I understand that there is a rule that one should not remove a pot from a crockpot unit on Shabbat and return it to the unit, for he will be recooking the food.

Let's say someone is staying at a non-Jewish hotel that serves the public a free breakfast. The food is not cooked specifically for the Jewish crowd ; it's for all hotel guests. There is a pot of oatmeal in an electric crock pot (verified that the oatmeal and the pot are both kosher.)

Since the oatmeal is for the general public - Jews and Gentiles, is there any problem with a Jew removing the inner pot from the heater taking some oatmeal and then returning it, as the cooking is not specifically for the Jew?

  • You assume it's not an issue of bishul akum? And you assume you are allowed to eat food a non-jew cooked on shabbos?
    – user6591
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 12:50
  • @user6591 Considering that there were 4 reliable rabbis staying at the hotel at that time, and they all ate the breakfast, I would say, yes.
    – DanF
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 14:00
  • That was not apparent in your question. Did you see them putting the pot back? Then it's just as kosher as the food, I guess. Also if putting it back is 'recooking', what makes you think this prohibition is reserved for cooking for Jews? When are we ever lenient for an melacha or shvus done for a nonjew?
    – user6591
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 16:23
  • I am pretty sure that you can replace the pot from the slow-cooker unit on Shabbat as long as you didn't put it down in between.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 16:39

2 Answers 2


As a general rule, you're allowed to return a cooking pot to the heat source on two conditions: 1) If, at the moment you took it off, you took it off with the intention of returning it; 2) The pot is in your hands continuously, and is never rested on anything else, until you return it.

I don't have a source for this, but that's the halacha as I've always learned it. I'd wager that there's a third condition that it can't cool down all the way, but if you're carrying the pot for that long you have bigger problems :)

  • clarification on your second point - a person MAY rest the item on something PROVIDED that they continue to hold it. Commented May 27, 2015 at 12:33
  • @IsaacKotlicky, some are strict to only rest the pot in a way that if they let go it would fall to the floor (like balanced on the counter edge) || Yerushalmi, there are also limitations on the fire having some sign of reduction before Shabbos. In modern kitchens that is accomplished by a Blech. There clearly isn't such a thing in the case of the OP, although for complex reasons you might argue it doesn't need one.
    – Yishai
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 16:07
  • @IsaacKotlicky I never learned that, but the circumstances of my life have occasionally led to me adopting chumras without realizing they weren't the halacha, and getting rather annoyed when I found out the truth.
    – Yerushalmi
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 9:04
  • @Yerushalmi agreed. It's a major problem when people present a dirabanan chumra as a basic deoraysa - that itself might fall under the issur of bal tosif! Commented May 28, 2015 at 9:14
  • Careful. You might press my Kitniyot Batel Berov Button. Nobody comes out alive after pressing that.
    – Yerushalmi
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 12:46

The answer is, that first of all there is no difference between doing a melocho for a jew or for a non jew. Now, this is a classic case of a sugya called chazara. In order to be able to return something to its heat source, you need 3 conditions that are known as "Tenoi Chazara". They are, that the pot must still be in your hand, AND that you had intent to return it to the heat source, AND that you didnt put it on the ground. ALSO the heat source must be "Garuf V'katom", which means that the coals are either covered with dirt or swept out of the oven, to make sure that you wont stoke the coals. Now regarding our electrical appliances nowadays, you must have the heat source covered. The most practical cover is to line the crock pot with silver foil. Regarding sfardim, R' Ovadia Yosef held that a hot plate is intrinsically Garuf V'katum. But i dont know if he held the same for a crock pot. Could be yes, i just dont know. ALSO, all these things are issurei d'rabbonon. BUT YOU CANNOT FORGET ABOUT THE ISSUREI D'ORAYSA'S Meaning that if the oatmeal is liquidy, and it cooled down, you MAY NOT put it back because that is going to be "bishul acher bishul on a liquid".

All that was in regards to putting it back, assuming that you were allowed to eat it to begin with. Now comes the problem of Amira L'akum. If the non jew cooked it for you, then you were not allowed to eat it to begin with. If it was cooked for the non jews, then you have to take into account how many jews were there, because if he added any for the jews, that is problematic

  • The answer is, that first of all there is no difference between doing a melocho for a jew or for a non jew Says who? It's not a problem if the non-Jew stirs the pot. Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 20:05
  • 1
    The otamel was solid already. (have you eaten cooked oatmeal from a cafeteria, etc.?) Also, you may want to re-read my question. There is no amira l'akum; the hotel cooks the same amount of food daily and is doing this for all guests regardless of their religion or how many of each religion there is, etc. Your last paragraph seems to introduce items that don't apply to this situation. They are clearly not cooking extra just for the Jewish population.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 21:22

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