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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
My ideal stove...

1. Pilot lights
2. Sealed burners
3. Self-cleaning oven
4. 30" wide
5. Nice, deep oven

My current stove has 2,4 and 5. It has electronic ignition for both the oven and the burners.

Electronic ignition is a major pain. Why? Because it's a delicate piece of equipment that is easily damaged and wears out. The igniters for my burners no longer work. The rear ones never worked, and now the front ones do not. As I do not want to replace them - they're very expensive - I've been making do with a long butane lighter (safer than matches for many reasons, although I do have fireplace matches, too). This works fine, and I don't mind doing it - except for when I accidentally shut off a burner and have to relight right away.

When the oven igniter fails, I have to replace it. I've done that *twice*. It's $$$. I think we could have replaced the *stove* for less money.

So far, this one has lasted a couple of years.

The other convenience with a pilot light is cooking on yom tov. On yom tov, one does not start a new flame - one transfers an already existing flame. (This is apparently rabbinic, and new flames do not, say, render food treif the way cooking it on Shabbat would.) A pilot light means one can cook on yom tov in exactly the same way one can cook on weekdays. With electronic ignition, one is creating a new flame. So I have to keep a candle burning all yom tov as an external pilot light. I use a fireplace match to transfer to the burners. I keep the oven on a setting called "oven", which creates a pilot light there. (I could theoretically use that to transfer flame to the fireplace match, but the candle is more convenient.)

Fortunately, we hold that shutting off a burner is the same as removing wood from a fire - an act permitted on yom tov even though it will make the fire burn for a shorter amount of time. I don't need to keep a burner on all the time.

The problem is being careful to turn the knob such that it doesn't hit "light", which causes the electronic device to turn on, however ineffectually.

(Self-cleaning oven is obvious, I think.)

There's also an opinion that shutting off the gas to a burner is simply removing fuel from a fire, which is permitted on yom tov. So it's permitted to shut off the burner.


My electric oven has a Shabbat mode already programmed in, though I honestly don't know what it does.

Traditionally, are Shabbat/Yom Tov candles lit from new flames, or can they be by transfer? And is there a specific kosher method of striking new flames, or will anything do?

It always surprises me that there isn't a "douse all fires and start over fresh" ceremony in amongst the various Jewish New Years, because most traditional cultures have one.

If your electric oven has an automatic turn-off after a certain number of hours, the Shabbat mode overrides that to stay on for more than a day.

If Shabbat or a holiday day is not starting on a day that is already a holiday, new flames are fine, and whatever method is fine (I stick to matches :-). It's only on the second day of a holiday or Shabbat immediately follows a holiday that an extant flame needs to be used.

Right, right. I forgot about when Shabbat abuts a holiday in either direction. That complicates things.

Without a Shabbat mode, your oven would turn off after a preset number of hours. In the general run of things, this is a reasonable safety feature and would also save fuel costs. We've all accidentally left the oven on after we finished cooking. However, a lot of people (me included) want to have their ovens on for all of Shabbat - it's a good way of cooking cholent if you don't have a slow cooker or want to make more than usual, and is also a good way of reheating dry foods (foods without a sauce or which will not turn liquid when reheated) for lunch. Without a Shabbat mode, your stove would make that impossible. It also turns off the numbers for the oven temperature so there is no chance of them changing if one adjusts the heat on Yom Tov.

It basically turns a higher tech stove into a lower tech one temporarily.

The rules about new flames only apply *during* yom tov, so one lights Shabbat and first day Yom Tov candles the normal way with matches or lighters (I've taken to using my stove lighter). One also lights havdalah candles with new flames (with the exception of Yom Kippur, which uses a transfered one from before the yom tov. Yom Kippur is also the only holiday in which *all* the Shabbat prohibitions always apply.)

You start a new flame in any way you choose - a match, a lighter, a candle from another source (like a stove burner.) You just have to make sure they're out before you say the bracha because it is forbidden to douse flames - when I transfer a flame, I carefully place the fireplace match in my steel kitchen sink to burn out. Assuming it didn't douse itself between stove and sink, I mean. They often do.

We have a new flame ceremony every single Saturday night, to show we can light them again. (And there really aren't many resemblances between Judaism and "traditional" cultures - many of which, after all, are YOUNGER. We are talking about a 3000 year old religion/culture/nation.)