The Halachos of Chazara – Part I

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stoveBy Rabbi Dovid Ostroff

When is one allowed to return food to the stove on Shabbos?

Certain conditions have to be met in order to do chazora. What are the conditions?

According to the Sephardim (Mechaber):

  1. The fire must be goruf v’kotum (which will soon be explained).
  2. The food is fully cooked.
  3. On top of the stove (on the gas range), not into the oven.
  4. The food is above yad soledes bo.
  5. The food was not placed on the ground

According to the Ashkenazim (Rama):

  1. The fire must be goruf v’kotum (which will soon be explained).
  2. The food is fully cooked.
  3. On top of the stove (the gas range), not into the oven.
  4. The food is still warm
  5. The cooking utensil is still held in one’s hand
  6. One had intention to return the food to the fire

Could you please elaborate on the conditions?

1. Goruf v’kotum

When a gas or electric range is used, the heat source must be covered with a copper or tin sheet etc. Aluminum foil is a problem, and a shailo should be asked.

When a Shabbos hot plate (which is used only for warming) is used; if it has a knob for regulating the temperature, it requires a similar covering as a range does. If it does not have such a knob, no covering is required. 2

2. The food is fully cooked

The food must be fully cooked, because by returning the food to the heat source, it will further cook and one could be chayav because of bishul.

3.On top of the stove (the gas range)

One is only allowed to return food to a gas or electric range and not to the inside of an oven. Some Poskim, however, allow returning food to contemporary ovens, and a shailo should be asked.

4.The food is above yad soledes bo / still warm

According to the Mechaber the food must be above yad soledes bo in order to permit chazora.

To heat it from below yad soledes bo to above yad soledes bo is bishul – cooking.

According to the Rama one may do chazora if the food has not entirely cooled down and one can feel that it is still warm. 3

5.Mechaber – The food was not placed on the ground

Once the food has been placed on the ground, returning it appears as if one is cooking a new dish and not returning to the fire, however the pot need not be continuously held in one’s hands. Obviously if the food was placed in the refrigerator it may not be returned to the fire even if all the other conditions are met.

Rama – The food was continually held

The food should be held all the time, and by doing so one shows that the food is returning to the fire and not being placed there for the first time.

6.One also had intention to return the food to the fire

The same motive – to show that one is returning the food to the fire, not placing it for the first time.

 [1] Based on Simon 253:2
[2] based on Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim 4, Simon 74.
[3] The Iggros Moshe (ibid) writes (based on the Rav Shulchan Oruch) that it is determined by estimating if one would eat the food as a warm food.

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