“Basically, everyone is trying to figure out what should they do this Sabbath,” said Edgar Gluck, a prominent rabbi in Borough Park who has been helping to counsel people. He personally uses a hot plate, he said, but places it on a granite countertop, next to a stainless-steel sink, and feels that it is safe.
The New York Times has an article talking about the rush in the haredi community of Brooklyn to buy smoke detectors and UL listed hotplates before Shabbat.
Two things in the article stand out to me.
The first is that Dov Hikind's daughter is still going to use a hotplate, even though her father begged her not to, and so are haredi community leaders like Rabbi Edgar Gluck, quoted above in the Times article.
The second is that the FDNY is very clear. Not only is it dangerous to leave hotplates on for 25 hours, attended or not, and always dangerous to leave them on unattended no matter how short of time it is, it is also dangerous to leave burners on stove on, even if if they are covered by a blech.
In other words, there is currently no safe way for haredim to eat hot food on Shabbat morning.
Yes, some haredim will now use a timer to turn the hotplate on and off, but (most of) the the food still has to be left on the hotplate overnight without refrigeration. And that poses its own dangers. But many haredi rabbis still refuse to allow times to be used in this way, and therefore many haredim will leave their hotplates on for 25 hours starting this afternoon and hope nothing goes wrong.
As I wrote earlier in the week, the only reason we eat hot food on Shabbat morning is to show that, unlike the Karaites (a breakaway Jewish sect in the early Middle Ages that strongly challenged Rabbinic Judaism for control of the Jewish community), we Rabbinic Jews accept the Talmud's rulings (the Talmud had just been compiled and circulated, and was a completely new thing to many Jews) and use preexisting fire on Shabbat. The Karaites, who rejected the Talmud, which was and remains Rabbinic Judaism's masteriece, understood the Torah differently and used no fire on Shabbat at all.
Perhaps now that it is clear to any seeing person that blechs and hotplates are dangerous and sometimes kill people, we could all forgo that hot food and forgo thumbing our communal eye at the handful of remaining Karaites until technology can be developed that allows food to be kept warm for 25 hours (or for as much as 73 hours and to cook during some of that time, if a three-day Yom Tov, holiday, is involved).
That no rabbis have called for this, I think, speaks volumes about how little they really understand the dangers or care for the lives that have been lost.
Some But Not All Related Posts: