Anyone who has made a fire in their fireplace, especially Erev Shabbos for Leil Shabbos, can appreciate the issue of shema yechate b'gechalim as the fuel dies down (and their supper was not yet cooked). One can also appreciate that our fuel, gas, is not at all similar to a gacheles, as it doesn't die down (it could theoretically run out and you would need to add more, but that isn't the gezeira).

Has anyone historically made this distinction? Who were the big Poskim that nailed down the comparison to wood/coal stoves?

  • 1
    Is that an assumption of yours that shema yichateh is only because the fire will die down? Maybe it is about wanting to make the fire more intense than it already is.
    – Yahu
    Jan 24 '11 at 0:42
  • The chashash is certainly to make the fire more intense. But anyone who has experimented with fires knows that it is very easy to plan on enough fuel before shabbos. The part you cannot plan for is when the fuel dies down and needs poking around. Since there is a taam gadol lechalek between a gacheles and gas, I was wondering if anyone talked about this distinction l'halacha.
    – YDK
    Jan 24 '11 at 1:04

To answer your specific question - yes. See Ohr Yitzchak I OC §72.

  • 1
    I love that answer.
    – YDK
    Jun 22 '12 at 21:12

Rav Aharon Kotler said that covering the knobs of the stove accomplishes what garuf & katum accomplished with coals. So in the sense that this is without what we would call a blech, this is indeed without a blech. Rav Moshe Feinstein is strongly against this, and most people in America today follow R' Feinstein alone, or the stringency of both, meaning they cover both the knobs and the flame.

  • Thanks Ze'ev. If you can link to R' Aharon's piece, it would be interesting to see how he compares covering knobs to garuf/katum (I don't think anyone would hold of covering the poker). Also, my question is trying to find Torah written about comparisons of our fuel to theirs.
    – YDK
    Jun 28 '11 at 16:06

The gemara in the 3rd perek of shabbat has a big sugya about the whole issue (whether the mishna there that talks about removing or covering the coals is talking about shehiyah or chazarah), and is in the end inconclusive. The rishonim rule on this in various ways, but it sticks out in my head that the Rosh rules leniently (that shehiyah is allowed, and the mishna is only talking about chazarah).

The Mechaber brings a stam and a yesh omrim. The stam halacha is that shehiyah is not allowed unless the coals are removed or covered, but the yesh omrim is that the shehiyah is allowed. There's a general rule in the Shulchan Aruch that between a stam and a yesh omrim the halacha is like the stam, but Sephardi acharonim spill a lot of ink explaining why the halacha in this particular case follows the yesh omrim.

The Rema, on the other hand says outright that the minhag for Ashkenazim is to rely on the yesh omrim.

So I don't really see why you want make a distinction between gas stoves and coals. If you're machmir not to leave food on the stove without a blech, it's just that: a chumra, even with coals. If you're looking for grounds to be meikil, there's grounds even with coals.

  • Chanoch, my question was specific to a case where halacha mandates garuf and katum. An example that would span all shittos is where the food is somewhat cooked, but not k'maachal ben drusai.
    – YDK
    Feb 11 '11 at 15:28
  • @YDK, so you want to know who drew the similarity between gas and coals in the context of chazarah?
    – Chanoch
    Feb 11 '11 at 21:31
  • Exactly. It seems like a matter that should have raised a question.
    – YDK
    Feb 13 '11 at 4:18
  • Chazara is not a good example, because it has the added factor of "mechze k'mevashel" of which there's no difference what kind of stove you use. @YDK's case is the right example for this question.
    – Dov F
    Jun 22 '12 at 18:23

See the Shevet HaLevi 3:48


  • 1
    Curiouser, is there a specific point in the teshuva that you would like to apply to shehiya and the decree of shema yechate?
    – YDK
    Jan 26 '11 at 1:20

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