For example, if one is on an airplane, and puts food under his/her neighbors seat, and then the neighbor falls asleep, is the food permissible? Does the prohibition only apply where it's a bed, or does the prohibition apply anywhere someone is asleep?

(for one source, see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deiah 116:5)


3 Answers 3


From the link above (emphasis added):

  • It is forbidden to store [raw or cooked] food or drinks(23) under a bed [even if the food is wrapped and sealed in metal containers or in a suitcase] in which someone will sleep.(24) But if, inadvertently, food or drink was stored under a bed and someone slept on the bed, many poskim hold that the food does not become forbidden to eat.(25)

25 See Rav Akiva Eiger, Yad Efrayim, Pischei Teshuvah Y.D. 116:4-5 and Aruch ha-Shulchan 116:11. The Gaon of Vilna, however, was extremely stringent even b'diavad; see Binas Adam 63:3. See also Halichos Shelomo, Tefillah, 13:17 quoting Harav S.Z. Auerbach's stringent rulings on this issue.

  • Well you gave the answer for a bed, so I suppose it's a kal vachomer that the same would apply to airplane seat...
    – yydl
    Aug 31, 2010 at 2:59
  • @yydl Not a kal vahomer (no idea why it would be). In fact, some poskim state explicitly that an airplane seat is not included in this superstition. (I heard the source about 5 years ago, and forgot it).
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 4, 2017 at 6:15
  • @mevaqesh That is precisely the kal vachomer that I was referring to. If "many poskim hold that the food does not become forbidden to eat" in the case of a bed where the superstition surely holds, then all the more so in the case of an airplane seat, which may not even be included in this rule. (i.e. my kal vachomer was referring to the lenient position cited by Shalom)
    – yydl
    Jun 4, 2017 at 15:45
  • @yydl Oh. A kal vachomer to be leneinet b'diavad; I thought you meant to be stringent l'chatchila.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 4, 2017 at 15:46
  • @mevaqesh Yes, I apologize as I see the confusion now. Thank you for clarifying.
    – yydl
    Jun 4, 2017 at 15:51

It is permitted to place food underneath a bench, even if the bench is used for sleeping, since a bench is not a bed. [It is recommended that food not be placed under an airplane seat, since airplane seats are regularly used as beds Kuntress U'vlechtecha Baderech 4:2 and note 30, quoting contemporary poskim. http://torahsearch.com/page.cfm/2930

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    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 5, 2010 at 2:11
  • 1
    TV's link then says: "while you shouldn't store food under a bed, if you did put the food under a bed/etc. and someone slept there, most poskim allow you to eat the food." See the link for references.
    – Shalom
    Aug 5, 2010 at 13:41
  • 1
    Hmm. I was talking more specifically about the case where actual sleep took place. Like if I put food under a bench, and then notice someone fell asleep on it...
    – yydl
    Aug 6, 2010 at 20:54

All of the primary sources discussing this concern (cited and discussed here), apply it specifically to a bed, and make no mention of sleep being a factor at all. These include the Bavli (Pesahim 112a), the Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah (2:3), Rambam in Hilkhot Rotseah Ushmirat Nefesh (12:4), the Tur YD 116, and the Shulhan Arukh YD 116:5.

This strongly implies that this concern would not apply to under a seat on which someone falls asleep, since a seat is not a bed. At the minimum it would imply that the case of a person falling asleep on the bench would be no worse than a case where there is no sleeping person, since sleep does not appear to be the operative factor.

The only possible reason to be stringent would be the possibility that the seat is considered a bed.[i]

This is the view adopted by this kof-k article (page 7), see the sources in notes 63-4.

[i] Which seems unlikely; this isn't a halakhic issue where some other topic may be relevant in defining the relevant terms; it is an isolated passage that defines its own terms. Accordingly, presumably a bed is a bed, and a chair is a chair.

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