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Halachically Speaking: Food In The Hands Of A Non-Jew (Part 8)

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


Leaving a Non-Jew Alone in One’s Home

All too often, both spouses work all day, and have the practice of leaving a cleaning lady or a repairman alone in the home. There is a possibility that the non-Jewish worker will take the kosher product in the home and switch it for a non-kosher food. Is this a real concern? If so, what are the ways to avoid this? 

Yotzei V’nichnas” (Goes and Comes)

One option to allow a non-Jew to remain alone in the home (or store)50 is for one to “go and come” from his home; this is known in halacha as yotzei v’nichnas.51 This is permitted even l’chatchilah.52 Even a child may be used for the purpose,53 provided that he is old enough that the non-Jew will fear to do any switching in his presence. This age is nine.54 

This option applies even if the owner stays away for an extended period of time, as long as the worker is not aware of the owner’s schedule.55 The reason is that the worker is afraid to make an exchange, as he is concerned that the owner might return at any moment and catch him in the act.56 If you tell your worker, “I will be back in a number of hours,” then it is prohibited to leave a non-Jewish worker in the home, since the worker knows when the owner is returning and might switch the food.57 However, as mentioned below, if one is not concerned that the worker has any benefit from switching the food, it is permitted to leave the worker alone.  

This option does not apply if the worker can lock the door, since he has no concern of being caught.58 If the Jew can enter the house (i.e. with a key) then the non-Jew may be left alone since the Jew can enter the home.59 However, if the Jew closed the door from the outside it is permitted to leave the non-Jew alone60 since he does not realize that he is alone in the home. In any case, if the non-Jew shows signs of not being afraid of you (i.e. does not listen to you) then he cannot be trusted alone in the home.61 If a security camera is installed in the home and the non-Jew knows you can look at it any time, then he may be left alone in one’s home.62

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