Halacha for Wednesday 13 Av 5779 August 14 2019

An Electric Hotplate on Shabbat

Yesterday we explained that our Sages forbade leaving a food which is not yet fully-cooked on a stove filled coals, for they were concerned that one would stoke the coals in order to raise the heat and intensity of the fire.

We have mentioned that according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, it is permissible, according to the letter of the law, to leave a food which is not yet fully-cooked on a gas stove top common nowadays, for these stovetops do not contain any coals. Although there is some room for stringency here by covering the flame with an aluminum sheet and covering the knobs so that one does not inadvertently raise or lower the flame on Shabbat, nevertheless, it is permissible to leave such foods on an open flame before the onset of Shabbat since the stove does not contain coals.

Based on this, we can infer that an electric hotplate used on Shabbat (“Plata”) whose heat-source within it is completely indiscernible and is covered with a layer of metal from its production retains the same law as a stove with the coals “removed or covered” and one may act leniently and place a pot of food on top of it before the onset of Shabbat in order to continue being cooked on Shabbat. One need not place a metal sheet on top of it since the heat-source within it is already covered by metal. Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l rules likewise.

There are other reasons for leniency discussed at length in the works of the Poskim. There are nevertheless those who customarily act stringently and place a metal sheet on top of the hotplate in order to separate between it and the pot. However, as we have mentioned, the Halacha follows that there is ample room for leniency even without an additional layer of metal.

Among Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jews who follow the rulings of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, it has already become the prevalent custom to act leniently in this regard and leave the Shabbat Chulent directly on the electric hotplate (without any extra layer of aluminum) before the onset of Shabbat, even if it not yet full-cooked. Among those who act leniently in this regard are many great Torah scholars and righteous people.

There are nevertheless some people who are not fluent in Torah law and wish to keep Shabbat but mistakenly think that it is permissible to cook on top of an electric hotplate on Shabbat. In this way, they cook, fry, and do everything else they would do on a regular weekday, just that this is being done on a hotplate. They should be warned that cooking on an electric hotplate on Shabbat constitutes actual Shabbat desecration. The above leniency refers only to leaving foods which are not yet fully cooked on the electric hotplate before the onset of Shabbat or to place dry foods which were fully-cooked before Shabbat onto the hotplate on Shabbat, as we shall discuss, G-d-willing.

Summary: One may place a pot of food which is not fully-cooked on an electric hotplate before Shabbat and one may do so even without placing a layer of metal on top of the hotplate.

All of this applies to leaving a pot of food on a hotplate before the onset of Shabbat; however, placing the food on Shabbat itself requires that several other conditions be met, as we shall soon discuss, G-d-willing.

8 Halachot Most Popular

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

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

----------------------------- Correction: There was a typographical error at the end of yesterday's Halacha which stated that the prohibition to take haircuts and shave does not apply this year according to the Sephardic custom. Clearly, this is incorrect and all of the laws of the week durin......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha