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Introduction

The Principles Of Bishul

Definition Of Terms Used Frequently In The Laws Of Bishul

The Dinim Of Keli Rishon, Sheni, Shlishi

Bishul Achar Bishul Cooking After Cooking

The Practical Applications Of Bishul

The Dinim Of Shehiya

The Dinim Of Chazarah

The Blech

Electrical Appliances And Heating Systems

The Laws Of Cooking On Shabbos
Based on the Sefer Shabbos KeHalachah
by Rabbi Y. Farkash
Following the rulings of the Rebbeim of Chabad


Chapter 7
The Dinim Of Chazarah

by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov

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  The Dinim Of ShehiyaThe Blech  

  1. The Prohibition of Chazarah

    As explained above, a hot liquid and a fully cooked solid are not subject to the laws of Bishul, because Ein Bishul Achar Bishul. It would therefore follow that it should be permissible to replace a fully cooked pot of food to the stove after it has been removed. However Chazal were concerned that if a person is seen to be placing a pot on the stove, then it looks like an act of cooking - Mechzei Kimivashel.[1] They therefore made a rule that a pot may not be returned to the stove unless it is clear that this is not a new act of cooking but rather only a continuation of the previous act of cooking.

    In order to make this clear, Chazal prohibited the pot to be returned to the stove unless a number of conditions are fulfilled:

    1. The pot is removed with the intention of returning it.

    2. The pot is continuously held by the person while it is off the stove.

    3. The flame onto which the pot is returned is covered (Ketuma).

    4. The food must be fully cooked and still warm (even if it is under Yad Soledes, as long as it is still warm - as explained in Section 2:9 regarding Ein Bishul Achar Bishul).

    As shall be explained, these conditions indicate a continuous act of cooking. Only when all conditions are present may the pot be returned to the stove.

    The prohibition of returning a pot to the stove is called the prohibition of Chazarah - returning.

  2. The Intention to Return

    If a pot is removed from the stove with the intention to return it, this intention indicates that the returning of the pot to the stove is a continuation of the previous act of cooking and is not a new act of cooking. Chazal therefore said that the first condition necessary for the return of a pot to the stove is that when the person removes the pot he must have a definite positive intention to return the pot (while still hot[2]) to the stove.[3]

    If by mistake[4] a pot was removed from the stove without the intention to return it, e.g., on Friday night the cholent (for use on Shabbos day) was removed by mistake from the stove with no intention to return it, and when the pot was opened it was seen to be the cholent, then it is permissible to return the pot to the stove even if the pot has already been placed on a table.[5]

    If one of the flames under a pot went out, it is permitted to transfer the pot to another flame as long as the food is still hot, fully cooked, and the second flame is covered. However if the food in the pot has cooled, it may not be transferred. It should also be noted that if a gas flame is blown out by the wind, it is permissible to turn off the gas, despite the fact that under normal circumstances, the control knobs are muktzeh.[6]

    If a pot slips off the blech it may be replaced.[7] The same would apply if the pot was removed with the intention to return it and it accidentally slipped out of one's hands.[8]

    If one placed pots on a blech Erev Shabbos and one realizes on Shabbos that one forgot to light the fires underneath the blech, it is permitted to transfer the pots to another stove top covered with a blech as long as the food inside the pots is fully cooked and still warm.[9]

  3. The Pot Is Still in the Hand

    The second condition to allow the return of the pot to the stove is that the pot must be held in the hand until its return. Holding the pot indicates that the removal of the pot is only temporary and when the pot is returned it is one continuous act of cooking.

    There are various opinions[10] among the Poskim as to the extent to which one must hold the pot. Some Poskim are of the opinion that the pot must literally be held in the air, or alternatively, may be rested on the edge of a surface in such a manner that if the person holding the pot would let go, the pot would fall. Other Poskim are of the opinion that even if the pot is placed on a surface, as long as the pot is still held in the hand, it may be returned. One should preferably follow the first opinion. However, in the case of a very large pot that could not be held in the air, and could only be rested on the edge of a surface with difficulty, one may rely on the second opinion.[11]

    If the pot was removed from the stove - even with the intention to return it - and the hand was removed from the pot, then if the pot was placed on the ground or on a kitchen surface or table, it may not be returned to the stove.[12]

    Even if the pot was removed from the blech by mistake, it may not be returned to the stove.[13] See however Section 7:6.

  4. The Flame Is Covered

    To place a pot on a covered flame does not look like a typical act of cooking. Hence the third condition for allowing Chazarah is that the flame be covered, e.g., by a blech.[14]

    It should be noted that the pot does not necessarily have to be returned to the same flame upon which it was originally placed. As long as it is placed on a flame that is covered, it is permitted.[15] A pot may therefore be transferred from one blech to another, or even from an open flame onto another flame covered with a blech.

    As has been explained in the section on Shehiya, an electric hot plate that has only one setting is considered Ketuma. However a hot plate with variable settings requires covering (the same is true of a warming cupboard). A crock pot with only one setting is considered Ketuma, and a crock pot with variable settings needs to be lined with foil.[16]

    In light of what has been said, it follows that hot water (from another Keli Rishon on the fire) may not be added on Shabbos to an electric kettle (which already contains hot water) with variable settings. Although the water is fully cooked, since the kettle is not Ketuma, the water may not be added.[17] If the electric kettle has only one setting, it is considered Ketuma, and hot water may be added from another Keli Rishon on the fire. Note that the hot water may not be transferred with a Keli Sheni.

    If the stove top was not covered by a blech on Erev Shabbos, it is permissible to cover the flames with a blech on Shabbos.[18] Once the flame has been covered, the pot may be placed on the blech as long as all the above conditions of Chazarah have been fulfilled.

  5. Transfer from One Pot to Another

    Chazarah is only permitted if the food has not been transferred to another Keli. However if the food was transferred to another Keli, it may not be returned to the stove. Even if the food was subsequently returned into the original Keli, it may not be returned to the stove. This halachah applies even if one had the intention to return the food to the stove and the Keli is held in the hand.[19]

    It therefore follows that if one wishes to add hot water to the cholent, it would not be permitted to fill a cup of hot water from the Shabbos kettle or to use water from a thermos, and then pour it into the cholent. Rather, the cholent pot itself should be held under the kettle and water added.[20]

    However one may transfer hot water to a cholent by use of a ladle. The ladle should be inserted into the hot water and held there for a few seconds before the water is ladled into the cholent.[21]

  6. When the Conditions Are Not Fulfilled

    There is a lenient opinion among the Poskim that rules that the above conditions of Chazarah only apply when a pot was removed before Shabbos and one wishes to return the pot to the stove on Shabbos. In such a case, if there was no intention to return the pot to the stove or if it has already been put down, then one may not return the pot to the stove. However if the pot was placed on a blech before Shabbos and removed on Shabbos, even if there was no intention to return it and it was not held in the hand, even so, it may be returned. Even according to this lenient opinion:

    1. the flame must be Ketuma;

    2. the food must be fully cooked; and

    3. it must be still warm.

    The majority of Poskim make no distinction whether the pot was removed on Shabbos or before Shabbos. However in a case of great necessity, if the pot was removed on Shabbos with no intention to return it and it was not held in the hand, even so, there is room to rely on the above-stated lenient opinion and replace the pot on the stove. A Rav should be consulted in this case.[22] See also Section 8:5.

  7. Chazarah into an Oven

    There are various opinions among the Poskim as to whether Chazarah is permitted with an oven, even when all conditions have been fulfilled. See Section 6:2 (d), as to how to achieve the state of Ketumah in an oven.

    Some Poskim say that under all circumstances Chazarah is prohibited into an oven. This is because returning a pot to the oven has a greater element of Mechzei Kimvashel than usual.

    Other Poskim are of the opinion that there is no difference between the stove top and an oven, and as long as all the conditions of Chazarah have been fulfilled, the food may be returned to the oven. In practice, those who wish to rely on the lenient opinion should rest the pot of food on a plate inside the oven.[23]

    As regards Chazarah into a crock pot, this would also depend on the two opinions expressed above regarding an oven, although some Poskim are lenient in this case.[24]

    Chazarah is permitted into a warming oven, i.e., a cabinet that acts as a hot plate, as long as it has only one temperature control.[25] It is always advisable that before buying such an appliance, one should consult a Rav as to the dinim of the appliance on Shabbos.

    Food removed from an oven may subsequently be placed on a blech as long as all the conditions for Chazarah have been fulfilled. See Section 7:4.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) See Shabbos KeHalachah, Biurim, p. 341, whether the reason "perhaps one may come to stoke the fire" also applies to Chazarah.

  2. (Back to text) See ibid., p. 351.

  3. (Back to text) If the pot was removed without any intention in mind, it may not be returned to the stove. There must be the positive intention to return it (ibid., p. 350).

  4. (Back to text) The same would apply in a case where a waiter removed the wrong pot from the stove, in which case it may be replaced (ibid., p. 352).

  5. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 353. Some Poskim are of the opinion that in such a case the pot may only be returned to the stove if it is placed on top of another pot (even if empty) on the blech (ibid.).

  6. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 354.

  7. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 351.

  8. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 352.

  9. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 363.

  10. (Back to text) See ibid., p. 357.

  11. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 359.

  12. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 361. However if the pot was placed on a chair, bench or bed, i.e., a place which is not a final resting place, there are those who are lenient to allow the pot to be returned to the stove if not returning it will severely affect Oneg Shabbos (ibid., p. 362).

    Another interesting case where one may be lenient is if the pots were placed on the blech before Shabbos and one forgot to light the fires, and only realized later after Shabbos came in. In this case (if the food in the pots is fully cooked), one may transfer the pots to another blech (ibid., p. 363).

  13. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 364. However if the pot was removed on Shabbos and placed on a chair, bench, etc., one may be lenient and replace the pot if not doing so would affect Oneg Shabbos (see previous footnote). One may also be lenient if the pot was removed from a hotplate (with only one setting) to return the pot to the hotplate (ibid., p. 365).

  14. (Back to text) It follows that the reason the flame must be covered to prevent the prohibition of Shehiya is different from the reason for Chazarah. The reason the flame must be covered to prevent Shehiya is so that one will not come to stoke the fire. The reason for Chazarah is so that it does not look like a typical act of cooking. See however Shabbos KeHalachah, Biurim, p. 341.

  15. (Back to text) Even if the flame to which the pot is transferred is higher than the first flame (ibid., p. 343).

  16. (Back to text) See Sec. 6:2.

  17. (Back to text) Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 349. We have already explained in Ch. 6 (The Dinim of Shehiya), why the kettle need not be covered from before Shabbos: since the water was fully cooked before Shabbos one is not worried that somebody will "stoke" the flame. Therefore, although the kettle does not need to be covered from the point of view of Shehiya, the fact that it is not covered prohibits the addition of water due to the prohibition of Chazarah.

  18. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 354. See there note 21, where he deals with the issues of a) whether heating the metal is a prohibition of Mav'ir; and b) the change in the shape of the flame. The general consensus among the Poskim is that heating the metal is not a prohibition of Mav'ir, especially with an aluminum sheet on a small flame. However one should not cover the flame with any type of metal that will turn red hot.

  19. (Back to text) Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 253:14. Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 365.

  20. (Back to text) Shabbos KeHalachah, p. 369. See further for more details regarding adding hot water to cholent.

  21. (Back to text) So that the ladle should attain the status of a Keli Rishon. If the ladle was only dipped momentarily into the hot water it would have the status of a Keli Sheni and it would therefore be prohibited to transfer the water to another pot (ibid., p. 371).

  22. (Back to text) See ibid., p. 377.

  23. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 386.

  24. (Back to text) Ibid., p. 387.

  25. (Back to text) Ibid.


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