- Leaving food in a crock pot from before Shabbat according to many poskim is permitted if the food is cooking for Shabbat day and the knob is covered. However, some forbid it unless a significant space is created between the heating element and the crock pot insert. This can be accomplished by placing a few balls of tin foil under the crock pot insert but one sheet of tin foil isn't sufficient.
- Reasons to permit:
- Hatmana: Hatmana for Tomorrow: There are some Rishonim that permit Hatmana if the food is meant to be eaten the next day. [Shibolei HaLeket 57 in name of Rabbenu Simcha says that Shehiya is permitted if a person has two pots and the one that’s cooking for Shabbat day is separate from the pot cooking for Friday night. Rabbenu Binyamin (quoted by Shibolei HaLeket), Mordechai (Shabbat 3:300), Rabbenu Yishaya HaRishon (Shabbat Bameh Tomnin), and Ravan (Shabbat 338) concerning Hatmana allow something that is set aside for the next day.] Rama 257:1 rules like these opinions. However Bet Yosef 253:1(4) concludes that this seemingly goes against many of the Mefarshim that are brought in the following Siman.
- Hatmana: Partial Insulation: There is a dispute in the Rishonim whether there is Hatmana when the food is touching the coals even though the food itself isn’t covered. S”A 253:1 end of saif rules (based on Rosh (Shabbat 3:1), Tur 253:1, Ran 15b s.v. Kirah, and Magid Mishna 3:4 in name of Rambam) that if the pot is touching the coals directly it’s forbidden to do hatmana in any case. However Rama 253:1 says that there are those who permit (namely, Mordechai (Shabbat 299, Hagahot Maimon 7:20, and Or Zaruh 2:8 pg 3c) and so is the Minhag. Chazon Ish 37:19 argues on this Rama and follows S”A. See The Great Crock Pot Controversy by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Kaganoff.
- Hatmana: The Tiny Space Between the Pot and Heating Element: Some distinguish between the pot directly on the coals and where there’s a small airspace in between including Mishna Brurah (Shaar Hatziyun 257:43) and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 257:10 (based on Ritva Shabbat 47b). Thus, Chazon Ovadyah (1 pg 64) argues that the small airspace is reason to permit even according to S”A, while Shulchan Shlomo 257:13 doesn’t consider the airspace as an interference between the coals and the pot because that’s the way it cooks.
- Shehiya: Covering the Knobs: Chazon Ovadia permits the shehiya because of covering the knobs. Orchot Shabbat 2:18 holds that covering the knob with tape permits shehiya.
- Shehiya: Other Solutions: Halacha Brurah 253:9 writes that if one covers the heating element with tin foil that solves the shehiya problem. Halacha Brurah 257:32 notes that if one puts in a raw piece of meat before Shabbat that also solves the issue of shehiya.
- Those who permit: Rav Vosner (Kovetz MeBet Levi 9, Shabbat LeYisrael pg 373), Sh”t Shevet HaLevi 9:52, and Rav Moshe Feinstein (Sefer Otzrot HaShabbat and Sefer Matmin UMevashel Beshabbat quote it in his name, see also Igros Moshe OC 4:74:Hatmana 4, Teshuvot Vihanhagot 3:106) permit (according to the Rama). Chazon Ovadyah (Shabbat 1 pg. 64) permits according to S”A based on a Safeka Safeka, and the small airspace, as long as one covers the knob to serve as a reminder. Rabbi Eli Mansour on DailyHalacha.com quotes this opinion of Rav Ovadia. Halacha Brurah 257:32 permits the crock pot for hatmana purposes if the food is intended for tomorrow.
- Those who forbid: Rav Shlomo Aurbach in Shulchan Shlomo 257:13 forbids. Rabbi Daniel Mann writes that although one is not required to do so, one who wishes to satisfy the opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalman may place little balls of tin foil underneath the removable part of the crock pot to create a separation between the pot of food and the heating element and raise the pot of food about the walls (see Rav Shlomo Zalman's letter in the back of Orchot Shabbat and Orchot Shabbat pg. 113). Rav Elyashiv (commonly quoted “in his name” (as in Sefer Otzrot HaShabbat and Sefer Matmin UMevashel Beshabbat) as forbidding the crock pot, however Shabbat Hayom recounts that he and his friend Rabbi Ofir Malka showed Rav Elyashiv the pot and Rav Elyashiv permitted it according to the Rama.
- Aluminum Balls Solution: Orchot Shabbat 2:88 writes that in terms of shehiya it is considered an uncovered fire which can be solved by creating a space between the pot and the insert. In terms of hatmana even though the top is uncovered it is still considered insulated since it is mostly surrounded by the heating element. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Elyashiv both held that it is only permitted to using a crock pot is the insert is raised in a noticeable way from the heating element otherwise it would be hatmana. Additionally, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach added that the food had to be completely cooked before Shabbat to avoid hatmana. Lastly, Rav Wosner held that one should be strict but one doesn't have to protest Ashkenazim who are lenient since it is only partial insulation. Rav Hershel Schachter (The Laws of Cooking and Warming Food on Shabbat p. 184) writes that one should place something in between the pot and the heating element to avoid hatmana.
Rabbi Moshe Isserles (1525-1572), Rabbi in Cracow, Poland, major ashkenazic halachic authority. Author of Darkei Moshe on the Tur, Sh"t Harama a set of responsa, and most famously the haghot on the SA.
Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (1250-1327), often referred to by the acronym of his name, Rosh, one of the more prominent Ashkenazic Rishonim, born in Germany, died in Spain, author of commentary published in the back of the gemaras, father of the Tur.
Rabbi Avraham Yishaya Karelitz (1878-1953), born in Belarus but emigrated to Israel, one of the leaders of the Charedi movement in Bnei Brak, author of Chazon Ish on Shulchan Aruch, brother-in-law of the Steipler Gaon.
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (1838 – 1933), known popularly as The Chofetz Chaim from his book on the laws of Lashon Hara, was an influential Lithuanian Rabbi, author of the Mishna Brurah as well as the Beur Halacha which is in more detail and the Shaar Hatziyun which quotes sources
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady (1745 – 1812), was the first Rebbe of Chabad and author of Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Tanya.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (1920-2013), born in Iraq lives in Israel, former sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, one of the foremost sephardic halachia authorities, author of Sh"t Yechave Daat, Sh"t Yabia Omer, both halachic responsa and Chazon Ovadia with halachot of Shabbat and the holidays. Father of Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef and Rabbi David Yosef
Rabbi David Yosef (1957- ), sephardic posek in Yerushalayim. The author of Halacha Brurah, a commentary on Shulchan Aruch, Torat Hamoadim, on the laws of the holidays and Torat Hatahara, on the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha. Son of Chacham Ovadia Yosef and brother of Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef