There is a very clear halacha that one is not allowed to invite non-Jews on Yom Tov specifically. See SA OH 514, Yalkut Yosef 512. The only solution presented in the halacha is if they turn up uninvited, one is not obligated to refuse them, although one is still explicitly not allowed to entreat them to eat. One is even discouraged (although bedi'eved permitted, see YY 512:3) from making them coffee, and one is not allowed to add food to the pot once they turn up uninvited (see Rama 512, MB 512:11, although compare to Chazon Ovadya footnote on p.41 which permits it, yet contrast with what he wrote in Halichot Olam Vol II p.18 forbidding it).

So, except in the rare case they show up uninvited and barge their way in, in which case one might not even be able to feed them if one hasn't prepared enough, for all practical purposes it's almost impossible to host a non-Jew for Yom Tov.

For clarity, this is not to do with any form of discrimination, it doesn't even have to do with old paganism and idol worship. It's purely based on a hard reading of a verse in the Torah (Shemot 12:16 and the word "לכם") that implies that, in the special provision to cook on Yom Tov (as opposed to Shabbat), one is only allowed to do so for a fellow Jew. Therefore, it becomes almost impossible to invite and host a non-Jew within halacha, and this is the reason, not discrimination. Inviting a non-Jew for Shabbat is not ruled out because of this, and Shabbat is a holier day than a Yom Tov, and one is not required or even encouraged (as far as I can tell) to actively refuse hospitality to a non-Jew even on Yom Tov.

Does anyone have any solution on how to deal with this on a practical level? How are converting families supposed to learn and integrate on Yom Tov? What about if one has non-Jewish relatives, or non Jews in one's household?

How does it all work?

Surely there are some kinds of solutions but I couldn't find any in the halacha.


2 Answers 2


Rabbi Melamed brings an opinion in Peneni Halacha that, since the fear is that one will cook for a non-Jew on Yom Tov, one is permitted to A) serve non-Jewish guests who show up unexpectedly on Yom Tov (SA 512:1; Taz; MB ad loc. 10); B) invite a non-Jewish servant or attendant (Rema 512:1; MB ad loc. 11); and C) invite non-Jews interested in converting to Judaism (without an explicit source; he explains his reasoning with the following footnote:

"The question of whether it is permissible le-khatḥila to invite a respected non-Jew to the Seder or another Yom Tov meal for the sake of communal welfare requires further study. See Shulḥan Shlomo, 512, n. 8, which records that it was customary to invite consuls and ambassadors, and that this was permitted because it constitutes a great need.

In my opinion, this can be permitted under pressing circumstances only if the hosts resolve to finish cooking all the dishes before Yom Tov, just as is done before Shabbat. In this way, the concern that they will cook for the non-Jew is lessened. This can also be combined with the view of most Rishonim that no Torah prohibition is violated when one cooks kosher food for a non-Jew, since other guests may arrive.

Here, since the non-Jew’s entire objective is to join a traditional, customary Jewish meal, there is no concern that one would cook non-kosher food for him, so perhaps there was no decree in such cases. If we accept this reasoning, then we may rule leniently even when circumstances are not pressing when the goal of the invitation is for the guest to experience a properly observed Jewish holiday.

According to the same logic, one may be lenient with respect to non-Jews who want to convert or who have already joined non-halakhic streams of Judaism, so as to forge a close relationship that will result in a proper halakhic conversion.") [END FOOTNOTE]

I do not, however, see a leniency for inviting non-Jewish family members. Perhaps a LOR could provide a heter for someone cooking entirely before Yom Tov to invite his non-Jewish relatives al pi darkei Shalom, but that's entirely speculation on my part.

  • 1
    C is great, thank you. Would like to know his source.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 12:24

Those wanting to convert through the London Beth Din have several stages before being accepted as candidates for conversion, as you can see here. I don't think the first stages can be included in the following discussion, they can, however, be invited for a Shabbat meal. Once the candidate is further along the process for example they have been given a tutor to learn Torah with, the halachos are somewhat relaxed.

As far as I am aware it is better to avoid an actual invitation, but you can ask if they are in your area they should pop in, rather than invite them for a meal (this is my thoughts as it could be better to avoid it if one can).

The purpose of them eating by a family is in order to have some training in how to run a Shabbos or Yom Tov meal. I have been with potential Gereim at a Yom Tov meal, while the host shared the above with me and further explained the need for them to eat out.

I will also add a Halachic perspective. Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shulchan Shlomo) says if one is having one Ger this is allowed since one won’t go out of his way to make more food for one person AND since the Ger is there to learn the Halachos, part of that is showing one is not allowed to cook for a non-jew on Yom Tov.

The Biur Halacha says for Simchas Yom Tov one is allowed to invite a non-Jew to eat what he has already cooked for himself. Since Gerim do not have family and probably do not have a place to eat, we can add that this is also part of simchas yom tov.

אסור להזמינו וכו׳ – ממה שהביא בשמ״ק בשם הרשב״א משמע דס״ל דאפילו יהיה לו עי״ז איבה אסור וכ״כ הפמ״ג במשב״ז אם לא שהענין נוגע לבטול שמחת יו״ט יש להקל להזמינו לאכול ממה שהכין לעצמו:


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