shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Beha'aloscha

A gentile took a peek at the cholent and gave it a good stir to improve its cooking. May it be eaten? What if a Jew did that?

We must first understand whether there is an issur involved with stirring a cholent and the answer is divided into two parts. The first part deals with a case where the cholent was not fully cooked and the second is a case when it was already fully cooked.

The problem is called 'magis' or stirring. The gemora Beitza 34a [1] tells us that stirring food on the fire is equivalent to cooking and is an issur d’oraisso. The common explanation is because stirring causes certain ingredients to cook which otherwise would not have cooked properly - had the food not been stirred.

Accordingly therefore, one may not stir food that is on the stove and is not fully cooked because it involves the issur of Bishul. (R’ Akiva Eiger [2] cites a Ritva who says that if food in a pot would have cooked in an hour or two and through stirring the coals one hastens the cooking, it is possible that one has violated an issur d’oraisso of cooking. The same would apply to stirring the food. [3])

What if the food is fully cooked? May one stir it when it is on the stove (or blech or hotplate)?

When the Mechaber [4] refers to stirring food in a pot he does not say that one is permitted to stir the food when it is on the fire. Indeed the Mishna Berura [5] explains that one may not stir food on the fire. We now know that one must not stir food on a heat source and there is room to be stringent and prohibit stirring even when it is fully cooked and off the fire, as stated in the M”B. [6]

What if it was stirred, may the food be eaten?

The food may be eaten if by mistake it was stirred even while on the fire. The truth is that the food may be eaten even when it was stirred before being fully cooked. The reason for this leniency is because many Rishonim hold that there is no prohibition to cook something that is already cooked to the degree of ma’achal ben Derosai, which, according to the stringent opinion is half cooked. This does not mean that one may stir the food because according to the Rambam and others, one who does so has violated an issur d’oraisso and is liable to bring a korban.

Why then may the food be eaten?

It may be eaten because when something was done unintentionally against the halacha, as in this case, when there is an opinion who permits it, one may eat or benefit from the action.

Accordingly, one may not stir food on the stove even when fully cooked, and as stated there is room for stringency even when not on the stove, but if b’diavad it was stirred it may be eaten.

One must not take this leniency lightly as according to other poskim (and the halacha) it is an issur d’oraisso to cook food that is not fully cooked.

I once saw a gentile, in a certain hotel, take boiling water that was in a pot on the gas and pour it into a hot water urn. Is this permitted l’chatchila, and if not, may the water be used?

I do not think that it should be permitted because the gentile is in fact “returning” food or liquid to an uncovered fire and is prohibited because it looks like cooking, as the hot water urn is not called garuf v’katum, and anything a Jew may not do, a gentile is also prohibited from doing.

I think though that the water may be consumed because the water was fully cooked, and when a gentile does chazora (returning food or liquid to the fire) against the halacha, if it was fully cooked the Jew may benefit from it. [7] Many hotels with mehadrin supervisions have the urns padlocked in order to avoid this scenario.

[1] 13 lines from the top.

[2] At the very beginning of simon 318.

[3] There is yet another explanation. Stirring is an essential part of the cooking process, and that alone is reason to say that one is chayav. This obviously requires explaining, but this is not the place.

[4] Simon 318:18 and 321:19.

[5] M”B simon 321:79.

[6] M”B simon 318:117.

[7] Rama in simon 253:1 and the Bi’ur Halacha ã"ä "åàí äçæéøä" å-"ãéðå ëùëç".

Food For Thought

Is there a limit as to what one may speak about on shabbos?

Am I permitted to walk through my vegetable patch on shabbos?

What about window shopping, anything wrong with that?

May I sit at a bus stop before shabbos is out in order to catch the first bus?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Moshe Rabeinu was instructed to fashion two trumpets which were to be used on various occasions.

When the B’nei Yisroel were about to wage war against their enemies, they were to blast a T’ruah with the trumpets, which is a sign of wailing. At the time of the festivals they were not to blow a T’ruah only a T’kiah. On Rosh Hashana both the T’kiah and the T’ruah were sounded. What is the meaning behind this?

Rav Sternbuch Shlita explains that when the B’nei Yisroel were about to go into battle it was of crucial importance that they repent from their sins for many reasons. The T’ruah is a crying sound which is capable of opening one’s heart reminding one to repent and get closer to Hashem.

The festivals are a time of rejoicing and the T’ruah is out of place. The T’kiah, which resembles jubilation, gives the correct tone.

Rosh Hashana is a time of repentance and rehabilitation. It is on Rosh Hashana that one must regret one’s past, hence the T’ruah, and reaffirm one’s belief in the King Hashem and resolve never to sway from the straight path – which is depicted by the T’ruah – a straight firm blast.

For a printed version, click here.


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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.