Warming Food on Shabbos

< Lesson 4: Putting Up Cholent In a Crockpot

Lesson 5: Friday Night Cholent

In this fifth lesson about warming food on Shabbos (or Shabbat), Rabbi Rappaport discusses what to do if you want to serve your cholent, say, Friday night or Shabbos morning, and return the cholent to the crockpot base to remain hot so it can be served again.

(In the previous episode, we discussed that halachically, a blech is not required when putting up fully cooked or completely raw cholent. However, we did recommend it.)

Serving while the pot is directly on the heat is prohibited. You will therefore need to remove the pot from the crockpot base. However, it is only permissible to return it to its place on the heating element if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. When you remove the pot from the element, you must have intention to put it back.
  2. The food must be fully cooked and remain hot throughout (because otherwise you will be causing the food to cook when you return it to the base).
  3. There must be a blech in place – it cannot be returned directly to the fire.
  4. Do not let go of the pot the whole time while it’s off the fire.

This method works for both a flat-base crockpot and an insert-style crockpot.

Rabbi Pinchus Rappaport is a respected rabbi who received his Rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva of Staten Island, under the tutelage of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. He currently serves as a rabbi in Brooklyn, NY.

Since halachic opinions vary among the rabbis of different communities, Oorah and Rabbi Rappaport encourage you to direct any questions to, and get halachic guidance from, your local Orthodox rabbi. You may, however, rely on this video and email Rabbi Rappaport with questions in the interim, at askrpr2@gmail.com.

Shared as a zechus l’iluy nishmas Moshe Zeev ben Aryeh Leib

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  • Ron

    On Friday night Shabbat, I use an electric crock pot. I set it up prior to the beginning of Shabbat. I make Lasagna earlier. I put water in the crock pot and then not too long before I am ready to eat, I dump the water and replace it with tomato sauce and add squares of lasagna. I serve from the hot crock pot and eat. If any is left over in the pot, I remove it and store it. Then I pull the plug on the pot. Sometimes I make a stew in the pot but otherwise all the procedures are the same. I always have a cold breakfast and lunch on Shabbat but both meals are feasts.

    • TorahMates

      Rabbi Rappaport’s response:
      You sound like you really want to honor Shabbat with a festive meal, which is the way that it should be.
      I would suggest that you change the way that you heat up your food in order to be more consistent with the laws of Shabbat. One really shouldn’t put sauce or even fully baked lasagna into a crock pot that is plugged in, and one shouldn’t unplug electric appliances on Shabbat.
      I would recommend the following:

        Get a timer that you plug the crock pot into and set it to turn off around the time that you will be eating.
        Put the sauce and lasagna into the hot crock pot before Shabbat. Just before Shabbat, put the crock pot on the “keep warm” setting.

      This accomplishes:

        Your food will remain hot and won’t burn or dry out, because the pot is on “keep warm”.
        The timer will turn the pot off, so you won’t have to be concerned about having a hot crock pot in your kitchen, posing an electrical hazard.
        You will have the blessing and satisfaction of honoring Shabbat the way that it is supposed to be!

      If you would like to follow up with me at askrpr2@gmail.com, I would be happy to continue to discussion.
      May you have a blessed, sweet New Year!
      -Rabbi Pinchus Rappaport

      Editor’s Note: The laws of Shabbat are very complicated and it takes consistent study to ensure one keeps Shabbat fully. We encourage you to sign up for a TorahMate with whom to learn the laws of Shabbat over the phone for half-hour a week.

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