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I have heard that Rav Nachum Rabinovitch, shlit"a, (who, IMSMC, is strict regarding using tea bags/cold essence to make tea on Shabbos, even in a kli sheni [lit: second utensil]) is lenient with regard to Israel's Wissotsky teas because the tea leaves have purportedly already undergone a process of bisul (cooking) and ein bishul achar bishul (There is no halachic problem of cooking pre-cooked items on Shabbos. Lit: There is no cooking after cooking.) I was curious to confirm if this is indeed the case that Wissotsky has a unique processing technique distinguishing it halachically from other brands of tea. How and why do they process their teas differently?

From their website, I see no indication or mention of any bishul process distinct from other tea-makers. Does Rav Rabinovitch perhaps side with the Ra’avya (ch. 197, p. 256) against the Yere'im (ch. 274, 134b; see Shulchan Arukh 318:5) and rules that ein bishul achar afiyah (There is no cooking after baking)? The sense from their site is that no significant heat is employed to justify such an interpretation either, even assuming that leniency. Do they indeed employ a greater level of heat than other tea manufacturers? Can anyone confirm/deny this ruling and reasoning of Rav Rabinovitch?

(Related: Source for heter for making tea on Shabbos)

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    ravtzair.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post_5248.html?m=1 says that Sefardim hold אין בישול אחר אפיה and wissotzky tea is dried in heat – Yoni Jan 25 '16 at 3:10
  • @Yoni Thanks. That mostly answered my question. – Loewian Jan 26 '16 at 2:47
  • I don't think Ein Bishul Achar Bishul applies to things that you're cooking to extract flavors/dyes, like the Samamanim in the Miskhan. So long as more stuff is coming out it's still cooking. – Double AA Jun 21 '17 at 16:50
  • @DoubleAA Do you have any sources for that? – Loewian Jun 21 '17 at 19:24
  • Isn't it obvious? If the point of the bishul is to extract stuff, then if stuff is still coming out it's not mevushal kol tzorkah. How else do you measure mevushal kol tzorkah here? In order for ein bishul achar bishul to apply we need it to be 100% fully cooked. – Double AA Jun 21 '17 at 21:22
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It does not seem to be the case that Wissotsky tea undergoes/underwent any sort of Bishul (cooking).

As noted in the comments by Yoni, here is a post at Rav Tzair from Rav Shmuel David, who notes that they undergo (or underwent, at least at that time) a process that could be classified as Afiyah (baking). A similar claim is made by Rav Akiva Kahana here, and both of these posts claim that they themselves asked the Wissotsky company.

This would trigger a Machlokes Rema/Mechaber as to whether Irui Kli Rishon would be allowed, see the second link for more details.


It is worthwhile to read the answer to this similar question here at Kosharot:

שמעתי שהרב משה כץ אמר על שקיות התה של ויסוצקי שהם עברו תהליך כעין בישול ולכן אפשר לשים אותם בכלי שני לכו"ע.רציתי לדעת האם מידע זה נכון.תודה

לא יתכן שהוא יגיד כדבר הזה כי תהליך יצור יכול להשתנות מפעם לפעם ויכול לצאת מכך תקלה חמורה מבחינת הלכות שבת. ונוסף על כך, אם משהוא יגיד דבר כזה על תה מסוג מסוים של חברה מסוימת, כולנו יודעים שמהר מאד יגידו שכך הדין ב"תה" באופן כללי גם מזה יכול לצאת תקלה (כי לכל חברה יש את תהליך ליצור שלה). וגם ברור שאחרי זמן קצר לא יגידו שכך המציאות רק בתה פשוט אלא בכל סוגי התב וגם התה עם תמציות טעם שלא נתבשלו * ולכן "חכם עניו בראשו" והוא צריך "לראות את הנולד" - ולכן אפילו אם זה נכון, אנו לא מפרסמים דברים כאלו לציבור הרחב. אפשר לשאול בהכשר של הרב רובין והם יכולים לומר מה המציאות כרגע.

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