Selected Halachos relating to Parshas Shoftim
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
You shall roast it and eat it in the place that Hashem, your G-d, will choose (16:7)
COOKING ON SHABBOS - PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
SOME GENERAL DEFINTIONS. All temperatures are Fahrenheit:
Hot - over 110 degrees(2)
Warm - between 70-80 to 110 degrees
Cold - below 60-70 degrees
Scalding - about 140-150 degrees(3)
Boiling - 212 degrees
Cooked - completely cooked, ready to eat.
Dry food item - any food item which contains very little
liquid, e.g., bread, meat, pasta.
Liquid food item - e.g., water, soup, sauce, gravy.
IN THE KITCHEN IT IS PERMITTED TO...
Place dry, cold(4) meat, chicken or kugel on top of a soup or
cholent pot which is on the blech or in a crock-pot(5). If these
items are wrapped in aluminum foil, the foil should be partially
unwrapped to avoid the prohibition of hatmanah(6).
Place dry, cold meat, chicken or kugel on top of a radiator(7).
Place cold foods [dry or liquid] near a fire so that they can be
warmed, provided that the foods are placed far enough away from
the fire so that they could never become hot(8).
Pour hot water from an urn on a baby's cold milk bottle(9);
Pour hot water from an urn into a vessel, then place the milk
bottle into it(10). The bottle should not be submerged entirely
so as to avoid the prohibition of hatmanah(11).
To lift off the lid of an urn and replace it, if the water
inside was previously boiled(12).
IN THE KITCHEN IT IS PROHIBITED TO...(13)
Place cold food [dry or liquid] directly on the fire or on any
area of the blech where the food could become hot(14).
Place cold liquid, such as soup or gravy, near enough to a heat
source which will cause it to become hot(15).
Place a cold, wet ladle [either from tap water or from
previously ladled soup] into a pot of hot soup, even if the pot
is presently not on the fire or blech(16).
Pour hot water from the urn directly into a cup containing a tea
bag, cocoa or chocolate milk(17).
Pour hot water from the urn directly into a cup containing
instant tea, coffee or cocoa(18).
Place a tea bag in a cup of hot water, or to pour hot water from
a cup over a tea bag(19).
Add anything to a pot which is presently on the fire or on the
Add sugar or salt to a pot of hot liquid which was on the fire
or blech and then removed(21).
Stir hot food in a pot which is on the fire or blech, even if
the food is completely cooked(22).
Stir hot food in a pot which has been removed from the fire or
blech, if the food is not completely cooked(23).
Dish out food from a pot which is directly on a flame(24),
whether the food is completely cooked or not(25). Even if the
pot is too heavy to pick up and remove from the fire, it is
still prohibited to dish out food from a pot which is directly
on a flame(26).
Cover a pot which is on the fire, unless it is beyond doubt
clear that the food inside is completely cooked(27).
Wipe wet hands with a towel, and then drape the towel over an
urn or oven(28).
Note: In the cases described above, we often refer to certain
processed foods, such as instant coffee or salt, as "cooked".
Note, though, that companies may change their manufacturing
process and switch to a procedures like freeze-drying etc.,
which is not considered halachically as "cooking."
1. Last week's column discussed reheating foods at the Shabbos
2. Contemporary poskim debate the exact intensity of heat for yad
soledes bo. It is generally accepted, though, that 110 degrees
is the minimum temperature which must be considered yad soledes
bo. When yad soledes bo is used for a leniency, however, (i.e.,
when an item is to be considered cooked before Shabbos so that
it may be reheated on Shabbos), 160 degrees is required - Igros
Moshe O.C. 4:74-3.
3. This is referred to as yad nichveis bo, which, according to
some poskim, is hot enough to cook food items even in a kli
sheini or shelishi. Many poskim, however, do not agree with this
4. This should not be done for frozen items which have ice
crystals on them, since cooking ice is prohibited - Minchas
5. O.C. 253:5 and Beiur Halachah 253:3. See Chazon Ish 37:14 for
an explanation why this does not constitute roasting after
6. The poskim disagree if hatmanah is a problem in this case:
Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-3 and Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Me'or
ha-Shabbos 1:86) are stringent, while Harav S.Y. Elyashiv and
Harav Y.Y. Fischer (ibid. 84) are lenient. This also seems to be
the view of Chazon Ish 37:32. If the purpose of the aluminum
foil, however, is to serve as a plate [and not to retain heat],
all poskim agree that it is permitted. If more than one piece of
aluminum foil is wrapped around the food item, all poskim agree
that it is prohibited - see Machazeh Eliyahu 32.
7. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-34. See preceding footnote concerning
8. O.C. 318:14.
9. Since only the bottle will become "cooked", not the milk
inside - Harav M. Feinstein (Sefer Hilchos Shabbos, pg. 289);
Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1:50.
10. Mishnah Berurah 318:23 - since re-cooking a liquid item in a
kli sheini is permitted. Under extenuating circumstances, even a
kli rishon which is off the fire may sometimes be used, see
Shevet ha-Levi 5:31.
11. Mishnah Berurah 258:2; Minchas Yitzchak 8:17 - unlike
Shulchan Aruch Harav 318:23 and Chazon Ish 37:32 who are lenient.
12. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-14. It is also permitted to dish out
water from an urn.
13. This review does not discuss the opening and closing of
thermostat controlled ovens on Shabbos.
14. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-31,32.
15. O.C. 318:14-15.
16. Since cooking or reheating liquids in a kli rishon is
17. This is strictly prohibited, since these are foods which were
not cooked before Shabbos.
18. Even though instant coffee or tea are generally processed
(cooked foods), several poskim hold that one should not pour hot
water directly from a kli rishon over them for several reasons,
see Sefer Hilchos Shabbos, pg. 298.
19. Since tea leaves can easily become cooked in a kli sheini,
and even by water poured upon them from a kli sheini, see
Mishnah Berurah 318:39.
20. Mishnah Berurah 318:64.
21. Mishnah Berurah 318:71 - since, in the opinion of some
poskim, soluble foods dissolved in liquids are in themselves
considered liquid and are subject to the prohibition of cooking
cold liquids. It is permitted, however, to add precooked
seasoning [sugar or salt] to a pot of solid food which is off
the fire, since in that case the seasoning does not dissolve -
see Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 1 note 173*.
22. Mishnah Berurah 318:118. See Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-8 for an
explanation why it is prohibited to stir food which is
23. O.C. 318:18.
24. But if the food is on the blech and not directly over the
fire, many poskim permit scooping food from the pot - Igros
Moshe O.C. 4:74-11.
25. Mishnah Berurah 318:113.
26. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74-9. See Chazon Ish 37:15 who is somewhat
27. O.C. 254:4; 257:4. See Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74:10 who may hold
that it is forbidden to cover a pot which is on the fire even if
the food is completely cooked, but other poskim clearly permit
this, and Harav Feinstein himself is quoted (The Shabbos
Kitchen, pg. 9) as having permitted this orally.
28. Mishnah Berurah 301:169.
Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and
Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne
Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily
Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.
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