There appear to be a few issues with brewing tea on Shabbos, some of which have already been discussed here:

  1. Kli Sheini and Kli Shlishi (see here and here)
  2. Kalei Bishul
  3. A heter from Rav Moshe

I'm not sure how all those come together to form the opinion (for which I do not know the source) that brewing tea on Shabbos is allowed. Could someone explain to me where the heter comes from?

  • You want the source, or the logic (or both)?
    – Seth J
    Oct 12, 2012 at 14:55
  • @SethJ - Preferably both, but I can read through a source if necessary.
    – eykanal
    Oct 12, 2012 at 14:58
  • You can find it in Shmiras Shabbos Kehichoso vol 1. Please see the references I quoted in my comments on judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9723/… Oct 12, 2012 at 15:09
  • eykanal, is your question really "Can someone explain the different opinions as to why making tea is allowed on Shabbat? Here is some relevant background/parallel info http::/...." or are you looking for something specific with your links?
    – Double AA
    Oct 12, 2012 at 18:01
  • @DoubleAA - More the former, I just included the latter so others who see the question know of the other discussion that's already taken place.
    – eykanal
    Oct 12, 2012 at 21:02

4 Answers 4


Rabbi Soloveichik -- tea is like the spices discussed in the Mishna in Shabbos, a kli sheni doesn't cook them. Therefore, pour the hot water into your cup, then insert tea bag. Kli sheni, you're fine.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein -- the Mishnah only discusses kli sheni; kli shlishi doesn't cook. So pour water from pot into cup 1, then cup 2, then insert tea bag.

Is that what you were looking for?

  • Yes, thanks. I assume this is based discussions from the שו"ת of each Rav you mentioned?
    – eykanal
    Oct 12, 2012 at 21:06
  • 1
    @eykanal, Rav Moshe's position is in Igrot Moshe cited in other answers. Rav Soloveitchik doesn't have a sheila & teshuva sefer I am aware of. YU lore is that he said this and when criticized that the Mishna Berura forbids it, he said "I have a tradition from my grandfather permitting it, and my grandfather also knew how to learn". I assumed (erroneously) that he meant Rav Chaim Brisker. He meant Rav Eliyahu Feinstein, his common grandfather with Rav Moshe Feinstein. Jan 31, 2020 at 18:39
  • 1
    @Ze'evwantsSEtodoteshuva - there should be an award for answering ridiculously old comments. Thank you very much.
    – eykanal
    Jan 31, 2020 at 20:27
  • I do well at the badges for old stuff, like revival. I think it has to do with not being here all the time. Those here a lot see all questions of interest as they appear and say what they have to say on the topic. I come by years later looking at one interesting thing and another and find myself replying to 5 year old comments Jan 31, 2020 at 21:12

The main source is Igros Moshe OC 4:74 Bishul 15 For more details, see http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/making-tea-on-shabbos.html

Tosafos (Shabbos 40b) writes that once water has been poured from the kettle (kli rishon) into a kli sheni, the water begins to slowly cool down and so cannot be considered bishul. There are some foods, however, that are cooked so easily (kalei habishul), that one must not add water to them even in a kli sheni.

The Mishna (Shabbos 3:5) writes that one may place spices into water in a kli sheni, as they won’t get properly cooked. The Mishna Berura (318:39), however, writes that tea is not included and must not be made in a kli sheni. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 1:n152) explains that the spices and tea nowadays are finely ground and cook far more easily than the coarse spices typical of the Mishnaic era.

The Mishna Berura and Aruch Hashulchan (OC 318:28) don’t allow one to make tea in a kli shlishi (i.e. pouring the water into a kli sheni and then into another cup) though R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:74 Bishul 15) allows it as he holds that a kli shlishi cannot cook kalei habishul.

The Mishna Berura writes that it is ideal to prepare tea essence before Shabbos while others use instant tea. One preparing such tea should still use a kli sheni to pour into a kli shlishi (See Igros Moshe OC 4:74 Bishul 16).

Although tzoveya, dyeing, does not apply to food, it is best to place the tea in the cup before the water so as not to colour the water in the cup (Sha’ar Hatziyon 318:65).

Those relying on R’ Moshe must leave the teabag in their cup or remove it with a spoon as straining the teabag would be borer (Minchas Yitzchak 4:99:20).


See Yalkut Yosef 318:40-44. where Hacham Yishak discusses this.

  • 1
    A summary would be much more helpful than just a link.
    – Seth J
    May 14, 2014 at 16:27

Similar to my answer on the question of coffee here:

Shemirath Shabbath, by R' YY Neuwirth (3:58), states very clearly that pouring water over tea leaves resting in a filter that is suspended over a cup, so that water passes through the filter into the cup, is not a problem of Borer. Using water cooled by transferring it to a third vessel (Keli Shelishi) is given there as an acceptable method for brewing fresh tea on Shabbath.

"Tea bags may be used to make tea on Shabbath, but only by putting them into water ... which is already in a keli shelishi..."

"...Boiling water may be poured into a strainer containing tea leaves, upon condition that the tea leaves were boiled up before Shabbath. This does not involve the prohibition against selection, since a) the strainer separates the water from the tea leaves immediately upon its being poured in and b) the water which comes out is the same water which has just been poured in, and it was separate and drinkable even before the whole process took place."

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