Sunday, 25 November 2018

Defining Liquids and Solids

Question: I know that we can heat up solid foods on Shabbos but not liquids, though am confused as to where to draw the line. Can I heat up chicken with a little bit of sauce on a hotplate?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 318:4) writes that one may heat up a davar yavesh, dry cooked item of food on Shabbos, but not a davar lach, liquid food. There is a machlokes, however, as to how dry the food needs to be to allow it to be reheated.
The Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav OC 253:13) quotes some rishonim who define the issur of bishul as a food made up mainly of liquid which will improve through further cooking. Thus, he writes if the dish is mainly solid then it is considered to be a davar yavesh.
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer OC 7:42:6; OC 9:108:169; Yechave Daas 2:45) quotes other poskim who likewise maintain that if less than half of the dish is liquid, it is still considered to be dry and may be heated on Shabbos (See Kaf Hachaim OC 253:91; Har Tzvi OC 1 Mevashel:1)
The Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 318:11), Mishna Berura (318:32) and R’ Benzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 2:30:13), however, define yavesh as having no liquid element to the dish. Thus, one wouldn’t be able to heat up any chicken or meat in a sauce, etc. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe 4:74:Bishul:7) writes that one should ideally follow this view.
Nonetheless, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach  (quoted in the Dirshu Mishna Berura 318:n37) maintains that the food doesn’t need to be totally dry, and even according to the Shulchan Aruch Harav, there would be no issue with heating up food with a little bit of thick sauce, such as ketchup.
In conclusion, one can heat up dry pieces of food, even if they have a little bit of thick sauce on them. One should avoid heating up food in gravy, however, unless absolutely necessary.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Accidental Cooking on Shabbos

Question: I took a tray out of the fridge on Shabbos morning, thinking it was schnitzel, and placed it on the hotplate though it was chicken in a sauce. Could I have served it?
Answer: There is a machlokes among the rishonim as to whether the rule ‘ein bishul achar bishul, something that has been cooked cannot be cooked again’, applies to liquids as well as solids. Rambam (Shabbos 9:3), Rashba (Shabbos 40b) and Ran (Shabbos 19a) write that it applies to liquids, too and so there would be no issur mideoraisa to reheat liquids (See Beis Yosef OC 318:4). The Shulchan Aruch (OC 318:4), however, follows Rashi (Shabbos 34a), Rabbeinu Yonah and the Rosh (Shabbos 3:11), who holds that reheating liquids is bishul (See Biur Halacha 318:4).
The Gemara (Kesubos 34a, Chullin 15a) writes that if one transgressed a melacha on Shabbos, there is a machlokes as to whether they or others can benefit from it on Shabbos or afterwards. The Gemara discusses whether this prohibition is mideoraisa or miderabanan. Rambam (Shabbos 6:23) and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 318:1) follow R’ Yehuda and write that if one accidentally cooked food on Shabbos, everyone must wait until after Shabbos to eat it. The Vilna Gaon (Biur Hagra, OC 318:1), however, follows Tosafos and others who pasken like R’ Meir, who holds that may one eat such food on Shabbos.
The Mishna Berura (318:7) writes that while we should generally follow the Shulchan Aruch on this, if necessary, one can rely on the Vilna Gaon. Thus, if this was one’s main dish for their Shabbos meal, one could still serve it.
The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 318:10) and Mishna Berura (318:2) write that when there is a machlokes as to whether something is an issur or not, one doesn’t need to wait to benefit from it. Following the opinion in the Gemara that this prohibition against benefitting from forbidden melacha is miderabanan, we apply the rule of safek derabanan lekula, we are lenient in matters of Rabbinic doubt. As there are rishonim who maintain that ein bishul achar bishul’ applies equally to liquids, one who accidentally reheated a liquid would not have to wait to eat it.
In conclusion, one may serve food containing liquid that was accidentally reheated on Shabbos.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Invitations on Shabbos

Question: Can I deliver bar mitzva invitations on Shabbos to people who I only see then?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 307:1) writes that one shouldn’t make plans on Shabbos for what they are going to do after Shabbos. The Mishna Berura (307:1) explains that this prohibition only applies to actions that are otherwise forbidden on Shabbos.
As there is a machlokes as to whether one can discuss mitzva matters that involve melachos, he writes that it is best to avoid such conversation. However, there would be no issue in talking about such a mitzva if it means that they are more likely to perform it afterwards. Thus, one is allowed to pledge money to tzedaka when receiving an aliya, etc.
R’ Chaim Falagi (Lev Chaim 3:72) writes that as one gets such simcha, enjoyment, from inviting people to special occasions, one may do so on Shabbos. R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 8:185:1; 8:500) quotes this but adds that one shouldn’t hand out printed invitations, however, to avoid paying the postage.
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef, Shabbos 307:21) however, disagrees. While it is certainly ideal to distribute such invitations during the week, one may distribute invitations to a seudas mitzva on Shabbos when necessary. One must be careful not to give one to anyone who may come to carry it home outside of an eruv, however.
In conclusion, one should try one’s utmost not to distribute such invitations on Shabbos. Ideally, one should bring them to shul before Shabbos and tell friends about them for them to take home afterwards.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Children’s Tents on Shabbos

Question: My children like to create various tents and shelters by draping curtains and blankets onto furniture. Can they do this on Shabbos?
Answer:  The Gemara (Shabbos 125b) writes that it is forbidden to build a temporary ohel, tent, on Shabbos. Rambam (Shabbos 22:27) explains that building a permanent ohel is a tolda of boneh, building, and therefore assur mideoraisa. Chazal made a gezeira, decree, that one shouldn’t build a temporary ohel to prevent one from making a permanent one. Thus, the Mishna Berura (315:1) writes that one mustn’t spread out mats or sheets like a tent on Shabbos.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 315:2) writes that if the ohel existed already, then one may add to it. Thus, one may place long tablecloths over tables or add to other structures, providing the roof is at least a tefach wide.
Nonetheless, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 315:3) and Mishna Berura (315:17) write that one may build a temporary structure if they construct it in a backwards manner. Thus, one may hold up the roof and build the walls under it.
Likewise, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 315:4) writes that one mustn’t dismantle an ohel on Shabbos. Yet, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 24:22) writes that one may do so in a backwards manner, that is by raising the roof and dismantling the walls before lowering the roof.
In conclusion, as creating tents out of blankets on Shabbos is problematic, one needs to teach one’s children to build them in a backwards manner, or create them before Shabbos.