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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

This shiur is sponsored by a reader in NY and an anonymous.


Questions for the Week of Parshas Vo'eschanan

When does the concept of ‘raw meat’ come into play?

We have learned in previous shiurim that leaving food on an open flame causes problems. Chazal were concerned that one might stoke the coals on Shabbos in order to hasten the cooking and unless the food is cooked to a certain degree before Shabbos, or the flames are covered with a blech, one may not leave food on a stove before Shabbos. A hot plate also remedies the problem.

The gemora provides another solution – raw meat.

One may place a pot of raw meat on open flames just before Shabbos and/or one may add a sizeable portion of meat to a pot of food just before Shabbos.

Why is raw meat different?

Chazal’s concern was that people might stoke the fire to ready the food for the night meal. Raw meat placed on the fire just before Shabbos cannot be cooked in time for the night meal. Consequently there is no reason for concern that one might stoke the fire to hurry the process. Chazal called this action a äéñç ãòú – not thinking about the food.

Why must it be placed on or in the stove right before Shabbos?

If food is not placed on the fire close to Shabbos, it will cook somewhat before Shabbos and stoking coals (raising heat) on Shabbos will complete the cooking process. The raw meat must be placed immediately before sunset. Rav Vozner shlita is of the opinion that it is halachically acceptable if one accepts Shabbos immediately after placing raw meat on the fire. [1] This is not a simple matter, because there might be ample time for it to cook before Shabbos and Chazal’s concern becomes relevant again. [2]

Why the preference for raw meat - are raw vegetables not the same?

Raw meat takes a relatively long time to cook as opposed to most other food items. [3]

Is this option applicable nowadays?

Rav Vozner shlita, based on the Chazon Ish, holds that this heter is applicable even with contemporary super-hot ovens and stoves and even though one is able to cook even meat in a relatively short time, the heter remains. [4]

Rav Eliashiv shlita however holds that since one is able to cook meat in a relatively short time, one may not use this heter. Even if one leaves raw meat on a low flame, since it is possible to raise the heat and quickly cook the meat, it is prohibited. [5]

One should therefore l’chatchila resort to the other possibilities, i.e. a blech or hotplate and only use this option after consulting a halachic authority.

How does a crock-pot fit into all this?

Many are accustomed to cook cholent in a crock pot and this involves several issues. Hatmana (storing) is a serious issue and we will be”H deal with it later.

As far as sh’hiya is concerned, there are two issues - the status of the outer shell and the food.

The crock pot cannot be considered goruf v’kotum (a covered flame equivalent to a blech or hotplate) because one actually cooks inside the crock pot and nothing is done to alter this. Accordingly, food may only be placed inside, according to the Mechaber, if it is fully cooked and hardening to its detriment, which is not usually the case with cholent. A possible solution would be to add raw meat very close to Shabbos, as explained above. Everyone would agree that raw meat in a crock pot is permitted because it cannot be ready for the night meal. [6]

However according to the Rama there is much more leeway once the food is more than half cooked. [7]

Briefly: A crock pot may be used (with respect to sh’hiya) in one of the following instances.

  • A sizeable portion of raw meat is placed inside the cholent right before Shabbos.
  • The cholent is more than half cooked before Shabbos. According to the Mishna Berura it should l’chatchila be fully cooked.

One may not return cholent to a crock pot nor may one return the inner pot to the outer shell once removed. This is because it is considered an open flame.

As for hatmana (in brief): We will learn be”H that some poskim require the inner pot to be raised a bit, which is acceptable to all opinions.

[1] Otsros haShabbos 2:23.

[2] As explained in footnote 68 ibid. See M”B 253:10 where he says “very close to sunset”.

[3] M”B 253:9.

[4] Otsros haShabbos 2:24 and footnote 69.

[5] Otsros haShabbos 2:24 and footnote 70.

[6] Even according to Rav Eliashiv, as mentioned above.

[7] As mentioned before, according to the Chazon Ish it is l’chatchila when more than half cooked.


Food For Thought

When may I return a pot of food to the blech or hotplate?

May I ever return a pot of food to an oven?

If the fire on my stove went out, may I place the food on my neighbor’s blech or hotplate?

If someone accidentally removed the wrong pot from the hotplate, may it be returned?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Moshe Rabeinu requested Hashem to allow him passage into Eretz Yisrael and he will see Eretz Yisrael. This seems superfluous because if he passes into Eretz Yisrael obviously he will see the Land.

The Kotzker Rebbe says that one is able to travel the breadth and length of Eretz Yisrael and not see it. Moshe Rabeni did not wish to sightsee; he wanted to behold the kedusha and spirituality of Eretz Yisrael, which is not easily achieved. It is something that must be prayed for as it is not accessed in an offhand manner.

The Bach writes that even the fruit of Eretz Yisrael is full of kedusha as a result of Hashem’s presence in the land. Eating this fruit can fill one with spirituality and holiness.


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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.