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Generally, on Yom Tov one is allowed to light a gas burner (using a pre-existing flame), but is not allowed to turn off the gas burner. This is because one may light a fire on Yom Tov, but not extinguish it (see here or here for details).

Somebody told me that on Yom Tov, in order to turn off the gas on a stovetop, one is able to put a full pot of water on the stovetop. When it boils, it will overflow and extinguish the flame. One may then turn off the gas, since doing so does not extinguish the flame.

This doesn't sound right to me. This footnote seems to imply the opposite:

Extinguishing a fire is forbidden. Even indirectly; for example, by placing a burning candle where the wind might blow it out.

However, that footnote is unsourced, so I'm not sure where to look it up.

Has anyone seen a source of whether this practice of boiling water to extinguish a flame is forbidden or permitted? Can someone provide a source where putting the candle in a position where the wind can blow it out is forbidden?

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1) Are you boiling the water for any positive purpose? 2) Turning off the gas to a gas burner is only indirect extinguishing, and some say is muttar even on shabbat. –  Double AA May 24 '12 at 6:33
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@DoubleAA: 1) If it makes a difference. 2) Do you have a source? –  Menachem May 24 '12 at 6:40
    
Someone may correct me, but the way I understand it, this is R Moshe Feinstein's position as passed over by his son-in-law R Moshe Tendler because R Feinstein was too scared to write it in Igrot Moshe as he thought he would be attacked for saying it. Apparently he does hint at it in Igrot Moshe somewhere. FWIW I've never heard of anyone actually relying on this position lechatchila. It makes some sense to me, as it's at worst grama on a melacha sheeina tzricha legufa (as no charcoal is created), and furthermore, the 'fuel' is invisible gas, so it might not be considered removing fuel at all. –  Double AA May 24 '12 at 6:52
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@DoubleAA I'm surprised at and frankly dubious of "R Feinstein was too scared to write [a kula] in Igrot Moshe as he thought he would be attacked for saying it". He issued very many controversial p'sakim l'kula. –  msh210 May 24 '12 at 8:57
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@msh210 I assume you saw the teshuva linked to on the other page. R Feinstein certainly did issue controversial pesakim, but maybe he didn't think letting people turn off their stoves was worth all the hubbub. –  Double AA May 24 '12 at 13:20
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Nitei Gavriel (Hilchot Yom Tov, volume 1, chapter 21, paragraph 4) says:

‫ד. מותר לשים ביו״ט קדירה של מים ע״ג האש כדי שיעברו על‬ ‫שפת הקדירה ויכבו את האש מתחתיו, אכן יש לו להשתמש במים‬ ‫לבישול קדירה וכדומה דהו״ל לצורך יו״ט, ודוקא במקום צורך כגון‬ ‫שמפחד שהילדים יתקרבו להאש, אז מותר למלאות קדירה מים, כדי‬ ‫להרתיח על האש לצורך שתיה, בכוונה שהמים בשעת רתיחתם ישפכו‬ ‫לחוץ ויכבו האש‬

‫ה. ואם נכבה מותר לסגור את הכפתור של הגאז שלא ימשיך‬ ‫לזרום גאז משום חשש סכנה , ונכון לסגרו בשינוי אם אפשר‬

My translation:

  1. On Yom Tov, one is permitted to place a pot of water on the fire in order that the water overflow and extinguish the fire underneath it. He should however, use the water for cooking or the like, so that the boiling of the water was for a Yom Tov need.

    Specifically where there is a need to do so, such as if one is scared the children will come close to the fire, one is permitted to fill a pot with water and place it on the fire in order that the water is heated for drinking purposes, with the intention that when the water will boil it will overflow and put out the fire.

  2. Because of the possible danger, if the fire is extinguished one is permitted to turn off the gas so that the gass won't leak. If possible, it is preferable to turn the knob with a Shinui (using a non-standard action).

In the footnotes, he explains (based on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 514:3 and the commentaries there) that causing something to be extinguished is only forbidden if you are touching the lit thing, but if you indirectly cause the extinguishing, it is not a problem. Here you are not touching the fire, rather you are touching the pot, and the fire itself causes the water to overflow and extinguish itself.

See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 514:3 and the Mishna Berura there, especially S"K 19.

Shulchan Aruch Harav (514:9 and Kuntres Acharon 514:3) says that one should only indirectly extinguish a fire when there is a great need.


With regards to placing a candle where the wind might blow it out, The Remah at the end of 514:3 says that one is permitted to put a candle where the wind might blow it out, as long as the wind is not blowing, but if the wind is blowing it is forbidden. The Mishna Berurah (S"K 25) says that there are Achronim (the Magen Avaham) who are strict and say that even when the wind is not blowing one should not put the candle there, since the wind blows every second. In the Biur Halacha the Mishna Berurah agrees with these Achronim. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (514:10) is one of those Achronim who say one should not do it even when the wind is not blowing

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Teshuvos Hageonim Hachadashos 133 says gram kibui on yom to is forbidden. No reasoning is supplied. –  Double AA Jun 17 '13 at 20:48
    
@DoubleAA I didn't look up the sources in footnote 8, but, as I mentioned in the answer, a distinction is made if one is not touching the flame. Perhaps one of those sources mentions the Teshuvot Hageonim Hachadashos. Is it available online? –  Menachem Jun 18 '13 at 1:31
    
IIRC Hacham Ovadia holds like this as well. –  Hacham Gabriel Sep 4 '13 at 4:04
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