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Using a Kli Sheini

Why and when is it necessary to use a kli sheini:

One of the thirty-nine malachos of Shabbos is, bishul - cooking. The most obvious example of bishul is cooking in a pot placed on top of a fire. However, that is not the only form of bishul that is prohibited on Shabbos. For example, a pot in which soup has been cooked over a fire, termed a kli rishon, "first vessel", retains its ability to cook even after being removed from the fire. Placing any uncooked food in a kli rishon, off the fire, is just as much a violation of Shabbos as cooking raw food on a fire and is forbidden in all cases. 

If liquid is poured from a kli rishon into another pot or bowl, that second vessel is termed a kli sheini. While a kli sheini does not have the same intense heat as a kli rishon, the accepted halacha is to refrain from placing raw foods or liquids into a kli sheini in almost all cases. However, if liquid from a kli sheini is poured into a third vessel - a kli shlishi - then according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, it no longer has any ability to cook and any raw foods may be placed directly into the kli shlishi.

One practical application of these halachos is the process for making tea on Shabbos. When hot water is poured directly from a kettle or urn, ( i.e. a kli rishon ) into a cup ( i.e. kli sheini) it is forbidden to add tea or any other uncooked substances. Rather, the water should be poured into a third vessel, (kli shlishi) after which the tea can be added to that kli.

For further clarification please check with your local Rabbi.

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