Monday, 6 August 2012


This will probably be the last one for a while . . But, curious, as always :).

In some frum homes, why is it okay for the nanny to cut the vegetables, but not turn on the oven? Does this mean that by definition kosher restaurants cannot hire non-Jewish cooks?


  1. There’s a rabbinical prohibition on bishul akum (eating foods cooked by a non-Jew). However, if a Jew turns on the oven/stove, then even if a non-Jew prepares the food and puts the pot on the fire, it is halachicly considered to have been cooked by a Jew.

    Lots of kosher restaurants have non-Jewish cooks. It’s fine as long as the oven was turned on in the morning by someone Jewish.

    The rule was implemented explicitly to prevent Jews from eating in non-Jews’ homes, becoming too friendly with them, and intermarrying.

  2. A refinements to G*3's comments. Sefardim require a Jew to be actively involved in the cooking. Just turning on the oven is not enough.

    About 20 ago we asked a well-known, right-leaning rosh yeshiva at YU about some halachos of having a non-Jew cook. Without our asking, he told us that the non-Jew may cook anything in the microwave for a Jew, even if a Jew doesn't turn on the microwave, and even if the food is actually being cooked (as opposed to reheated). The reason he gave is that microwaving is not a halachic definition of cooking. I wonder if he'd give the same psak today, or if he'd be more strict.

    Reheating fully cooked food using any type of oven or stove was OK, according to this rabbi.

    Cutting up the raw vegetables should be OK with anyone.

    There are plenty of wealthy, very frum women with full time housekeepers who do a lot of their cooking, presumably within halachic parameters.

  3. This falls under the rules of "bishul akum".

    I was taught the "turn on the stove/oven" rule by Chabad, but there are actually a variety of ways of interpreting this concept. For example, some say that the prohibition does not apply to food that is not fit for royalty, so it is fine for a non-Jew to cook Wacky Mac or hot dogs for the kids.

    One explanation that I heard was that this rule doesn't prevent all social interaction per se, but it does prevent social interaction where a Jew may feel socially obligated to a non-Jew who provided the fine food. Having some involvement in the cooking process means that it is more of a joint effort, and inviting a non-Jew to your home to dine with you is fine.

  4. An article with a good overview:

  5. i was under the impression that the one turning on the oven has to be an "orthodox" jew....not just a jew.

    which is another (ridiculous) stringency


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...