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Ovens With Sabbath Mode

Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

August 2007

 

Nowadays, many appliances, especially ovens, are sold with a “Sabbath mode”, and the following is an attempt to clarify how that mode is helpful to consumers. 

The primary function of the Sabbath mode is to override the following features of modern ovens that conflict with the needs of a kosher home, including:

  • Auto shutoff which shuts off the oven after 12 or 24 hours to conserve energy and/or prevent fires.
  • Lights and signals that go on or off when one opens the door, food finishes cooking, the temperature is adjusted etc.

Once these features are overridden, the oven basically reverts to being an ‘old fashioned’ oven and the following halachos apply:

On Shabbos
  • Fires cannot be turned on or off or adjusted up or down on the stovetop or in oven.
  • Food cannot be placed on the stovetop or in the oven on Shabbos, whether it is put there to cook or warm.  Consumers should consult with their Rabbis regarding permitted ways to warm food on Shabbos or leave it on the fire from before Shabbos, as the details of the halachos of chazarah and shehiyah are quite intricate.
  • There are differing opinions as to whether one may open the doors of an oven when the oven is on but the fire is off, and Rav Schwartz has ruled that it is permitted.
On Yom Tov
  • New fires cannot be turned on and existing fires cannot be turned off both on the stovetop or in the oven.
  • A fire on the stovetop which is on, may be adjusted higher or lower to help cooking or prevent food from burning, but not for other reasons (e.g. to save fuel).
  • If the fire is visibly burning in the oven the thermostat may be adjusted higher, if the oven temperature is controlled by a nonelectric dial (rather than with buttons).
  • Some claim that since there’s a random delay between one’s turning adjusting the oven’s thermostat and the flame’s reaction, one may therefore adjust temperatures at will (on Yom Tov).  However, this opinion is not widely accepted.
  • There are differing opinions as to whether one may open the doors of an oven when the oven is on but the fire is off, and Rav Schwartz has ruled that it is permitted.
  • Cooking and warming of foods is permitted.

If someone forgot to put their oven into Sabbath mode before Shabbos or Yom Tov, they should consult with their local Rabbi as to whether a non-Jew may do that for them.

For the upcoming Rosh Hashanah, Succos and Simchas Torah which occur on Friday, consumers are also reminded to create an Eruv Tavshilin before Yom Tov which permits them to do melacha (including cooking) on Yom Tov for Shabbos.  Click here for a recent article by Rabbi Ephraim Friedman on the topic.

 

HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, Shlit"a
Av Beth Din

 

Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator

Rabbi Levi Mostofsky
Executive Director

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