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New York - Sassoon Fire Casts Spotlight On Shabbos Food Warming Practices

Published on: March 26, 2015 12:15 PM
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Several different models of Hotplates on Display at an Appliance store in Monsey NY Several different models of Hotplates on Display at an Appliance store in Monsey NY

New York - The unthinkable deaths of seven brothers and sisters this past weekend in a raging blaze, possibly caused by an electric hotplate, has once again cast the spotlight on a nagging questions that has no easy answer:  how to heat up food for Shabbos, safely and halachically.

Leave your food on a blech and there are those who will warn of dangerous carbon monoxide levels caused by leaving a flame burning for the duration of Shabbos.

Use a hotplate, as the Sassoon family did on that fateful Shabbos, and run the risk of an electrical fire, which could be caused by any number of factors including a short circuit, a defective or unsafe hotplate, a frayed wire, an overheating device or several other reasons.  Is a crock pot the answer, or can any electrical device left unattended overnight and turned on for as long as 25 hours on Shabbos be a potential fire hazard?  It may be halachically permissible to heat up food on Shabbos. But can it be done without compromising on safety?

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As someone who uses a blech to warm food for Shabbos I don’t know much about hotplates so I Google one model that I am told is popular in the Jewish community:  an electric griddle made by Presto.  I read the three page instruction booklet to see if it warns against using the griddle for an extended amount of time, but it doesn’t. I call Presto customer service and speak to a representative who identifies herself only as Sara and says that the griddle is designed to be used for cooking only.  She seems mystified by the idea of leaving the griddle on for a 25 hour period, telling me unequivocally, “It is not to be used as a warming tray or a warming appliance.”

A trip to two local Jewish owned stores gives me a first-hand look at twelve different units made by seven different companies, ranging in price from $30 to $130.

Some bear the approval of various safety institutes in various countries while others have none.  Surprisingly enough, very few of the boxes have any information about the products’ manufacturers.  One lists a phone number, while another supplies a website address.  Two other models report just the manufacturer’s city and state.  A third says only that it was distributed by a company in New Jersey, but a quick Google search of the distributor yields zero useful results.  I find the lack of identifying information on the packaging to be more than a little unsettling.

I discuss safety ratings with the salesman in the first store I visit. He understood right away that my questions were directly related to the deaths of the Sassoon children and told me he wasn’t sure if any of his hotplates had the endorsement of any safety institutes but pointed me to one that actually did:  the Presto Cool Touch Electric Griddle.  Both this model and its larger sibling, the Presto Tilt N Drain Big Griddle Cool Touch Griddle, bear the Underwriters Laboratory seal of approval, certifying the safety of the product.  I inform the salesman that the instruction booklets for both models clearly state in bold face type that the product is not intended to be used as a warming tray.  He shrugs his shoulders and tells me “Everybody does it.”

A popular griddle used by the Orthodox Jewish community as a hotplate for ShabbosA popular griddle used by the Orthodox Jewish community as a hotplate for Shabbos

I spend some time checking out the other hotplates in stock.  A Canadian electric griddle bears the Intertek stamp and says it is ETL listed for safety.  Another model comes in two different sizes; neither indicates that any agency has certified the product as safe and other than the words “Made in China,” there is absolutely nothing on the package that identifies the product’s manufacturer. 

An Israeli hotplate that comes in three different sizes is stamped halachically approved for Shabbos, but none have any verbiage that attests to their safety status.  One Israeli hot plate, the Moledet Top Heat Shabat Hot Plate actually has a series of logos on the box. I take a picture of all three and email it to my sister in law in Efrat who tells me that one of those stamps is the “Tav Teken” which certifies that the product meets the applicable safety requirements of the Standards Institution of Israel.  How safe are any of these products?  I have no idea.

I make a quick stop at a second store and spend a few minutes chatting with a salesperson there, who declines to give me his name but recommends $130 glass topped Deluxe Shabbat Warming Tray by Embee, bearing the European CE safety designation.

He tells me that while the top of the unit can reach as high as 230 degrees, the underside stays significantly cooler, thereby reducing the risk of having the countertop catch fire due to extreme heat. He also informs me that he has been telling customers for years to avoid Israeli hotplates and mentions a fatal fire in Brooklyn a few years ago caused by a hotplate.  I ask him why he sells hotplates that he believes are dangerous and he explains that because they don’t have thermostats, many people find the Israeli models preferable from a halachic standpoint but that he urges anyone who buys the those hotplates to use them only on a non-flammable surface, like their stovetop or the top of their washing machine.

An Israeli made hotplate shows an Halachic stamp of approvel but lacks to show any safety ratings stamp.An Israeli made hotplate shows an Halachic stamp of approvel but lacks to show any safety ratings stamp.

Ensuring the integrity of products that will find their way into people’s homes is both imperative and biblically mandated according to contemporary halachic expert, Rabbi Yair Hoffman.

“There are a number of Torah mitzvos involved in making sure that the products that go out to klal yisroel are safe,” Rabbi Hoffman told VIN News. “Unfortunately we don’t necessarily do that.  We have had plastic yahrtzeit candles.  Prefilled, individual oil cups for the Chanukah menorah made out of plastic that can melt, and actually started a house fire a few years ago.  The first thing we should be doing is seeing what safety issues are involved in any products and appliances that we use.”

Rabbi Hoffman suggested that heating appliances for Shabbos usage take their cue from other kitchen appliances that have evolved over the years to incorporate additional safety features.

“In the 60’s and 70’s we had kids losing fingers because of blenders and food processors and other kitchen machinery and there has been constant product improvement to prevent those injuries,” said Rabbi Hoffman.

“We should be doing the same thing in terms of the technology behind our blechs.  There is no question that the issues of shehiya, bishul and hatmona have to be done properly, but we also have to put safety up there.  We should be looking for technological solutions. If something gets too hot there should be an automatic shut off, those types of issues.  I believe that making sure that all electrical items are UL approved is part of the mitzvah of saving lives, which is a d’oraysa.”

Safety is a major factor for the Star-K, which works with major appliance companies to offer a “Sabbath mode” in order to circumvent certain halachic problems when left on on Shabbos or Yom Tov.

Sabbath mode on an oven (RyanIsHungry via Wikimedia Commons)Sabbath mode on an oven (RyanIsHungry via Wikimedia Commons)

According to Dr. Avrom Pollak, President of the Star-K, the agency routinely declines offers to certify devices brought to them by individuals because of safety concerns, preferring instead to work with the large companies who put all products through rigorous safety testing.

“The Torah tells us ‘v’nishmartem meod l’nafshoseychem,’” said Dr. Pollak.  “You don’t find wording like that by very many mitzvos.”

An email from Jonah Ottensoser, an engineer who works with the Star-K, attests to the safety of all ovens bearing Star-K certification.

“Our Shabbos mode ovens are manufactured by major companies who conduct many safety tests to verify the safety of their products,” reads Ottensoser’s email.  “In addition, I believe that all of the Sabbath mode ovens meet UL (Underwriters Laboratory) requirements.  I have noticed that some of the hotplates and hot water urns sold to the frum community do not have UL certification. Perhaps consumers should only purchase heating devices that are UL or equivalent approved.”

Ottensoser’s email advised extreme caution for any item that will be left plugged in on Shabbos.

“Use of these heating devices should be evaluated before actual use on Shabbos/Yom Tov. Cords should never get so hot that they cannot be held in hand. Wires should not be frayed and plugs should fit firmly into outlet sockets.”

Ottensoser’s email underscores a very important point:  even the safest of hotplates can be lethal if not used appropriately.

Passaic resident Moshe Stareshefsky, a volunteer firefighter in Rutherford, New Jersey, warned of other potential hotplate dangers.

“Remember that hotplates use up a lot of power when they are running, much like an air conditioner or space heater,” said Stareshefsky.  “Make sure the outlet you are using can handle the electrical needs.”

Stareshefsky also advised using timers to shut off hotplates on Shabbos afternoon so that the device isn’t running for a full 25 hours and had strong words of caution about using blankets or towels to cover food on a hotplate.

“This is extremely dangerous and can cause the whole hot plate to overheat, especially the electrical system and wiring that connects to the wall,” said Stareshefsky.

Special blankets designed to help foods get hot and retain their temperature are meant to be used on a blech, away from any flames, and not on a hot plate, according to Stareshefsky who said that he himself used the blanket on his hotplate with treacherous results.

“We killed the hotplate by putting the blanket on top of the food,” said Stareshefsky. “The hotplate overheated and burned out. It could have easily caused a fire.”

FILE - Firefighters stand near the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015.  ReutersFILE - Firefighters stand near the site of a home fire in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York March 21, 2015.  Reuters

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, whose district includes the Sassoon family’s Bedford Avenue home, said that over 1,000 structural fires were reported in Midwood and several surrounding neighborhoods in 2014.

Deutsch coordinated a fire safety training event in conjunction with the FDNY, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and other local elected officials on Tuesday night with free smoke detectors distributed in memory of the Sassoon children. 

The Sassoons, who had moved to Brooklyn from Israel less than two years ago, had only one smoke detector in their home, located in the basement.  Neither smoke detectors nor carbon monoxide detectors are legally required in private dwellings in Israel.

According to Deutsch, the fire safety event had actually been arranged three weeks ago.

“I saw the need for something like this every time I got a notification of a fire and I wanted to be pro-active,” said Deutsch.

Deutsch noted several close calls in his own house over the years.

“Some people shut their stove off before Shabbos and cover their soup pot with towels to keep it hot,” said Deutsch. “The problem is that the pot is still sitting on top of the grates and if someone leans against the knob and it turns on, it can start a fire. How do I know? Because it happened to me. My daughter started screaming and I grabbed the burning towel and threw it out on the window.”

In another incident the councilman said he was woken up by his smoke detectors one Pesach.

“We had a stove fire,” recalled Deutsch.  “We were all upstairs sleeping and the smoke alarm went off.  I jumped out of bed, woke up my wife, grabbed my phone and two of our three kids.  I couldn’t find the third one.  We went downstairs and found the three year old standing a few feet away from the stove watching the fire.  Luckily I had a fire extinguisher so I called 911 while using the fire extinguisher to put out the fire.  I tell people that that fire extinguisher saved my property and the smoke alarm saved my family.”

Deutsch advised common sense when it comes to hotplate safety.

“If a wire is cut or exposed, don’t tape it up; get rid of the hotplate,” said Deutsch. “Be careful what is around the stovetop especially in the summer when the air conditioning is on.  Make sure there are no napkins that can blow around and no towels nearby.”

There is still much to be said on finding safe ways to heat up food on Shabbos and the topic will likely be discussed in depth, both within the Jewish community and by the fire that serve large Jewish neighborhoods.  While we cannot compromise on either halacha or safety, two things are painfully clear from this weekend’s horrific fire: properly maintained and strategically located smoke detectors are a must in all homes and as always, caution and common sense are crucial in order to keep our families safe, particularly when dealing with electrical appliances.



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Read Comments (50)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 26, 2015 at 12:27 PM Anonymous Says:

They all are certified safe by UL and or by the European equivalent called CE

Maybe we should all stop flying in a plane because you never know if the pilot is an Arab?

What if our president is from Kenya, "flying our country" should we all leave the US untill his term is over?

2

 Mar 26, 2015 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Gas Stoves with an old fashioned Bleach has been used safely for countless decades. No need for new unknown electric devises from China.

3

 Mar 26, 2015 at 12:58 PM HankM Says:

Reply to 1. Re Obama, good point, we probably should

4

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Gas Stoves with an old fashioned Bleach has been used safely for countless decades. No need for new unknown electric devises from China.

And we always heard of tragedies, ie. the flame goes out and the house fills with gas.

5

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:08 PM Anonymous Says:

I have been using a water blech (kdeirah blech) over gas range for years and never had a problem. No electricity involved and it never gets very hot. Just warms up food. Too bad stores are not selling them anymore.

6

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:14 PM pinay Says:

In the wake of this tragedy the least we can do is pay attention to basic fire safety.

1. use only UL or similarly certified devices.

2. Chinese Manufacturers are notorious for cutting corners when it comes to safety. Use only Brand Name appliances.

3. Israeli hotplates supposedly get much hotter than American hotplates, see if they are certified with a UL equivalent. Also in Israel everything is Marble, Brick and Stone and there are consequently much less house fires. In the US everything is made out of wood, including countertops (formica covered wood) and house framing. If you are concerned about having a thermostat on Shabbos on a US hotplate consider taping the knob or covering with foil.

4. for those who use a gas stove with a blech remember gas has an open flame , I recently left a towel on the countertop near the stove (which had its flame on low) and the towel caught fire. Be careful.

7

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:13 PM Abisel Seichel Says:

So were does it stop , is only the Shabbos with the blech and plate that causes problems, how about a similar fire from a faulty fluorescent were seven children were barely saved taken out all black faces from smoke rushed to the hospital and BH saved , no one talks about eliminating fluorescent light, how many fires have been caused by other faulty electric home appliances, with no issue, and so on and on, cars planes trains boats all involved in tragedy accidents and still you go out for fun trips with no issue, only the fault of Shabbos is alarming. Shame Shame.

8

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Gas Stoves with an old fashioned Bleach has been used safely for countless decades. No need for new unknown electric devises from China.

Right, and a family in Williamsburg three years ago will not agree with you. (Sarcastically)

Fire safety should be followed no matter the method of use. There should be space between the blech and the counters, as well as the back of the stove, so that heat can be released safety. Hotplates should only be plugged into GFI outlets and should not be run continuously for the whole shabbos.

9

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:30 PM JonUngerman Says:

I have been eating cold food on Shabbos for years. It tastes delicious and there are no worries about electrical fires etc.

It is my understanding that The Chachamim instituted a takanah to eat hot food on Shabbos as a reaction to the Sadducees. The Sadducees interpreted the written Torah literally. They would not use a flame on Shabbos even if it was already on before Shabbos because the Torah forbids fire on Shabbos.

I may be wrong, and correct me if I am, but there are no longer any Sadducees around. So why do we have to keep a takanah which was specifically made to rebuff Sadducees?

I am always open to learning something new. Can anyone address this question? Thank you.

10

 Mar 26, 2015 at 01:35 PM Bezalel Says:

Reply to #7  
Abisel Seichel Says:

So were does it stop , is only the Shabbos with the blech and plate that causes problems, how about a similar fire from a faulty fluorescent were seven children were barely saved taken out all black faces from smoke rushed to the hospital and BH saved , no one talks about eliminating fluorescent light, how many fires have been caused by other faulty electric home appliances, with no issue, and so on and on, cars planes trains boats all involved in tragedy accidents and still you go out for fun trips with no issue, only the fault of Shabbos is alarming. Shame Shame.

Twice in the 1970s, my Mom had undercounter fluorescent lamps in which the transformer burned its way through the plastic and broke free, swinging in the air by the wires connecting it. In both cases, we were sitting there in the kitchen and were able to unplug the lamp and there was no harm. Both devices had functioned properly for over a year before this happened. Both were UL certified. People keep talking about the UL as though it is perfect.

11

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:04 PM TexasJew Says:

The "Viking" warming drawer is excellent and the cost is less than $2500.00.

12

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Anyone know if crockpots are safer than hotplates?

13

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:13 PM Anonymous Says:

The writer and many commenators talk about how they just use a gas range with a blech? Is that safer? Any kids can just throw something or move something onto the fire? It just doesn't seem safer to me.
Another pointer, yes we should take all the necssary saftey precautions needed to prevent another tragedy. But lets all not loose ourselves. Fires from hot plates are a rariety. There were probably lo alinu more deaths in our community due to car accidents than there are are due to hot plates. Yet we all still drive. Will anyone hesitate to go on our planes after the Luftansa crash in France? We can't live a life of paranoia. I'll repeat this does not mean a free pass not to take saftey precautions. But we must move on too.

14

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Do Shabbos mode ovens work for heating food the second day of yomtov?

15

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:25 PM George Says:

Warning: If there are any loose parts inside the hotplate, do not use. A heating element inside may have become disconnected from it's proper location and may be touching another heating element which will cause extreme heat.

16

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:46 PM Anonymous Says:

People are blaming the fire on Shabbos observance. The Sassoon's appliance may have been on for less than four hours.

17

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:49 PM RebJon Says:

I agree that electrical appliances must be used with seichel, and an electrical fire could come from a heater, lightbulb, etc. I also agree that it is not a frequent occurrence when considering how many Jews keep food hot.

1. I use both a crockpot and a hotplate. The crock for the cholent stays on, but the hotplate is on a timer and goes off Friday night then back on Shabbos morning, and off again Shabbos afternoon. It's generally off when we go to sleep.

2. I'd like to point out the halachic ramifications to different heating methods. You can't put new food on a blech, but you can put it onto a hot plate. That's a big score for the hot plate. (Not mechzi k'mevashel.) Same goes for an oven, into which you cannot put food to warm up once Shabbos starts. I'm not sure what the heating blankets look like, but one must be careful of hatmana, insulating, when using them, especially along with a heat source.

18

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:50 PM Rafuel Says:

Reply to #6  
pinay Says:

In the wake of this tragedy the least we can do is pay attention to basic fire safety.

1. use only UL or similarly certified devices.

2. Chinese Manufacturers are notorious for cutting corners when it comes to safety. Use only Brand Name appliances.

3. Israeli hotplates supposedly get much hotter than American hotplates, see if they are certified with a UL equivalent. Also in Israel everything is Marble, Brick and Stone and there are consequently much less house fires. In the US everything is made out of wood, including countertops (formica covered wood) and house framing. If you are concerned about having a thermostat on Shabbos on a US hotplate consider taping the knob or covering with foil.

4. for those who use a gas stove with a blech remember gas has an open flame , I recently left a towel on the countertop near the stove (which had its flame on low) and the towel caught fire. Be careful.

Almost all small brand name appliances (such as hotplates, coffee makers, tea kettles, toaster ovens, etc.) are made in China. They may carry brand names such as Black & Decker, Cuisinart, Farberware, whatever, but turn them upside down and check the made in label. You would be very hard pressed to find one that's not made in China these days.

19

 Mar 26, 2015 at 02:51 PM Thomas Paine Says:

A philanthropist could distribute hundreds of thousands of free smoke alarms and 9 volt batteries. A quick Google search reveals that a smoke alarm costs between 5 to 10 dollars, and the battery is about 3 dollars. Here in New York City, for less than 10 million dollars, much of the problem can be solved. Which mitzvah takes precedence: maakeh or mezzuzah? Maakeh - the Torah requirement that a house with a flat roof must have a guard rail. You can't live in a house without a roof guard rail for even one day, but you have 30 days to affix a mezzuzah. Somebody should ask Mayor Bloomberg, who is a good fellow.

20

 Mar 26, 2015 at 03:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

I have been using a water blech (kdeirah blech) over gas range for years and never had a problem. No electricity involved and it never gets very hot. Just warms up food. Too bad stores are not selling them anymore.

Amazing Savings has them in Brooklyn and 5 Towns

21

 Mar 26, 2015 at 03:12 PM bcurrent Says:

As I once heard, Hashem told the malach hamaves that when it comes the time to do his job, noone will blame him. It will be the smoke alarm, the sickness, the airplane or car etc...

That being said, yes, we must do our hishtadlus to be safe in every situation, but lets remember who is in charge here.

Keep safe.
Besoros Tovos
Chag Kosher V'sameach to all of Klal Yisrael.

22

 Mar 26, 2015 at 03:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They all are certified safe by UL and or by the European equivalent called CE

Maybe we should all stop flying in a plane because you never know if the pilot is an Arab?

What if our president is from Kenya, "flying our country" should we all leave the US untill his term is over?

Your remarks are both silly and also shows your ignorance of what UL approved means. UL approved (which you can look up on their web site.) means that the product meets certain safety standards when it is used as designed. AS DESIGNED. Almost every hotplate states in its instructions that the plate is to be used to warm up foods only under supervision. It is not designed to be left on for 24 hours while you are sleeping. No manufacturer OK's that.

23

 Mar 26, 2015 at 04:10 PM I use Presto Says:

The Israeli brands, made wherever have this easily damaged plastic protrusion covering dangerous wires. The presto is solid metal. I am confident that if it is safe 30 minutes it is safe hours AS LONG AS IT IS NOT TOUCHING or NEAR FLAMMABLE surface. The presto sometimes loses a leg and then you need to fix the leg so it does not rest a hot surface on wood.
Using a towel for any reason is beyond stupid. No Rabbi, Rebbe nor Rav said to use the towel, they may have said it is allowed. They will understand that using the towel is only if safe.
The UL requires certain standards in design which I assume are absent in the brands with Israeli names, I also had to throw them out after getting electrical current leaks.

24

 Mar 26, 2015 at 04:15 PM DovidTheK Says:

Gegilte fish and Deli sandwiches for Shabbos lunch.

25

 Mar 26, 2015 at 06:58 PM Rafuel Says:

Reply to #9  
JonUngerman Says:

I have been eating cold food on Shabbos for years. It tastes delicious and there are no worries about electrical fires etc.

It is my understanding that The Chachamim instituted a takanah to eat hot food on Shabbos as a reaction to the Sadducees. The Sadducees interpreted the written Torah literally. They would not use a flame on Shabbos even if it was already on before Shabbos because the Torah forbids fire on Shabbos.

I may be wrong, and correct me if I am, but there are no longer any Sadducees around. So why do we have to keep a takanah which was specifically made to rebuff Sadducees?

I am always open to learning something new. Can anyone address this question? Thank you.

"I may be wrong, and correct me if I am"

You are right about the origins of the takono, but couldn't be more wrong about not needing to be miskayem it b'zmanenu. It goes to the basics of the Torah derabonon it would take too much time and many more words that this website allows to do this subject justice. Ask your rov. (And if the rov agrees with you that you don't need to be miskayem, run fast and run far - this rov is a fraud.)

26

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:07 PM Anonymous Says:

electric appliances should NOT BE USED ON SHABBOS OR YOM TOV

27

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They all are certified safe by UL and or by the European equivalent called CE

Maybe we should all stop flying in a plane because you never know if the pilot is an Arab?

What if our president is from Kenya, "flying our country" should we all leave the US untill his term is over?

You got some anger issues that need to be re-evaluated. The article is about trying to keep us safe...what's your problem?

28

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

And we always heard of tragedies, ie. the flame goes out and the house fills with gas.

make sure your flame is not peeny weeny and if it goes out...today they actually put a smell into the gases and it definitely smells...So you leave the house and call a goy or someone to close it. It is pekuach nefesh .

29

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:17 PM Yonason_Herschlag Says:

Reply to #17  
RebJon Says:

I agree that electrical appliances must be used with seichel, and an electrical fire could come from a heater, lightbulb, etc. I also agree that it is not a frequent occurrence when considering how many Jews keep food hot.

1. I use both a crockpot and a hotplate. The crock for the cholent stays on, but the hotplate is on a timer and goes off Friday night then back on Shabbos morning, and off again Shabbos afternoon. It's generally off when we go to sleep.

2. I'd like to point out the halachic ramifications to different heating methods. You can't put new food on a blech, but you can put it onto a hot plate. That's a big score for the hot plate. (Not mechzi k'mevashel.) Same goes for an oven, into which you cannot put food to warm up once Shabbos starts. I'm not sure what the heating blankets look like, but one must be careful of hatmana, insulating, when using them, especially along with a heat source.

A hot plate has the same din as a blech. Putting uncooked food on it is an issur de'reisa of bishul, and using it to heat cold precooked food is an issur d'rabbonin of michzi k'mevashel.

30

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
bcurrent Says:

As I once heard, Hashem told the malach hamaves that when it comes the time to do his job, noone will blame him. It will be the smoke alarm, the sickness, the airplane or car etc...

That being said, yes, we must do our hishtadlus to be safe in every situation, but lets remember who is in charge here.

Keep safe.
Besoros Tovos
Chag Kosher V'sameach to all of Klal Yisrael.

True, but since we have to do our hishtadlus and a fire did occur which woke us up to the fact that maybe these devices are not altogether safe...we need to write about it to inform the public...Simple.

31

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
RebJon Says:

I agree that electrical appliances must be used with seichel, and an electrical fire could come from a heater, lightbulb, etc. I also agree that it is not a frequent occurrence when considering how many Jews keep food hot.

1. I use both a crockpot and a hotplate. The crock for the cholent stays on, but the hotplate is on a timer and goes off Friday night then back on Shabbos morning, and off again Shabbos afternoon. It's generally off when we go to sleep.

2. I'd like to point out the halachic ramifications to different heating methods. You can't put new food on a blech, but you can put it onto a hot plate. That's a big score for the hot plate. (Not mechzi k'mevashel.) Same goes for an oven, into which you cannot put food to warm up once Shabbos starts. I'm not sure what the heating blankets look like, but one must be careful of hatmana, insulating, when using them, especially along with a heat source.

Just curious...don't know if you will answer the question, as we all need to ask our own rav...but turning your hot plate off with a timer and then on again and then off again...the part where you turned it off and then on again in the morning...did you ask a sheila whether turning it on again in the morning after is was cold for hours was halachically permitted. Just asking...was not ....not so simple.

32

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

And we always heard of tragedies, ie. the flame goes out and the house fills with gas.

Oh yes...how many do you know of... let';s hear.

33

 Mar 26, 2015 at 07:45 PM mewhoze Says:

#11 , $2500 is a lot of money. I don't know anyone with a stove for that price.

34

 Mar 26, 2015 at 08:18 PM gimmeabreak Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They all are certified safe by UL and or by the European equivalent called CE

Maybe we should all stop flying in a plane because you never know if the pilot is an Arab?

What if our president is from Kenya, "flying our country" should we all leave the US untill his term is over?

I think that you leaving the country would be an excellent idea.

35

 Mar 26, 2015 at 09:22 PM TexasJew Says:

Reply to #33  
mewhoze Says:

#11 , $2500 is a lot of money. I don't know anyone with a stove for that price.

My Viking oven is close to 20G, but the food taste the same as $1000 oven.

36

 Mar 26, 2015 at 10:31 PM aleph Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

make sure your flame is not peeny weeny and if it goes out...today they actually put a smell into the gases and it definitely smells...So you leave the house and call a goy or someone to close it. It is pekuach nefesh .

I don't think you need to call anybody to shut the GAS if the flame goes out. Besides for the danger issue, why is it different than shutting a water faucet?

37

 Mar 26, 2015 at 10:36 PM Anonymous Says:

#28 - you are WRONG. If the flame goes out, turn off the gas IMMEDIATELY - and do it YOURSELF. It is permitted. Check Vol. 1, p. 11, English paperback edition, of R' Yehoshua Neuwirth's "Shemirath Shabbat : A guide to the practical observance of Shabbath." It says: "28. a) One may turn off the tap of a gas burner which has gone out, so as to stop the gas from escaping. b) Where possible, this should be done with a variation from the usual manner, for instance by turning off the tap with the back of the hand or with the elbow." In other words, turn it off so there won't ch"v be an explosion. Use a variation if you can, but otherwise just turn it off. The sefer is published by Feldheim, so it's normative halacha, not a minority opinion.

38

 Mar 26, 2015 at 11:34 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They all are certified safe by UL and or by the European equivalent called CE

Maybe we should all stop flying in a plane because you never know if the pilot is an Arab?

What if our president is from Kenya, "flying our country" should we all leave the US untill his term is over?

Our President is from Hawaii, not Kenya.

39

 Mar 26, 2015 at 11:34 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #34  
gimmeabreak Says:

I think that you leaving the country would be an excellent idea.

Given how much he hates America it is surprising why he would want to stay.

40

 Mar 26, 2015 at 11:38 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #29  
Yonason_Herschlag Says:

A hot plate has the same din as a blech. Putting uncooked food on it is an issur de'reisa of bishul, and using it to heat cold precooked food is an issur d'rabbonin of michzi k'mevashel.

Everyone in my community heats precooked food on Shabat. Einu bishul acher bishul.

41

 Mar 27, 2015 at 12:03 AM mutti Says:

Reply to #29  
Yonason_Herschlag Says:

A hot plate has the same din as a blech. Putting uncooked food on it is an issur de'reisa of bishul, and using it to heat cold precooked food is an issur d'rabbonin of michzi k'mevashel.

a hotplate is not mechzei kmevashel bec no one cooks food on them. especially the ones that do not have adjustable heat levels.

42

 Mar 27, 2015 at 12:19 AM Arielski Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

I have been using a water blech (kdeirah blech) over gas range for years and never had a problem. No electricity involved and it never gets very hot. Just warms up food. Too bad stores are not selling them anymore.

Mile Chai in Denver sells water blechs.

43

 Mar 27, 2015 at 09:03 AM Chaimd Says:

I read somewhere that someone thought of the possibility that maybe the wire from the hotplate got caught underneath the pot on top of the hotplate and maybe that is how the wire shorted out and maybe there was no defect at all. Such a scenario is very possible.

44

 Mar 27, 2015 at 10:08 AM BuckyinWisconsin Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

make sure your flame is not peeny weeny and if it goes out...today they actually put a smell into the gases and it definitely smells...So you leave the house and call a goy or someone to close it. It is pekuach nefesh .

If it is pekuach nefesh, shut it yourself.

45

 Mar 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM bucky Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

electric appliances should NOT BE USED ON SHABBOS OR YOM TOV

Thank you Mr. Tzeduki. does this mean you sit in the dark all Shabbos with no lights on? Just kidding, and Gut Shabbos.

46

 Mar 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Abisel Seichel Says:

So were does it stop , is only the Shabbos with the blech and plate that causes problems, how about a similar fire from a faulty fluorescent were seven children were barely saved taken out all black faces from smoke rushed to the hospital and BH saved , no one talks about eliminating fluorescent light, how many fires have been caused by other faulty electric home appliances, with no issue, and so on and on, cars planes trains boats all involved in tragedy accidents and still you go out for fun trips with no issue, only the fault of Shabbos is alarming. Shame Shame.

Wake up. We are dealing with faulty products left on overnight!

47

 Mar 27, 2015 at 01:54 PM Mr&Mrs; AmHaAretz Says:

With all due respect... perhaps it's time for our Gedolim to decide,
Is the reason for cholent L'Shem Shomayim? or ancient politics?

? Isn't there a story reported in Talmud Bavli about a Roman dignitary, who was invited to be a guest at a Shabbat meal, and he marveled,
How can it be that cold food tastes so extra delicious?
Rabbi answered, It's the Shabbat spirit that makes it taste so delicious!

One can plan for hot food Shabbat night.
And a cold meal (or at room temperature) for Shabbat day.
And maintain a beautiful hedge around our holy Torah b'yad Moshe.

48

 Mar 27, 2015 at 02:09 PM ayoldguy1 Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Do Shabbos mode ovens work for heating food the second day of yomtov?

Yes. Setting your oven on shabbos mode allows it to stay on until you turn it off; it overrides the auto shutoff many ovens have these days. Of course, one should take proper precautions when leaving a stove on for more than a day (make sure kitchen is ventilated, no flammable goods near stove, etc). I raise and lower my oven temp on Yom Tov, per R' Heinemann's permission. Lowering the temp can reduce risk of carbon monoxide and fire/heat issues as well, since oven isn't firing itself up so often to maintain 350-400 degree temps all day(s) long. Of course, ask your LOR.

I am constantly amazed at how few ppl use their shabbos mode, despite the fact that they purchased an oven with it! Shabbos mode obviates having to run a hotplate, etc or even a blech at all from Friday nite thru shabbos day - most shabbos mode ovens can be set on Friday to turn themselves off without beeping, etc after a certain time period. Our setup is usually: oven turns off in middle of Fri nite meal, crockpot is on from Fri thru shabbos lunch on a timer. If we use a hotplate, it goes on 10-11 AM Sat morning and goes off 2hrs later.

49

 Mar 27, 2015 at 05:45 PM ThinkAgain Says:

#48 "ayoldguy1", You are correct with the Shabbos mode on the oven, however I believe it's not so clear with your crockpot and hotplate.
Turning off your crockpot on Shabbos with a timer is, according to many Poskim, not permitted. Turning ON AND OFF a hotplate on SHABBOS is AFAIK definitely NOT permitted.
Please let us know which Orthodox Rabbi(s) approves of your "solution" to this issue.

50

 Mar 29, 2015 at 12:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #38  
charliehall Says:

Our President is from Hawaii, not Kenya.

Yeah right and he's the best president in US history too, right? Got a bridge to sell ya....

51

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