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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


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



Questions for the Week of Parshas Ki Savo



Last week we learned that in order to do chazora [1] one has to comply with certain conditions. What if I did not comply with all of them, may I still do chazora?

It depends which conditions were not adhered to. If you had in mind to return the food to the blech [2] but placed the pot onto the counter and let go, the Mishna Brura [3] rules that, when necessary, since you intended to return it you may return it provided you have complied with the other three conditions. Namely, 1) the food is still warm, 2) the fire is covered (either with a blech or you use a hotplate) and 3) the food is fully cooked. .

Are there other cases where one may return the food to the blech even though you did not fulfill all five conditions?

If you are still holding the pot of food, even if you did not have in mind to return it to the fire and the food is needed, it may be returned, again, provided the other conditions have been fulfilled. [4]

What if I forgot to cover the flames with a blech?

Then you cannot do chazora. One is only allowed to return food to a covered fire or to a Shabbos hot plate and we learned a couple of weeks ago that you may position a blech on Shabbos. If this is not possible, you can return the food to a neighbor's blech or hot plate, providing you comply with all the other conditions.


If the pots lid was removed, may I cover the pot?

It depends; if the food is not yet fully cooked you may not cover the pot, as a covered pot cooks more rapidly than an uncovered pot, and thereby you might be liable for the melacha of Bishul cooking.

If the food is fully cooked some poskim hold that it is muter to cover the pot. Others hold that one must first remove the pot from the fire, cover it, and then return it to the fire. [5]

Which foods may one heat up on Shabbos itself, and how?

Foods without liquid or gravy, e.g. kugel, schnitzel or rice, that are fully cooked may be placed on top of a pot that is on the fire. [6] One may also place dry foods on the Shabbos water urn.

What is the basis for this heter?

One may not place fully cooked food directly onto an open flame because it appears like cooking on Shabbos mechzi kimvashel. Several poskim permit placing cold, cooked dry food directly onto a hotplate and others disagree. One must ask one's rav as to the correct conduct.

The Shulchan Aruch permits [7] placing cold, fully cooked dry food above another pot that is already on the fire or above the water urn. The reason for this is that it is not mechzi kimvashel, because the heat source beneath is seen as heating the pot directly above it and not the pot above that pot. [8]

What if there is gravy also in the dish?

If the gravy is cold you are not allowed to heat it above the temperature of yad soledes bo, [9] which (for hilchos Shabbos) is approx. 40 45.

If by placing the dish with gravy on the urn etc. it will not be able to reach yad soledes bo, even if you leave it there for a long period of time, you may put it there. But if eventually it would reach yad soledes bo if left there long enough, you may not place it there even if you intend removing it before it reaches yad soledes bo. [10]

If after covering a pot you realized that the food was not yet fully cooked, may the food be eaten?

As stated above you may not place a lid on a pot on the fire (according to all opinions) when the food is not fully cooked. When this happens you should ask your Rav as to the correct conduct, but in the event that a Rav cannot be contacted on Shabbos, one should proceed as follows.

If the food is more than half cooked, and when very necessary more than a third cooked, it may be eaten.

The reason behind this p'sak is that several Rishonim are of the opinion that once an item is cooked to the degree of ma'achal Ben Derosai, the prohibition of cooking no longer applies. We do not pasken like these Rishonim and one may not treat this lightly because it involves the d'oraisso of cooking. However, in case of a b'diavad, i.e. the action had already been done, we can rely on these Rishonim and the food may be eaten.

Should one do teshuva for such an action?

Being it chodesh Ellul one surely should, because according to other Rishonim one has violated a d'oraisso.

[1] Returning food to the fire

[2] A metal sheet placed over the flames.

[3] Simon 253:56

[4] Same M"B.

[5] Tshuvos VHanhagos (vol.1 207-3). Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa (1-35). Iggros Moshe (Orach Chayim vol.4 74-10).

[6] Simon 253 seif 5

[7] Simon 253:5.

[8] M"B simon 253:87 and Chazon Ish.

[9] This is the degree Chazzal (our sages) say that foods and liquids cook.

[10] See SS"K 1-36.


Vort on the Z'man

All too often we view Ellul and times of teshuva as something fearful, to the point that we are stymied and give up hope of ever accomplishing anything.

Let us try and see it in another light.

When a mother wants to train her child to walk, she will hold the child by his hands and slowly reverse, all the while holding his hands. After a while she will let go and step a little back and encourage the child to walk to her hands. Naturally the child will fall a few times and the mother will encourage him to try again and again and again until he succeeds. The mother will not dream of punishing the child for falling, because it has no effect and is probably counterproductive.

We are all children trying to walk in the ways of Hashem and Hashem is there for us, every step of the way, encouraging and coaxing. We fall and rise, fall and rise and all the while Hashem is patient, more than any parent and loving more than any parent. We must believe this and see it constantly before our eyes.

It is possible that if we view Ellul in this light we have a chance.

Kesiva vachasima tova


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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.