Dec 11, 2007

a user manual for cholent

The above news item was clipped from the Maariv newspaper. It reports about a user manual for cholent being distributed by the Municipality of Afula.

It says that because many people who make cholent, a.k.a. "hamin" among the sfardim, use an electric hotplate and then cover the pot with blankets and towels as a way of retaining the heat and allowing the pot of cholent to cook better, many a fire has broken out in houses causing damage and danger to many. Sounds like potent cholent to me.

Avi Elkobetz, the mayor of Afula, in coordination with the FireStation of the Jezreel Region, are publishing a manual for successful cholent making. I do not know if the manual includes the best recipes for cholent, but it includes such wisdoms as not using the electric hotplate but to use a slowcooker (crock pot) instead. For someone who insists on using the electric hotplate, they should be careful to not use blankets to cover the pot, to distance the hotplate from the curtains, distance the hotplate from the electricity cables, and to distance it from any plastic materials.

NOTE: This could raise some halachic questions (the first suggestion at least) because some people refuse to use crock pots due to a halachic question that arose as to whether the crock pot creates a situation of "hatmanah". Some people solve the question by placing a couple of small rocks beneath the ceramic pot insert which raises it above the element level, some line it with foil, some say there is no problem at all, and some will not use crock pots. I protest the City of Afula mixing into religious questions and trying to influence religious practice by telling people how to make cholent and what type of pot to use. :-) Whatever happened to separation of Shul and State??


  1. I don't know about your hotplate, but ours is hot enough without having to place blankets and towels on the food! As a matter of fact, it is sometimes too hot.


  2. I actually use a crock pot... the one or two times I tried to use a hotplate for shabbos, everything on it burned....

  3. Whatever happened to separation of Shul and State?

    There's a separation?

    Seriously, we use a plata, and have never had a problem with it. Our crockpots had US plugs, and remained behind.

  4. And covering a pot on a hotplate with blankets and towels is not hatmana?

  5. as far as I know, blankets and towels are not "mosif hevel", and therefore not hatmana. Another reason is that a requirement of hatmana is that the pot be completely surrounded by the thing being matmin. The blankets and towels are covering the top and part of the sides, but they in no way surround the pot completely. So in general it would not be hatmana.


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