According to Halacha, is there an issue with a jew having Hanaah, benefit from the sale of items of Chukot Hagoyim to gentiles? So of course it can’t be idolatry, but can they sell items to gentiles that are related to gentile customs?

For example a Jew making and selling king cakes during Mardi Gras to gentiles, or a Jew selling gentiles certain gentile clothing types.

1 Answer 1


There is a fascinating "Halachically Speaking" on this scenario entitled, "Doing Business on a Non-Jewish Holiday" here

Certainly, like you mention, avoda zara is the main issue. Two reasons are brought in the gemara (Avoda Zara 6a), that the Gentile will thank their avoda zara for their financial success, or it may also be lifnei iver as they may use the said item as a sacrifice for their idol worship.

Whilst it lists a few key parameters i.e. items that do not last and Eretz Yisroel vs Chutz La'Aretz, it makes a point of highlighting several heterim that extend even to articles of avodah zarah.

It writes (p.5):

Practically speaking, we do business with non-Jews every business day of the year, even on their holidays. Many heterim are offered for this practice. (See Higyonei Haparsha Shemos pages 276-278)

The opinion of some is that there is no issur today since the non-Jews do not bow down to an avodah zarah.(Tosfas A"Z 2a “ossur,” Rashbah Meseches Avodah Zarah 8a, Ritvah Meseches Avodah Zarah 65a, Bartenura Meseches Avodah Zarah 1:2, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 148:12)

Others say that it is guaranteed that they will not thank their avodah zarah.

Many poskim permit business with non-Jews since avoiding business with them will cause animosity between us and them.(Refer to last set of sources and Asei Lecha Rav 9:30) According to Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:71) the reason of animosity is a very strong reason to be lenient with these halachos today.

There are those who maintain that the issur does not apply to non-Jews whom you recognize. (As linked above - Tosfas Meseches Avodah Zarah 2a “ossur,” Tur Y.D. 148)

Another reason to be lenient is that the issur only applies to items that are offered to the avodah zarah.(Refer as above - Tosfas Meseches Avodah Zarah 2a “ossur,” Rashba Meseches Avodah Zarah 2a)

There is another heter which is expressed by the Rashba as follows: it is permitted to buy from and sell items to non-Jews which you need and can only get on the day of their holiday. This is considered a “davar ha’oved.” (Meseches Avodah Zarah 2a)

Another reason offered by the poskim is that our livelihood depends on the business which we do with the non-Jews. (As linked above - Ritvah Meseches Avodah Zarah 2a)

  • Do you see elements here related to hukot ha-goyim ?
    – mbloch
    Commented Jan 23 at 8:04
  • Yes I see selling "anything" to a goy on their holiday which includes things such as "king cakes" as per the OP's question
    – Dov
    Commented Jan 23 at 9:36

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