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This is a hatmana (insulation) question. I want to know if there is an issue with putting food on the platta on Shabbos day and then putting a thick towel ontop of that food in order for the food to heat up faster and get hotter?

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You have three problems here:

  1. Hatmanah on Shabbat itself
  2. Mosif hevel -- adding heat
  3. Hatmanah while it's on the plata (if that's what you're asking about)

All three of those issues make it assur (forbidden). [Shmirat Shabbat C'hilchata 1:65].

However, you can get around problems #1 and #3, as illustrated in the next paragraph.

Hatmanah is only a problem if you cover the entire pot. However, if your cover does not touch the entire thing, it's OK to do even lechatchila (initially) and while it's on the plata. It seems though that you'll have to use something that does not add heat.

Mosif hevel seems to be a problem even when it is fully cooked (see http://vbm-torah.org/archive/cookshabbat/22cookshabbat.htm, quoting Rav Auerbach).

CYLOR before acting on advice given in this answer.

  • About covering the entire pot... I wonder if there are a bunch of dishes on the platta and I drape a towel over all of them but leave one of them slightly uncovered, would that help with the rest of them in taking care of issue's #1 and #3? – Gavriel Jan 3 '15 at 19:26
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    If you drape the towel over all of them, per force it is not touching the entire body of any pot. – Scimonster Jan 3 '15 at 19:27
  • Wouldn't that depend on why not having the whole pot covered would be OK? If it's a demonstration that you are not concerned with insulating the pot (I vaguely remember this being the position of a Rishon) then maybe in this case it would not help since it's clear that I'm draping the towel for insulation purposes? Just thinking here... – Gavriel Jan 3 '15 at 19:31
  • isn't moisif hevel only a problem when not yet fully cooked? – hazoriz Jan 4 '15 at 14:36
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    @hazoriz "actual hatmana with a davar she-mosif hevel, and one may not be lenient even about that which is fully cooked. " -- vbm-torah.org/archive/cookshabbat/22cookshabbat.htm, quoting Rav Auerbach. – Scimonster Jan 4 '15 at 15:12

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