Can one turn off a stove on Shabbat? I recently heard that Rav Tendler does in fact hold this and it was followed in the home of Rav Feinstein. The reasoning had something to do with gas being made up of seperate molocules. However, this does not seem to be followed by any other Rabbi.

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    Could it be that the ruling to which you refer is about yom tov and not Shabbat? (I don't know too much about the issue, but it rings a bell regarding yom tov.) – WAF Jan 5 '10 at 23:58
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    It was during a Talmud Shabbat shiur (the third perek) and it was said by the Rabbi of the Shul, most definetly about Shabbat. – Ken Jan 8 '10 at 11:32
  • What about an oven? As far as I understand, one can turn the thermostat on your wall up or down, as long as it prolongs the current status, i.e. up when the heat is on, down when it is off. Would the same apply to an oven, if there is no food inside? – Jeremy Jan 13 '10 at 17:37
  • If your thermostat has a digital display then what you are saying would be problematic. – Yahu Mar 19 '10 at 22:47

It would also seem to me that WAF's remark is correct and it must have been Yom Tov. If I am understanding the molecule aspect of the explanation correctly - it would seem that it's being distinguished from a solid stick of wood where it can only be taken in and out of a fire as a whole unit. Therefore, it would seem that the gas would still parallel a liquid.

In the Mishna Shabbat (Perek 2:4) we see that one is forbidden to pierce an egg-shell and fill it with oil so that it may drip and sustain a flame. The reasoning for this is understood to be that someone might come to remove some oil from the egg shell and cause the flame to burn out sooner.

If gas is a parallel to the liquid case in the Mishna then it would seem, that reducing the supply of gas by closing the valve and having the flame extinguish when the current supply of gas is burned through would be forbidden by the same logic.

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  • Can you explain what the difference between Yom Tov and Shabbat would be? Extinguishing flames for non-cooking purposes is forbidden on both of them. – Double AA May 24 '12 at 7:12

See Igros Moshe OH 1:128 (last paragraph) where R. Moshe refuses to answer regarding the permissibility to turn off the gas on yom tov.


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  • Curiouser, very true! What he said and what he wrote are two different things for the obvious reasons of misinterpretation and mis-application. – Yahu May 16 '11 at 21:29
  • @Yahu: And yet the misinterpretation seems worse thanks to his not writing the answer -- case in point the entire discussion here where people think he was talking about Shabbos -- whereas R. Rappoport and others will tell you that the psak was about yomtov. – Curiouser May 17 '11 at 14:46

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