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Friday Night Cholent

Question:

May one remove food from the slow cooker on Friday night? If so, how?

 

Answer:

Hello,

My understanding of your question is that you want to take food from the slow cooker, and save the rest for the daytime meal, meaning that you want to do “chazara”- remove the pot from the fire in order to remove some food from it, and then to return the pot to the fire afterwards.

There are a number of conditions needed in order to do chazara from a slow cooker on Friday night. The first two conditions are

  1. That all the food in the slow cooker is already fully cooked and ready to eat. If all the food in the cooker is not fully cooked, then when you return the slow cooker to the base, you will be causing the heat to advance its cooking, which would be Meleches Bishul. (This term is called גרוף וקטום- the fire is covered)
  2. The cooker has to have a separation between the heating element and the porcelain part of the cooker. This is one of the reasons why the fires on the stovetop get covered before Shabbos, in order to be able to return foods to the fire, after removing them from the fire. This separation can be done by either taking a piece of thick silver foil (not something that you would use in order to keep the heating element clean of spills), or by placing a few layers regular silver foil between the two. (נתבשל כל צרכו- fully cooked)

If any of these conditions were not mat, you may not remove food from the slow cooker on Shabbos.

After that there are another two conditions that you have to know when actually removing the pot from the heating element.

  1. You keep the pot in your hand. When dishing out the food, it may be placed on a table, as long as your hand is still on the pot (according to R’ Moshe Feinstein, and according to R’ Eiyashiv, you hand should be supporting the pot in a way that if you would remove your hand the pot would fall). (בידו -in your hand)
  2. You have in mind to return it to the heat source. ( דעתו להחזירו- Intention to return it.)
  3. One other condition to know is that when putting the food back on to the heating element, the food has to still be considered halachically hot ((according to the Sefardim, yad soledes bo, and the Ashkenazim that it is warm enough to be pleasant to eat.). (חם – hot)

I agree this is a little complicated, but I have a way to remember the five conditions. (One of the most common instances when this is done, is by when a boy is sneaking some cholent from the pot, for “Friday night cholent”)

A סימן to remember these five conditions is: גנב חד.

גרוף וקטום

 נתבשל כל צרכו

בידו

 חם

  דעתו להחזירו

 

Sources:

ס’ רנג סע’ ב’.

 

 

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