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Food Cooked/Wine Touched by Non-Observant Jews

Should one be makpid not to drink non-mevushal wine that was touched by a public mechalel shabbos?

If one is makpid, does that kepeida apply equally to eating their cooked foods (bishul akum), or is there a chiluk between the two…is there room to be meikil by their bishul and machmir on wine?


Some authorities rule that one can be lenient concerning the touch of wine by those who violate Shabbos publicly (see Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim 5:37).

The reason for this is that although the Shulchan Aruch (124:8) rules that wine touched by a mumar if forbidden (as emerges from Chulin 72), this is only because of a concern that the person is an idolater. Today’s non-observant Jews are not idolaters, and there is no concern for idolatrous libations, so that the prohibition does not apply.

Another reason for leniency is that the great majority of non-observant Jews can be classified as tinokot she-nishbe’u, and therefore are not considered mumarim. Moreover, if the person in question does perform certain mitzvos, such as bris milah, davening occasionally, and so on, there is no need for stringency (Shut Shivas Zion 23; Halichos Olam 7:p. 161).

However, for those who are prepared to violate the Shabbos even in front of an “adam gadol” (Mishnah Berurah 385:6), and who openly declare their unbelief, many are stringent. The common custom is to be stringent on this matter, but those who are lenient certainly have upon whom to rely.

Yet, many of the authorities who are stringent concerning wine agree that there is no need for stringency concerning food cooked by those who violate the Shabbos. The basic reason for this is that whereas the decree forbidding wine includes an element of concern  for the kashrus of the wine itself, there is no such element in the decree concerning food that was cooked, which is entirely on account of the concern for intermarriage.

Because the cooking of a mumar does not raise this concern, there is no need for stringency in this matter.

Note, however, that one must ensure that only kosher ingredients are used, and a non-observant Jew is not generally trusted in this matter.

See Teshuvos Ve-Hanhagos (3:247) who is stringent on this matter; but see Iggros Moshe (Yoreh De’ah 45, 46) who is lenient, and see Tzitz Eliezer (9:41) who writes that there is no room for stringency in the matter, citing from the Chasam Sofer (Yoreh De’ah 120 and 6:83); see likewise Yabia Omer (5 Yoreh De’ah 10), among others.

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