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What are the sources that discuss whether or not one is allowed to lift and replace the lid of a pot on a Blech, or of a Crock-pot®, on Shabbos?

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Sorry to nitpick even more, but for "the sources that either do allow or do not allow" do you want the Posekim who write that one may or one may not, or do you want the basis for the discussion/rulings? –  Seth J Jun 24 '13 at 15:34
    
@SethJ: I am looking for which Poskim allow and which Poskim do not allow. An added bonus would be the basis. –  Gershon Gold Jun 24 '13 at 16:09
    
I didn't think this would be an issue until I did the research. Good question. –  Bruce James Jul 1 '13 at 19:36

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I'm surprised by this question because there is extensive halachic decisions instructing us as to how we may add water to a pot of cholent, whether on a blech or in a crock pot. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt'l, for example, wrote a decision permitting the adding of water that was kept hot, but not as hot as the contents of the cholent pot, to prevent a cholent from drying out. Iggros Moshe O.C. IV:74:Bishul #1. Orchos Shabbos 1:1:17 cites others who are machmir about this. The method there, I believe, involved taking water directly from the kli rishon to the cholent pot. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt'l, even allowed dispensing hot water into a clean and dry cup (kli sheini) to pour into the cholent. Shemiras Shabbos 1:16. These sources and others are cited on Star-K's website. Based on these sources, it would seem to me that you can't add water without removing the lid, so removing the lid on Shabbos must be permitted. Consistent with that conclusion, I remember learning a shiur by Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer, zt'l, who was partial to a thicker cholent, where he said it was permitted to lift the lid of the pot to allow some steam to escape. In all of the above cases, the lid is not removed until the cholent is fully cooked.

However, apparently there are sources who would consider the simple act of lifting the pot cover (while the pot was still on the flame) to be maygis (stirring). See Bartenura (Shabbos Ch. 7, Mishna 2, s.v. haofeh), Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 254, 4 & 257, 4), Mishna Berura (254, 23 7 Biur Halacha 257 s.v. gorem), Mekor Chaim (118, 18), Shvisas HaShabbos (Mevashel 26, 81), Ketzos Hashulchan (124), Shu”t Igros Moshe (O.C. vol. 4, 74, Bishul 10), Chut Shani (Shabbos vol. 2, pg. 197), Shu”t Titz Eliezer, (vol. 7, 15), Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos (vol. 1, 207, 3), and Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso (new print Ch. 1, 41). These sources are cited in an on-line article by Rabbi Yehuda Spitz at Yeshivat Ohr Sameach's webpage. It is not clear to me whether these poskim are speaking only about before the cholent is fully-cooked, or whether they would still forbid taking the lid off after the cholent was fully cooked but before excess liquid had evaporated.

These opinions to me seem to be contradictory. Consult with your local Orthodox rabbi for guidance.

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NOTE the above discussion assumes your Cholent is fully done cooking! If it is not fully done yet then replacing the lid is (almost?) certainly a violation of cooking. –  Double AA Jul 1 '13 at 19:43
    
Replacing the lid would be hatmana with all that that implies. (Nothing like a smicha exam to make you cringe at the word hatmana) –  Yitzchak Jul 1 '13 at 21:20
    
what happened to the original part about Rabbi Spitz's article? It is entirely correct. After reading it through - I think that Bruce made a mistake. The sources r spitz quoted were not referring to simply taking the cover off; but rather later putting it back on! The replacing it speeds up the cooking and would be considered maygis. What does that have to do with adding water? There is a way to do it - one must follow the chazara procedures - take the pot off the fire - while still in the hand etc. then pour in the water, replace the cover and put it back on the blech. no stira whatsoever! –  user1248 Aug 6 '13 at 18:06

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