shabbos candles

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 Semicha Program

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


Questions for the Week of Parshas Mikeitzsubscribe

If the flames or electricity has gone out from under my pots, may I take the pots to a neighbor’s blech or hot plate?

Yes you may. Since you never took your mind off heating the food, it is as if you are standing all the time holding the pots in your hand with the intention of returning them to the fire.

If the cholent is burning, what may be done to save it?

Option #1. Move the cholent away from the heat source, or place a metal plate below the pot. [1]

Option #2. According to the Sephardim: there is a machlokes amongst the poskim as to whether one may pour boiling water from the urn into another pot [2] that is on the fire. According to the Ashkenazim:  it is mutar to pour hot water from an urn on a blech, or from an electric urn, directly into the cholent pot. HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Ztz”l [3] holds that it is also mutar to pour from the urn into a cup and from the cup into the cholent pot. Whatever happens, the cholent must be on a blech or hot plate in order for one to add the hot water to it.

If the fire extinguished under the blech, may I ask a non-Jew to relight the fire?

Dealing with issues addressing non-Jews is always a tricky one, since many are under the pretence that everything is mutar.  One may not ask a non-Jew to relight the fire because lighting a fire is an issur d’oraissa (a Torah prohibition) and the halacha is that one is forbidden to ask a non-Jew to do an issur d’oraissa even for the sake of a mitzvah, unless in dire circumstances, where a Rav should be asked. If a non-Jew relit the fire on his accord and the food was still warm, it may be eaten. [4]

Food was cooked for an ill person, is it mutar for someone healthy to eat the leftovers?

Food may be cooked on Shabbos, when necessary, for a choleh sheyesh bo sakanah – an ill person in life danger – but other people who are not in that category (even other sick people but are not life threatened) may not partake of that food. The reason is that Chazal were afraid that others would take advantage of the fact that food is being cooked and add food to the pot. [5]

May one eat that food after Shabbos?

Yes, and one need not wait the usual bichdai sheya’asu – the time it takes to cook the food [6]– because the food was cooked in accordance with the halacha. [7]  

If a non-Jew cooked the food, does the rule of bishul akum [8] apply?  

The ill person may definitely eat it on Shabbos. As for eating the food after Shabbos (the sick and the healthy), we find opposing opinions in the Mishna Berura, [9] and a shaila (a question posed to a Rabbinical authority) must be asked.  

A Vort for Chanukah

  It appears that the famous miracle of the candles burning for eight days was totally superfluous. The eight day delay for new oil was due to the fact the existing oil in the Temple was impure, and eight days were required to bring new, pure oil. However, the commentators point out that the halacha is that it is permitted to use impure oil when the general public is also impure, so why did they only light with the pure oil (which the finding of was in itself a miracle) and not utilize the impure oil?  

HaRav Sternbuch answers that when laying a foundation for yiddishkeit, the best has to be used without any compromises. One cannot erect a tall building on weak foundations; no shortcuts can be taken there.

Therefore the Hasmoneans knew that in order to eradicate the impressions left by the Jewish-Greeks, they had to instill in themselves and the nation that for Hashem – only the best is good enough.

Food For Thought

Is it mutar to put a chalah, wrapped in foil, into the oven before Shabbos (and the oven is either on or off)?

What is the halacha regarding switching on an electric Shabbos urn close to Shabbos?

If boiling water was poured onto a tea bag, may one drink the tea?

How does one prepare tea essence before Shabbos?  

Answers coming next week.

Iggeres HaGra

Do not lust after imaginary honor, for it is worthless,and time is a traitor: it is like scales, which lift the light and lower the weighty. The world is like one who drinks salty water: he thinks it quenches his thirst, but it only makes him thirstier. No one leaves the world with even half his cravings fulfilled (Koheles Rabbah 1). "What profit does one have from all his toils under the sun" (Koheles 1:3)? Remember our predecessors, all of whose love, desire and joy have ceased to exist (see Koheles 9:6), but who are being judged severely for them.

[1] Simon 253:3

[2] Ohr L’tsion B, 17-8. Yechave Da’at 4-22

[3] Sh’miras Shabbos Kehilchasa 1- footnote 44

[4] Simon 253:5 in the Rama

[5] Simon 318:2

[6] Will be explained another time

[7] M”B simon 318:14

[8] Chazzal (our sages) prohibited eating food cooked by non-Jews, in order to prevent intermarriage.

[9] Simon 318:14 and simon 328:63

For a printed version, click here.

In memory of Mordechai ben Shlomo, yahrtzeit 2nd day Chanuka
and Eliyahu Feivel a'h ben Yekusiel Moshe sheyichya Tornopsky

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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.