Shiur #06: Bishul Achar Bishul Be-davar Lach ֠Cooking a Previously Cooked Liquid
The Laws of Shabbat
Yeshivat Har Etzion
Shiur #06: Bishul Achar Bishul Be-davar Lach
Cooking a Previously Cooked Liquid
By HaRav Baruch Gigi
Translated by David Silverberg
A. Bringing Hot Water to a Boil
In the previous shiur, we saw that when dealing with solid foods, bishul is defined by two stages: the point of ma'akhal Ben Derusai (at which the food can be eaten under extenuating circumstances), and the point of the cooking's completion. As we saw, the Rishonim disagree as to whether one transgresses the bishul prohibition by further cooking an item that has already reached the point of ma'akhal Ben Derusai. Today, we will turn our attention to liquids (known in halakhic jargon as davar lach), and discuss whether here, too, Halakha recognizes two critical stages in the cooking process: the point of yad soledet bo (see previous shiur for precise definition), and the point of boiling. We do not find any explicit reference to these two stages in the writings of the Rishonim, and to the contrary, the general assumption is that bishul as it pertains to liquids does not apply past the point of yad soledet bo. The Beit Yosef (318) went so far as to establish that "anything at the point of yad soledet bo is considered boiling."
The difference between solids and liquids in this respect stems from the fact that regarding solid foods, bishul entails cooking, whereas regarding liquids, it involves primarily warming, raising the liquid's temperature, and there are no two different, significant stages in the process of warming. One might further contend that even if regarding liquids, too, the prohibition involves cooking, and mot merely warming, nevertheless, liquids are not drunk at the boiling point, but rather around the level of yad soledet bo.
Rabbenu Yona, however, indeed applies bishul even to the act of boiling water that had already reached the point of yad soledet bo. His comments are of great importance to our discussion, so we cite them here in full:
It is a terrible mistake made by some people who cover a kettle of hot water [to retain its heat] so that they can place [the water] into a pot on Shabbat when the food begins to dry. At times one is not at the point of yad soledet bo and the other is at the point of yad soledet bo, and they cook together, such that cooking is done on Shabbat. And even if they are both at the point of yad soledet bo, there is a view in the Yerushalmi that poured [liquid] does not have the same status as [liquid in] a keli rishon [the original utensil in which it was cooked]. Thus, when one pours the water, the moment it leaves the utensil even if it is still boiling its level of boiling no longer has the capacity to cook, just like a keli sheni [the utensil into which food is poured from a keli rishon], which cannot cook, and it is therefore cooked inside the keli rishon. And water that has been cooked is [nevertheless] subject to bishul if it stopped boiling.
We will first address Rabbenu Yona's second point, namely, that bishul applies even to hot water if it had stopped boiling, even though its temperature remains well above the point of yad soledet bo. Rabbenu Yona apparently acknowledged two stages in the bishul process as it pertains to water: the point of yad soledet bo, and the final stage, of boiling.
I believe, however, that this double focus in truth reflects two different functions served by heating water:
1) Water as an item being cooked, be it for bathing or drinking purposes. For this function, we would define bishul as yad soledet bo, and in this respect boiling would bear no significance at all.
2) Water as an item that cooks other foods, which requires specifically boiling water.
Indeed, Rabbenu Yona wrote about water poured from a keli rishon, "its level of boiling no longer has the capacity to cook, just like a keli sheni." Bringing water to a boil gives it the ability to cook other foods, and granting water this power constitutes bishul.
According to this understanding, the two stages of cooking solid food ma'akhal Ben Derusai and the point of completion, which mark two stages along the single continuum of preparing food for consumption are not parallel to the two stages of heating water, yad soledet bo and the boiling point. When it comes to liquids, these two stages involve two fundamentally different definitions of cooking, as we explained.
B. Reheating Water After it Has Cooled
Although Halakha establishes that ein bishul achar bishul the bishul prohibition does not apply to items that had already been cooked one sugya in Masekhet Shabbat (34a) gives rise to some uncertainty on the matter. The Gemara rules that one may not cover a pot of liquid on Shabbat even if the covering will merely retain and not increase the pot's temperature, because, the Gemara explains, "gezeira shema yarti'ach" Chazal feared that one might boil the liquid in the pot. Rashi explains, "One might see when he wants to cover it that his pot has cooled, and he will therefore first boil it, and will thus be cooking on Shabbat." The Rosh (chapter 3, end of siman 10), by contrast, claims that one would not violate bishul by reheating the contents of the pot, and therefore explains that in this Gemara Chazal feared that one might stir the coals underneath the pot, which constitutes a Torah prohibition. According to the Rosh, then, we draw no distinction between solids and liquids, and indeed many Rishonim do not suggest such a distinction, indicating that they concurred with the Rosh. The Rambam (Hilkhot Shabbat 9:3) draws no distinction, and this is indeed the position of the Sephardic Rishonim generally. In fact, the Ran goes so far as to declare, "I see no difference between cooked water and other cooked items."
But Rashi, as we saw, explains this Gemara to mean that one would violate bishul by boiling the water that had cooled. The Rosh (ibid., siman 11) explained his position as follows: "Bishul applies even to food that has already been cooked, if it contains liquid." The principle of ein bishul achar bishul, the Rosh writes, pertains strictly to solid foods. This is the position of several of the Ba'alei Ha-Tosefot, the Or Zarua and Semak, and the Rosh, too, appears to favor this view.
Yet a third position appears in the comments of Rabbenu Yerucham, who writes the following in the name of Rabbenu Yona:
All that we have said concerning returning [cooked food to the fire] applies only if it had already reached the point of ma'akhal Ben Derusai during the day [of Erev Shabbat]. But if it hadn't reached [this point before Shabbat], one may not return it [to the fire] if he had removed it. And even if it had reached [the point of ma'akhal Ben Derusai before Shabbat], if one waited while it was in his hand until the food cooled, it is forbidden to return it if it contains broth, for anything which contains liquid, and further cooking will enhance it, and it has cooled returning it to the stove so that it continues to cook constitutes outright cooking.
According to this approach, reheating food containing liquid constitutes bishul only in a case of mitztamek ve-yafeh lo if continued cooking will be beneficial. At first glance, it is difficult to explain the need for the combination of these two factors that the food contains liquid, and that it is enhanced by continued cooking. (We will discuss this view further a bit later in the shiur.)
Conceptually, we can more readily understand the view that draws no distinction in this regard between solids and liquids, and applies the rule of ein bishul achar bishul even to water that has completely cooled. In order to explain the other position, that a cooked liquid is still subject to bishul after it has cooled, we must adopt one of the following two theories:
1) The essential definition of bishul preparing a food item for consumption and enhancing its flavor remains the same when dealing with solids and liquids, but they nevertheless differ regarding the issue of cooking an item after it has cooled. Warming a previously cooked liquid significantly changes its taste, and thus qualifies as bishul, whereas reheating a cooked, solid food does not enhance its taste to such an extent that would render this process bishul.
2) Alternatively, the prohibition of bishul perhaps assumes an entirely different definition in the context of solid foods either as the exclusive definition in this case, or in addition to the standard definition, of preparing an item for consumption. Namely, when dealing with liquids, we would define bishul as warming, rather than cooking, as we saw in our discussion of the Rambam's view concerning water. Accordingly, even if the prohibition of preparing a food item for consumption would not apply to a cooked liquid after it has cooled, nevertheless, the other definition of bishul raising an item's temperature would certainly apply.
We must emphasize that the Rambam draws no distinction between solids and liquids with respect to the rule of ein bishul achar bishul, and yet, it would nevertheless appear that he would hold one liable for reheating water after it had cooled. For in his view, as we discussed in a previous shiur, the melakha of bishul as it pertains to water involves raising its temperature in preparation for bathing, and thus once it cools, its prior heat is no longer of any significance. In truth, even if we assume that heating water is done primarily for drinking purposes, rather than bathing, we might still consider reheating water bishul.
Of course, as stated earlier, some Rishonim apply the rule of ein bishul achar bishul even to water, as the Ran categorically declared, "I see no difference between cooked water and other cooked items." The Acharonim explained this view as maintaining that boiled water does not return to its previous condition after it cools. The Iglei Tal (Ha-ofeh, Hashmatot section), for example, writes, "The proof is the fact that people heat water to a boil so that it will be fully cooked, and once it is cooked and cools, they do not heat it again to such an extent only to the point where it is warm enough to be drunk." In his view, then, water does not return to its initial condition, and we therefore should not distinguish between heating water after it cools and reheating any other food item.
Earlier, we mentioned the view of Rabbenu Yona, cited by Rabbenu Yerucham, that previously cooked foods containing liquid are subject to bishul only in situations of mitztamek ve-yafeh lo where further cooking is beneficial to the food. Many writers found this position difficult to explain. If reheating liquids constitutes bishul, why should this depend on the issue of mitztamek ve-yafeh lo? The distinction between solids and liquids stems from the fact that regarding liquids the primary factor is the rise in temperature, as explained above, and therefore mitztamek va-yefeh lo should bear no relevance to the status of liquids in this respect. Indeed, for this very reason, the Bach dismissed Rabbenu Yona's position.
The Rama, however, brings the view of Rabbenu Yona (318:4), and even the Shulchan Arukh mentions it (318:8; the commentaries to the Shulchan Arukh discuss the question of whether the Shulchan Arukh accepted this view as authoritative). The Taz (see especially 318:6) attempts to explain this position, and I believe his analysis is correct. Fundamentally, bishul does not apply to a previously cooked food with liquid, even if additional cooking enhances its taste, since this further enhancement is insufficient to qualify as bishul. However, once the food has cooled, cooking it further is significant due to the heating of the liquid, and in a situation of mitztamek ve-yafeh lo, the food's taste is enhanced also as a result of the additional cooking. In the person's mind, the heating of the liquid and the enhanced taste of the food combine to render this process a significant act of bishul.
Still, further clarification of this view is required.
C. The Conclusions of the Shulchan Arukh and Rama
The Shulchan Arukh (318:4) rules that heating previously cooked liquids indeed constitutes bishul if it had dropped below the level of yad soledet bo. The Peri Megadim boldly asserted that once a liquid has been transferred to a keli sheni, we consider it to have "cooled" even if it remains above the temperature of yad soledet bo, and therefore one may not reheat it. (This position is cited in Bei'ur Halakha, 318:4 s.v. im nitztanen). This stringency evolves from Rabbenu Yona's comments cited towards the beginning of the shiur, regarding the practice he observed to add hot water to a pot on Shabbat. The Shulchan Arukh indeed codifies Rabbenu Yona's position (253:4): "One must object to those who have the practice of covering a pot of hot water during the day [of Erev Shabbat] and placing the water into a pot on Shabbat when the food begins to dry." However, most commentaries to the Shulchan Arukh explain this prohibition based on the first reason Rabbenu Yona mentions, namely, that at times either the pot or the water will be at the level of yad soledet bo while the other is at a lower temperature, and thus one will cook from the other when they are mixed. The Peri Megadim, by contrast, held that the moment the item leaves its original utensil, we immediately consider it to have "cooled," based on the second reason given by Rabbenu Yona. However, the Peri Megadim applies this ruling only to pouring water from a keli rishon into an empty utensil, claiming that even though it remains above the point of yad soledet bo, one may not heat it any further. However, unlike Rabbenu Yona, he does not forbid pouring from a keli rishon into another keli rishon containing food. This distinction is very difficult to understand. Why would bishul apply to water at or above the level of yad soledet bo after it is transferred to a keli sheni? Rabbenu Yona held that only boiling water has the capacity to cook, and therefore once it is no longer boiling it is subject to bishul. We thus understand why, in Rabbenu Yona's view, water that leaves a keli rishon is immediately subject to bishul, even when poured into another keli rishon. The position of the Peri Megadim, however, requires explanation.
In any event, the Rama disagrees with this entire approach, and writes (318:15):
Some are lenient and claim that so long as one does not place [the liquid] over the fire or directly on the stove, but rather adjacent to it, it is permissible even if it has cooled. The practice is to be lenient in this regard if it has not cooled completely, as I wrote earlier, in siman 253.
According to the Rama, a previously cooked liquid is not subject to bishul so long as it has not cooled completely, and he therefore dismisses Rabbenu Yona's stringency. Likewise, he would certainly not accept the Peri Megadim's view treating water transferred to a keli sheni as if it has cooled; quite obviously, hot water in a keli sheni would be no worse than water in a keli rishon that has begun to cool, which the Rama allows reheating so long as it has not cooled completely.
From where did the Rama derive this ruling, distinguishing between liquids that have begun to cool, and that have cooled completely? The Pitchei Da'at (p. 31) writes that this view originates from the Or Zarua, who allows gentile butlers to reheat food "because presumably they [the foods] are still somewhat warm, near the point of yad soledet bo, and it is permissible to increase their heat because they are not even subject to bishul." The Or Zarua appears to maintain that bishul does not apply to liquids even after their temperature drops below the level of yad soledet bo, so long as they have not completely cooled.
The Acharonim disagree in explaining the reason behind the Rama's ruling. Some understood that he follows the view applying the principle of ein bishul achar bishul even to liquids, but feels that the Sages nevertheless forbade reheating liquid that has cooled completely. This explanation is offered by the Peri Megadim (Eshel Avraham, 318:39). Rav Moshe Feinstein similarly writes in Iggerot Moshe (4:74), "The Rama's reason is that he essentially sides with the Rambam and Rashba, that even regarding liquids 'ein bishul achar bishul,' but [nevertheless] we are stringent if it has completely cooled." Others, by contrast, explain that although generally one may reheat liquid, once it has completely cooled reheating it is forbidden at the level of Torah law. This is the understanding of the Magen Avraham (253:37) and Shulchan Arukh Ha-Rav by Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi, first Rebbe of Lubavitch (318:9). See also the comments of the Iglei Tal (Ha-ofeh, hashmatot section).
The Acharonim also disagree concerning the precise definition of the Rama's expression, "nitztanen le-gamrei" ("completely cooled"). The Chazon Ish appears to have held that so long as one can tell that the liquid had been heated at some point, it has yet to "cool completely," and one may reheat it. It seems that this would apply so long as the liquid is above room temperature. By contrast, the comments of the Shulchan Arukh Ha-Rav suggest that in his view, the liquid must be warm enough that it could still be drunk as a warm drink.
Some have suggested hinging this debate on the earlier question of whether the Rama forbade reheating water that had completely cooled as a Torah prohibition, or merely by force of rabbinic enactment. This theory posits that if the prohibition applies on the level of Torah law, then we would accept the stringent view of the Shulchan Arukh Ha-Rav, whereas if this prohibition was enacted by Chazal, we should adopt the more lenient definition, as established by the Chazon Ish. But this is not necessarily true, as this debate concerning the definition of "nitztanen le-gamrei" may involve technical, local issues, and not the broader question as to the origin of this prohibition. One might suggest hinging this debate on the issue we addressed earlier, as to the definition of bishul as it pertains to liquids. If bishul relates to raising the liquid's temperature, then we would likely accept the Chazon Ish's view, whereas if we define bishul even in the context of liquids as preparing food for consumption, the position of the Shulchan Arukh Ha-Rav would appear more compelling.
D. Foods Consisting Only Partially of Liquids
Rabbenu Yerucham, in the passage cited earlier, writes that bishul applies to reheating "any item that contains broth." The Beit Yosef (318), however, cites a slightly different formulation of Rabbenu Yerucham's ruling: "anything that consists mostly of broth." Of course, these divergent texts will yield different rulings in a case of a food that is mostly solid but contains some liquid.
The Peri Megadim (Mishbetzot Zahav, 253:13) explains Rabbenu Yerucham's view in light of the theory advanced by the Taz, pointing to the individual's intent as the critical factor. If the food is mostly liquid, then additional cooking will enhance its taste, and therefore reheating it would constitute bishul. But if the food consists only partially of liquid, and is mainly solid, then additional cooking would be detrimental to the food and is therefore permitted. However, besides the novelty of this reading of Rabbenu Yerucham's comments, which do not suggest such a distinction at all, the assumption itself that additional cooking of all dry food is detrimental, and of all liquids is beneficial is highly questionable.
In any event, the poskim debate this issue concerning foods that are mainly solid but contain a small amount of liquid. Rav Ovadya Yosef rules leniently; we cite here his comments in Yechaveh Da'at (2:45):
It is explained in the Beit Yosef citing Rabbenu Yona and Rabbenu Yerucham that a food is considered "liquid" in this respect only if it consists mainly of broth and soup. But a food consisting of meat or fish with just a small amount of broth or fat is not subject to bishul once it has been cooked, since it is mostly solid. The great Rabbi Avraham Pimantel, in the work Minchat Kohen, agreed to this. And this indeed stands to reason, for there is no meat dish that does not have juice or fat, and it is nevertheless treated as a solid food in this respect. The Peri Megadim wrote this, as well. Therefore, regarding a dish of meat, fish or potatoes and the like, so long as it is mostly solid, one may warm it on Shabbat even in such a manner that it will reach the point of yad soledet bo. But a liquid dish, such as soup, even if contains pieces of meat, may not be warmed on Shabbat since it is mostly clear and liquid, to which bishul applies [even] after it has been cooked.
By contrast, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled stringently even if the food only consists partially of liquid. Rav Feinstein writes in Iggerot Moshe (4:74):
I do not understand the distinction between a majority of liquid and a minority of liquid, given that the minority of liquid will be cooked after it has cooled. He must therefore explain like the implication of the Peri Megadim, that when the majority [is liquid], additional cooking is beneficial, and when the minority [is liquid], additional cooking is detrimental, in which case we should forbid [reheating if it consists only partially of liquid], because many authorities disagree with the Rama, who wrote that bishul applies to a previously cooked item only if additional cooking is beneficial.
Later, he discusses the possibility of permitting reheating foods consisting only partially of liquid, and concludes: "The reason perhaps is that strictly speaking, [the rule of] ein bishul achar bishul applies even to liquid. This law thus remains unclear, and it is proper to act stringently. But under extenuating circumstances perhaps one may be lenient."
Practically speaking, I believe one should act stringently in this regard, because logically, it would appear that even if only a minority of the food is liquid, that small amount of liquid will be cooked, according to the view that bishul applies to previously cooked liquids. And as for Rav Ovadya Yosef's contention that all solid foods contain a small amount of juice, we might respond that liquid that exists independently is subject to bishul in any quantity, while the natural moisture in solid foods is not defined as "liquid" and can therefore be ignored.
E. A Solid That Becomes a Liquid
The Tur writes (318):
It is forbidden to place an inpenada even at a distance [from a fire], because its fat that had congealed will now again dissolve; it thus constitutes nolad [transforming an item into a different entity] and is forbidden. The Sefer Ha-mitzvot permitted this, because one does not do [the act of nolad] with his hands. But my father and master, the Rosh, forbade [doing so].
This discussion originates from the comments of the Sefer Ha-teruma (235), and must be addressed from two different directions:
1) The problem of bishul achar bishul:
The Shulchan Arukh (318:16) sides with the lenient view: "It is permissible to place an inpenada opposite the fire at a place where one's hand would recoil [on contact], even though its fat that had congealed will once again dissolve." Most Acharonim, including the Magen Avraham, Mishna Berura and others, permit this entirely, since the fat is solid at the time it is placed near the fire. Others, however, held that the fat is subject to bishul achar bishul because it will become liquid as a result of its exposure to heat. These authorities therefore allow placing it only at a distance where the fat will not reach the level of yad soledet bo. Accordingly, the Levush contends that the text in the Shulchan Arukh resulted from a misprint, and it should actually read "at a place where one's hand would not recoil." The Taz, by contrast, argued that we need not emend the text, but nevertheless held that one may not place this item at a distance where it could reach the point of yad soledet bo. The Shulchan Arukh, the Taz explains, meant that one may place the inpenada at a place where one's hand would instinctively recoil, but not where the food would reach that level of heat.
This debate perhaps touches upon the fundamental definition of the bishul violation, whether the liability results from the act, or from the result. In this instance, the act occurs with a solid food item, but the result involves a liquid item, and the question thus arises as to which stage determines the food's status. Needless to say, this would require further analysis. In any event, the majority of poskim seem to have accepted the lenient position, that bishul would not apply in such a case because the item begins as a solid food. The Shevitat Ha-Shabbat, however, wrote that one should le-khatechila follow the stringent view; this is also the conclusion of Shemirat Shabbat Ke-hilkhata.
2) The problem of nolad:
The Gemara (Shabbat 51b) establishes that one may not crush snow on Shabbat, and the Rishonim debate the reason underlying this halakha. Some explain that crushing snow resembles melakha in that one "creates" water (Rashi), whereas others claimed that this constitutes nolad (Sefer Ha-teruma). The clear practical difference between these views involves a case of ice that melted on its own: according to Rashi, one has performed no act resembling creation, and the water should therefore be permissible, whereas according to the Sefer Ha-teruma, a new entity has come into existence and is therefore forbidden on the grounds of nolad. The Shulchan Arukh follows the lenient position, while the Rama rules that one should preferably act stringently in this regard, and partake of water from naturally melted ice only in situations of need. According to all opinions, however, if the melted ice is in a cup and the water it produces mixes with the beverage in the cup, one may drink the beverage with the melted ice, because the nolad prohibition applies only when the produced item is separate and discernible.
In light of this discussion, the Sefer Ha-teruma forbade warming the inpenada as described above because the dissolution of the congealed fat constitutes nolad. Here, too, the Shulchan Arukh follows the lenient position, whereas the Rama rules stringently:
"It is permissible to place an inpenada opposite the fire at a place where one's hand would recoil [on contact], even though its fat that had congealed will once again dissolve."
"Not to mention that a pot with congealed broth, such that when the fat dissolves it is no longer discernible, it is permissible [to place it near a fire], but some rule stringently. The practice is to be stringent, but in situations of need one may rely on the first position."
The Shulchan Arukh maintains that one may place the pie opposite the fire. This does not violate nolad because it dissolves independently, in accordance with Rashi's view, and it does not constitute bishul because the fat is still solid when it is placed near the fire. (Recall from our earlier discussion that some authorities do apply bishul in this case, and therefore allow placing the pie near the fire only if it will not reach the point of yad soledet bo; as we saw, most poskim rule leniently in this regard.)
The Rama, however, maintains that le-khatechila one should follow the stringent position of the Sefer Ha-teruma regarding nolad. If there is liquid around the pie such that any dissolved fat would mix with that liquid and be indiscernible, then one may place the pie near the fire even according to the Rama's position. In such a case, however, the problem of bishul resurfaces, given that one places liquid near the fire. Accordingly, the Mishna Berura (318:104) restricts this halakha to situations where the liquid will not reach the point of yad soledet bo.
The Peri Megadim (Eishel Avraham, 318:41) raises the question based on two possible readings of the Magen Avraham as to whether a congealed substance that is usually in liquid form has the status of a solid or liquid with respect to bishul. From the discussion of the Beit Yosef on this topic, though, it seems perfectly clear that bishul achar bishul applies only to actual liquid, and not to congealed liquid, and thus the Peri Megadim's question seems difficult to understand.
In light of what we have seen until this point, we would, seemingly, permit adding sugar or salt to food even in a keli rishon, since it has already been cooked and is a solid food item, and it is therefore not subject to bishul. The Mishna Berura (318:71), however, cites a number of poskim who rule stringently on this issue, presumably because the salt and sugar transform into a liquid, despite the fact that, as mentioned earlier, most poskim rule leniently regarding such a case. We might perhaps distinguish between dissolved fat and substances such as salt and sugar, which dissolve immediately upon entering the utensil and might therefore warrant greater stringency. The Mishna Berura concludes that one should optimally add sugar and salt only in a keli sheni, and not in a keli rishon.
- The Rashba writes this in his chiddushim to Shabbat 40b.
- Towards the end of the shiur, when we present the halakhic conclusions from our discussion, we will address the other points that emerge from Rabbenu Yona's comments.
- See end of shiur #4, in the section entitled, "Foods that Do Not Require Cooking at All."
- Nevertheless, the Iglei Tal concludes his discussion by saying that one who acts stringently with regard to water "is deserving of blessing." In my humble opinion, his analysis is not very compelling; it seems more likely that according to the Rambam, heating water resembles heating metal, in that once it cools it returns to its initial condition, such that reheating would constitute bishul.
- A type of pie, with dough at either end, and pieces of fat in between.