Yom Tov celebrations could never be complete without the traditional piping hot delicacies from past generations. However, the kosher homemaker must be well educated on how to prepare Yom Tov meals without fear of transgressing a Torah or rabbinic prohibition.
When mentioning the prohibition of work on Shabbos the Torah writes, “Do not do any melacha (work prohibited on Shabbos).”1 This prohibition applies to melacha performed for food preparation, as well as other non-food purposes. In stating the prohibition of melacha on Yom Tov the Torah writes, “You shall not do laborious work.”2 In addition, when giving the initial command about the Yom Tov of Pesach the Torah writes, “No work may be done on them (first and seventh day of Pesach), except for what must be eaten for any person, only that may be done for you.” (Shmos 22:16) The Ramban explains that the contrast of terms (work versus […]

Gas Ranges

We have been advised that the following STAR-K certified Samsung gas ranges have a Sabbath Mode that does not work properly:

NX58H5600
NX58F5500
NX58H5650
NX58F5700

If you own one of these models, click here to contact Samsung for a fix.

Until you get the fix  you need to install an oven “ShabboSwitch”. This device is available at your local bookstore or online. Any method of keeping the plunger switch on the frame of the oven depressed will work.  If using tape, make sure it can withstand the heat of the oven. (Duct tape may not work.)

Please note that you still need to put your oven into Sabbath Mode before Shabbos or YomTov, even if you have installed a “ShabboSwitch”.

Electric Ranges

The Sabbath mode in all STAR-K certified Samsung electric ranges is fully functional and meets all our halachic requirements.

Stainless steel, plastic or porcelain dishwashers which have plastic pumps, parts and rubber hoses cannot be kashered for Pesach or the rest of the year.

Porcelain Enamel, Corian, Plastic/Formica, Silestone
CANNOT be kashered (for Pesach). Clean and cover for cold food. Cardboard or thick pad for hot food and utensils.

Granite, Marble, or Stainless Steel
Can be kashered by doing eruy roschim (purging through a hot water pour). Make sure that the material is a PURE granite, limestone, etc. Sometimes they are really “composites” which have plastic in them and therefore CANNOT be kashered.

June 6, 2008
On Friday, 3 Sivan, 5768, Rav Heinemann, Shlita discussed the recent Kol Koreh regarding raising or lowering temperatures on Yom Tov on ovens equipped with the Sabbath Mode feature.

Passover

Electric – Kashering a Glass, Corning, Halogen, or Ceran electric smoothtop range for Pesach use is a bit complex. To kasher the burner area, turn on the elements until they glow. The burner area is now considered kosher for Pesach. However, the remaining area that does not get hot is not kashered. The manufacturers do not suggest covering this area as one would a porcelain top, as it may cause the glass to break. Real kosherization can be accomplished by holding a blow torch over the glass until it is hot enough to singe a piece of newspaper on contact with the glass. However, this too may cause the glass to shatter and is not recommended. As the area between the burners cannot practically be kashered, it would be wise to have a trivet on the open glass area to move pots onto. In addition, it would be wise to […]

Room Air Conditioner Units with Electronic Controls

May stay off after return from a power failure until manually reset.
May also pose a problem when using timers (Shabbos clocks): the unit will turn off as set, but will not turn back on at the set time unless manually reset.

Recommendations

Contact the manufacturer for information on which models may have this feature.

News

Star-K is pleased to announce that in response to our suggestions, GE has modified its 2004 (and later) electronic room air conditioners so that they will now return to their default position. This means that on Shabbos and Yom Tov, the air conditioners will still function after being off due to a power outage or use with a Shabbos timer.

Opening the Refrigerator/Freezer Door

Should not cause circulation fans to go on/off. (Check to see if fan runs with open door. If it does not, press down door plunger switch and listen to see if fan goes on. Some models have two door plunger switches – one for the light and another for the fan motor.)
Should not activate any tones or digital readouts (e.g. door ajar icons, cabinet temperature and settings).
Should not affect defrost cycle. (Defrost cycle should not be dependent on the amount of times and duration of the door opening.)
Light in refrigerator cavity should be removed – either by unscrewing the bulb or by taping down the light switch. Check to make sure there are no other lights (e.g. door lights) that are turned on when the door is opened.

CAUTION: Disabling Door Switches
Taping or otherwise holding down the door plunger switch to avoid these problems will cause the […]

Dear Readers,

We at the STAR-K have worked with numerous appliance companies to make modern appliances more kosher consumer friendly for Shabbos and Yom Tov. During this process we have, in many cases, eliminated lights, icons, tones, and digital displays, provided for timed bake without tones and icons, and temperature adjustment on Yom Tov. However, these companies have chosen to name this feature the Sabbath Mode, and we are concerned from a halachic point of view that there may be some misunderstanding as to the proper use of these ovens on Shabbos. We would therefore like to make some clarifications.

1. No adjustment to the temperature is permitted on Shabbos even in the Sabbath Mode.

2. All food must be fully cooked and placed in the oven before Shabbos. No food (cooked or non-cooked) may be placed in the oven on Shabbos to re-warm or cook. This is true regarding ovens, as well […]

Cooktop

If electric, choose coil type burners rather than heating elements embedded in a smooth glass surface.
If glass and electric, may present a problem of kashering for Pesach or if bought used. Check with your Rav.
If electric, may be a problem adjusting the temperature on Yom Tov.
If electric ignition, may be a problem with initiating a flame on Yom Tov.
Cooktops (gas or electric) may have a light or light bar that turns on when the burner is turned on. Some of these light bars also increase or decrease as the temperature setting is adjusted. Some cooktops may also have simmer lights that turn on and off as one enters or exits a very low setting.
Avoid electronic controls. After return of power from a power failure, these units will probably stay off. Avoid induction cooktops. They work well, but are not usable on Shabbos or Yom Tov.

12-hr Cutoff

Should have a way to […]

Granite, Marble, or Stainless Steel – To kasher (for year-round and Pesach), clean the countertop, wait 24 hours after its last use, and then pour boiling water over each part of the countertop. You may need to refill the pot several times. (It is not sufficient to pour on one spot and let the water run over the counter.) Make sure the material is a pure granite or stone. Sometimes they are really “composites” and therefore CANNOT be kashered.

Wood may also be kashered as stainless steel if it has a smooth surface and no cracks.

Porcelain Enamel, Corian Solid Surfaces®, Zodiaq Quartz Surfaces®, Formica, Silestone – Star-K policy does not allow kashering of plastic or materials with plastic components.

Year-Round Use: As long as the countertop is clean, it may be used for cold pots and food. Hot food should not be placed on it. If inadvertently hot food was put on […]

In today’s office cafeteria a company microwave is prominently seen next to the corporate coffee urn. As the cold winter months approach many office workers look forward to a hot cup of soup or hot chocolate with their brown bag lunch. Can the office microwave be used for general Kosher use?

Appliance manufacturers, with the aid of modern technology, have designed kitchen appliances to be safer and more efficient while incorporating various features to enhance operation. However, the integration of this technology may pose a challenge to their proper use on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
In 1997, a historic technological project was launched between a major appliance manufacturer and a kosher certification agency. Whirlpool Corporation (manufacturer of KitchenAid) approached the STAR-K to help modify their ovens for use on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Prior to that time, many of their appliances did not conform to halachic guidelines. Following some adjustments, a successful mode was developed. Whirlpool called this “Sabbath Mode” and was awarded a patent in 1998 for this concept.

STAR-K certification on appliances falls into two categories:
1. Sabbath Mode, includes models that have unique software/hardware designed to specifically address our concerns.
2. Sabbath Compliant, includes models that the manufacturer wanted […]

Cookin’ just ain’t what it used to be. Technological advances have taken the old stovetop and oven and upgraded them to be safer, more efficient, and smart for today’s lifestyle. They are also far more complicated. With these transformations, the observant Jew is faced with challenges that did not confront him in the past. To understand how these changes affect the halachic use of the stovetop on Shabbos and Yom Tov, it is worthwhile to review some laws and concepts as they relate to cooking on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

DEFINITION OF MELACHA

Cooking on Shabbos is a Torah prohibition derived from the constructive acts performed in erecting the mishkan. This forbidden act is known as a melacha. There are 39 categories of prohibited acts.

MELACHA OF COOKING

The prohibition of cooking on Shabbos is defined as the act of using heat to make a substance edible, or to change its current state. […]

Hashem, in His eminent act of chesed, created a world with abundant gifts expressly designed for the enjoyment of man. The Torah often limits, directs or restricts these worldly opportunities afforded to us to help us remember that we do not own this earthly bounty, instead we are using them with the permission of their Owner.

Can you remember back to the good ol’ days when your erev Shabbos and Yom Tov ‘To Do’ list included turning on your oven that would stay on until Havdalah, so you could eat hot food? What about unscrewing the refrigerator light bulb or taping down the button on the refrigerator door frame to prevent the light from turning on when you opened the refrigerator door? The Sabbath observer has long been challenged with a plethora of major kitchen appliance problems, however, the installation of technologically advanced safety features by well-intentioned appliance makers have made our 20th century appliance challenges seem like child’s play!      

Published Fall 2011

One of the most popular articles in Kashrus Kurrents, dating back to my days in kollel, was the article entitled, Preparing the Home for Pesach, written by Rav Heinemann shlita, Rabbinic Administrator of Star-K.  It appeared in one of the Kashrus Kurrents earliest Pesach editions.

Few of us can remember life in the kitchen without the help of a refrigerator. Probably the most used appliance in the home, the electric refrigerator was mass produced as a home appliance in the early 1920’s. Although many improvements and modifications have taken place over the years, the basic principles employed in the home refrigerator remain the same.