Halachically Speaking: Conducting Business with Non-Kosher Food

halachically speaking 3By Rabbi Moishe D. Lebovits. Many times one is faced with the question if he is allowed to buy a non-kosher item in order to give it to one’s workers, or if one is allowed to sell items which are not permitted to be eaten. In addition some kashrus agencies may give hechsherim to companies which manufacture vegetables that may contain bugs, is this permitted? These issues and many others will be discussed below.

The Prohibition

One may not do business with foods which are forbidden to be eaten m’d’oraisa.[1] Although it may be permitted to have enjoyment from such food, it is still forbidden to do business with them[2] since one may come to eat from the food.[3] Included in this are non-kosher animals, kosher animals which become neveilos,[4] chometz on Pesach, and non-kosher wines.[5]

D’oraisa or D’rabanan ?

There is a discussion in the poskim if this issur is d’oraisa or d’rabanan in nature.[6] The opinion of most poskim is that the issur is d’oraisa in nature.[7]

Meant for work

Only items which are meant to be eaten are forbidden.[8] Accordingly, horses, donkeys, monkeys[9] and camels etc. may be sold to goyim since they are used for work.[10]

Wormy Fruits

A question arises if one is permitted to sell wormy fruits to goyim, since one is not allowed to conduct business with issurim d’oraisa.[11] Some say that one is not allowed to sell such produce to a goy.[12] However, others say doing so is permitted, since one is not doing business with the worms just with the fruit.[13] The custom is to be lenient with this.[14]

Fish Store

Some poskim do not permit a Jewish person to sell non-kosher fish.[15] However, the custom is that a Yid may sell goldfish etc since they are not sold to be eaten.[16]

Birds – Dogs

Many people have in their homes non-kosher birds. Since one does not eat the bird, many poskim say that this is permitted since it is made to beautify the house.[17] The same

applies to a dog etc which one keeps in his house.[18] Similarly, one is permitted to do business with these kinds of animals.[19]

Pet Food

Food which is meant for a pet and is not able to be eaten by a human (such as fish food, and dog food) is not called a food item, and one is permitted to buy or sell such items.[20]

Animal Skins

A Jew is permitted to be in the animal skin business since they are not sold to be eaten.[21]

Selling Shatnez Garments

We only find an issur to sell things which one may come to eat, therefore, one would be permitted to sell shatnez garments to goyim and we are not concerned that the Yid may come to wear the garment.[22]

Partnership with Goyim

There are many poskim who maintain that one should not enter into a business venture with a goy who is selling items that the Jew himself may not sell.[23] Therefore, one who decides to enter into such a business with a goy should speak with a competent halachic authority before doing so.[24] One may rent a house to a goy who will bring in items that are forbidden to do business with. The reason is that the Jew has no dealing with the items he is just renting the house to the goy.[25]

Feeding Workers

The Rama[26] says one is not allowed to buy non-kosher food for his workers. However, many say that doing so is permitted.[27] The reason to permit this is because buying lunch

for workers is not considered doing “business” with non-kosher food.[28] The custom is that doing so is permitted if the food is not being given to them as part of their wages.[29]

Some say even according to the stringent opinion, one is permitted to tell the workers to take this money and buy the non-kosher food themselves.[30]

Fish Food

Food which is disgusting may be bought or sold.[31] Based on this one is permitted to buy worms in order to feed fish etc.[32]

Happened Upon it

The Shulchan Aruch[33] says a hunter[34] “who happened”[35] to get in his net non-kosher animals, birds, or fish[36] may sell them[37] together with the kosher animals.[38] If he happened to get only non-kosher animals in his net[39] he may sell them separately.[40] Some say they should be sold immediately without delay.[41] Others say there is no reason for an immediate sale,[42] and one is permitted to keep the non-kosher meat in a freezer until he finds a buyer.[43]

Based on the above, a slaughter house which has animals that became non-kosher during the slaughtering process may be sold.[44]

One who receives a non-kosher food item from a goy is allowed to sell it since it is considered “happened upon.”[45]

Owning a Grocery Store – Selling non-Kosher in a Kosher Store

As discussed above, one may not buy and sell non-kosher food on a steady basis. One who must buy both kosher and non-kosher, is permitted to buy the entire package since the prohibited items are considered to have come to him by chance.[46] However, stocking up on these non-kosher items on a steady basis is forbidden even if it will cause one business to fail.[47] In the above situations one should first discuss the details with his Rav.

Giving a Present to a Goy

We will not discuss the issur of giving presents to goyim for no reason. However, even if one is giving a present when it is permitted (i.e. for a worker), food items which are forbidden to do business with on a d’oraisa level may not be given to a goy as a present either.[48] The reason is because giving a present is like doing business.[49] If one sent the

gift directly to the goy (without actually acquiring the gift) some say that this may not be considered buying non-kosher.[50] There is a discussion in the poskim if one is allowed to accept a non-kosher (neveila or treifa food) and then sell it or give it to a goy. Many poskim say that doing so is permitted because it is considered happened upon.[51]

Food which is forbidden m’d’rabanan

Food which is only forbidden to eat m’d’rabanan may be sold to goyim and the issur of doing business with forbidden foods does not apply.[52] Included in this is the blood of a

kosher animal,[53] non-food items such as soaps and furs, pas akum, bishul akum,[54] cholov akum,[55] gevinas akum,[56] and non-kosher fat from a kosher animal.[57] However, if there is a concern that a goy will sell it to a Jew to eat then one should not sell it to the goy in the first place.[58]

Can A Jew Purchase Stock in McDonalds?

When one is dealing with stocks he does not see the items that he is dealing with. Therefore, some say one would be able to buy stocks in a company that deals with food

which would be ossur to sell, since there is no concern that he will come to eat the food. The Gilyon Maharsha[59] says that even if one will not come to eat the food it is forbidden to give a goy money to do business for you in forbidden items. Others say that this only applies if one is doing business, but owning a stock (if he is a limited share-holder or a

non-active party) is not viewed as doing business with the non-kosher food. One reason is since the stockholder may have a few shares and he may be considered an investor rather than actually doing business with the items.[60] In any case one should try to find parnasa in other areas.[61]

Working for a Goy (who sells treif)

There is a big discussion in the poskim if one is allowed to work and cook treif for a goy.[62] (This can be very common when one wants to be a salesman for a company which sells treif).[63] Some permit doing so if one will not be able to find another means of parnasa.[64] Before one accepts this type of job he should discuss it with his Rav. Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l[65] permitted one to drive a delivery truck with non-kosher meat for various reasons (see footnote).

Selling non-kosher food in a vending machine

One is not allowed to sell non-kosher (treif) food in a vending machine. The reason is because one is not allowed to sell items which are forbidden to do business with.[66] If the food is permitted to do business with then placing them in the vending machine is permitted even if they may be purchased on Shabbos.[67]

Investment Bankers

A common practice among investment bankers is to receive their compensation in the form of equity. If a company deals with non-kosher items, is the banker permitted to get paid his fee when they do not have cash to pay him?

The Rama[68] says one is permitted to accept a pig as a debt.[69] Nonetheless, he has to sell it right away.[70] Accordingly, it would seem that an investment banker is permitted to take non-kosher equity if he sells it when he gets paid.[71]

Renting a Store to a Goy

There does not seem to be anything wrong with a Yid renting his store to a goy who will be selling non-kosher (treif) food. The products being sold there have nothing to do with the Yid, and it is just a way for the goy to make business.[72]

Selling Other Items

One should not sell items which will be a michshal for Yidin. Included in this are books or newspapers[73] which one should not read[74] and clothing which should not be worn.[75]

After word
We have presented many scenarios of doing business with forbidden and permitted items. According to most poskim the issur of doing business with non-kosher items is d’oraisa. Therefore, when one has a question if one should engage himself in business with non-kosher he should talk it over with his Rav. [76]

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[1] Rambam Hilchos Machalos Asuros 8:18. Even a sofuk d’oraisa is forbidden to do business with (Rambam Machalos Asuros 8:18, Tur 117, Rav Akiva Eiger 117:1). A sofuk d’rabanan is permitted to do business with (Rambam ibid, Tur 117).

[2] Mesechtas Pesachim 23a, Rosh 7:13, Tur 117, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 117:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:1, Aruch Ha’shulchan 1-2. Some say one who did business with items that he was not supposed to may have enjoyment from the money (Refer to Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:12). One who does work with items which are forbidden should be rebuked (Kaf Ha’chaim 54, Aruch Ha’shulchan 28).

[3] Bais Yosef, Prisha 1, Levush 1, Shach 2, Taz 1, Be’er Heitiv 2, Chelkes Binyomin 117:1. Refer to Darchei Teshuva 117:21 in great depth if this issur applies in a situation where the Yid will not see the food, and therefore, will not come to eat it. The Chasam Sofer Y.D. 104 is stringent. If there is a big loss refer to Chasam Sofer Y.D. 2:105.

[4] Aruch Ha’shulchan 6.

[5] Levush 1, Chochmas Adom 69:2, Kaf Ha’chaim 78. Refer to Chochmas Adom 75:14 who says one should not rebuke those who are lenient and sell stam yayin.

[6] Refer to Terumas Hadeshen 200, Pischei Teshuva 6, Darchei Teshuva 117:3, Aruch Ha’shulchan 12-16.

[7] Refer to Shiurei Beracha 117:1, Nachlas Tzvi 117, Matei Yehonosson 117, Pri Megadim Sifsei Da’as Y.D. 84:18, Chochmas Adom 69:1 (parenthesizes), Chasam Sofer Y.D. 105-106, Divrei Malkiel 2:55, Da’as Kohen Y.D. 58, Darchei Teshuva 117:6, 25, Aruch Ha’shulchan 7, Kaf Ha’chaim 19, Chelkes Binyomin 117:1, Yabea Omer Y.D. 5:1:3, 8:13:2, Shevet Ha’Levi 6:113:1, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:2, see Rashba 1:301, 3:223, Taz 1, Aruch Ha’shulchan 2, 7, Nodeh B’Yehuda 2:Y.D. 62 who hold it is d’rabanan.

[8] Tosfas Mesechtas Bava Kama 82b “lo,” Shulchan Aruch 117:1, Shach 2. If it’s meant for both then one goes after what it is used for most of the time (Darchei Teshuva 117:9).

[9] Yuchein U’boaz 2:25.

[10] Tosfas Mesechtas Pesachim 23a “omar,” Rashba 1:301, Bach 117, Levush 1, Pri Chadash 2, Shach 1, Be’er Heitiv 1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:1, Darchei Teshuva 9, Aruch Ha’shulchan 3, Kaf Ha’chaim 7.

[11] Refer to Pischei Teshuva 117:2. The Darchei Teshuva 117:6 quotes the opinion of many poskim who are stringent in this regard.

[12] Refer to Pri Megadim Sifsei Da’as 84:18, Shiurei Beracha (kuntres achron) 84:page 130, Shiurei Beracha 117, 6, Pischei Teshuva 2.

[13] Refer to Pri Megadim Sifsei Da’as Y.D. ibid, Darchei Teshuva 117:6, Kaf Ha’chaim Y.D. 117:3, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:283, see Yehuda Yaleh Y.D. 147.

[14] Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:6, see Chelkes Binyomin 117:2 who maintains to do so only in a pressing situation.

[15] Chochmas Adom 69:1.

[16] V’ein Lumo Michshal 1:pages 69-73. Refer to ibid:footnote 8 if one is allowed to own such items. The custom is to be lenient (Ateres Paz 1:2:Y.D. 5 in great depth).

[17] Bais Yosef, Levush 1, Pri Chadash 1, Shiurei Beracha 2, Kaf Ha’chaim 68, Chelkes Binymon 117:3. See Nefesh Kol Chai page 40. Some are against have any non-kosher animal in one’s house (Refer to Maharsha Mesechtas Sotah 48a, Be’er Moshe 2:28:6, Shulchan Hotoahr O.C. 201:5, see Mishnah Berurah O.C. 308:119, Minchas Yitchok 7:16, Betzel Hachuchma 5:25). Especially since one has to look at a non-kosher animal, which is not advisable (Refer to Shemiras Haguf V’hanefesh 237:1).

[18] Refer to Mesechtas Bava Kama 79b, Shulchan Aruch C.M. 409:9, Miyum Ha’halacha 2:100, Ve’in Lumo Michshal 4:pages 70-71. One should be careful that the dog does not bother neighbors by barking late at night etc (V’ein Lumo Michshal 4:page 71).

[19] Chelkes Binyomin 117:3.

[20] Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:37. (This is if the pet food is not ossur to have enjoyment from (i.e. if it is made with meat and milk), see Sappirim 7:page 1, The Weekly Halacha Discussion Parshas Tetzaveh at www.torah.org).

[21] Rashba 1:489.

[22] Chelkes Binyomin 113 biurim “im.”

[23] Refer to Rama M’Pano 30, Maharam Shik 136, Darchei Teshuva 117:17 in great depth. There is a discussion in the poskim if a Yid can be a middle man for a goy who is selling non-kosher (Refer to Taz 117:2, Shiurei Beracha 117:7, Chochmas Adom 69:1, Chasam Sofer Y.D. 2:105, Maharam Shik Y.D, 136, Darchei Teshuva 51, Aruch Ha’shulchan 117:28, Kaf Ha’chaim 73, Melmaed L’hoyel Y.D. 2:39, Imrei Yosher 1:118, Michtav L’Dovid 14, Bais Avi 3:103:12, Shevet Ha’Levi 6:114:page 115, Shearim Metzuyanim B’halacha 64:3, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:pages 87-89, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:10, see Maharshag 1:22, 2:81).

[24] Chelkes Binyomin Y.D. 117 biurim “ossur” pages 191-192 in great depth. See ibid 117:7.

[25] Chelkes Binyomin 117:8.

[26] 117:1. See Levush 1. The Maharam Shik Y.D. 136 says since the Rama said it, a G-D fearing person should follow his ruling.

[27] Shach 3, Taz 2. See Pischei Teshuva 4.

[28] Aruch Ha’shulchan 19.

[29] Refer to Chochmas Adom 69:1, Aruch Ha’shulchan 19, Kaf Ha’chaim 52, see Nuta Serak Y.D. 41, Pnei Meiven Y.D. 101, Darchei Teshuva 28.

[30] Refer to Chelkes Binyomin 117:12, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:394, see 2:393. Refer to Pri Hasadeh 3:193.

[31] Darchei Teshuva 11.

[32] Mahari Shteiff 16. This is even if they are alive and there is no concern of “tzar balei chaim.” (Refer to V’ein Lumo Michshal 4:page 147).

[33] 117:1. See Mesechtas Pesachim 23a. Refer to Tosfas Mesehctas Bava Kama 82b “lo,” Rambam Hilchos Machalas Asuros 8:17,

[34] Many poskim say this is not permitted for one who does not do this for a living (Pri Chadash 6, Levush 1, Shach 6, Taz 3, Yabea Omer Y.D. 8:13:1). However, some say the custom is not like this (Refer to Rama M’Pano 29, Prisha 2, Shach 6, Pri Chadash 6, Darchei Teshuva 43, Aruch Ha’shulchan 17, Chelkes Binyomin 117:18, biurim pages 196-197, see Kaf Ha’chaim 18). In regard to hunting animals in general see Darchei Teshuva 44.

[35] The Shach 5 says it means it fell to you through inheritance. (See Pri Chadash 6, Darchei Teshuva 42, Kaf Ha’chaim 21).

[36] Refer to Sredei Eish Y.D. 2:15.

[37] Even at a high price (Kaf Ha’chaim 39). This applies to anything which is not kosher that one is permitted to sell (ibid).

[38] Rambam Hilchos Machalos Asuros 8:17, Tur 117, Shulchan Aruch ibid, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:2, Shach 9, see Divrei Malkiel 2:55. Some say one may sell the non-kosher separately (Pri Chadash 6, Be’er Heitiv 4, Kaf Ha’chaim 31). The same is true if one happened to receive neveila or treifa in his house (Shulchan Aruch ibid).

[39] Shach 5.

[40] Bais Yosef, Shach 9, Darchei Teshuva 49, Aruch Ha’shulchan 21, Sredei Eish Y.D. 2:15.

[41] Shulchan Aruch 117:1, Levush 1, Chochmas Adom 69:1, see Dai Hu’sheiv 5, Darchei Teshuva 54.

[42] Taz 4.

[43] Kaf Ha’chaim 41.

[44] See Darchei Teshuva 61, Kaf Ha’chaim 53, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:page 72.

[45] Rav Akiva Eiger 117:1, Chelkes Binyomin 117:17.

[46] Refer to Pischei Teshuva 6, Kaf Ha’chaim 64, Kol Mevaser 1:33, Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:38, Minchas Yitzchok 3:93, Yabea Omer Y.D. 5:1:2, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:7, see Aruch Ha’shulchan 18. If he can’t sell it to a goy himself he can make a messenger to do it for him (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:2, Kaf Ha’chaim 27). Refer to Darchei Teshuva 46.

[47] Refer to Aruch Ha’shulchan 26-27 who attempts to justify those who do business this way, see Melamed L’hoyel Y.D. 2:39, Maharsham 1:126.

[48] Bais Yosef 117 (end), Bach 117, Shach 3, see Dai Hu’sheiv 6.

[49] Bais Yosef ibid, see Shol U’Meishiv 1:3:122. Some permit giving it to a Yid who then gives it to a goy (Refer to Kaf Ha’chaim 117:29 in great depth).

[50] Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:page 96.

[51] Chochmas Adom 69:3, Aruch Ha’shulchan 28, Kaf Ha’chaim 47, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:5. In addition it is permitted because one is saving the treif from the goy’s hands (Chochmas Adom 69:3). See Darchei Teshuva 41 who quotes those who argues with this leniency.

[52] Rambam Hilchos Machalos Asuros 8:18, Shulchan Aruch 117:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:4. However, one should not keep it around in his house for more than twenty-one days since it may come to a michshal, that he will eat it (Chelkes Binyomin 117:1, see Darchei Teshuva 117:60).

[53] Pri Chadash 4, Nodeh B’Yehuda Y.D. 2:62, Pischei Teshuva 117:1, Darchei Teshuva 4, Kaf Ha’chaim 9, see Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:396.

[54] Chelkes Binyomin 117:34.

[55] Rambam Hilchos Machalos Asuros 8:17, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:4, Aruch Ha’shulchan 28.

[56] Tur 117, Levush 1, Chochmas Adom 69:2, Aruch Ha’shulchan 28. Refer to Gilyon Maharsha 117:1 who forbids business with non-kosher cheese, see Darchei Teshuva 60, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:14. Many poskim permit business with non-kosher butter (Refer to Darchei Teshuva 61, Kaf Ha’chaim 82).

[57] Rambam Hilchos Machalos Asuros 8:16, Shulchan Aruch ibid, Shach 5, Pri Chadash 4, Chochmas Adom 69:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:1, Kaf Ha’chaim 13, Aruch Ha’shulchan 9-10, 23, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:3, see Shach 4, Be’er Heitiv 3, Pri Chadash 4, Darchei Teshuva 33-35. In addition doing business with chodosh is permitted (Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Darchei Teshuva 63, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:396, Shevet Ha’Levi 6:114:3, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:11). Refer to Shevet Ha’Levi 2:162 who is stringnet.

[58] Darchei Teshuva 64, Kaf Ha’chaim 83.

[59] Y.D. 117:1, see Maharam Shik Y.D. 136:page 41, Darchei Teshuva 117:2.

[60] Refer to Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:pages 76-86 in great depth on this issue. Shearim Metzuyanim B’halacha 64:4 kuntres achron, 114:28. Investing in a mutual fund which can invest in non-kosher is permitted (Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:pages 93-94).

[61] Kaf Ha’chaim 69. The opinion of Harav Dovid Feinstein Shlita is that if the investor is involved in the voting or management of the company he is prohibited to trade in non-kosher products. This is also true in regard to owning the non-kosher stock on Pesach (Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:page 85, see Igros Moshe E.H. 1:7 end).

[62] Refer to Maharsham 1:126, Levushei Mordechai 4:215, Chavolim B’nimin 2:46 who are lenient, see Darchei Teshuva 50 in great depth who brings the opinions. Refer to Bais Shlomo Y.D. 192, Maharshag -1:22, Avnei Nezer Y.D. 1:105, Da’as Kohen Y.D. 57-58, Bais Avi 3:104, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:392, Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285:9.

[63] Refer to Kovetz Zera Yaakov 24:pages 35-41 who is lenient.

[64] Kaf Ha’chaim 43, Yabea Omer Y.D. 4:6 in great depth. One should not sit in the same store conducting his own business if there is a goy who does business with treif in the same store (Kaf Ha’chaim 70).

[65] Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:51.

[66] Refer to Darchei Teshuva 65, Be’er Moshe 6:kuntres electric 64:3, Rivevos Ephraim 3:252.

[67] Be’er Moshe 6:kuntres electric 64:3.

[68] Shulchan Aruch 117:1, Levush 1, Chochmas Adom 69:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 64:3, Aruch Ha’shulchan 24. See Kaf Ha’chaim 44-45.

[69] Refer to Chelkes Binyomin 117:30-31.

[70] Shach 11.

[71] Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:page 90. See ibid:page 92 quoting the opinion of Harav Reuven Feinstein Shlita.

[72] Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 24:pags 92-93. Refer to Yabea Omer Y.D. 8:13 in great depth if a Yid can be a partner with a goy who owns a hotel which serves treif meat.

[73] Be’er Moshe 6:pages 61-62.

[74] Be’er Moshe 3:112, Rivevos Ephraim 5:600:9, Refer to Be’er Moshe kuntres electric 7:77 about selling a tape of a Rebbe’s davening on Shabbos done with a Shabbos clock who did not known he is being taped.

[75] Refer to Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:284 about selling razors to those who would use it to cut their beards etc. Refer to Shulchan Ha’Levi 1:page 132.

[76] Refer to Shevet Ha’kehusi 6:285 (end).

Rabbi Moishe D. Lebovits, a musmach of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. Currently he serves as a Rabbinical Administrator for KOF-K Kosher Supervision. Halachically Speaking is a monthly publication seen by tens of thousands around the world. For Halachically Speaking seforim see www.israelbookshoppublications.com For other articles and to subscribe for free see thehalacha.com To contact Rabbi Lebovits, please email [email protected]

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