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For example, if one is on an airplane, and puts food under his/her neighbors seat, and then the neighbor falls asleep, is the food permissible? Does the prohibition only apply where it's a bed, or does the prohibition apply anywhere someone is asleep?

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Please cite the prohibition. Thanks! –  WAF Aug 4 '10 at 21:29
    
I'm starting a bounty because my question wasn't answered. I don't want to know if I can out the food under the bench. I wanted to know if it's permissible where I know that actual sleep took place. –  yydl Aug 24 '10 at 17:07
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

From the link above (emphasis added):

  • It is forbidden to store [raw or cooked] food or drinks(23) under a bed [even if the food is wrapped and sealed in metal containers or in a suitcase] in which someone will sleep.(24) But if, inadvertently, food or drink was stored under a bed and someone slept on the bed, many poskim hold that the food does not become forbidden to eat.(25)

25 See Rav Akiva Eiger, Yad Efrayim, Pischei Teshuvah Y.D. 116:4-5 and Aruch ha-Shulchan 116:11. The Gaon of Vilna, however, was extremely stringent even b'diavad; see Binas Adam 63:3. See also Halichos Shelomo, Tefillah, 13:17 quoting Harav S.Z. Auerbach's stringent rulings on this issue.

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Well you gave the answer for a bed, so I suppose it's a kal vachomer that the same would apply to airplane seat... –  yydl Aug 31 '10 at 2:59
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It is permitted to place food underneath a bench, even if the bench is used for sleeping, since a bench is not a bed. [It is recommended that food not be placed under an airplane seat, since airplane seats are regularly used as beds Kuntress U'vlechtecha Baderech 4:2 and note 30, quoting contemporary poskim. http://torahsearch.com/page.cfm/2930

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TV, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for the well-researched answer! Please consider clicking on register, above, to create your account. This will give you access to all of mi.yodeya's features and will allow you to take full credit for your contributions. –  Isaac Moses Aug 5 '10 at 2:11
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TV's link then says: "while you shouldn't store food under a bed, if you did put the food under a bed/etc. and someone slept there, most poskim allow you to eat the food." See the link for references. –  Shalom Aug 5 '10 at 13:41
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Hmm. I was talking more specifically about the case where actual sleep took place. Like if I put food under a bench, and then notice someone fell asleep on it... –  yydl Aug 6 '10 at 20:54
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