558. Washing Dishes

In an introductory note to this chapter, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that most Jews are already familiar with the prohibited labors of Shabbos and that he is only addressing common situations with which people may not be familiar. Clearly, the laws of Shabbos constitute an area requiring much greater study than this email alone will allow.

80:25 The prohibition against building also applies to food, such as cheesemaking or connecting fruit and smoothing them for decorative purposes. Therefore, when cutting onions to serve with eggs or creamed herring, one should be careful not to arrange them in an decorative pattern. Rather, one should merely put them out “as is.” 
80:26 When washing dishes in hot water, one may not pour the water onto the dishes. Rather, one should pour the water into a separate vessel and then put the dishes into that. One should not dry the dishes with a towel because one may come to wring it out. One should have a dishcloth designated for this purpose, which one doesn’t bother wringing out even during the week. When washing glass, one shouldn’t use something like oats as a detergent. (Mishnah Brurah 323:38 speculates that the reason for this might be because it doesn’t just clean the glass, it makes it shine. He is not completely satisfied with this explanation.) One may only wash on Shabbos those dishes that he needs for Shabbos. (If a person needs one of a particular utensil, he may wash even 10 of that type since he may use any of them – MB 323:26.) [Editor's note: this halacha refers to water heated before Shabbos, as running water and water heaters were not found in people's homes in the time of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. It is not meant to suggest that one may use the hot water in our sinks on Shabbos, as such is generally not the case.]