Hatmana - Wrapping Pots

QUESTION: After lighting Shabbos candles, I remembered that I did not yet wrap my pots of food for Shabbos (hatmana). Am I still permitted to do so?

ANSWER: Shulchan Aruch (257:1) writes that during bein hashmashos (twilight), one may wrap their pots of food. Chazal did not forbid hatmana during this time since it was uncommon for the pots to have already cooled down this early into Shabbos. Therefore, we are not concerned that the person might discover that the food is no longer warm and may put it back on the fire.  

However, this leniency only applies during bein hashmashos if there was no formal acceptance of Shabbos. However, if a woman accepted Shabbos by lighting Shabbos candles, hatmonah is prohibited. This distinction is clear from the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (261:4), that once the tzibur accepts Shabbos, even if it is before sunset, it is forbidden to do hatmana. Rav Shlomo Zalman of Lodi (Shulchan Aruch Harav, Kuntras Acharon 261) explains that although there is no concern that the pot may be returned to the fire at this early hour, once Shabbos is accepted, all formal restrictions of Shabbos apply. However, a woman who lit Shabbos candles may ask a non-Jewish neighbor to wrap her pots during bein hashmashos until 13 ½ minutes after sunset.


The Gerald & Karin Feldhamer OU Kosher Halacha Yomis is dedicated to the memory of Rav Yisroel Belsky, zt"l, who served as halachic consultant for OU Kosher for more than 28 years; many of the responses in Halacha Yomis are based on the rulings of Rabbi Belsky. Subscribe to the Halacha Yomis daily email here.