Halacha for Tuesday 28 Tevet 5781 January 12 2021

Washing Dishes On Shabbat When Other Dishes Are Available

Question: May one wash dishes which are necessary for use on Shabbat even if one has other dishes to be used for the remaining Shabbat meals?

Answer: Nowadays, most people own enough dishes to use for at least two meals, if not more. Based on this the above question arises: Will it be permissible to wash the dishes that were used during the Shabbat night meal for use during the Shabbat day meal in this scenario as well or should one not act leniently since one can take out other clean dishes form the china closet?

This is indeed subject to a disagreement among the Poskim. The Sefer Ohel Mo’ed (page 35a) seems to rule that if one has other dishes, one may not wash the soiled ones, for this no longer constitutes a necessity for Shabbat. On the other hand, it is written in the Sefer Minhagei Ha’Maharash (end of Chapter 394) that one may wash even twenty bowls on Shabbat even if one only needs one of them.

Halachically speaking, those who act leniently in this regard have on whom to rely. Indeed, the prevalent custom seems to be to wash the dirty dishes even if one owns other dishes since one’s intention is to use the dishes currently being washed and not to use the other dishes in the china closet at the moment. Hagaon Harav Shmuel Ha’Levi Wosner zt”l (in his Responsa Shevet Ha’Levi, Volume 5, Chapter 39) and Hagaon Harav Menashe Klein zt”l (in his Responsa Mishneh Halachot, Volume 3, Chapter 41) attest to the validity of this custom.

Indeed, when one has an actual necessity for one of the dishes and together with it, one washes the other dishes, there is certainly even greater room for leniency, for some say that even according to the opinion of the Ohel Mo’ed, as long as one is permitted to wash some of the dishes, one will likewise be permitted to wash the remaining dishes for Shabbat use.

Summary: Those who act leniently and wash soiled dishes for use during another Shabbat meal although they own other clean dishes have on whom to rely. This is indeed the prevalent custom.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Sucking On a Fruit

Question: If one sucks on an orange or a grapefruit but does not chew it with one’s teeth, must one recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” like on other fruits or should one recite the “Shehakol” blessing like one would when drinking other fruit juices? Answer: Indeed,......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings (Continued)

In the previous Halacha we have explained that there are instances that priority is given to recite a blessing upon a certain food over another because of the innate significance of the given food, for instance, because it is a fruit that belongs to the Seven Species of fruits that the Land of Israe......

Read Halacha

Making Toast on a Hotplate on Shabbat

Question: May one place a pita or a slice of bread on a hotplate on Shabbat in order to turn it into hard and crunchy toast? Answer: There are two prohibitions we must discuss with regards to our question of making toast on Shabbat out of bread that was already baked before Shabbat. The first ......

Read Halacha

Precedence Regarding the Order of Blessings (Continued)

Summary of the Laws Explained Thus Far In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings, sometimes because of the innate importance of the food and sometimes due to the importance of the blessing. Priority of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz”......

Read Halacha


The Laws of the Blessing on Fruits

In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings. Thus, if one wishes to partake of apples and dates, one must recite the blessing on the dates, for they are one of the Seven Species. Precedence Regarding Blessing-Only Preferable Maran Ha’Be......

Read Halacha

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on t......

Read Halacha

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat? Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings

On the night of Tu Bishvat, which will fall out this coming Wednesday night, it is customary to eat a variety of fruits. We shall therefore learn the proper order of the Blessings of Enjoyment during the coming days. We should point out that these laws are fairly simple but we will need to discus......

Read Halacha