Chulent

June 20, 2006

a hot stew prepared for Shabbat by having the cooking mostly done before Shabbat and having the pot sit on a covered stove. Chulent became a traditional fixture in the menu of the Shabbat lunch for two reasons: 1) because it is delicious 2) to establish a clear argument, against the “Tzedukim,” the Sadducees, who believed only in the Written Law, not in its explanation in the Oral Law. They took what the Written Law said absolutely literally. Thus, when the Written Law states “Do not burn a fire in all your habitations on the Day of Shabbat,” the Tzedukkim interpreted this to mean that no form of fire could be maintained in one’s house. The Perushim, believed that a fire could be maintained, as long as it was started before Shabbat.