Ein Bishul Achar Bishul by Rabbi Chaim Jachter



This week we will outline the parameters of the celebrated rule of Ein Bishul Achar Bishul (literally, there is no cooking after cooking).



The Rishonim debate if the Ein Bishul Achar Bishul rule applies only to solids or even to liquids.  The Biur Halacha (318:4 s.v. Yeish) notes that the Rambam, Rashba, and Ran adopt the lenient position that Ein Bishul Achar Bishul applies even to liquids.  On the other hand, Rashi, Rabbeinu Yonah, the Rosh, and the Tur adopt the stringent opinion that Ein Bishul Achar Bishul applies only to solids.  The Acharonim (see Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 254:1 and Eglei Tal Ofeh 8:11) explain that the stringent view believes that the effect of the cooking of a liquid is nullified after it has cooled down.  By contrast, solids retain the effect of cooking even after the food has cooled down.  An explanation of the lenient opinion is that Ein Bishul Achar Bishul is a comprehensive rule that applies even when the reason for the rule is not relevant.

Rav Yosef Karo (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 318:4 and 15) rules in accordance with the strict opinion.  The Rama (O.C. 318:15), however, cites the lenient view.  The Rama records the commonly accepted Ashkenazic practice to adopt a compromise view.  The practice is to follow the lenient opinion if the liquid “has not completely cooled down.”  Acharonim debate what the Rama refers to when he states “not completely cooled down.”  The Eglei Tal (Ofeh 8) explains that it refers to liquid that is less than Yad Soledet Bo but is still sufficiently hot that people regard it is a hot drink.  The Chazon Ish (O.C. 37:13) indicates that the Rama is lenient if the liquid is not entirely cooled down. 

Acharonim also debate the reasoning of this compromise.  At first glance, the compromise appears difficult since reheating a liquid that is below the temperature of Yad Soledet Bo constitutes an act of Bishul according to the strict opinion.  On the other hand, the lenient opinion permits reheating a liquid even if it has completely cooled down.  The Halacha appears to attach no significance to the fact that the liquid has completely cooled down.

The Chazon Ish (ibid.) explains that the Rama fundamentally accepts the lenient view as normative.  However, there is concern that if an item has completely cooled down it will be difficult to distinguish between the cooled down liquid and liquid that has never been heated.  The common practice seeks to avoid this potential confusion.  Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (cited by Rav Mordechai Willig, Bait Yitzchak 21:181), on the other hand, suggests that the Rama fundamentally accepts the stringent opinion as normative.  The Rav notes, though, that the reasoning of the strict view is that when a liquid cools down, no impact remains from of the cooking.  Accordingly, as long as the liquid has not completely cooled down, some of the effect on the original cooking remains. 


Defining Liquids and Solids

Acharonim have debated the definition of liquid and solid in this context for centuries.  Some Acharonim (the Bach, Vilna Gaon, and Mishna Berura) believe that a food must be free of any liquid to qualify as a solid.  Other Acharonim (including the Taz, Pri Megadim, and the Kaf Hachaim) believe that if the majority of an item is solid, it is classified as a solid (see the opinions summarized by Rav Shimon Eider, Halachos of Shabbos p. 259 footnote 114).

Rav Yosef Adler cites Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, who offers the following practical guidelines.  If the food is eaten with a fork, it is a solid and if it is eaten with a spoon, it is a liquid.  Similarly, Rav Ovadia Yosef (Teshuvot Yechaveh Daat 2:45) rules in accordance with the lenient view.  On the other hand, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe 4:74:Bishul:7) rules in accordance with the strict view, except perhaps in case of great need.  Rav Eider (ibid.) presents a very cogent defense of the lenient view based on an idea of Rav Zvi Pesach Frank.


Practical Application – Tea Refills

An interesting question arises regarding refilling a cup of tea or coffee.  Some Poskim (Rav Aharon Kotler and others cited in Halachos of Shabbos p. 295 note 423) require one to wipe the remaining few drops of water on the bottom of the cup that have totally cooled down.  Many authorities, though, are lenient about this point.  The Chazon Ish (ibid. note 424) rules leniently, arguing that fundamentally we rule that Ein Bishul Achar Bishul applies to liquids.  The custom to follow the strict view if the liquid has entirely cooled down, argues the Chazon Ish, does not apply if one merely reheats a minute amount of water and does not care about reheating the few drops.  Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe O.C. 4:74:Bishul:19) argues that one may be lenient because of multiple doubts (Sfeik Sfeika).  One lenient consideration is that many Rishonim permit reheating liquids.  The second lenient consideration is that since one is reheating such a minute amount of water one is not concerned with the reheating that occurs.  This situation is referred to as a פסיק רישיה דלא ניחא ליה (an unintended side effect) and is permitted by some Rishonim (most notably the Aruch).  The combination of these two lenient opinions allows for a lenient ruling.  This ruling also applies to returning a ladle to a Kli Rishon if the ladle has a few drops of liquid that had been cooked but subsequently cooled down completely. 


Cooked Sugar, Cooked Salt, and Instant Coffee

The Mishna Berura (318:71) notes that salt that was cooked during its processing may even be placed on food in a Kli Rishon if the Kli Rishon was removed from the fire.  The Mishna Berura points out that the same applies to sugar that was cooked during its processing.  He notes, however, that Rav Akiva Eiger (at the conclusion of O.C. 253, see Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 1:note 138) questions the application of this rule.  This is because Rav Akiva Eiger believes that a solid item that will melt and turn into a liquid may have the status of a liquid.  According to this approach, the Ein Bishul Achar Bishul rule does not apply even to cooked salt and sugar.  The Mishna Berura concludes that it is best to act somewhat stringently in this regard — to avoid placing salt and sugar in a Kli Rishon.  He permits relying on the lenient opinions regarding a Kli Sheni.

Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (1:49) notes the many applications of this rule.  They include instant coffee, instant tea, soup bullion, powdered milk, and powdered cocoa.  The Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata follows the approach of the Mishna Berura and recommends avoiding placing any of these items in a Kli Rishon.  See, however, Rav Ovadia Yosef (Teshuvot Yechaveh Daat 2:44) who rules in accordance with those authorities who rule leniently in this regard.  These authorities include Rav Zvi Pesach Frank and Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg.


Cooking after Baking etc.

The Bait Yosef (318 s.v. V’katav Harav Eliezer Mi’Metz) cites a celebrated dispute concerning the scope of the principle of Ein Bishul Achar Bishul.  He cites the Sefer Yereim who limits the rule to similar processes such as cooking after cooking, baking after baking, and roasting after roasting.  However, he forbids dissimilar processes such as cooking after baking or roasting after cooking.  The Bait Yosef, though, quotes the Raavya who rules leniently and adopts an expansive view of the Ein Bishul Achar Bishul rule.  He rules that it applies even to dissimilar processes such as cooking after baking.  A ramification of this dispute is whether one may place bread in very hot (Yad Soledet Bo) soup.

In the Bait Yosef, Rav Yosef Karo cites the many texts cited by both the Yereim and the Raavya as proof for their respective opinions.  In the Shulchan Aruch (318:5), Rav Karo cites both the opinion of the Yereim and the opinion of the Raavya without indicating a preference for either opinion.  Accordingly, this dispute remains unresolved and leniency is appropriate only in combination with other lenient considerations.

The Mishna Berura (318:47) seems to be lenient regarding the Kli Shelishi question only when the lenient ruling of the Raavya is relevant.  For example, he permits placing Challah in very hot soup, if the soup is in a Kli Shelishi.  This also appears to be the Mishna Berura’s approach (compare 318:45 with 318:87 and 253:84) to the question whether a ladle that removed hot food from a Kli Rishon is regarded as a Kli Rishon or a Kli Sheni.  The Maharil (cited by the Taz, Yoreh Deah 92:30) views a ladle as a Kli Sheni.  The Taz (ibid.) sharply challenges the Maharil’s view, arguing that since the ladle was immersed in a Kli Rishon, it assumes the status of a Kli Rishon.



There are a myriad of unresolved disputes regarding the principle of Ein Bishul Achar Bishul.  The basic approach of Halachic authorities is to be lenient when a combination of lenient factors exists.  Next week, God willing and Bli Neder, we will conclude our discussion of the biblical laws of Bishul and begin to discuss the rabbinical laws of Bishul.

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