Halacha » Permitting Bishul Akum

Permitting Bishul Akum

Permitting Bishul Akum

There are three steps in the baking process discussed in the Gemara in regards to pat akum. Any of these steps performed by a Jew would permit pat akum, and the poskim discuss if and when they apply to permit bishul akum.

The Gemara writes that if a Jew either lit the fire of the oven, placed bread in the oven after a non-Jew lit it, or stoked the coals once the bread was already baking, the bread would not be subject to pat akum.[1] Most Rishonim[2] rule that when a Jew lights the fire it does not permit bishul akum. However, a minority of Rishonim[3] rule that lighting the fire does permit bishul akum.

The Shulchan Aruch[4] and many Sephardic poskim rule that lighting the fire alone is not enough, unless the pot was placed on the stove before the stove was lit by the Jew. However, the Rama[5] and Aruch Hashulchan[6] rule that lighting the fire will permit bishul akum just like it permits pat akum. The Shach[7] differs from the Rama and rules that lighting the fire does not contribute directly to the cooking process because the food was not yet there, so it does not help for bishul akum. However, the Shach rules that stoking the coals (or adding fuel to the fire) would help because that has a direct impact on the cooking process as it is happening. The Shach explains that there is a difference between pat akum and bishul akum, since bread is a staple of people’s diets, while cooked food is not. Therefore, we are more lenient by bread of a non-Jew, and more stringent as to what will permit cooked food of a non-Jew.

The accepted practice in the Ashkenazic community is to permit bishul akum if a Jew lit the fire, even if he lit the fire before the pot was placed down on the stove.

If the non-Jew placed the pot on the stove before the fire was lit, and only then did the Jew light the fire, everyone would agree the food is permitted because the non-Jew did not do an action of cooking.[8]

If the Jew placed the pot on the stove after the non-Jew lit the fire, all poskim agree that there is no problem of bishul akum.[9] If the Jew placed the pot on the stove before the fire was lit, and only then did the non-Jew light the fire, there would still be a problem of bishul akum.[10]

If a non-Jew cooked food without having the intention to cook it, the food is permitted.[11] This means that if food was in the oven and the non-Jew turned on the oven unintentionally, or without intention to cook food, the food would be permitted. For example, if there was food in an electric oven and the fuse blew before the food could cook, if a non-Jew turned the fuse back on without realizing that he was turning on an oven in the process, the food would be permitted and is not considered bishul akum.

If the non-Jew lit the fire to cook his own food and there was food of a Jew in the oven that subsequently got cooked, the food is prohibited.[12]

[1] עבודה זרה לח:

[2] רשב”א תוה”ב בית ג שער ז צג., רא”ה ע”ז דף לח. ד”ה איבעיא, ר”ן ע”ז דף טו: ד”ה א”נ

[3] ר’ פרץ הג’ הסמ”ק מצוה רכג, כל בו סי’ ק

[4] יו”ד סי’ קיג סעי’ ז

[5] שם סעי’ ו-ז

[6] שם סעיף מב

[7] שם ס”ק ח, יב

[8] שבט הלוי ח”ד סי’ קצט אות ג, חלקת בנימין ס”ק טז

[9] חלקת בנימין קיג ס”ק סז

[10] חלקת בנימין שם ס”ק נד. ועי’ ערה”ש סי’ קיג סעי’ כט, ודרכי תשובה שם ס”ק מג דהתירו בזה.

[11] שו”ע שם סעי’ ה

[12] שם