Shailah of the Week

SOUP WEEK: Shailahs on Soup

OU Kosher October 31, 2022

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By: Halacha Yomis Team of OU KOSHER


On Shabbat, may I prepare a cup of noodles from an instant soup by pouring hot water from an urn onto them?


Unlike regular pasta which is still raw, Instant soup noodles are fully cooked. The reason they are hard and brittle is because they are dehydrated, and they can be rehydrated simply by soaking them in warm water. Therefore, it would seem logical to assume that the rule of “ain bishul achar bishul” (it is permitted to cook something that has already been cooked) should apply and it should be permissible to pour hot water onto soup noodles. However, it is important to note that some instant noodles are cooked at the factory with steam, not water. Live steam is sprayed at the noodles as they pass through a tunnel. Cooking with a steam is a different process than cooking with water and yields a different taste. Just as rewarming baked items in hot water is not permissible for Ashkenazim because “yeish bishul achar afiya” (a baked item may not be boiled), so too, one may not pour hot water from the urn onto the noodles. However, Mishnah Berurah (318:47) writes that it is permissible to place bread into a kli shlishi (third vessel). The same would apply here as well.

(It should be noted that the flavor packets that come with the instant soups may contain uncooked spices and the dehydrated vegetables that are not fully cooked.)


At the end of the Friday night seuda, I often have leftover soup. I would like to store the leftovers in the freezer so it will stay fresh. Is this permitted?

The Minchas Yitzchak (8:24) discusses this question. He writes that if there is a shortage of room in the refrigerator and if one does not put it in the freezer the food will spoil or will not be as fresh, then one may put the soup in the freezer even though it will turn into a block of ice. Although many poskim write that it is not proper to make ice on Shabbat, however when there is a pressing need they are lenient. Protecting the soup that it does not spoil and become wasted, qualifies as a valid need. This is also not a concern of hachanah (preparing on Shabbat for after Shabbat). Putting soup in the freezer does not prepare it for use during the week, but rather it protects it from becoming spoiled. This is permitted to be done on Shabbat.


May one add an ice cube to hot soup to cool it down for a child?


In a previous halacha it was noted that one may add cold water to a hot bowl of soup. However, regarding an ice cube there is an additional issue. By placing the ice cube into the hot soup, one is melting the ice and changing it into water. Is one permitted to do this on Shabbat? Shulchan Aruch (OC 320:9) writes that one may not crush ice on Shabbat to create water. However, one may add ice to a cup of wine or water, and let it melt on its own. Similarly, adding ice to a hot beverage is not considered to be actively melting the ice. Furthermore, since the melting ice is not visible, it mixes with the soup, it is not viewed as though a new entity was created. The Mishnah Berurah (320:34) writes that there is even a basis to allow crushing or stirring the ice inside the soup to make it melt faster. However, elsewhere the Mishnah Berurah (Shaar Hatziyun 318:146) cautions against doing this. One may add ice to soup, but it would be best not to stir it around so as not to make it melt faster.


May I Put Challah Into A Bowl Of Hot Soup On Shabbat?


Challah is a baked dry food, and the principle of “ain bishul achar bishul” (there is no cooking after cooking) should apply. Nonetheless, Shulchan Aruch (OC 318:5) cites the opinion of Rebbi Eliezer Mi’Metz that it is forbidden to put challah into a bowl of hot soup (or by the same token to reheat a baked or roasted item by placing it in hot water on Shabbat). Since baking is a different form of food preparation than cooking in water, when challah is placed in soup it is cooked for the first time, and we say “yesh bishul achar afiya” (cooking occurs after baking) and this is prohibited.


The Shulchan Aruch notes that other poskim do not agree with Rebbi Eliezer Mi’Metz and they allow putting challah in soup. The Rema (ibid) also cites both positions. In the opinion of Rav Ovadya Yosef zt”l (Yebia Omer OC 8:35), the conclusion of Shulchan Aruch is to be lenient (though it is praiseworthy to be stringent), and that is the position followed by Sephardim. In contrast, the conclusion of the Rema is to follow the stringent opinion of Rebbi Eliezer Mi’Metz, and this is the position followed by Ashkenazim. Accordingly, one may not place bread into soup, even if the soup is in a kli sheini (secondary vessel, such as a bowl that was filled from a heated pot). If the bread was already put in the kli sheini, Mishnah Berurah (318:46) writes that we may rely on the lenient opinion and eat the food. Furthermore, Mishnah Berurah (318:47) writes that it is permissible to place bread into a kli shlishi, and for these purposes a bowl of soup can be viewed as a kli shlishi, provided that a ladle was used to serve the soup.