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Ask the rabbi Shabbat and Holidays Using a Hotplate (Platta)

Shabbos blech

Question
I am visiting my parents. They are secular. My mother does not want to buy a blech for the kitchen. She said if necessary she will use aluminum foil. She wants to leave food on the burners and serve from there. The burners will be off. She wants to leave the food on the stove stop by making use of the space. Is my mother allowed to leave food sitting on cold burners without a blech at all? Or does she need a blech even for cold burners? If she needs a blech can she simply cover the burners with aluminum foil?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. If I have understood your question correctly, you want to have the burners on the stovetop turned off, and cold, and use them as a cold surface from which to dish up food. This is perfectly acceptable on Shabbat. The use of a blech is to cover the “fire” or heat source (the burners) so as to allow leaving pots of food on them during Shabbat without it appearing to be cooking, and without any chance of a person being tempted to “stir up the fire”, or change the level of heat of the burners. But, when there is no heat at all, because the burners are turned off, then there is no need for the blech covering. If you want hot food though, you will need to find a way to keep the food warm. For more information about how to do so, feel free to get back to us with your particular situation. Blessings.
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