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.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The “Mechaye Ha’Metim” Blessing

In the previous Halacha we have explained that one who sees a truly dear friend or relative after thirty days f not seeing him and is happy to see him recites the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon seeing him. The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who se......

Read Halacha

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing Upon Seeing a Dear Friend or Loved One

Question: If one travels overseas, returns home more than thirty days later, and is happy to see his wife or a dear friend when he returns, must one recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees his frie......

Read Halacha

Disassembling Doors and Windows on Shabbat

Question: May one remove a door from its hinges or a window from its frame on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that one of the works forbidden on Shabbat is building. However, just as it is forbidden to build something or add anything to a standing edifice on Shabbat, it......

Read Halacha

Giving Birth on Shabbat

Question: If a pregnant woman knows that there is a reasonable chance that she will be giving birth on Shabbat (for instance, if her due date is on Shabbat) and as a result, if she begins experiencing contractions on Shabbat, Shabbat will have to be desecrated on her behalf by travelling to the hosp......

Read Halacha


The Forbidden Work of Building on Shabbat

Question: May one sweep the dirt and small rocks in the front yard of one’s home on Shabbat? Answer: One of the thirty-nine forbidden works on Shabbat is building, as the Mishnah (Shabbat 102b) states, “One who builds on Shabbat, even if it is a small addition to an existing edifice, ......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding Eggs or Garlic that were Left Peeled Overnight

Things Forbidden Because of the Danger they Pose The Gemara (Niddah 17a) states in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that if one does any one of five specific things, one takes his life into his own hands (meaning that one is endangering himself). One of these things is eating an egg, garlic, or ......

Read Halacha

Tu Bishvat Customs

Tonight, Sunday night, marks Tu Bishvat. There are unique customs observed on the night of Tu Bishvat, as we shall explain. The Prohibition of Fasting and the Customary Reading of the Zohar It is forbidden to fast on the day of Tu Bishvat. Some customarily hold an order of learning on the eve of......

Read Halacha

Baby Monitors on Shabbat

Question: May one place a baby monitor (intercom) in a baby’s room on Shabbat in order to be able to hear if the baby cries and to be able to adequately care for his/her needs? Answer: At first glance, it would seem that the baby monitor is similar in the way it works to a microphone which ......

Read Halacha