Using an oven without ‘Sabbath Mode’
1. HOW HAS THIS GUIDE BEEN CONSTRUCTED?
This guide is intended to educate the consumer as to how an oven without an approved ‘Sabbath mode’ can be used to keep food hot for Shabbos. There are two major problems with using an oven on Shabbos:
1) direct electronic activity caused by the opening of the door such as the operation of the light or fan
2) indirect electronic activity caused by the introduction of cold air to the oven cavity.
This guide will show how both problems can be tested for and potentially bypassed.
2. HOW DO I KNOW IF OPENING MY OVEN DOOR CAUSES DIRECT ELECTRONIC ACTIVITY?
Here are our instructions for checking to see if the opening of an oven door triggers any direct electronic activity:
- No oven may be used if opening and closing the door triggers a light, makes changes to a display screen, starts/stops a fan/lights. These points must be researched before using any oven on Shabbos.
- In some cases, it will be possible to neutralise these problems by taping down a small door switch – look carefully to find it
- To test the oven, turn the oven to ‘on’ – and then open the door.
- Check that no light is lit, and listen out to see if the fan operates
- Check that nothing changes on the LED screen
- Then test the oven when the oven is set to ‘off’, does the light come on when the door opens, is there a change on the digital display screen?
- In some appliances, the element is programmed to switch off when the door opens. The manufacturer should be contacted and asked whether the element is affected by the door opening and closing.
- You can also test this at home by listening out for a quiet clicking sound as the door is opened or closed.
- Another way to test this is by turning on the oven and turning off all other power using devices in the house (by turning off the fuses). When the oven is heating, the power on your home’s electric meter will be moving. Open the door and get someone else to look at the meter. If the meter stops or slows significantly as the door was opened then it is likely that this safety feature is in fact in operation in your device. Close the door, does the power usage resume?
3. CAN OVENS WHICH DO NOT CARRY AN APPROVED ‘SABBATH MODE’ BE USED ON SHABBOS?
In the case of ovens which are not manufactured under supervision, you should not use the oven on Shabbos unless it has been thoroughly investigated. As a rule, the simpler and older models are more likely to meet our criteria than the more recent models.
Here are our instructions for use of an oven which is not approved for Shabbos but may be used when operating on a timer:
- The timer should be set before Shabbos to switch the oven off in time for your Shabbos meal.
- The door should be opened only once the timer has closed off all appliance activity.
- The alarm indicating the end of the desired cooking program may not be switched off on Shabbos. If opening the door switches off the alarm, this is problematic and the oven can not be used in this way.
- NOTE– some models carry a timer whose alarm will continue to sound until it is switched off; in others an icon is cancelled when the door is opened; these models are not suitable for Shabbos use.
4. CAN OVENS WHICH DO NOT HAVE A TIMER BE USED ON SHABBOS?
In Question 3, we gave instruction for the use of an oven which has no Sabbath mode; this, through the traditional use of a timer which shuts off all appliance activity.
A further possibility exists for cases where no timer function is available; this approach allows for opening the oven when the element is working, and the Federation Beis Din have deemed this acceptable.
As described in question 2, no oven may be used if opening and closing the door triggers a light, makes changes to a display screen, starts/stops a fan/lights or it switches off a heating element. These points must be researched before using any oven on Shabbos. Here are our instructions for use of an appliance when the element is lit:
- In ovens which have an element indicator light, when the light glows this shows that the element is active and heating.
- One may open the door when the light is showing.
- The door can be opened and closed repeatedly.
- For ovens which do not feature such an indicator light, FedTech are working on a device which can be installed in such ovens and acts as an external element indicator light.
5. is there a solution for ovens which HAVE neither A TIMER nor an element indicator light?
If your oven has neither a suitable timer as described in question 3 not an indicator light as discussed in question 4, the appliance can be used according to some authorities. In this case, however, since introducing cold air will speed up the onset of the heating cycle its use must be limited somewhat. Here are our instructions:
- Foods being heated in the oven should all be removed in one go. The door should be opened, all food removed and then closed only once.
- In practice this means that householder mist fill the oven with food which will all be served simultaneously during the same course, rather than allowing for some food to be served later in the meal.
6. read the table below for a colour coded summary of the three ways to use an oven on shabbos if the oven does not have an approved ‘sabbath mode’:
Note: the two columns coloured green are the halachically preferred approach for use of the oven. Discuss the question with you community Rabbi before using approach number 3.
7. WHAT ARE THE YOM TOV RULES FOR THE OPERATION OF AN OVEN?
On Yom Tov, cooking is permitted; however, switching on and turning off an oven are forbidden. Similarly, adjusting the temperature on an oven is not permitted. Our guidelines for oven use are as follows:
- No oven may be used if opening and closing the door triggers a light, makes changes to a display screen, starts/stops a fan/lights or it switches off a heating element. These points must be researched before using any oven on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
- If the oven is working in thermostatic mode and the door opening does not directly affect its operation, the oven may be used for Yom Tov cooking.
- The oven should be set to the desired temperature on Sabbath mode before Yom Tov.
- No adjustments may be made to the temperature setting over the course of Yom Tov.
- Food may be placed in the oven to cook or heat on Yom Tov and need not be in place from before Yom Tov.
- The door may be opened and closed as is required over the course of cooking. It should not be opened for no reason.