Cruise offers kosher airline meal type meals for daily lunch and dinner. Is it halachically permissible to eat if warmed up by non-Jew on Shabbos (presumably with microwave)?

I assume that warming the frozen meal is not "bishul" as airline meals are not considered bishul akum as, I assume, they are already fully cooked and just need to be warmed. I also assume that exceptions to amira l'akum apply as I think that microwaving to warm, not cook, is rabbinical and perhaps also as they are continuing to do it every day of the cruise without specific request.

  • I think that one of the main overriding factors, here is the concept of the chef, waiter, etc. doing this as part of their regular paid employment. I.e., they are simply told to heat up these portions of food for the guests. They're not thinking either way if the food is specifically being heated for a Je or not, and no one is directing them to specifically heat the food just for the Jewish people.
    – DanF
    May 15, 2019 at 19:43
  • 1
    @DanF Since it is sealed food marked kosher, then maybe it is specifically for a Jew. May 16, 2019 at 11:57
  • I’m not convinced that this isn’t Amira l’Akum, as I explained in my comment to the answer. However, if an answer could demonstrate that using a microwave is only Rabbinically forbidden (which I don’t think it is), then Amira l’Akum on a microwave would be a Shvus d’Shvus, and certain leniencies could potentially apply, depending on the situation.
    – DonielF
    May 16, 2019 at 14:58
  • @Doniel if he had the option if warming it up in a permitted way and chose the problematic microwave to speed things up for himself, then that could still be ok, even if microwave is deoraita
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2019 at 15:13
  • @DoubleAA Certainly not - that’s why I said “depending on the situation.”
    – DonielF
    May 16, 2019 at 15:15

4 Answers 4


Dailyhalacha explains

The first case is having a non-Jew return a cooked dry food to an open flame. The Be’ur Halacha (Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) rules in siman 253 that it permissible because it constitutes a Shvut D’Shvut, a Rabbinic prohibition on a Rabbinic prohibition. That is, telling the non-Jew to violate Shabbat is itself only a Rabbinic prohibition; and returning cold cooked dry food to an open flame is only a Rabbinic prohibition. When the prohibition is a “Double D’Rabanan,” we can be lenient in a case where the action is necessary for enhancing Shabbat. This would be a solution in the event that someone forgot to set up his Blech or hotplate. It is only permitted to have the non-Jew return the food to a fire that was already lit before Shabbat.

The second case is having a non-Jew return cold liquids to the fire. Here, the Be’ur Halacha quotes the Birkei Yosef (The H”ida, Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806) who says, fundamentally, this is also permissible. Even though we hold that reheating cold soup constitutes a “new” cooking, however, since there is a disagreement between the poskim on this matter, we can permit it to be done by a non-Jew. Hacham David Yosef in Halacha Berura, as well as the B’eur Halacha, add a caveat to this leniency: The non-Jew may only return the cold soup to a fire that is garuf or katum, i.e. a blech or Shabbat hotplate.

Although this speaks to fire, microwaves shouldn't be any worse than an actual fire on shabbos. (See Igros Moshe OC 3:52 who says microwaves are d'oraysa cooking on shabbos because it's the normal form of cooking - though I believe Rav Moshe Heinemann says bishul akum doesn't apply with microwaves though many (see note 23) are strict)


I can't see any problem with this, based on the following (from halachipedia):

Many poskim are lenient regarding a live-in maid as a worker paid by the job and not per hour as long as the maid is told explicitly that she is not required to do them on Shabbos and may do it beforehand or afterwards. Nonetheless, there's numerous restrictions in order to permit a maid to perform Melacha for Jews on Shabbat including: not instructing the non-Jew to do Melacha, not having a possibility of maris ayin (appearance of sin), not benefiting directly, and not degrading Shabbat's sanctity.

As I understand this scenario, the Gentile chef (Mr(s.) food-heater) is hired by the cruise line (it doesn't matter if the cruise-line owner is Jewish or not, here.) They get a fixed wage for cooking / warming food for all the passengers. I don't think s/he is specifically being told, "Warm up this specific tray for the Jew on Sabbath." S/he is most likely told, to warm up food when it is meal time, and included in all the food there happens to be some kosher meals. However, according to this citation, it seems that you or the cruise director would need to explicitly explain that the food need not be heated on Shabbat. (I agree that this sounds counter-intuitive esp. for lunchtime, but from my reading, it seems that all you need to do is mention it, and leave the decision to them.)

This sounds similar to a household that has a live-in worker who is told to clean dishes and warm up food for the household and no one is stating when the Gentile should do it.

I assume that the cruise is a mainly non-Jewish cruise. So, chances are that the other passengers don't recognize that this work (if they even understand what a melacha is) is being done in violation of Shabbat. To me, this sounds within the concept similar to "private"; i.e., there is no "Mar'it Ayin" concern.

Despite what I mentioned, read footnote #79 for possible opposition and restrictions.

  • 2
    "It could have been warmed up before Shabbat, but the Gentile chooses to warm it up during Shabbat." Is that really true? Wouldn't the quality diminish? Sounds more like something people with live in help say to justify breaking Shabbat. The alternative for the gentile ought to be at least somewhat reasonable, not "well they could pick all the dust out of the carpet with their fingernails, so theyre just choosing to use a vacuum for their convenience"
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2019 at 19:17
  • You're quote from Halachapedia just discusses benefiting from the action after Shabbat. See discussion later on that page about benefiting on Shabbat itself
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2019 at 19:38
  • @DoubleAA See edits. I thin that later citation emphasizes the points better.
    – DanF
    May 16, 2019 at 21:00

Warning with an oven is a melacha. Because he uses an oven to warm it. Even if this is not bishul, may be he uses fire or electric devices. It's prohibited. Maybe permitted for a child because a child is often seen as an ill person who is not in life threatening situation, and it's permitted to ask a non Jew to make for him a work on Shabbat. But for an adult healthy person it's prohibited.

Rema OC 328.17

הגה: מותר לומר לעכו"ם לעשות תבשיל לקטן שאין לו מה לאכול דסתם צרכי קטן כחולה שאין בו סכנה דמי (רבינו ירוחם נתיב י"ב חלק ט' ורמב"ן ורשב"א)

See SA OC 244.1.

פוסק אדם (פירוש מתנה) עם האינו יהודי על המלאכה וקוצץ דמים והאינו יהודי עושה לעצמו ואף על פי שהוא עושה בשבת מותר במה דברים אמורים בצנעה שאין מכירים הכל שזו המלאכה הנעשית בשבת של ישראל היא אבל אם היתה ידועה ומפורסמת אסור שהרואה את האינו יהודי עוסק אינו יודע שקצץ ואומר שפלוני שכר האינו יהודי לעשות לו מלאכה בשבת

If we see that the non Jew makes the work for the Jew, even if he paid him before Shabbat, even if the work is for a whole period e.g. one week it's prohibited.

See also in 318, to add a quantity for the same melacha for a person for whom it's prohibited to make the melacha is prohibited.


No. You are not allowed to enjoy a Goy's act on Shabbat, unless there was no physical change (which is not the case here).

Source: https://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/7741

  • 2
    There is no physical change when you just warm up previously cooked solid food. It's the same piece of chicken, just warm not cold.
    – dan
    May 16, 2019 at 20:39
  • No, it's a physical change. A NONE physical change is for example opening the door through an electric system. There was no physical change there. @dan May 17, 2019 at 12:55
  • This is simply not true. If a non-Jew turns on a light for him/herself in a room, you can benefit from the light. And you would call it a physical change.
    – mbloch
    Jun 3, 2020 at 12:41

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