Halachically Speaking: Food In The Hands Of A Non-Jew (Part 1)

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Compiled by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits who can be reached at [email protected]

Reviewed by Rabbi Ben-zion Schiffenbauer Shlita

All Piskei Harav Yisrael Belsky Shlita are Reviewed by Harav Yisrael Belsky Shlita

Volume 6 Issue 6  

6-22-11

There are many halachos which apply to leaving food in the hands of a non-Jew. Is there a difference between sending food in the hands of a non-Jew and basar shenisalem min ha’ayin? Which foods does this halacha apply to? Does this issue always apply or only in certain situations? Is it permitted to allow a non-Jew to make a delivery of food? May one send his non-Jewish employee shopping? Many stores get deliveries of bread in the morning in unsealed boxes. Is this permitted? Can Italian bread be sent to a store with the top of the bag opened? May one leave a sandwich unattended when on an airplane? These issues and much more will be addressed in this issue. 

Basar Shenisalem Min Ha’ayin

There is a discussion in the Gemorah1 whether we must be concerned with the possibility of a bird taking unattended meat and switching it with non-kosher meat. We (Ashkenazim) follow the opinion that there is no such concern2 (even in a city where most butchers are non-Jewish),3 if it is found in the same place where it was left.4 This differs from the concern which we will be focusing on, which is the possibility that a human exchanged kosher food for non-kosher food.  

Based on the above, our discussion will focus on sending food in the hands of a non-Jew, since for all practical purposes basar shenisalem min ha’ayin is permitted (according to Ashkenazim).