Shabbat 38 - Putting the food back
As we learned before , Beit Hillel allow not only to leave food on the stove at the advent of Shabbat (provided that one cannot accidentally stoke the fire), but even put it back on the stove. However, here appears another concern - that it may look as if he is cooking on Shabbat. Nevertheless, this is allowed not only on Friday night, but even on the morrow, on the Shabbat day itself - so taught Rav Sheshet.
However, there are a few provisos. The food must be still warm. Our returning it on the stove is a continuation of originally leaving it there, in order to keep it warm, and if it completely cooled off, then this reason does not work. Should the pot still be in his hands? Rav Dimi and Rav Shmuel bar Yehudah disagreed about that, and therefore it is better to keep it in one’s hands while serving the food. Should one have the intention to return it, when he takes the pot? Again, here we have different versions of the ruling, and therefore it is better to keep in mind that one will return the food to the stove.
Rav Yirmiyah asked the following questions: if he hung the pot on a peg, what is the law? Is it like holding it in one’s hand, or is it like putting it on the ground? If he put it down on the bed, what then? Rav Ashi asked, "If he transferred the hot water from one kettle to another, can he return it to the stove?" These questions remained unanswered.
Art: Emil Carlsen - Still Life with Kettle and Jug