Do your mornings look something like this? You wake up startled by your alarm clock and practically crawl to your kitchen, desperately searching for your favorite mug and your go-to coffee. If so, then this Treat is for you.

Whether a Keurig, Nespresso, Ninja or other exotic coffee maker fit for a barista, no doubt, your cup of coffee will be the way you like it. Yet remarkably, notwithstanding our reliance on fancy machinery to craft the perfect cup of coffee, even the best of coffee aficionados who are Sabbath observant have found a way each Saturday to enjoy a great cup of coffee on Shabbat morning without having to rely on a high-tech brewing system.

In order to enjoy Shabbat fully and maintain the proper sanctity of the day, the Mishna in seventh chapter of Tractate Shabbat enumerates the 39 creative actions known as the 39 M’lachot. These 39 creative physical acts were utilized to build the Mishkan, the Tabernacle that accompanied the Jewish nation in the wilderness after leaving Egypt, that we must avoid on Shabbat. One of these creative labors is cooking.

While using a favorite coffee maker is not permitted on Shabbat, as we avoid turning on electrical appliances, it is still possible to prepare a delicious cup of instant coffee without the “grind” of a fancy machine and avoid transgressing the prohibition of cooking on Shabbat.

Simply boil water in an electric urn before Shabbat that will remain plugged in and on for all Shabbat, so the water will be hot when you are ready for your coffee on Shabbat. In Halachic terminology, the urn plugged into an outlet is equivalent to a kli rishon, a first vessel, suggesting that it is as if the water in the urn is boiling on a fire. Now pour hot water from the urn into a second cup (kli sheini-the second vessel) and add powdered instant coffee. There are those who follow a more stringent view and pour the water from the second cup into a third cup (kli shlishi) and then add the powdered instant coffee.

As with all matters of Jewish Law, please consider discussing this matter with a rabbi. For a more detailed description of the Halachic considerations when preparing coffee on Shabbat, click here.

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