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What is the correct way to serve soup on Friday night? Does one take it off the blech and then serve out? I take it that it is forbidden to serve directly from the heat source.

Also, am I allowed to put it back on the blech (presuming it hasn't cooled down)?

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Specifically Friday night? Are you asking about serving soup before or after Shabbath has started? Are we to assume this is part of the Shabbath meal, or a midnight snack? – Seth J Oct 31 '13 at 20:08

You cannot stir (or ladle from) a pot of soup on the blech, and so must serve it only when removed from the blech.

As to returning it to the blech, this is permissible, provided that all the following conditions are met:

  1. You intended, when you removed it, to return it.
  2. You've held it the entire time it was off the blech. (It can sit on a table (but not the floor), provided you're also holding it.)
  3. The food is fully cooked.
  4. The food, when you return it, has not cooled completely.

In cases of necessity, either of those first two conditions (not both) suffices along with the latter two; in cases of great necessity, the latter two conditions suffice alone.

Source: Sh'miras Shabas K'hilchasah, chapter 1, paragraphs 17–20 and 31–32.

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Just to add that people can trade off being the pot-holder person. "Honey okay I'm setting it down, can you hold the handle while I lift the lid and serve?" (Romantic, huh?) By the way, if it's hot, fully cooked, and off the blech, you're allowed to stir it so it will cook more evenly when it returns to the blech, but the Mishna Brurah says it's a chumrah not to. – Shalom Nov 1 '13 at 6:54

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