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Putting food on a hot try with a timer only going on a few hours into Shabbos

Question:

I’m currently learning in a local Hilchos Shabbos chabura and a shailah regarding food and a hot tray has come up. Would there be any chashash of נתינה בתחלה and chazora with putting already cooked food, which is still warm from being taken out of the oven and there is a small amount of sauce below the chicken, on a hot tray Erev Shabbos that will only turn on (through a timer) a few hours later on Shabbos itself for the Leil Shabbos meal?

I’m also asking this because, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a baal teshuva living in a non-frum home and my mother really doesn’t like the hot tray being on for long periods of time, although to me, it would seem ideal for the food to be on the hot tray from Erev Shabbos until the meal.

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

Just make clarify my understanding of your question, you want to put the already cooked food on the hot tray before Shabbos, and the Shabbos clock will turn the hot tray on, a few hours later after Shabbos starts. There is controversy about this, however most poskim rule that it is permitted, as it is only an issue of shehiya, provided that the hot plate itself would not have an issue of shehiya, i.e. it doesn’t have adjustable setting, or it is properly covered, etc. This may not be done on Shabbos itself, as it would be considered נתינה לכתחילה and חזרה.

Sources:

Moso Dyirushalayim – Yerushalmi Shabbos 1-5 in the name of the Chasam Sofer, Tzitz Eliezer 7-16, Chelkas Yackov 1-15,16, Edus Lyisroel pg. 122, Har Tzvi – Tal Horim bishul-9, Chazon Ish O:CH 37-21, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 1-32, Orchos Shabbos 2-68, Ashrei Hoish O:CH 2 3-13, Hilchos Shabbos pg. 322-323 and footnotes 657-660.  There is a preference though if the chicken would be dry, then it would be permitted according to all opinions.

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