A Little Clarity – Halachic Questions via Text Message

Due to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.

If you would like my phone number to submit questions, please leave a comment and I will send it to you.

Q: I know you use these things to keep shabbos lunch warm. What are they and where do you buy them?
A: It is called a hot plate (or “Plata” in Israel) and can be purchased in Jewish stores or online (try Amazon).   Regarding placing food on them after Shabbos has already begun: They can only be used to heat up pre-cooked non-liquid food, but not for cooking or even re-heating liquids.  If you put the food on before Shabbos begins, then as long as it is already cooked it is OK even if it contains liquid (e.g. cholent or soup).

Q: If I intend to clean a milchig pot using boiling water, vinegar, baking soda, and a scoring pad, would I be allowed to use a scoring pad that was also used to clean a fleishig pot in this way?

A: It would seem OK but I am more comfortable if you use a different one. I would be OK with it if you put some soap in.
Q: If a husband davens in a shul that accepts Shabbos early during the Summer, does his wife have to accept Shabbos early as well?
A: Although there those that are strict (R. Shmuel Kamenetsky), one is permitted to follow the opinion of R. Moshe that she can accept Shabbos whenever she wants (see Iggrot Moshe III:38, where he nevertheless recommends but doesn’t require being strict regarding her doing melachot for the husband’s sake after he has already accepted Shabbos).
Q:  Is it true glass is interchangeable [i.e. can be used for both meat or dairy subsequent to one another] or is that rumor?
A: That is definitely customary regarding drinking glasses.  It is also OK for plates that food is just served or eaten on.  You will find, however, that in these areas, many people adopt additional stringency.  However, glass used for cooking (e.g. Pyrex, etc., or even heating up food on a plate in a microwave) is more complicated and it is generally not used (by Ashkenazim) interchangeably.
Q: Some people tell me swimming is not allowed on shabbos. Do you know y
A: There are various explanations given (like the concern that one might accidentally wring out drenched clothing or build a flotation device) but it boils down to the fact that it is customary not to swim on Shabbos, and some add that it is not in the spirit of Shabbos.

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Filed under Halachic Issues, Kashruth, Text Message Halacha

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