What are the major kashrus/halachic issues with going to a non-kosher restaurant and ordering, say, [kosher fish] and vegetables; dressed with only extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper; double-wrapped in tinfoil and baked, served on paper plates with disposable cutlery--a dish which would seem reliably kosher under many circumstances?

I can think of the following potential problems. I am wondering if each of them in fact applies to the situation, or if there is room for leniency within any of them. I am also wondering if there are any I have missed:

  • Maarit ayin/chashad: Giving the appearance of doing something improper by ordering at a non-kosher restaurant.

  • Lifnei iver: Potentially misleading Jews that the restaurant is kosher and thus causing them to sin by eating there.

  • Bishul akum: Potentially eating food that is treyf insofar as no Jew was involved in the cooking.

  • Questional ne'emanut of non-Jews - There is an idea that we don't say ed echad for non-Jews; that is, that we cannot trust the supervision of those who are not themselves observant (or at least obliged) in kashrus and/or Shabbos. We can't watch the kitchen and thus cannot know that the waiters/chefs are actually doing what we said...and there is no halachic basis on which to trust their word.

  • Questionable kosher status of the knive(s) used to cut the salmon and vegetables. This would be of particular issue if the salmon were cut while hot, and/or if any of the vegetables were davar charif ("sharp"). (If the food were not sharp, but only hot, I could see this as possibly falling under a leniency for stam keilim einan b'nei yoman.)

  • Possibility of (very small) bugs in the vegetables, since even nice restaurants do not necessarily check to halachic standards.

...Can anyone comment on these, or add?

(Motivated by this advice on eating kosher on a cruise line--in particular: "I was advised by my Orthodox rabbi that it is permissible to have the chef cook double-wrapped fish and vegetables in the oven as long as the knives are clean and nothing is added to food.")

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    The best Hebrew term I can think of for bullet 4 is החשוד לדבר איסור "one who is suspected of a forbidden thing" see YD 119
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:15
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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22622/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:35
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    From the above list, mar'it ayin seems impossible to eliminate unless this restaurant is in a primarily non-Jewish area like Luray, VA. (An example of a U.S. small town where they never heard of the word "Jew" or "Israel" from my own experience.) I also don't see how you would overcome bishul akum here unless you or another Jew lit the fire.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:37
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    @DanF mar'it ayin isn't eliminated even if you're alone in your own home with no possibility that anybody is watching.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:41
  • "and ordering, say, [kosher fish] and vegetables; dressed with only extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper; double-wrapped in tinfoil and baked, served on paper plates with disposable cutlery--a dish which would seem reliably kosher under many circumstances": so you're asking about that dish specifically or about any dish that, under many circumstances, seems reliably kosher? If the former, then you should probably omit the word "say". And if the latter then I don't see that the dish's appearance under many circumstances should matter: its appearance under these circumstances [continued]
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 23:00

3 Answers 3


I think you're missing the most important issue:

The pots been used to cook the food may have recently been used to cook unkosher food - and thus render the food unkosher.

While we normally assume that pots are not ben-Yoma (i.e. have not been used in the past 24 hours and hence don't make the food unkosher) in a restaurant that assumption is clearly untrue. Most pots are in constant use, or they are not thoroughly washed between one serving and another.

If the issue were merely the knives, once could possibly cut off a sliver where the cut was made. But if it's cooked in an unkosher pot, then the entire food is unkosher.

Pots (or pans, etc.) would be unkosher for various reasons. E.g.: if unkosher foods were cooked in it, or if meat & milk (of kosher species) were both cooked in it within 24 hours of each other.

Same issue would be with any utensil that touches the food; whether the utensil is hot or whether your food is hot; the unkosher utensil could make the food unkosher.

So even if the food is cooked - for example - wrapped in baking paper - if at any point the actual food is touched with the cook's utensils while either is hot, it would be unkosher. (Assuming the cook doesn't use disposable utensils that are changed for every dish.)

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    Thanks, and good point. Fish prepared as indicated tends not to touch a pot. It would be put on a baking sheet, but at that point it would be double-wrapped.
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:31
  • That said, this is an excellent point about the general case of what could be wrong with kosher food in a non-kosher restaurant.
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:45
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    @SAH - even then, you'd have an issue with any hot utensil it touched, or any cold utensil it touched while it was hot. Maybe I'll add this in. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:07
  • Indeed. I tried to get at this a bit in my discussion of the knives.
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:11
  • @DannySchoemann The OP's case was double wrapping, where taste doesn't transfer between the wrappings as there is no liquid
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:14

According to Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi, there is no issue with Maarith Ayin. Here are some quoted examples and responsa. Some of these responsa are from his son A Abadi.

Example 1:

Questioner: How can you compare a treif restaurant where people go to eat treif to an airplane that serves kosher meals, also the kosher meal is clearly distinct to those who look at it. I am curious, give me an example of what according to you would constitue [sic] maris ayin. BTW, thanks for your time, continue your service to Klal Yisrael. Howard

A Abadi's Response: Quote "the kosher meal is clearly distinct..."

and my tuna sandwich looks like a burger?

If a community does not know of Pareve (non-dairy) milk and you cook your meat in a non-dairy milk type product that you brought from your travels abroad. When the people see you cooking meat with milk or eating meat that was cooked in what they perceive as milk, that is maarit ayin! AA

Example 2:

Questioner: Could you list diffrent [sic] things that are a problem of maarit ayin? Thanx

A Abadi's Response: There aren't many things that apply today, because of our Globalization. Everything that we do can be explained as a commonly available alternative that is Kosher or allowed.

For example: If someone cooks meat with milk, we wouldn't have to assume that he is doing a sin, we can say the milk is really "non-dairy," as is readily available.

If someone eats in a non-Kosher restaurant, we can assume he is eating those items that are OK.

If a person puts food in the oven or his air conditioner goes on in the middle of Shabbat, we assume that he has set them on timers.

On the issue of non-dairy milk the Kreity UPlaity says that Maarit Haayin does not apply if an alternative Kosher or permissable [sic] item is common, as in the above examples. The person who sees another eating meat cooked with milk can easily assume that this was "non-dairy" milk and the person was not doing any sin. The Halachah that prohibits it is only in places or times when non-dairy milk was scarce. AA

Example 3:

Questioner: Aren't you concerned about Marat Ayin? (please don't simply write no, rather, explain yourself)

A Abadi's Response: The Gemara lists the specific cases where maarit ayin applies. We are not permitted to make new scenarios. If we were allowed to, it would never end. You cannot go to Las Vegas for a trade show. You cannot drive in certain parts of town. You cannot pick up your sister from the train. etc. etc. etc.... AA

  • A very interesting perspective, although I would hardly say it is mainstream.
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:47
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    @SAH It may not be mainstream. But that doesn't preclude the possibility of it being the truth.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:17

HaRav Yitzchak Abadi, who is known for being lenient on kashrus matters--whose piskei may apply only to Sephardim--seems to think that the main problem is bishul akum. If bishul akum can be avoided, he says one may eat there. He provides specifics of what may be eaten, including breadsticks, vegetarian soup, and desserts.

Please be aware that this ruling, and Rav Abadi's kashrus rulings in general, are significantly more lenient than the mainstream.

Related: Which rabbis permit food being kosher just based on the ingredients?


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