When a person prepares food for someone else, as an act of chesed, should they prioritise making the food healthy, or tasty?

  • In case someone wants to make the case that they are not mutually exclusive, let's lock it down to a case where they are mutually exclusive: the person one is cooking for prefers the taste of unhealthy food.

  • I imagine the case of cooking for someone regularly vs. as a one off might make a difference, so I will limit the question to cases of one-off, but feel free to present a case that deals with both.

  • Same goes with dealing with the case of someone who has a big health problem, so let's just default to the case of someone who doesn't have any strong health concerns, but feel free to deal with both

  • The main point is the chessed of providing food, why should it make a difference? The quality is the most important to show you care. It would also be completely irresponsible to feed someone something that would have a dire effect on their health??
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 19:37
  • 2
    I can only quote from Orchos Tzaddikim on Shaar Nedivus: "אַךְ יְדַקְדֵּק לִהְיוֹת וַתְּרָן לָעֲנִיִּים הַטּוֹבִים, לְהַלְבִּישָׁם וּלְהַאֲכִילָם מִן הַמֵּיטָב" - i.e. you should feed them from the best. Interpret that as you will...
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 19:49
  • There's a halacha of when one gives zedaka it should be equivalent to what the person is used to. I'll have to double check for a source and specifics...
    – Shababnik
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


This is just my perspective, and it isn’t halachic, but as I understand Jewish ethics It depends. If the food is actually unhealthy, even if tasty you should probably prioritize health, based on the principle that longer life means more time for Avodah Hashem. But if the food is more neutral (ie not unhealthy but not highly nutritious) I think you could make it tastier if it makes others happy. I don’t have a specific source, but the closest I can find is that halachically one is allowed to desecrate Shabbos for pikuach nefesh even when a Jew will live only another week because that’s one more shabbos for them to observe

  • 1
    Congrats for trying your hand at answering questions !
    – mbloch
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 6:33

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