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Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel 5779

Ask the Rabbi: Moving Kugel into a Cholent Pot Revisited

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: May I take a potato kugel that was on a hot plate on Shabbat and put it into a cholent that is in a crock pot?  


Answer: [In discussing the matter weeks ago (Bo 5779), we neglected to discuss (as pointed out by a reader) a topic that we will develop below. We also note that a discussion of the general use of a crock pot on Shabbat can be found on Eretz Hemdah’s website in Hemdat Yamim archives – Teruma 5772 or by searching in the Ask the Rabbi section with the keyword: crock pot. We already saw that the permissibility of chazara from a hot plate depends on the machloket on a hot plate’s status and that there are ways to ensure that hatmana will not be a problem.]  

Although we made the whole discussion contingent on all the food involved being fully cooked before making the move, we must see if there is a problem that the kugel was baked and now is going into a pot in which food is being cooked. There is a broad rule that ein bishul achar bishul (see 145b) – once a food has been (fully) cooked, further cooking is permitted, but this rule may have exceptions. There is a machloket whether this is true if one wants to reheat a liquid that has cooled down (see Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Orach Chayim 318:4). Another machloket is whether a baked food can be put into a hot liquid, in which it can become cooked (ibid. 5). Why should added cooking be forbidden if the food is already halachically cooked (note that the melacha listed among the 39 melachot is ofeh (baking) –Shabbat 73a)?

The gemara (Berachot 38b) cites a machloket Tannaim whether matza that was subsequently cooked can be used for the mitzva of matza and surmises that those who say that cooking changes the matza’s status would also say that it changes its beracha status. However, the gemara concludes that matza is special in that it requires “the taste of matza.” This implies that later cooking does not change a baked good’s halachic statuses. Similarly, a gemara (Pesachim 41a) says that a Korban Pesach that was properly roasted could be ruined by a subsequent cooking, but concludes again that this is an exception due to the nature of Korban Pesach. Nevertheless, the Yerei’im (274) posits that the change caused by cooking a baked food is prohibited on Shabbat, probably even on the level of Torah law. The Shulchan Aruch and Rama (OC 318:5) cite both the Yerei’im and those who argue with him. Their conclusions are not fully clear, but the practice, at least of Ashkenazim, is to be stringent.

Many Acharonim are troubled how the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 15) allows placing cooked food opposite a fireplace, since this is, in effect, an act of roasting (see Biur Halacha ad loc.).  The Chazon Ish (OC 37:14) answers that if the fire just heats and slightly dries up cooked food but does not give the taste of roasting, it is permissible. The Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (1:60) forbids putting cooked (as opposed to baked/roasted) foods on the top of a pot on the flame, even though he cites several who are lenient. The Orchot Shabbat accepts the lenient position, and this is the prevalent minhag.

Thus, putting a food that was cooked in a roasting/baking situation but without impactful change, and probably vice versa, are permitted. What happens to potato kugel in a crock pot with cholent? The answer may depend on various factors: how liquidy the cholent is; whether there are big holes in the aluminum foil; where the kugel is situated; the level of interaction, etc. In most cases, the taste changes due to the interaction, but for our purposes the texture change is the real issue. It is hard to know exactly where to draw the line, and again the answer can change from kitchen to kitchen.

When considering all the questions that have arisen, many of which depend on the specifics of each case, it is hard to encourage putting the kugel in the crock pot on Shabbat, even while it is not correct to outright forbid it. Therefore, we recommend that if one wants to have potato kugel sit in the cholent pot overnight, put it in before Shabbat.

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