Shabbat 39

Reheating an egg.

In order to navigate Shabbat like a pro, it comes in handy to have a toolbelt of loopholes or workarounds. Since cooking is prohibited, unless you want to dine on cold food, you need to know the rules for reheating food for Shabbat. If you plan in advance, there are simple ways to have your meals heated and plated scotch free. (For example, today most observant homes make sure to have a hot plate as a kitchen staple.)

What happens, however, when you do not have a hot plate (or didn’t adequately stoke your fire ahead of Shabbat)? What happens when something came up before Shabbat, and you did not have the time to prepare as you normally would? What happens when you forget a certain food item and need to improvise? It is with this mindset that we enter today’s daf. 

Today’s daf begins as a kind of scout’s guide to surviving Shabbat. The daf offers a variety of ways to reheat up an egg, including extremely creative ways that are permissible on Shabbat.

Of course, the egg needs to have been pre-cooked in some capacity so that it is no longer liquid inside and is already a solid substance (cooking on Shabbat is forbidden). Possibilities for reheating the egg in the sun include: include placing the egg directly in the sun to reheat it, or using something else that has been heated by the sun such as cloth, sand, or a rooftop (but not boiling limestone).

Now you may think, who would actually bother to do this? Until one week you realize that you forgot a main dish in the freezer and you just lit candles. The creativity of heating food on Shabbat in an observant kitchen may not jibe well with a health commissioner, but it makes for great debates and creative problem-solving. 

Enjoy heating up leftovers!

Read all of Shabbat 39 on Sefaria.

This piece originally appeared in a My Jewish Learning Daf Yomi email newsletter sent on April 14, 2020. If you are interested in receiving the newsletter, sign up here.

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