- Question: [Thursday, 16th Adar 1, 5782]
Is it permitted for me to warm a pan of fish with congealed gravy, on top of a pot that is on the Blech on Shabbos morning? The fish is fully cooked, but the gravy is congealed and will melt with the heat, but it will not reach Yad Soledes, as I will remove it beforehand. Someone who is in a Hilchos Shabbos Semicha learning program [Chabad] told me that it is permitted to be done if it wont reach Yad Soledes. Is this true?
No. According to Ashkenazim, and especially according to the rulings of the Alter Rebbe, it is forbidden to melt gravy on Shabbos even on top of a hot pot of food, even if it will not reach Yad Soledes.
Explanation: Melting congealed gravy on Shabbos touches on the question of whether it transgresses the cooking prohibition, and the melting prohibition. Both matters are debated amongst the Poskim, with some taking a lenient approach on both questions, hence permitting its melting on top of another pot [however, not directly on the flame due to the issue of Chazarah and Michzi Kemivashel] and with other Poskim taking a stringent approach in one or both issues. The Ashkenazi ruling is to be stringent regarding the issue of melting, and hence if there is a recognizable amount of gravy which will melt around the fish, then it is initially forbidden to be done even if it will not reach Yad Soledes. Likewise, Admur in his Siddur [in contrast to his Shulchan Aruch] is stringent and rules that heating congealed gravy to Yad Soledes transgresses the Biblical prohibition of cooking. Now, the rule is that whenever a Biblical cooking prohibition exists with heating an item to Yad Soledes, then it is forbidden to heat it to even less than Yad Soeldes, if it can potentially reach Yad Soeldes if left there. Accordingly, due to both reasons, it is clear that according to Ashkenazim in general, and the Alter Rebbe in particular, one may not do the above even if the gravy will not reach Yad Soledes, and I assume that the person who informed you of the ruling misunderstood what he was taught, and suggest you refer him back to his teachers in the program for correct guidance.
Sources: See regarding the Molid/Nolad prohibition involved in melting gravy on Shabbos: Admur 318:25 and 27; 320:16; Rama 318:16; M”A 318:40; Sefer Haterumah 235; Ran in name of Sefer Haterumah; Rosh chapter 4 in name of Sefer Hateruma; Derisha 318:6; Elya Zuta 318:17; M”B 318:105 and 118; Lenient opinion: Admur 318:27; Michaber 318:16; 320:9; Ramban Shabbos 51b; Implication of Rambam Shabbos 21:12 brought in Maggid Mishneh; Smag; Smak; Rabbeinu Yerucham; See regarding the cooking prohibition involved in melting gravy: Admur in Siddur; Levush 318:16; Taz 318:20; See Shabbos Kehalacha p. 148-151; Some Poskim rule there is no Bishul after Bishul by a precooked dissolvable item. [Admur 318:11; 318:25; 318:31; Michaber 318:16; M”A 318:40]; The Mishneh Berurah [318:71] rules like the Magen Avraham although concludes that it is proper to avoid placing sugar in a Keli Rishon or pouring onto it from a Keli Rishon. So rules SS”K and Kitzur SHU”A; See regarding heating to less than Yad Soledes: Admur 318:14-15; 29; Michaber 318:17; Taz 318:9; Regarding the looking like your cooking prohibition see: Admur 253:14 [prohibition to place directly on fire]; Admur 253:26; Michaber 253:3; Igros Moshe 1:93; 4:74-32; Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 1 pages 416-418; Piskeiy Teshuvos 253:28-29 and footnote 264; SSH”K 1; [allowance to place over pot although prohibition to place directly over electric plate or blech; Zera Emes, Mahram Brisk 2:76, Maharam Shick 117, however permits to place directly on Blech]