Blech Covers

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Blech Covers Guide

One hallmark of a traditional Jewish home is the chaotic Friday afternoons during which all of the preparations of Shabbat – cooking, cleaning and bathing amongst many – are completed since most of these actions many not be performed on Shabbat. One of the final actions done before the beginning of Shabbat is the placing of food atop a Blech, which is often followed by last minute preparations before sunset and the lighting on candles the marks the beginning of Shabbat.

The Prohibition of Using Fire and the Blech

On Shabbat, there are thirty-nine different categories of work that are prohibited. One of those is the use of fire for any constructive purpose, whether for forging tools or even simple cooking. Consequently this led to practical problems the prevented Jewish people from enjoying Shabbat and led to past leaders allowing the indirect use of fire. This arena of Jewish law is one the most complex areas regarding Shabbat. One of the items that resulted from discussions regarding the use of fire is the Blech and Blech Cover.

What is a Blech and what is a Blech Cover?

The term Blech refers to methods of heading food on Shabbat to circumvent the prohibition of using fire directly by placing a separation between the fire and the food. However, the term normally is used to refer specifically to the sheet of metal that is used to separate between the flame on a stove top and pots and pans that hold food to be eaten on Shabbat.

The Blech Cover is a cotton cover that has a thick insulated layer inside that is placed atop food sitting on a Blech to keep it warm.

Materials

Blechs are made from metal and contain simple electric circuitry and Blech covers are made from cloth, usually cotton or silk.

There are three different types of Blechs: one that plugs into the wall and heats up food in a similar fashion to a hot plate, a simple metal sheet and a Blech that consists of two pans, one of which is filled with water and covered with the other pan. The latter two types of Blechs are placed directly on a stove top, the first can be placed anywhere.

Blech covers take two different forms: as a sheet that is placed atop all of the food placed on Blech or a small sized cover that sits atop a specific pot or pan for the purpose of keeping it warm.

Decorations

Blech Covers can come in any shape, size and color, although they are typically large sized and are in shades of white, blue, brown, green and red. They are usually decorated with silver depiction of Jerusalem, flowers, crowns and intricate geometric patterns consisting of lines and dots. Blech covers typically have the words “Lichvod Shabbat” or “Shabbat VeYom Tov” in the center, which translate as “For the honor of Shabbat” as “Shabbat and Holidays” in English.

For More Information

For more information on Blech Covers or other Judaica items, feel free to contact our Judaica experts with any questions or concerns.

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