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How liquid does something have to be to become prohibited from reheating on a blech on Shabbas?

I'm really wanting to know how "soft" or mushy something can be before being considered liquid and not permitted but that's harder to describe.

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    I was told that if you touch it and moisture transfers to your finger, it's liquid. – SAH Nov 22 '16 at 9:24
  • @SAH Are you sure that's the only criteria? It sounds quite harsh. Almost every refrigerated food has some moisture on it. Potato kugel has loads of moisture just from the grease, even if unfridged. I'm unaware of anyone who prohibits heating this on Shabbat. – DanF Nov 23 '16 at 15:24
  • @SAH in Magen Avraham it seems to be an other definition, your definition is used in Shabbat for other dinim, as for wet cloth that we cannot move because of schita. – kouty Nov 24 '16 at 14:36
  • @DanF, Kouty, I'm not sure. This is what I was taught by a rabbi in a seminary. The info is not worth any more or less than that – SAH Nov 27 '16 at 4:53
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I asked this exact question to Rabbi Shlomo Mordechai Breslauer, rav of Bais Tefilo in Monsey, NY.

He told me to put the substance on a surface that is not slippery (e.g. a paper plate), and hold it at a 45° angle. If the substance rolls over itself, then it is considered a solid. If if pours, it is considered a liquid.

  • + because it is a lecture of ad sheyazuv. why 45° and not 40°...? – kouty Mar 12 '17 at 12:23
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My rav explained a simple rule:

"If you can pick it up with a fork, it's solid. If you can't and you need a spoon, it's liquid."

Based on this idea, it seems that the gelled chicken gravy is OK. So is p'tcha, but who wants to eat that heated up, anyway?

  • Who is your rav? – Adám Nov 22 '16 at 17:52
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    @Adám I'm afraid that I can't reveal his name, location, or which shul he is rav. Suffice to say that he has YU Semicha, has been rav of the same shul for about 30 years, is one of the main people on a local Va'ad, and he lectures in a wide area on numerous subjects. He knows his stuff very well. – DanF Nov 22 '16 at 17:55
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A meal with liquid that flows is regarded as not dry and prohibited from reheating on Shabbat.

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim siman 318, sayif 4:

וה"מ שיש בו בישול אחר בישול, בתבשיל שיש בו מרק, אבל דבר שנתבשל כבר, והוא יבש, מותר לשרותו בחמין בשבת.‏

Regarding a meal with soup ...

Sayif 8:

ומ"מ אם הוא תבשיל שיש בו רוטב ומצטמק ויפה לו אסור לדברי הכל:‏

meal with sauce ...

Sayif 15:

דבר שנתבשל כל צרכו והוא יבש שאין בו מרק

... Dry without soup ...

Magen Avraham on Sayif 16 sk 40, about fatty food.

כדי שלא יהיה נימוח כל כך שיזוב לחוץ אלא יתנו מרחוק ואף שנימוח בתוכו ל"ל בה כמ"ש הרב"י וכ"כ בספר מ"כ עיין שם וכן משמע בהגהות סמ"ק דצלי ופשטי"ד שוין:‏

The problem is when the fat is runny (for the poskim who are stringent about fatty foods).


Source Mishna & Gemara Shabbat 146b:

Mishna

WHATEVER WAS PUT INTO HOT WATER BEFORE THE SABBATH MAY BE STEEPED [AGAIN] IN HOT WATER ON THE SABBATH;

Rashi " כדי שיהא נמוח " stepped to moisten and tenderize it. The literal translation is to make it melted. Poskim inferred. Not melted == Dry. Gemara

What, for example? R' Safra said: E.g. , R' Abba's fowl[s]. R' Safra also said: I once paid a visit there [Palestine] and ate thereof, and but for R' Abba who made me drink wine of three foliages I would have been in danger.

SMaK

בדבר לח וצלול לדברי הכל יש בישול אחר בישול

Something moist and fluid has unanymously a prohibition of bishul after bishul.

The makor in poskim is Rabenu Yerucham See right top of th page.

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Liquid is liquid. Shmirat Shabat Kehilchata allows putting chicken on a blech, even though you know that the liquids inside will take a liquid form outside, due to the (relative) heat (using something to separate the utensil from the Blech).

By the way, according to Rambam and there are Teimanim who follow his Psak, There is no second bishul for liquids, so they preheat water before Shabos, and put some of it on the blech as needed.

  • As far as i know, u can put the chicken on for a different reason. Right now, the gelled sauce is a solid. Even though it will turn into a liquid it now is considered a solid. The OP is asking how liquidy an item may be RIGHT NOW. Theres a difference I think – Mennyg Nov 22 '16 at 14:46

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