I was asked a question this afternoon and I don't know a good answer (yet) so I'm posting it.

I have been asked in the past whether a Jewish person may work in a non-Kosher restaurant that serves meat. The answer I have heard and read is that one may not and one reason is because you may not serve a Jewish customer a treif meal. (this is a gloss but I can't find the source sheets for the shiur about it).

But what about a yogurt place which has no hashgocha and the patrons effectively serve themselves. Sure, the store has gummy this and marshmallow that and I know that they are of a treif brand, but I am not serving anything. Is this more like being a cashier in Shoprite where I don't control what people put in their baskets, I just collect money? Or is this still a restaurant and I can't facilitate someone's choice to eat non Kosher food?

I know this overlaps with this question but it isn't exact because the person is eating right then and there. And if I find my source sheet, I will try to give the basis for my assumption that one should not work in a treif restaurant.

And yes, I intend to ask the LOR when I see him but I'd like to amass as much info as I can beforehand.

Edit -- the LOR didn't come in today with any sources but I looked in The laws of Kashrus (Forst) and on page 182, under the heading of "beneficial use" it reads (unless someone can find the text online, my copy job will have to do - I moved footnotes to parentheticals and omitted unnecessary commentary)

"One may not engage in any commerce involving basar b'chalav. One who owns a restaurant with a non-Jewish clientele, may not serve basar b'chalav. Incidentally, one may not engage in commerce involving any foodstuffs Biblically forbidden to eat (...see Y.D. 117...) lest one inadvertently come to eat some of the prohibited food himself. (Shach §2 and Taz §1 citing Rashba) In addition, it may be problematic selling any forbidden food to the public since non-observant Jews may also purchase food. (See Darcei Tshuva 117:65)"

Working in a restaurant which serves gummy bears which are treif seems to fall under the second clause (the "incidentally") even if the place is self serve, as the food is out and available and workers often eat the food in their own restaurants. Yes, I see that the broad application of the third clause ("In addition") is VERY broad but I'm simply pointing out that there is a background logic to this question. And I happen to be unable to read the tiny D"T letters so if someone can transcribe it without going blind, feel free.

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    Your speculation about working in a non-kosher doesn't make sense. Usually we say it's not lifnei iver if the person has lots of similar choices without your assistance.(Rov customers are non-Jews anyway). Most poskim do allow working in a non-kosher restaurant. The only prohibition is making a business out of selling non-kosher things, but not being an employee. Now you might have to be careful about basar b'chalav depending on the manner of cooking. So I guess I'm confused on what the issue is in the yogurt store. And from your description, the yogurt store sounds analogous to a supermarket?
    – Curiouser
    Jan 2, 2013 at 19:51
  • I concur with @Curiouser, in that it is very unclear why you think it's a problem to work in a non-Kosher restaurant. Nor is it clear how this overlaps with the coupon question. Can you explain a bit better (and make it less personal)?
    – Seth J
    Jan 2, 2013 at 20:31
  • I hope to be getting the sources tomorrow from one of the Rebbeim here but he said that is clear that working in a non Kosher restaurant is more than just a bad idea. The coupon issue overlaps with the idea that effecting eating is not the same as serving treif food directly.
    – rosends
    Jan 2, 2013 at 20:43
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    @Curiouser According to the Rama (YD 151:1), there are opinions that it would be an issur d'rabbanan to facilitate the sale of items that will be used for prohibited purposes even to a nochri or a mumar and even in the absence of תרי עברי דנהרא. Accordingly, it could be an issue if a given customer is presumably Jewish (e.g. wearing a culturally identifying necklace or speaking in Hebrew). This is not necessarily how we hold (e.g. the Shach disagrees and states that this is mutar l'kulei alma), but the question is not trivial....
    – Fred
    Jan 2, 2013 at 21:32
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    Did you mean to post the new addition to the question as an answer instead? If not, then what's your remaining question?
    – msh210
    Jan 3, 2013 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


See Aruch HaShulchan YD 117:27 where he makes clear that people can rely on the kula to operate a store in which they sell some non-kosher products, since the majority of their business is with kosher things, and the only reason they are selling the non-kosher things also is because they would lose business if they didn't have these things available also. And that is talking about the owner of the store who profits directly from the sale. All the more so for an employee, who is not profiting directly from the sale (in most cases, unless he is on commission, which is unheard of in a food store), but rather is simply being paid for his time, in which case the whole din against sechora should not apply to the employee at all.

And, regarding basar b'chalev problems, in the Aruch HaShulchan 87:10, he allows even frying basar b'chalev in case of great financial need, since the prohibition of frying and roasting is only d'rabanan anyway. And he writes that this question is relevant to inns, where Jews would work and cook on behalf of their non-Jewish guests. So we see here even a leniency for short order chefs frying on a griddle or grilling on a BBQ to cook basar b'chalav, if their livelihood depended on it.

Therefore, the question does not get off the ground. For centuries Jews have worked as employees for non-Jewish businesses dealing in all manner of non-kosher products, and there is no suggestion whatsoever that an employee would be violating the prohibition on sechora. And as we see from the Aruch HaShulchan, most poskim have been exceedingly lenient even for the businesses owners themselves, since they understood that livelihood was at stake.

(However, to temper my original comments slightly: I did see that the Pischei Tshuva on YD 117:6 is strict about being a "shaliach" of a non-Jew to profit from forbidden things, but I assume that case is talking more about a commission relationship, as opposed to a standard hourly employee. Yabia Omer YD 4:6 discusses the entire question in great detail, about a Jew offered a job as a cook in a non-kosher restaurant, and comes out leniently in the end)

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    Thank you -- another handy LOR explained that these kulas are in cases of dire financial need (invoking mesaye'ah and trei avrei, direct feeding vs. service et al). But that for someone working as a side job, or who has options, he has seen the normative practice as otherwise. But that he also hasn't explored how this would apply to the yogurt store as restaurant vs. grocery.
    – rosends
    Jan 3, 2013 at 17:14

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