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Imagine a case in which one is invited to volunteer with a group that is preparing and serving a meal at a homeless shelter. The group has decided on a menu that includes milk and meat together in the same "main dish" recipe. The volunteer group as well as the homeless recipients are almost all non-Jews.

In a situation like this, is it OK to participate as a volunteer? Does it matter if the volunteer does not directly work with the meat and milk mixture (e.g. preparing or serving the dessert or salad, instead)?

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This is a good question, but for matters of practical application, please contact your rabbi –  Charles Koppelman Oct 7 '13 at 19:19
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Let's assume the people eating it are all non-Jews. At that point the only problems (that I can think of) are: cooking meat and milk together, and benefiting from meat-and-milk-cooked-together.

If you're just doing the dessert, cleanup, or setup, I can't see that as tangible benefit from the main course. (Feeding it to your dog when you would otherwise have to shell out for dog food, for instance, would be a problem.)

Cooking together is a much more serious problem. In a pinch, there are situations where some rely on the Dagul Mervava who follows Rambam's opinion, that the prohibition on cooking is only on kosher-slaughtered meat (which this isn't, assuming you're not in Israel). But it's really best to avoid this one.

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Would serving (but not cooking) the main course fit into your second paragraph or your third? –  Isaac Moses Oct 7 '13 at 19:40
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Does טובת הנאה not apply to food? –  Seth J Oct 8 '13 at 3:17
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I think the prohibitions on cooking or deriving benefit would not apply at all when either the meat or the milk comes from a non kosher species of animal (e.g. if the meat was pork), which might be the case here. See Milk and Meat of Non-Kosher Animal Species .

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Agreed. If it's a not-kosher species it's not a problem (absent concerns, according to some, of what it may look like); if it's kosher-slaughtered beef it's definitely a problem; if it's beef that wasn't kosher slaughtered, it's a debate. –  Shalom Oct 8 '13 at 18:08
    
It's probably beef –  Desert Star Oct 8 '13 at 18:20
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