May one use ginger root that is sold pre-cut?

For context, I am curious about how the rules of davar charif might apply here. It seems to me that ginger would be a davar charif, so if it is cut with a non-kosher knife it might become non-kosher itself. On the other hand, I've heard that there is a halacha that davar charif which is cut in bulk does not become non-kosher, because the non-kosher residue which might be on the seller's knife becomes less potent after the first few cuts, so the vast majority of the davar charif which is sold is uncontaminated. (Is this a real halacha? Any help in locating it?)

1 Answer 1


Ginger is a davar charif as you suspected. This is found in Chayei Adam klal 49 siff 4, subsequently brought in Maadanei HaShulchan 96 2 s.v. 38.

As far as the heter of cutting many sharp foods in a row, that is found in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 96 siff 4 with the explanation of the Ramma.

However there are varying degrees on relying on this opinion, as brought in Maadanei Hashulchan there. If the item was possibly cut with a non-kosher knife, and it is a bidieved situation such as it was already bought or you have a real need to buy it, you can eat the food items when as little as five were cut. If however there is no loss and it is easy to cut a slice off the end where it was cut, one should do this.

This last chumra would seemingly apply to ginger imho but as in all cases like this, CYLOR of course.

  • 1
    Thank you for the answer! A further question: why does it matter if one slices of the end where the ginger was cut? If it was davar charif, wouldn't the treyf flavor permeate the whole ginger?
    – user3318
    Oct 12, 2015 at 2:01
  • 1
    No problem:) Fresh ginger root freezes well too, in case you weren't aware. I keep mine in the freezer and just grate it frozen whenever I need some.
    – user6591
    Oct 12, 2015 at 2:06
  • 1
    Sorry. I replied to your comment before you added the question and I saw it only now. No, a davar charif does not cause the taste to be absorbed throughout like cooking or pickling. It only absorbs up until kdei netila, basically a thin peel. See shach in that siman s.v. 4.
    – user6591
    Oct 13, 2015 at 17:47
  • I just heard in a shiur tonight that the maharshal permitted it to the "am aratzim" in Krakow but forbid it in Lublin because the treif flavor indeed permeates the whole ginger lechumra. This was said from memory and I haven't seen the source myself. Oct 14, 2015 at 21:15

You must log in to answer this question.