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Is one allowed on Shabbos to dry the inside of a wet cup with a paper napkin, or would this be prohibited because of sechitah?

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    Presumably you're mopping up all the water, so I don't see where S'chita comes into it.
    – user15253
    May 14, 2018 at 11:35
  • Why would you want to dry a kiddush cup on Shabbos, considering, according to views in the Talmud, you can only make kiddush anyway on diluted wine?;)
    – Loewian
    May 14, 2018 at 14:07
  • @Loewian that was only said in regard to the wine during the talmudic era, which was stronger than our wine.
    – user17456
    May 14, 2018 at 18:25
  • @Orangesandlemons sechitah comes into it because water will necessarily be squeezed out of the paper napkin that is being used to dry the wet cup.
    – user17456
    May 14, 2018 at 18:26
  • @candyman how could wine have been stronger than our wine? Yeast die at ~14% alcohol
    – Double AA
    May 15, 2018 at 2:40

1 Answer 1

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There are two melachoth that could be violated during an act of squeezing - dosh/mefarek (extracting) or melabein (cleaning). With regard to the former, your point is to absorb the moisture into the napkin, not to release it. If some was unintentionally extracted as well, that would be considered a davar she'eino mithkavein (unintentional) and therefore also permitted (even according to those who hold one would violate dosh/mefarek for desirable re-extraction of an artificially absorbed substance). With regard to melabein, the napkin typically is not desirably cleaner as a result of the drying of the cup. See, e.g., Shulchan Arukh OC 302:12, Mishna Berura 302:59, and Shemirath Shabbath Kehilchatha 12:19,21, all cited here.

If one did indeed intend/desire to clean a dirty cloth in the process, that would be forbidden. Similarly, if there is a likelihood that one would subsequently wring out and clean the drying cloth, there may be a rabbinic prohibition on using it. See e.g. Shulchan Arukh OC 302:11; Mishna Berura 302:46 and 302:57; and Shemirath Shabbath Kehilchatha 14:29, all cited here.

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  • Sources for this would help a lot. Re - "With regard to libun, the napkin typically is not desirably cleaner as a result of the drying of the cup" I think you meant that the cup should not be cleaner, not the napkin. Even with that, most cups have a bit of wine in it. The napkin gets the wine stain but the cup is almost definitely cleaner. So, based on that, how can one clean the cup with a napkin, unless you rinse the cup in water first?
    – DanF
    May 14, 2018 at 14:48
  • @danf libun is an issue when cleaning cloth; one is allowed to clean metal, ceramic, glass etc. (for shabbos purposes).
    – Loewian
    May 15, 2018 at 3:50
  • good answer, may be worth pointing out that it is not a psik reisha vis-a-vis the napkin.
    – user15253
    May 15, 2018 at 12:06
  • I didn't know that. You may want to mention in your answer (assuming my correct understanding) that you can use a paper napkin but not a cloth one.
    – DanF
    May 15, 2018 at 14:31
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    @DanF You can use a cloth one as well. The napkin does not typically get any cleaner. But I mention that if that was a desire as well, it would be forbidden.
    – Loewian
    May 15, 2018 at 14:47

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