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Tea Bags

Q. Can I prepare tea with a tea bag on Shabbos?

A. There is quite a discussion in the Poskim as to if and how tea can be prepared on Shabbos. Some hold that tea bags cannot be used at all, and the only way to have tea on Shabbos is to use instant tea or to pour tea essence into a cup of hot water. Others - including Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, zt"l - hold that one may also use a tea bag in a kli shlishi (literally "third vessel") which means that the hot water must be taken from the kettle (the first vessel), put into a cup or other container (the second vessel), and then poured into another cup (the third vessel), after which the tea bag may be placed into the hot water. [Although, as noted, the cRc position is to follow the lenient (second) approach, for several reasons we encourage cRc-certified caterers to use instant tea on Shabbos.]