Gemara has a doubt about the law of cooking in a keli rishon taken off the fire, and it concludes that there is a Torah prohibition.[1]  In other words, cooking with an object heated by fire is biblically forbidden.[2]  This is what arises from the Rambam’s ruling (9:2): “One who cooks with a byproduct of the fire is like one who cooks in the fire itself.”

 

However, as a later passage (42a-b) implies, the law of a keli rishon removed from the fire is the subject of a Tannaitic dispute:

 

If a stewpot or a cauldron is removed seething, one must not put spices therein…

 

Rabbi Yehuda says: “One may put it in any stewpots; one may put it in any boiling cauldron.” 

 

The first view forbids putting (uncooked) spices in a keli rishon removed from the fire, while Rabbi Yehuda allows this ab initio.  Apparently, there is a view that there is no prohibition to cook in a keli rishon removed from the fire.  However, Tosafot (s.v. Le-khol) qualify Rabbi Yehuda’s ruling:

 

It appears that they argue specifically about spices, but concerning other things, they agree that a keli rishon cooks, even after it has been taken off the fire.

 

According to their understanding, Rabbi Yehuda concedes that there is a biblical prohibition of bishul in a keli rishon (even one removed from the fire), but according to him for spices there is no such prohibition.  According to this, there is no essential dispute here, only a practical argument as to whether spices can be cooked in a keli rishon off the fire.  In any case, the Rishonim and the Shulchan Arukh (318:9) rule according to the first view in the Mishna, that it is also forbidden to put spices in a keli rishon, even if it is removed from the fire.

 

Cooking in a Vessel off the Fire is Only Rabbinically Forbidden

 

On the other hand, the Yerushalmi (3:4) implies that the prohibition of cooking in a keli rishon that is removed from the fire is only rabbinical in nature: “They made a safeguard for a keli rishon, but not for a keli sheini.” 

 

In other words, cooking in a keli rishon removed from the fire is only rabbinically forbidden — as a safeguard lest one err and cook in a keli rishon while it is on the fire.  This is how it is explained later in the Yerushalmi (ibid. 5:5) that the prohibition of bishul is only “anything with the fire going beneath it.”  In other words, only cooking in a keli rishon found on the fire is biblically forbidden, but cooking in a keli rishon removed from the fire is only rabbinically forbidden.

 

Off the Fire but Scalding 

 

The Gra (YD 105:13) has an interesting interpretation of the Yerushalmi.  In his view, even the Yerushalmi agrees that there is a biblical prohibition of bishul in a keli rishon off the fire.  According to him, the proper version of the text in the Yerushalmi is “anything that the fire had gone beneath it.”  According to this, one is biblically liable even for a keli rishon removed from the fire, since it was once on the fire. 

 

For this question, there are practical ramifications in cases of doubt, because in a biblical doubt we are stringent, while in a rabbinical doubt there are those who are lenient.  For example, if we have a question whether a certain food is considered cooked (so that we should apply the rule of “ein bishul achar bishul” – once a food has been cooked any further action done to it does not violate the prohibition of bishul), we have to be stringent and not put it in keli rishon off the fire, if we understand that bishul in this vessel is biblically forbidden. 

 

Halakhic Ruling

 

In terms of the final halakha, the Ramban (Avoda Zara 74b, s.v. Ha Di-tnan) is lenient and believes that there is no biblical prohibition of bishul in a keli rishon removed from the fire.  On the other hand, the Ran (20a in Rif, s.v. U-de’amrinan) believes that this question corresponds to an argument between the Bavli and the Yerushalmi, as we have seen above, and the ruling follows the Bavli; consequently, bishul in a keli rishon removed from the fire is biblically forbidden.  This is what the simple language of the Shulchan Arukh appears to indicate (318:9) — that the prohibition is from the Torah:

 

A keli rishon even after it is removed from the fire is considered to cook as long as it is still yad soledet bo (one’s hand draws back out of a concern of being scalded).

 

A KELI RISHON THAT IS NOT YAD SOLEDET BO

 

The Yerushalmi cites a dispute between Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Yona (loc. cit.):

 

What is the difference between a keli rishon and a keli sheini?  Rabbi Yosi says that the difference is whether “ha-yad sholetet” (“the hand is in control”), [while] Rabbi Yona claims that in either case “ein ha-yad sholetet,” but rather the difference is, as we mentioned above, that a safeguard was made for a keli rishon and not for a keli sheini.  

 

Maharshal

 

What is the meaning of the expression “yad sholetet?”  The Maharshal (cited by the Shakh, YD 105:5, and the Taz, YD 94:1) and the Magen Avraham (318:28) explain that this expression is equivalent to yad soledet.  Following this, according to Rabbi Yona in the Yerushalmi, even when the pot already is not yad soledet bo, the Sages nonetheless “made a safeguard for a keli rishon.”  This gives rise to a great stringency: there is a rabbinical prohibition to cook in a keli rishon, even though it is not yad soledet bo.[3]

 


 

Shakh

 

The Shakh (loc. cit.) cites the Maharshal’s view and disagrees with it:

 

This is what the Maharshal writes…  I hesitate to be lenient about a keli rishon standing on the fire as long as it is hot, even if it is not yad soledet bo, for a safeguard was made for a keli rishon, as we find in the Yerushalmi 

 

However, I have not managed to plumb the depths of his view, because in the Yerushalmi, Ch. 3, we find that there is a safeguard for a keli rishon because ein ha-yad sholetet bo, which means that the hand has no control, i.e. ha-yad soledet bo.  However, when ha-yad sholetet bo, it is established there in the Yerushalmi explicitly that it is allowed for everyone, and this is the consensus ruling. 

 

According to the Shakh, the prohibition upon the keli rishon is only when it is scalding.[4]

 

Practical Leniency

 

The Mishna Berura (318:64) rules leniently like the view of the Shakh, that there is no prohibition to put uncooked food in a keli rishon after it has been taken off the fire if it is not yad soledet bo[5]:

 

She-hayad soledet bo – but if it is not yad soledet bo even a keli rishon is not considered to be cooking.

 

Therefore, one should be cautious about this and warn others that it is forbidden to put uncooked spices even in a soup or food that is in a keli rishon that has just been taken off the fire, as this involves a biblical prohibition.  On the other hand, there is no prohibition to put an uncooked food in a keli rishon removed from a fire if it is not at the temperature of yad soledet bo. 


 

 

 

V) Cooking in a Keli Sheini

 

May one put spices in a keli sheini?

Is one allowed to put tea in a keli sheini?

May one add lemon to a cup of tea?

May one add a bit of cold water to a boiling cup of tea?

 

A Keli Sheini Does Not Cook

 

As we have noted, a keli rishon is the pot that sits on the fire.  When one pours its contents into another vessel, the latter is called a keli sheini.  The Gemara (40b) writes:

 

Rav Yitzchak bar Avdimi said: “I once followed Rebbi [Rabbi Yehuda Ha—nasi] into the baths, and I wished to place a container of oil for him in the bath.  He then said to me, ‘Take water in a keli sheini, and then add the oil to it.’”

 

Three things may be inferred from this: oil is subject to cooking; a keli sheini does not cook; making [this oil] lukewarm is cooking it.

 

Why should one differentiate between a keli rishon and a keli sheini?

 

Rashba: Practical Determination

 

1.             The words of the Rashba (ad loc.) indicate that the distinction between a keli rishon and a keli sheini is pragmatic: a keli sheini does not cook, while a keli rishon does cook.  In light of this, he has some difficulty understanding the allowance to put the oil in a keli sheini; if we understand that making the oil lukewarm is considered cooking, the oil will certainly become lukewarm, even in a keli sheini!

 

However, according to this understanding, the distinction of the Gemara seems perplexing: in a keli rishon, the water may only be slightly warmer than yad soledet bo, while in a keli sheini, the waters may be close to boiling, so how can one say conclusively that a keli rishon cooks but a keli sheini does not cook?  This is even more perplexing if we take into account that the prohibition of boiling water involves raising it to the temperature of yad soledet bo, and if we add a little cold water into a keli sheini in which there is already some very hot water, it is clear that the cold water will reach the level of yad soledet bo![6]

 

Tosafot: The Cool Walls of a Keli Sheini

 

2.             Tosafot (40b, s.v. U-shma mina) ask:

 

This is perplexing: what is the difference between a keli sheini and a keli rishon?  If it is yad soledet bo, even a keli sheini [should be prohibited]; while if it is not yad soledet bo, even a keli rishon does not cook!

 

Presumably, one should ignore the vessel’s history (whether it was ever on the fire) and focus solely on the temperature!

 

Tosafot respond:

 

One may say that because a keli rishon sits on the fire, its walls become hot and they hold the heat for a long time, and therefore they set a standard that as long as it is yad soledet bo it is forbidden; but a keli sheini, even though it may be yad soledet bo, is permitted, as its walls are not hot, so it is getting progressively cooler.

 

One Understanding of Tosafot: Observation of Reality

 

Simply put, one may argue that Tosafot are giving a pragmatic response: while a keli rishon also cools down due to its contact with the room temperature air around it, a keli sheini is cooled down by both the air and its own walls, and therefore it cools much more quickly.

 

Nevertheless, the problem remains: is a keli rishon at its lowest temperature less capable of cooking than a keli sheini filled with boiling liquid?

 

A Second Understanding of Tosafot: Halakhic Determination

 

We may explain Tosafot in another way, saying that their view is absolutely halakhic, not pragmatic: a hot vessel separated from the fire can be considered a heat source for the issue of the prohibition of bishul only if its walls are hot.  If its walls are cold, it cannot be considered a heat source.  The fact that the walls of the vessel are cold and it cools quickly does not necessarily mean that water put into it will not boil, but rather that halakhically it is not defined as a heat source that is forbidden for bishul on Shabbat.  A heat source is only considered a heat source for the prohibition of bishul if its heat will last for a long time.

 

Or Sameach: Keli Sheini — Byproduct of a Byproduct

 

3.             The Or Sameach (9:2) also believes that a keli sheini is not halakhically defined as a heat source for purposes of bishul, but he explains it in a different way.  In his view, a keli rishon is considered a toladat ha-or (igneous byproduct), and therefore one who cooks in it is liable.  Similarly, the water inside a keli rishon is a toladat ha-or, since it was heated when the pot was on the fire.  However, a keli sheini is the byproduct of a byproduct, since the vessel was heated by the water that was in turn heated by the flames, and therefore there is no prohibition of bishul.[7]

 

Another Understanding: Heat Source Must Come from the Fire

 

One may explain the distinction between vessels on the halakhic plain in a different way.  As we have seen above, according to the Gra’s version of the Yerushalmi, the prohibition of bishul is applicable only to anything with the fire going beneath it.”  According to this, it may be that the heat source, for the purposes of Shabbat, is anything that has been on the fire.  Naturally, only a keli rishon cooks, since it has been on the fire, and a keli sheini does not, as it has never been on the fire.[8]

 

Summary

 

In conclusion, we have seen two essential approaches to understanding the determination that a keli sheini does not cook.

 

One possibility is that there is a pragmatic definition: bishul does not occur in a keli sheini.  This is the simple meaning of the Rashba’s words, this is how the view of Tosafot may be understood, and this is what the Chazon Ish believes (52:18).  The latter writes that a keli rishon is not required for the essence of the melakha of bishul, but the simple reality is that food cannot be cooked in a keli sheini.

 

Another possibility is that this is a halakhic determination: a keli sheini is not included in the prohibition of bishul, even if one may boil and cook in it practically.  This determination can itself be understood in one of two ways: a) according to Tosafot, we may understand that since a keli sheini gets progressively cooler, it is not defined as a heat source for purposes of bishul; b) alternatively, it may be that since the keli sheini is distant from the fire (either because no flames were under it directly or because it is the byproduct of a byproduct), it is not considered a heat source for purpose of bishul.

Translated by Rav Yoseif Bloch



[1]      See Chiddushei Ha-Chatam Sofer (s.v. Ve-hinei), where it is established that in the Mishkan cooking was also done in a keli rishon taken off the fire, and the Chatam Sofer is therefore puzzled as to why the Gemara has a question about our issue.

[2]      However, in the Chiddushim Ha-myuchasim La-Ran (s.v. Ein, s.v. Gilgel) there is a cited explanation that the Gemara has a doubt about putting an egg next to a kettle, because the egg is not fully cooked, but only a bit fried on the outside.  According to this interpretation, we may reject the proof from the Gemara: it may be that we are talking about a kettle standing on the fire, and the innovative point is that one is liable even on the partial cooking of an egg, but with a kettle taken off the fire, there is no biblical prohibition of cooking (however, in the view of the Chiddushim Ha-myuchasim La-Ran, the indication is that it indeed refers to a kettle removed from the fire).

[3]      From the Maharshal’s words (loc. cit.), it arises that he rules stringently only when it comes to a keli rishon on the fire and it is not yad soledet bo.  However, the Magen Avraham (loc. cit.) appears to indicate that even when it has been taken off the fire and it is not yad soledet bo, it should still be forbidden.

[4]      We have already pointed out the innovation of the Yerushalmi according to this interpretation: because even a keli rishon that is yad soledet bo does not have a biblical prohibition of bishul upon it once it has been taken from the fire, and it is only a safeguard.

[5]      However, the Mishna Berura continues and writes that one should not put food in a keli rishon on the fire even if at the moment it is not yad soledet bo, since there is a concern that one will forget about it until it reaches the level of yad soledet bo, and cooking will consequently take place (see note 10 from our first lesson).

[6]      However, the Rashba (42a, s.v. Notein Adam) claims that in a case such as this, the cold water is necessarily boiled, but it may be that the cold water retains its temperature, but because they are mixed with very hot water, the mixture as a whole appears very hot.  However, this claim appears difficult from a practical viewpoint, and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo, vol. II [5759 edition], ch. 34, 22) notes this explicitly: if one fills a plastic bag with cold water and puts it into a very hot keli sheini, it is clear that the water in the bag reaches a heat higher than yad soledet bo, demonstrating that the cold water is heated and boiled by the surrounding hot water.

[7]      Indeed, the logic of the Or Sameach is difficult to understand, since when we put the food into a keli sheini, the food is not heated by the walls of the vessel but rather by the water, and the water is heated by the flame itself and should be defined as a direct byproduct, not the byproduct of a byproduct.  On this issue, the Or Sameach writes that the vessel itself assists in the cooking process, as indicated by the Gemara in Pesachim 27b, which argues that if a pot is forged from illicit substances, there is reason to forbid anything cooked in it.  Naturally, the Or Sameach claims that since the vessel is an element of the cooking process, there is good reason to be lenient and define the cooking here as the byproduct of a byproduct, based on the status of the vessel.  However, this seems difficult, because in the Gemara in Pesachim loc. cit., the vessel stands on the fire, and it helps to transmit the heat from the fire to the food; in a keli sheini, on the other hand, the keli is almost irrelevant to the bishul; it merely keeps the water inside so that it will not spill.  This is what Rav S.Z. Auerbach (Shulchan Shlomo ch. 318, n. 11, 2) argues, against the Or Sameach. See also the Shevet Ha-Levi (Vol. VII, 101:2) and the book Chut Shani by Rav Karelitz (Vol. II, p. 159); they reject the essence of the words of the Or Sameach and claim that for issues of bishul, there is no reason to distinguish between a direct byproduct and a secondary byproduct.  Ultimately, they maintain, whatever is powered and energized by fire is considered like the fire itself.

[8]      This approach accords with the view that we saw in a previous lesson, maintaining that the Torah forbids cooking with fire and its byproducts only, not other sources of heat. Indeed, one may challenge this direction as we challenged the Or Sameach (see previous note), by noting that the bishul here is accomplished using the water in the vessel, and the water has been upon the fire itself.