Halacha for Tuesday 19 Av 5779 August 20 2019

Warming up Foods on Shabbat- Maran zt”l’s Suggestion

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed that just as it is forbidden to cook on top of an open flame on Shabbat, it is likewise forbidden to cook on top of an electric hotplate. The only distinction between an open flame and an electric hotplate IS regarding a food which was already cooked before Shabbat: Whereas it is forbidden to even warm up a pre-cooked food on an open flame on Shabbat, it is permissible to warm up such a food on an electric hotplate on Shabbat as long as the food is considered “dry,” such as bread or Challah and not “liquidy,” such as a soup. We have likewise explained the reasons for this.

A Dish Mostly Comprised Mostly of Sauce
A dish which contains mostly liquids and only a minority of “dry” or solid food, such as a vegetable soup, may not be placed on an electric hotplate on Shabbat since the prohibition of “cooking after cooking” on Shabbat applies to liquid foods. However, a food which is completely dry, such as bourekas or bread, may be placed on an electric hotplate or a stovetop covered with a layer of metal, for the prohibition of “cooking after cooking” does not apply to “dry” foods. Thus, since this food was fully-cooked before Shabbat, there is no prohibition to warm it up on Shabbat.

A Dish Which Contains a Minimal Amount of Sauce
A food which is mostly dry but contains a little bit of sauce, such as a dish of rice which has some moisture to it, is considered like a completely dry food which is permitted to be warmed up on an electric hotplate on Shabbat, for “cooking after cooking” does not apply to dry foods. Even if a dish contains sauce but cooking it causes the sauce or liquid to diminish in quality, it is indeed permissible to warm up such a dish on an electric hotplate or a stovetop covered with a metal sheet on Shabbat.

The Permissible Way to Warm up a Liquid Dish on Shabbat
If one would like to warm up a dish containing sauce or a completely liquid dish, such as a vegetable soup and the like (besides for water, which we shall not discuss presently), there is a halachically acceptable way to do so: One should set a timer to turn the hotplate off at a certain hour. When the hotplate is off, one may place anything one likes, even a soup, on top of it so that when it turns back on, whatever is on it will become warmed. In this manner, there is room for leniency without any concern.

Thus, if one wishes to heat up liquid foods or foods whose dry/liquid status is questionable for Shabbat day, one may set a timer to turn of the hotplate between eight and nine o’clock in the morning, for instance, and once the hotplate is off and is no longer hot, one may place any fully-cooked food on it that one wishes and avoid any concern.

Summary: One may not heat up any dish or food on an open flame on Shabbat. However, it is permissible to warm up a dry food on a stovetop covered with a layer of metal or an electric hotplate on Shabbat. Nevertheless, one may not warm up a liquid dish, such as a soup, on Shabbat. If one places the dishes on the hotplate when it is turned off by a timer, this is completely permissible; in this way, one may place even a soup or anything else one wishes on the hotplate and when the hotplate turns on again as a result of the timer, the foods will be permissibly reheated in honor of Shabbat.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

“Theft Prosecutes First”

The Mishnah (Yoma 85b) states that Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya expounded the following verse regarding Yom Kippur, “For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you, from all your sins shall you be clean before Hashem”- Yom Kippur atones for sins committed between man and Hash......

Read Halacha

A Thief Who Wishes to Repent-Continued

In the previous Halacha, we discussed the enactment of our Sages which dictates that when a thief comes to return a stolen object, one must refuse to accept it so that thieves do not become disheartened from repenting. Nevertheless, there are several details associated with this law, as we shall now......

Read Halacha

A Thief Who Wishes To Repent

Question: A few years ago, someone stole a certain sum of money from me. This individual has now approached me wishing to return this sum of money but he is crying to me about how it is possible that he will be able to return all the money he has stolen from so many people. What should I do? Answ......

Read Halacha

Establishing Times for Torah Study During the Days of Selichot

We have already mentioned in previous Halachot the words of the great Acharonim as well as Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l that the main goal for us during the month of Elul and the Ten Days of Repentance in our generation is to repent for our sins. Emphasis should not be placed solely on fas......

Read Halacha


The Obligation for Every Individual to Repent-An Incident Regarding Maran zt”l

Question: Why must one ask for forgiveness from Hashem for sins one has committed unknowingly? We know that there is no such thing as even a righteous man who does not sin at all and it is impossible for one not to sin even unknowingly sometimes! Why must we then repent for even sins of this nature?......

Read Halacha

Question: If one sins and it is difficult for one to repent and one has not yet done so, is there any benefit in one’s Mitzvah observance or is there no point at all?

Answer: It is well-known that the Teshuva process is usually categorized by “Desist from evil and do good,” i.e. one must first repent for all the sins one has committed against Hashem and only then should one perform Mitzvot and other good deeds which will stand to one’s merit. In......

Read Halacha

Wearing a Kippa on the Beach- Covering One’s Head While Reciting a Blessing

Question: Must one wear a Kippa on one’s head at the beach? (Obviously, this refers to a situation where being present at the beach poses no modesty concerns, such as in Israel where there are kosher, separate beaches for men and women.) Similarly, when one wishes to recite a blessing, is plac......

Read Halacha

Fasting on Shabbat

Question: Is there anything halachically wrong with starting the Shabbat day meal in the afternoon? Answer: We have already explained above regarding the laws of “the Mitzvah of enjoyment of Shabbat” that one is fully obligated to enjoy Shabbat through eating and drinking, as the vers......

Read Halacha