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

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Motza’ei Tisha Be’av and the Tenth of Av

----------------------------- By Popular Request: According to the Sephardic custom, it is permissible to shave, take a haircut, and do laundry immediately at the conclusion of the fast tonight. Ashkenazim customarily rule leniently in this regard. However, this year (5780), when the Tenth of Av fa......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha


“One Who Finds a Wife Has Found Good”

The Gemara (Berachot 8a) states regarding the verse in Tehillim, “For this let every pious individual pray to you in a time when you may be found”: “Rabbi Chanina said: “In a time when you may be found” refers to one’s wife, as the verse in Mishlei states, ‘......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Tuesday night and Wednesday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. May Hashem soon switch it to a month of joy and celebration. The Jewish Nation’s Fortune During the Month of Av Although we customarily implement some mourning customs during the entire “Three Weeks” as we have......

Read Halacha

Tu Be’av

Today marks Tu Be’av, the Fifteenth of Av. The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) states: “Rabban Shimon ben Gamilel said: There were no better days for the Jewish nation than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, for on the Fifteenth of Av the young women of Jerusalem would go out we......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Erev Tisha Be’av

The Sefer Ha’Minhagim, authored by Rabbeinu Eizik Tirna, states that one should not leisurely stroll around on Erev Tisha Be’av. The Rama, some great Acharonim, and seemingly Maran Ha’Chida as well, rule accordingly. On Erev Tisha Be’av during the “Seuda Ha’Maf......

Read Halacha