For donations Click Here

Bishul Akum for paid housekeeper

If a paid non jewish house keeper cooks food for a Jew is the food assur (assuming the food is a type that would normally be a problem of bishul akum)? Do poskim rely bedieved on the fact that some say there is no worry of intermarraige with a servant and no worry of intermarraige in a Jew’s home?


The Rashba writes that the cooking of a maid is not included in the prohibition of bishul akum, arguing that the concern for intermarriage applies solely to food that a non-Jew cooks from his own volition, since this is liable to cause intimacy between a Jew and a non-Jew. However, when a non-Jew is forced to cook the food (due to his status as a servant), the prohibition does not apply because there is no concern for intermarriage (Rashba, no. 68;meyuchasos 149, as cited in ShachYoreh De’ah 113:7).

Unlike an alternative explanation, which relies on the fact that the non-Jewish slave is “owned” by the Jew (see Beis YosefYoreh De’ah 113), this line of reasoning (the non-Jew is cooking out of compulsion) is equally applicable to a paid laborer. Because the cook is working out of obligation and not out of mere goodwill, the prohibition of bishul akum does not apply. Indeed, the Shach implies that the leniency, ex post facto (bedieved), would apply even today since the work was done in a Jew’s house. The Shach is opposed by Bach (Yoreh De’ah 113), who writes that the leniency applies only to a true slave, and not to an ordinary laborer.

Under extenuating circumstances, one can rely (based on minhag ashkenaz, as ruled in the Rema 113:4; the Shulchan Aruch 113:1 is stringent), bedieved, on this lenient position.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *