Newsletter Parashat Mishpatim

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Q & A on Parashat Mishpatim

 All references are to the verses and Rashi’s commentary unless otherwise stated.

  1. In what context is a mezuza mentioned in this week's parsha?
    21:6 – If a Hebrew slave desires to remain enslaved, his owner brings him "to the doorpost mezuza" to pierce his ear.
  2. What special mitzvah does the Torah give to the master of a Hebrew maidservant?
    21:8,9 – To marry her.
  3. What is the penalty for wounding one's father or mother?
    21:15 – Death by strangulation.
  4. An intentionally hits B. As a result, B is close to death. Besides any monetary payments, what happens to A?
    21:19 – He is put in jail until B recovers or dies.
  5. What is the penalty for someone who tries to murder a particular person, but accidentally kills another person instead? Give two opinions.
    21:23 –
    (a) The murderer deserves the death penalty.
    (b) The murderer is exempt from death but must compensate the heirs of his victim.
  6. A slave goes free if his master knocks out one of the slave's teeth. What teeth do not qualify for this rule and why?
    21:26 – Baby teeth, which grow back.
  7. An ox gores another ox. What is the maximum the owner of the damaging ox must pay, provided his animal had gored no more than twice previously?
    21:35 – The full value of his own animal.
  8. From where in this week's Parsha can the importance of work be demonstrated?
    21:37 – From the "five-times" penalty for stealing an ox and slaughtering it. This fine is seen as punishment for preventing the owner from plowing with his ox.
  9. What is meant by the words "If the sun shone on him"?
    22:2 – If it's as clear as the sun that the thief has no intent to kill.
  10. A person is given an object for safe-keeping. Later, he swears it was stolen. Witnesses come and say that in fact, he is the one who stole it. How much must he pay?
    22:8 – Double value of the object.
  11. A person borrows his employee's car. The car is struck by lightning. How much must he pay?
    22:14 – Nothing
  12. Why is lending money at interest called "biting"?
    22:24 – Interest is like a snake bite. Just as the poison is not noticed at first but soon overwhelms the person, so too interest is barely noticeable until it accumulates to an overwhelming sum.
  13. Non-kosher meat, "treifa," is preferentially fed to dogs. Why?
    22:30 – As "reward" for their silence during the plague of the first-born.
  14. Which verse forbids listening to slander?
    23:1 – Targum Onkelos translates "Don't bear a false report" as "Don't receive a false report".
  15. What constitutes a majority-ruling in a capital case?
    23:2 – A simple majority is needed for an acquittal. A majority of two is needed for a ruling of guilty.
  16. How is Shavuot referred to in this week's parsha?
    23:16 – Chag Hakatzir — Festival of Reaping.
  17. How many prohibitions are transgressed when cooking meat and milk together?
    23:19 – One.
  18. What was written in the Sefer Habrit which Moshe wrote prior to the giving of the Torah?
    24:4,7 – The Torah, starting from Bereishet until the giving of the Torah, and the mitzvot given at Mara.
  19. What was the livnat hasapir a reminder of?
    24:10 – That the Jews in Egypt were forced to toil by making bricks.
  20. Who was Efrat? Who was her husband? Who was her son?
    24:14 – Miriam, wife of Calev, mother of Chur.


Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l

 דין שהיית תבשיל מערב שבת על גבי כיריים של גאז או פלטה

גזירת "שמא יחתה"

רבותינו אסרו להעמיד קדרת (סיר) תבשיל מערב שבת (לפני כניסת השבת) על גבי הכיריים של אש שהיו בזמנם, משום גזירה, שמא יבא לחתות (כלומר להפוך) את הגחלים ביום השבת עצמו בכדי למהר את בישול המאכל. ולא התירו להניח תבשיל על האש מערב שבת, אלא דוקא אם "גרף", כלומר שהוציא את כל הגחלים מהכירה מערב שבת, שאז אין לחוש שמא יחתה בגחלים, או ש"קטם", כלומר, שכיסה את כל הגחלים באפר מערב שבת, שאז יש "היכר" (סימן) להזהר לא לבא לחתות בגחלים בשבת, וממילא אין לחוש לחיתוי.

דין כיריים של גז או חשמל
ובזמנינו, שהכיריים שלנו הן של גז, שאין חשש שיבא לחתות בגחלים, יש אומרים שמותר להניח תבשיל שלא נתבשל כל צרכו מערב שבת, בכדי שימשיך בישולו בשבת, מפני שאין לחוש לחיתוי בגחלים, ויש אומרים שעדיין יש לחוש שיבא להגביה את חום האש על ידי סיבוב הכפתור המווסת את זרימת הגז, וגם בזה שייך איסור תורה שממהר את הבישול ומגביר את האש, ולכן אוסרים גם בזמנינו להניח תבשיל, כגון "חמין" על גבי האש מערב שבת.

ולהלכה פסק מרן הרב עובדיה יוסף שליט"א, שמכיון שבזמן רבותינו שגזרו גזירה זו לא היה בנמצא כלל חשש כזה של הגבהת חום האש על ידי סיבוב כפתור, אם כן אין זה בכלל גזירת חז"ל בזה. והביא עוד טעמים להקל בזה. ולכן מעיקר הדין כתב, שיש להקל להניח תבשיל שלא נתבשל כל צרכו על גבי כיריים של גאז מערב שבת, בכדי שימשיך בישולו בשבת. ומכל מקום, טוב להחמיר להניח על גבי הכירה טס של מתכת וכיוצא בזה, שיפסיק בין האש לקדירה, שאז נחשב הדבר כמו שהכירה קטומה, (כמו גחלים המכוסים אפר), שאז יש להקל יותר בריוח להשהות על גביה תבשיל כזה.

דין פלאטה חשמלית
וממוצא הדברים נלמד, שבפלאטה חשמלית של שבת, שאין האש שבתוכה ניכרת כלל, והיא מכוסה בטס של מתכת מעצם יצירתה, הרי דינה הוא כדין כירה גרופה וקטומה, ויש להקל להניח על גביה תבשיל מערב שבת, כגון "חמין", בכדי שיגמר הבישול שלו ביום השבת עצמו, ואין חיוב להניח על גבי הפלאטה טס של מתכת, מכיון שבלאו הכי האש שבפלאטה מכוסה על ידי המתכת. (וכן פסק הגאון רבי משה פינשטיין זצ"ל). ויש עוד טעמים להקל בזה שנידונו בארוכה בספרי הפוסקים. ויש מחמירים גם בפלאטה חשמלית, להניח על גביה טס של מתכת שיפסיק בין קדירת התבשיל למאכל, ומכל מקום מעיקר הדין יש להקל בזה בפשיטות, גם בלא טס של מתכת.

ולסיכום: מותר להניח קודם כניסת השבת, תבשיל שלא נתבשל כל צרכו על גבי כיריים של גז, בכדי שיגמר הבישול ביום השבת, וטוב להניח טס של מתכת על גבי הכירה, בכדי להפסיק בין הקדירה לכיריים. ומותר להשהות מערב שבת תבשיל שלא נתבשל כל צרכו על גבי פלאטה חשמלית של שבת, ובזה יש להקל בפשיטות גם בלא הפסק של טס מתכת.

וכל זה לענין הנחת תבשיל מערב שבת לצורך השבת, אבל ביום השבת עצמו, יש פרטי דינים בזה, שיבוארו להלן

The Laws of Leaving a Food on a Gas Stovetop or Electric Hotplate from before Shabbat

The Enactment of "Lest One Stoke"

Our Sages forbade leaving a pot of food from before the onset of Shabbat on the stovetops which existed then lest one stoke the coals on Shabbat itself in order to hasten the foods cooking. They only allowed one to leave his pot of food on the fire from before Shabbat if he had either removed the coals from the stove before Shabbat in which case there is no concern for stoking the coals or if one had covered the coals with a layer of ash before Shabbat as a sign/reminder to beware not to stoke the coals on Shabbat in which case there is no longer concern for stoking.

A Gas or Electric Stovetop
Nowadays, when our stovetops are gas-powered and there is no longer concern for stoking coals, some say that one is permitted to leave a food which is not fully-cooked on the stovetop from before Shabbat in order for it to continue to cook on Shabbat, for there is no longer concern for stoking. Others, however, say that it is still forbidden to do so, for there is concern that one may raise the temperature of the flame by turning the knob which controls the amount of gas flow; this also constitutes a Torah prohibition, for this hastens the cooking time of the food as well as making the flame larger. They therefore prohibit leaving a pot of "Chulent" on the gas range from before Shabbat in order to cook on Shabbat.

Halachically speaking, Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a rules that since the issue of raising the temperature of the flame by turning a knob was not an issue at the time that our Sages established this decree, this is therefore not included in the enactment of our Sages. He quotes other reasons for leniency as well. Thus, according to the letter of the law, one may leave a pot of non-fully-cooked food on the gas stovetop from before Shabbat in order for it to continue cooking on Shabbat. It is nevertheless preferable to act stringently and place a metal sheet ("Blech") and the like on top of the stovetop in order to separate between the flame and the pot and in this way it will be considered as if the "coals were removed from the stove" in which case there is much more room for leniency to leave the pot of food there from before Shabbat.

An Electric Hotplate
Based on this we can infer that an electric Shabbat hotplate ("Plata") whose fire or heat source within it is completely indiscernible and is covered with a layer of metal from its production has the same law as a stove with the coals "removed or covered" and one may be lenient and place a pot of food on top of it before the onset of Shabbat in order to continue being cooked on Shabbat. One need not place a metal sheet on top of it since its heat source within is already covered by metal (Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinsteinzt"l rules likewise). There are other reasons for leniency discussed at length in the works of the Poskim. There are nevertheless those who are customarily stringent and place a metal sheet on top of the hotplate in order to separate between it and the pot; however, as we have mentioned, the Halacha follows that the is ample room for leniency even without an additional layer of metal.

Summary: One may place a pot of food which is not fully-cooked on a gas stovetop before the onset of Shabbat in order for it to continue cooking on Shabbat. It is preferable, however, to place a sheet of metal on top of the stovetop in order to separate between the flame and the pot. One may place a pot of food which is not fully-cooked on an electric hotplate before Shabbat and one may do so even without placing a layer of metal on top of the hotplate.

All this applies to leaving a pot of food on the stovetop or hotplate before the onset of Shabbat; however, placing the food on Shabbat itself requires several other conditions to be met as we shall soon discuss, G-d-willing


Shabbat Shalom

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