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Pessach - kashering an electric stove


Rabbi David Sperling

Nisan 25, 5776
Hello, My question is about something that I realized happened after Pessach, but concerning Pessach. I have an electric stove/oven that I use for Pessach after kashering. This year, like always, among everything else on the appliance, I cleaned the knobs that regulate the heat on the stove. They are removable, so I took them off, cleaned them and replaced them. After cleaning everything, I turned all the knobs on "high" to kasher the electric burners. I noticed that they were not turning red as they should be. I could feel that they were heating up, but I just didn’t see the red. I was kashering the oven at the same time, so the whole appliance was hot. I left the knobs on the stove on the "high" setting for a little over 10 minutes just to be sure. I thought that maybe these elements don’t turn red for some reason. I could not remember whether they did before or not. After all this, I started cooking my food and noticed that it took longer than usual for things to heat up. I thought that maybe something was wrong with the stove. We were at home for the first Yom Tov and went away for the rest of Pessach. When we came back and turned the kitchen over, I was heating up something else and was reminded of the problem I had before. I told my husband, who looked at the knobs and said that I must have put them back the wrong way after I removed them. So every time I thought I was turning them on "high", I was actually turning them on to a "low medium". He then put them on correctly and turned one of them on "high". After a few minutes it was already red. Does this mean that I did not kasher the stove properly for Pessach, which would affect the food that I made and the pots and pans I made it in? Thank you in advance for your answer.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There is a very deep spiritual lesson in your story – but I won't go into it now. I'll leave that for you … As to the halachic question – if the oven itself did not heat up, then there is a very real question of whether it is kosher or not. However, in relation to the burners on the top of the stove, even if they did not get red hot, it was probably acceptable after the fact. The reason for this is that the burners themselves are constantly koshering themselves by burning off any chametz that spills on them. They, being the source of heat, or the "flame", do not absorb the chametz into themselves, but rather are always giving out enough heat to expel any forbidden absorptions. Based on this, any pots and pans used on the top of the burners are still kosher for Pesach. May you merit to always have the outer "knobs" in line with the true inner "heat". Blessings.
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