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If a Jew who doesn’t keep kosher eats a meal (like non-kosher beef), is it permissible, forbidden or necessary to say some sort of brachot before and after eating?

My initial guess would be no since it’s taref but then again I feel one should be thankful for the sustenance even if it is non-kosher. I searched the site for this type of question but it didn’t quite come up. Maybe the answer is too obvious? Evidently not for me.

Authoritative sources are especially appreciated. Thanks.

Edit: The site advices me to explain why I would like my question open or not deleted or however it may be, in light of the suggested possible duplicates, but it is in fact based on the answers here that I’m more comfortable with this post, as I explain in the comments, while I thank the references to similar posts that I was not able to find before asking the question.

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Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 196:1 says that you shouldn't:

אבל [צ"ל אכל] דבר איסור אף על פי שאינו אלא מדרבנן אין מזמנין עליו ואין מברכין עליו לא בתחלה ולא בסוף:

One who ate a forbidden food, even if it's forbidden only Rabbinically, cannot be included in a mezuman [a quorum for Grace After Meals], and does not recite a blessing before or after eating it.

(unless, as it goes on to say in the next paragraph, he's eating it because otherwise his life would be in danger).

This represents the opinion of the Rambam (Hil. Brachos 1:19). Raavad there disagrees, although the Taz (on Shulchan Aruch ibid.) argues that even the Raavad would agree that no blessing should be said if the person is eating it knowingly.

That said, this blog post suggests that nowadays, when most Jews who eat non-kosher food simply don't know (yet) that it's wrong to do so, perhaps they should say a bracha for it (he suggests saying it in English in that case). For practical halacha, of course, CYLOR.

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Keep in mind that there are several different categories of non-kosher food. Something like non-kosher beef is a real problem. Similarly, Chometz on Pesach, Yayin Nesech (wine used in idol worship) and meat with milk.

On the other hand, food that is not certified as kosher may indeed be kosher or non-kosher in a (relatively) minor way. If you eat non-kosher beef it would be, as stated in other answers, likely considered wrong to say a Bracha on it under most circumstances. But if you drink something nominally kosher - for example, fruit juice that is not certified kosher but which is likely to be kosher, it may be appropriate to make a Bracha on the juice.

To put it another way, the question may have two parts:

  • Definitively non-kosher/forbidden food (e.g., non-kosher beef (non-Shechitah, or from forbidden parts of the animal or not soaked/salted))
  • Not certified kosher (and not "default kosher" like water, fresh fruits & vegetables, etc.) but not inherently non-kosher
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    Great answer, but actual yayin nesech is pretty hard to come by these days, particularly in the home of even the least observant Jew. Stam yayin, the regular wine made by non-Jews and almost certainly not poured out to idols at the winery prior to bottling, is the real concern in our times – Josh K Jul 2 at 15:04
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    -1 You seem to suggest that Safek Kosher may require a Beracha Misafek. That's a very strong claim you've got to back up, and you don't have any sources there. Without any sources, I would assume it's incorrect, as generally we say Safek Berachos Lehakail and we wouldn't say a Bracha. And probably wouldn't eat the food either, since I can't imagine Safek Kosher would be allowed in most situations. – Salmononius2 Jul 2 at 17:12
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    What if you honestly don't know whether the food is kosher or not, but eat it anyway? Bracha or not? – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 2 at 18:12
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    @manassekhatz it sounds like here you're asking about a product which is probably kosher but not kosher certified. Whether or not so say a bracha then will depend on the person, time, and place (a 12th-century French Jew would not have shehakol over cholov stam, a 21st Century Panamanian Jew will teach his children to do so as they have no access to other milk. As relates to your juice example specifically, check out my answer to this question: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/99290/… – Josh K Jul 3 at 1:54
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    Or rather "probably kosher enough". Your linked answer is right on target. I see you got slammed for it - I +1 but you're still negative :-( I would say though that it isn't that such juice (< 1/60 known Stam Yayin grape juice) is truly kosher, but rather that it isn't really-out-there-treif. In fact, my premise is more that if you don't know (just "natural flavors" as a minor ingredient) that it would be more likely to fall into the "hopefully it is kosher, maybe it isn't, I need to drink something" mode and make a Brachah and drink. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 3 at 2:34
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No. The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Hayyim 196:1, says:

If one ate a forbidden item (even it is forbidden only by the sages), one cannot make a zimun on it or say a blessing on it, neither before or after it.

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