As definitively proven by an 'Am HaAretz Gamur MiDeOraitha (a title of high distinction if ever there was one), eating Cholent on Shabbath is required. Every week. Without exception.

But is this absolute requirement, with which no one dissents, based on a biblical commandment, or rabbinic enactment?

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Cholent is a fence instituted by the Rabbis to differentiate Orthodox Judaism from other religions.

At a Reform temple, the kiddush would be lox and bagels with cream cheese. At a Conservative synagogue, the kiddush would be cream herring and egg salad. At a Catholic church, the kiddush would be beef rigatoni with Parmesan cheese (some hold of lasagna with sausage, but that is a minority opinion). At a Lutheran church, the kiddush would be a green bean casserole with bacon bits. At a Baptist church, the kiddish would be Kentucky Fried Chicken. At an AME church's kiddush, the chicken would not be from Kentucky, but cooked by actual church ladies with a side of greens. At a Karaite kenesa, the kiddush will be cold meat with milk.

Cholent (or as I prefer to call it, chulent) is a fence around the Torah (Pirkei Avot 1:1) that lets an observant Jew recognize that he is in a Orthodox synagogue and that it is OK to eat by them. If you arrive somewhere after services are over and are unsure where you are (maybe there is no sign, or maybe you were blindfolded and dragged in, or maybe you are in Amish country and everyone looks like Jews in straw hats), you can use the food at the kiddush as a fairly reliable way to know who you are hanging out with and if you can trust their kashrut.

If you are still not certain (maybe you are in a shul in New Mexico and the cholent looks like chili), make a bracha. If they stare blankly, they are probably Christian. If they look uncomfortable and guilty, they are probably Reform.


Now Jacob cholented a cholent, and Esau came from the field, and he was faint. Genesis 25:28

From here we learn that cholenting a cholent is d'oraysa.

And Jacob said, "Sell me as of this day your birthright". Genesis 25:31

From here we learn that this happened on a Friday. Cause what, you think Yankev Avinu did business on shabbos?!

And Jacob gave Esau bread and a cholent of lentils, and he ate and drank and arose and left, and Esau despised the birthright. Genesis 25:34

From here we learn two things:

1) Cholent must be served with bread (they only made a deal for the cholent, but Yankev served it with bread, it must be because cholent has to be eaten with bread) Since people don't always eat bread during the week, it must be that the mitzvah d'oraysa of eating cholent is done on shabbos, when even those Atkins people take a slice.

2) Esav was a shlub; he ate all the shabbos food on erev shabbos, and didn't even bentsch? A Chutzpah!


It is DeOraitha. Since DeRabannan only eat fish, as they are unsure of the Kashrus of the meat.

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