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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Pinchas


            We mentioned last week that one may not invite gentiles to a Yom Tov meal (as opposed to Shabbos, where it is permitted).

            Does that mean that I may not give my Yom Tov food to my gentile maid?

            No, it is not the same. The reason for the distinction is because ones maid is not a guest and is not treated with the same honor. One would not cook extra food in a separate pot for the maid and therefore there is no room for concern. However, one may only add extra to the pot in the first place before the initial cooking but not add to the pot after it is already on the stove even for ones maid.

There are exceptions to the rule, for example, certain dishes have a better taste when there is more food in the pot, which would permit adding food to the pot even after it is on the stove, but a rav would need to be consulted because this does not always apply. As mentioned, the optimal is to add as much as necessary to the pot before cooking.

            May I invite guests on Yom Tov after the food is prepared? It seems that then there is no room to be concerned that I will cook more food.

            Even in this case it is forbidden to invite a gentile. [1]

            What if the gentile arrives uninvited?

            If the guest arrives after your meal is already prepared the person may partake of the meal. If however the person is a VIP, there are those who prohibit this unless you explicitly say to the guest that he may share whatever you have prepared. Even if the person arrives on his accord, you may not coax and invite the guest, because that is similar to an invitation. [2]

            How does the halacha regard someone who publicly and knowingly violates the Shabbos with regards to this halacha?

            The poskim [3] rule that such a person shares the same status as a gentile in many respects and in this case as well. Since this question is very pertinent to many people all over the world, a rav must be consulted as how to deal with such a situation.

A gentile took a peek at the cholent and gave it a good stir to improve its cooking. May it be eaten? What if a Jew did that?

            We must first understand whether there is an issur involved with stirring a cholent, and the answer is divided into two parts. The first part deals with a case where the cholent was not fully cooked and the second when it was already fully cooked.

The problem is called or stirring. The gemora Beitza 34a [4] tells us that stirring food on the fire is equivalent to cooking and is an issur doraisso. The common explanation is because stirring causes certain ingredients to cook, which otherwise would not have cooked properly - had the food not been stirred.

Accordingly therefore, one may not stir food that is on the stove and is not fully cooked because it involves the issur of Bishul. (R Akiva Eiger [5] cites a Ritva who says that if food in a pot would have cooked in an hour or two and through stirring the coals one hastens the cooking, it is possible that one has violated an issur doraisso of cooking). The same would apply to stirring the food. [6]

            What if the food is fully cooked? May one stir it when it is on the stove (or blech or hotplate)?

            When the Mechaber [7] refers to stirring food in a pot he does not say that one is permitted to stir the food when it is on the fire. Indeed the Mishna Berura [8] explains that according to several opinions one may not stir food on the fire. We now know that one must not stir food on a heat source and there is room to be stringent and prohibit stirring even when it is fully cooked and off the fire, as stated in the MB. [9]

      What if it was stirred, may the food be eaten?

            The food may be eaten if by mistake it was stirred even while on the fire. The truth is that the food may be eaten even when it was stirred before being fully cooked. The reason for this leniency is because many Rishonim hold that there is no prohibition to cook something that is already cooked to the degree of maachal ben Derosai, which, according to the stringent opinion is half cooked. This does not mean that one may stir the food because according to the Rambam and others, one who does so has violated an issur doraisso and is liable to bring a korban.

[1] MB siman 512:3. See the Shaar Hatsiun 3 who argues with the MA who permits this, because from the Rambam one sees that even this is ossur.

[2] MB siman 512:10.

[3] See MB 512:2.

[4] 13 lines from the top.

[5] At the very beginning of siman 318.

[6] There is yet another explanation. Stirring is an essential part of the cooking process, and that alone is reason to say one is chayav. This obviously requires explaining, but this is not the place.

[7] Siman 318:18 and 321:19.

[8] MB siman 321:79.

[9] MB siman 318:117.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh 

      , .

            Mean what you say when you pray, because prayer is service of the heart.  The Rosh continues, if a child would talk to a parent without meaning what he says, the parent would get angry, so who are we to talk in that manner to Master of the Universe. And do not be like a slave who was given a task to perform for his own benefit and he botched it, because how can he then face the king.

            We see that Tefillah is for our benefit and if we view it as a burden, we dont understand tefillah. [1]

[1] We will continue this beH next week.

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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.