Jun 29, 2008

Interesting Psak from Rav Elyashiv: the Shabbes Plata

Plata. The plata is the electric hot plate. The plata is very popular in Israel for reheating food on Shabbos day, and for keeping food hot for Shabbos night, instead of leaving the oven on, or by leaving the gas on with a blech.

The classic way of relating to hot plates on Shabbos is to treat them as if halachically they do not cook food. There is generally no knob with settings on hot plates, and the standard use for them is to reheat food or to keep food warm, but not to cook food upon them.
Therefore the general practice is to allow the use of hot plates on Shabbos for heating up food.

Rav Elyashiv approached the subject in his shiur last week. He paskened that the electric hot plate is like an uncleaned or uncovered stove, upon which one is not allowed to re-place a pot of food upon it on Shabbos. The only way to re-place food upon it would be to add another layer on the hotplate, thus minimizing the heat level, and then upon that layer one could place the pot of food.

Rav Elyashiv added that he is aware that many poskim nowadays differ with this opinion and allow one to re-place a pot of food directly on the hot plate, but he himself holds there is no way to allow it.

He added further that he had thought he was alone in paskening this way, until he recently saw that the Chazon Ish had paskened like this as well, and he was excited to learn that he was in accordance with the opinion of the Chazon Ish.


  1. unaware of the ones in EY, but we own one that has 3 heat settings. as well, we only use it with foods with no visible liquid, therefor, Ein bishul achar bishul.

  2. Sorry Shaya, but the issue is not ein bishul achar bishul, a concept RSYE is definitely aware of. If in fact the hot plate is like an oven, then there's a problem of "mechzi k'mevashel".

    The heter that most people rely on is the fact that nobody actually cooks on these things (i think for a hot plate with different settings the chashash is higher than if it doesn't allow the heat to be changed).

    Since no one cooks on them, we can't be afraid that people will think you're cooking on them.

    Does RYSE mention what the problem is with this? Even if it's like an oven, if no one practically cooks on them, will people think you're cooking?

  3. I understand the issue to be that the food gets too hot (yad soledet bo) with the hotplate. We were shocked when we arrived in Israel and saw people using the plata in this way.

  4. when I first heard the idea that the hotplate "cannot" cook,, I thought it was strange because it gets very hot. Then it was explained to me that it is not considered normal to cook on a hotplate - people just don't use it for that.

    Jerry - that issue was not discussed in the article I read. I guess because he equates it with a "kira she'aina grufu u'ktuma" than it does not matter.

  5. where was this article?
    The reason most people allow these hot plates because one would not use them to ccok regardless hoe hhot they get and there it does not look like cooking.

  6. I saw the article in the newspaper "Ha'Shavua B'Yerushalayim" (a free Haredi weekly paper given out in Jerusalem)

  7. B"H

    I seemed to remember that there were plata's out there that were in accordance with one of the Chazon Ish's ta'anoth. It has something to do with the heating elements on the inside must not be in direct contact with the inner side of the plata. It has something to do with the heat source being truly "garuf," but I could be mistaken. Otherwise, it is "hatum" and not "garuf."

    But like it was stated, others hold that this is not a problem.

    Did Rav Eliashiv say that foil was sufficient? Or was an additional kli needed to place on the plata?

  8. the article was unclear. I was wonderign about foil. On the one hand he said "kisui nosaf" - another cover (or layer), which might mean foil is enough. But then he said "that lessens the heat" which foil does not do and only a kli would do. So I do not know.

  9. I use one, but only for Chazara, the reason is, I asked my wife if she could use it for cooking, and though it gets pretty hot,it would take to long to cook.But I do not use it to put on if it was not on before Shabbos.
    Also one can not raise or lower the heat on it.It is vey impractical to cook on, but will keep your food warm.

  10. jerry,

    I can't speak for EY, but here with hot plates, there's no mechzi k'mebashel bv/c EVERYONE knows they are just for warming the food, not actual cooking. If they get too hot, you may have a yad soledes bo problem, but one could NOT tell that from just looking, therefore the "Mechzi" part still doesn't apply. The main concern My LOR said with the platas is the bishul. People think they can put anything on the plata and end up sometimes warming soup mistakenly.

  11. I was always under the impression that there are 3 main opinions for chazora of cooked solids onto a hotplate:

    1) place directly onto hotplate (minority opinion, Rav Ovadia?)

    2) standard pesak was to have a single covering i.e. kedaira raikonis upside down.

    3) In addition to #2 to have a second layer such as silver foil under the kedaira reaikonis (minority opinion)

    #3 would be similar to an uncovered stove top and this is what I had understood Rav Elyahiv's opinion was when I learnt this in yeshiva.

    I remember this becuase the rav told us that he had some guests for Shabbos and they thought he followed #3 but in fact he just wanted to keep his hotplate clean!

  12. Just to clarify one point. When I said chazora I ment chazora lechatchila e.g. placing a cold solid from the fridge onto the hotplate on shabbos.

  13. OK, just for a quick recap. We are obviously only talking about putting on dry, cooked foods, where the potential problem is a mechzi kemmivashel in one of two instances. It may be that the hotplate is considered "Garuf Oh Katum", in which case you can return hot foods, but not cold ones, and certainly can not do "nesina lechatchila". That is the opinion of R' Shlomo Zalman and R' Moshe (when there is only one setting.)Others, like R' Elyashiv, are saying that it's not even Garuf, so if you removed something from the hot plate, even with intent to return it, you can not. When there are different settings, then you have a different issue, a "shema yechate" (if that applies- see R' Moshe).

    The question that bothers everyone is why, if in most places it is only used for rewarming, is there a mechzi. If you look in Igros Moshe, Chelek Daled, Siman 74, in the Teshuvos to Rabbi Eider, you will see that R' Moshe seems to be saying that something that is used for warming food, but is able to cook it, has a mechzi.


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