Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen
Judaism includes many special laws about foods cooked or prepared by non-Jews. In this class, we will focus on food cooked by non-Jews (Bishul Akum), bread baked by non-Jews (Pat Akum) and dairy products farmed by non-Jews (Chalav Akum).
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 1
Today we addressed two subjects. First we discussed the ban that the israeli Chief rabbinate placed on Hagen-Dazs ice cream, and the considerations that a Kashrut organization needs to weigh when deciding to accept a lenient opinion. Next we studied the teshuva of Rav Ovadiah yosef shlita about accepting blood transfusions or organ donations from non- Jews.
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 2
Today we had the opening discussion regarding pat Akum, bread (whose ingredients are kosher) but was baked by a non-Jew. We saw that already in the times of the earliest Amoraim, this prohibition was not embraced by the people and the Gemara says that a prohibition that is not adopted by the people can be nullified by a later court. The Rishonim oberserved that in their time many communities were eating pat Akum, and these Rishonim say that this can be justified based on the assumptions that either the formal prohibition was indeed nullified, or that these communities are descended from earlier communities who never accepted the prohibition to begin with. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend theshiur and I look forward to meeting with you next week. In next week’s class I plan to discuss the laws of pat Akum in the Shulchan Aruch.
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 3
Today we studied the halachot of Pat Akum. We discussed the various leniencies permitted by Pat Akum (from duress to quality of life) and we finished with the difference of opinion between the Pitchei Teshuva and the Yad Ephraim if we may believe a non-Jewish baker who claims his bread is made with kosher ingredients and utensils.
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 4
Hello- I apologize if I spoke too quickly today but there was a lot of material to cover. To summarize; today we studied the definition of “bread.” The leniencies of “pat Akum” as opposed to “bishul Akum” only apply to “bread” and not to other foodstuffs, so there is a need to establish a boundary between bread and, to take an example, cake. We saw that bread is defined in halachot of Hafrashat Challah as well as in the halachot of Brachot . We saw that there is indeed a category of pastry called “pat hab’ah b’kisnin” which occupies an intermediate area between bread and cake, so the blessings that one would say before and after eating “pat haba’ah b’kisnin” depend on how one eats of these items. For the purpose of pat Akum we saw that two contemporary authorities, Rav Wozner and Rav Ovadiah Yosef cite the opinion of the Pri Chadash who held that we can adopt the broadest definition of bread when deciding if a pastry would be permitted according to the leniencies of pat akum.
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 5
Hello , Today we started the discussion of bishul Akum- the laws pertaining to kosher food items, prepared in kosher utensils by a non-Jew. We studied the following laws : (a) the types of foods prohibited by bishul Akum are foods which are not eaten raw and can be served before distinguished diners (b) the type of cooking- bishul Akum applies even if the food was not appreciably changed in the cooking process (c) the population proscribed by the laws of bishul Akum- we saw that the Ravad and others felt that bishul Akum prohibits eating food prepared by one’s non-Jewish social equal in the non-Jew’s home. The Ravad was of the opinion that since the reasons for prohibiting bishul Akum were to minimize the possibility of inter-marriage and/or eating non-kosher food’ if the food was prepared in the home a Jew these concerns no longer exist. Similarly it was argued that if a non-Jew is employed by a jew to cook in the Jew’s home then bishul Akum does not apply. The approach of the Ravad was rejected by Rabbeinu Tam and the Shulchan Aruch. however we will see (bli neder) that his approach has been adduced in some cases as a basis for leniency. Next week I hope to answer the questions raised about bishul Akum by fish (since fish can be eaten raw in the form of sushi) , meat (since people eat steak Tartare) and pre-cooked foods.
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 6
Today we finished the discussion of sushi (again many thanks to Rabbi Eli Gersten of the O-U). Even though sushi has become popular in many countries outside of japan,the kaws of bishul Akum still apply to fish. The reason (as we saw in the Aruch Hashulchan)is that the “hetter” of foods that can be eaten uncooked, only applies if those foods are cooked while they were in a state that they could have been eaten raw. Sushi can only be prepared from very fresh fish, and once a fish cannot be used for sushi (in other words it must be cooked before being eaten) the laws of bishul Akum apply. Most of the shiur was devoted to the question of coffee and does bishul Akum apply to it. We saw that some early poskim did feel that bishul Akum applies to coffee, but a consensus has developed that it does not. However, before one may drink coffee in a non-kosher establishment onne still needs to be sure that the coffee itself is kosher and one has to be certain that the milk is kosher (so it may be safest to have black coffee in a paper cup).
Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen: Lesson 8
Today we did a quick review of the laws of tevilat keilim. We saw the reasons for holding that it is either a mitzvah d’Oraytah or a mitzva d’Rabbanan. We saw various opin ions about the requirement to toval utensils made from aluminum as well as the opinions regardimg porcelain and plastic. i apologize if the shiur was a little shorter than usual but I have a bad cold. Happy Purim! See you all next bli neder when we will discuss the custom of kitniyot. Bye, thanks for a wonderful zman, Stuart Fischman
Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.