We have finished siman 2, and are addressing whether it is permissible to open a contemporary oven door of a lit oven on Shabbos. To clarify, we are not discussing a situation in which opening and closing the oven door is causing bishul. Rather, we are discussing where there is no food in the oven or where all of the food is fully cooked, so the question is only about causing the oven cycle to turn on.
Yesterday, we learned that since it is a safeik whether the heating element will turn on, Rav Moshe holds we can apply the concept of davar she’eino miskavein, and it is muttar to open the oven door at any point.
However, there is a general discussion about whether we can apply the concept of safeik to a case in which the safeik is borne as a result of missing details and lacking information. For example, if one is in a dark room, and they wish to open a box, take something out of it, and close the box, but there is a possibility that there are insects inside the box which will be trapped by closing the box. Even though the person’s intent is not to trap the insects, so it should be a davar she’eino miskavein, if it is known that there are insects in the box, it is a psik reisha and is assur, as we learned yesterday. In this example, although the person does not know whether there are insects in the box, we could counter that the “safeik” is due to a lack of knowledge of details rather than an inherent unknown regarding the outcome. The poskim call these cases a safeik psik reisha, and it is not given the same halachic status as a regular safeik. A safeik is when we know all of the information, but we do not know the reaction. Here, we are lacking some of the information, but once we learn the information we will know the outcome.
Another example is found regarding cooking milk and meat. The Rema discusses a scenario of a person who was traveling and stopped at an inn. They would take their own pot with their own food and hang it above the innkeeper’s fire in order to cook it. The problem begins when the Jew wishes to stir the coals of the fire. The Rema writes that maybe one should be concerned that there was previously a milk dish and a meat dish cooked above the fire, and that some of the milk and some of the meat spilled onto the coals. If so, when one stirs the coals, they are cooking milk and meat together, which is assur mideoraysa. The poskim point out that we do not apply the rule of davar she’eino miskavein to allow one to stir the coals, because it is a safeik psik reisha.
Therefore, coming back to our case of opening the oven door, many poskim disagree with Rav Moshe and are of the opinion that davar she’eino miskavein cannot be applied, because opening the oven door is a safeik psik reisha.
Even if we assume it is a safeik psik reisha and assur, halacha differentiates between a situation in which one is interested in the result of the potential action, and where one is not interested in the result. This is known as psik reisha d’nicha lei, and psik reisha d’lo ichpas lei/d’lo nicha lei. (For our purposes, we will group together the scenarios of where a person does not care about the result, and where a person specifically does not want the result.) Arguably, if one is not interested in the oven cycling back on, we can consider the opening of the door a psik reisha d’lo ichpas lei/d’lo nicha lei. This type of psik reisha is less stringent and is muttar in certain circumstances.
The way to achieve this lower form of psik reisha would be to remove all of the food when opening the oven, so that there is no interest in the oven remaining heated. Therefore, some poskim suggest that one remove all of the food on Friday night, so that they are not interested in the oven cycling back on.
If they do not remove all of the food, we have this question of a safeik psik reisha. Rav Moshe is meikil, but many poskim disagree. One should ask their rav regarding their practice at home.
Regarding opening an oven door on Shabbos, Rav Moshe holds that we can look at the heating element turning on as a davar she’eino miskavein, and therefore it will always be muttar to open the door. However, other poskim disagree, and hold it is a safeik psik reisha and is assur. One should ask their rav regarding their practice at home.