[Avodah] May one add sugar to hot tea on Shabbos?

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Fri Oct 23 09:14:55 PDT 2020

>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. May one add sugar to hot tea on Shabbos?

A. If food was fully cooked before Shabbos and then cooled down, may it be recooked again on Shabbos? In the language of the Talmud, do we say, Yesh bishul achar bishul (there is cooking after cooking), or Ain bishul achar bishul (there is no cooking after cooking). The Shulchan Aruch makes a distinction between recooking a dry food and a liquid. If a dry item was fully cooked, there is no prohibition to recook it again on Shabbos, but it is prohibited to recook a liquid that cooled down. This does not mean that one may place a dry cooked food on the fire. Though there is no Biblical prohibition of bishul when reheating a dry food, there are nonetheless Rabbinic injunctions which apply, either because one might adjust the flame or because it has the appearance of cooking. However, one is permitted to place a dry fully cooked food into a boiling pot of water that has been removed from the fire. Once the pot is off the stove, there is no concern that one might adjust the flame, and since there is no fire, it does not appear as though raw food is being cooked.

Granulated sugar is extracted via a cooking process. Since sugar is a dry food, one would assume that it should be permitted to add sugar to a pot of boiling water that is off the fire. However, the Mishnah Berurah (318:71) cites the Sharei Teshuva that since sugar dissolves when placed in hot water, lichatchila we view sugar as a liquid. As such, sugar should not be added to a kli rishon (a pot that was on the fire), nor may one pour hot water onto sugar. Instead, one should first pour the hot water into a cup and then it is permissible to add the sugar.

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