It is generally considered that a non-Jew cannot be invited to a hot meal on Yom-Tov because it is a melacha to heat up food for them (from what I've heard, even if it is as part of a group including Jews and there is plenty of food). Is anyone aware of any heterim for this? (eg. for inviting people in the process of conversion)

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    As a non-Jew in an observant community, most Jews do not directly invite me. Instead, they say that such and such is occurring, there will be food open to the community, etc. and I just show up. One reason, is that I'm not mekablin ger(tzedek) (I'm not accepted as a ger in the community since only gerei tzedek are accepted today, however I'm a ben Noach). It's kind of funny, kind of sad, but it does seem a necessary fence.
    – EhevuTov
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 9:11
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    It would be a problem if the food was specifically made for him but many people tend to overcook for yontiff so there is an abundance then whatever food on the table isn't a problem if he eats also
    – Dude
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 10:44
  • I have heard that according to mainstream opinions it is a problem to give him food that was cooked for Yom Tov even if it is as part of a group with Jews and that the amount of food available is irrelevant. The only way around it that I've heard of so far is if he goes into the kitchen and takes the food himself. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:11
  • The decree is not to feed him anything since you might need to worm up food just for him, (but on shabos there is no such decree since you can not worm up food for any body)
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:46
  • @EhevuTov I think you are misunderstanding the reason they are not allowed to invite you directly on Yom Tov (as opposed to on Shabbat). On Yom Tov, Jews are biblically prohibited from cooking for a weekday, whether for themselves or for others. For those who are not commanded to keep Yom Tov, ironically, Yom Tov itself is actually a weekday. As such, the Rabbis were concerned that if they invited you directly, they would also end up cooking specifically for you. This way, you're able to partake of actual Yom Tov food, rather than their violating Yom Tov by cooking for you weekday food.
    – Loewian
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


In siman 512 the allowance given by the Mechaber is to cook for one's servant maid etc or a no-Jew who comes himself.

Mishna Berurah explains that the only time we have the concern of coming to cook specifically for a non-Jew is when they were important enough to invite. In that case we are afraid one may accidentally come to cook specifically for them which is a biblical prohibition.

Ramma adds that when cooking for himself, he can actually add extra food for the non-jew. This is only written about the non-Jew the Mechaber was talking about, a servant or maid. However this allowance does not extend to other non-jews. From the Aruch HaShulchan siff 6 it appears a person who shows up by himself would be included in the prohibited group.

Also in the Aruch HaShulchan siff 5 he brings another hetter to invite a non-Jew as long as the food was already cooked. The Aruch HaShulchan though goes on to explain that the situation cannot be that one had intended to invite him from before he started cooking. It would be impossible to say he didn't have this guest in mind when cooking. He says this only works if one cooked the food, and then bumped into this non-Jew close to meal time, and invited him to the completely ready meal.

One clarification though, you mention heating up food in your question. I would doubt heating up food that was previously cooked is included in this Rabbinic enactment. But clear that up with your religious authority.

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    Heating up liquids (as is common on YT) would be included, probably.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 12:44
  • I possibly agree. I wrote heating food.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 12:47
  • Ah right judaism.stackexchange.com/q/57876/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 12:51
  • Impressive:) But I have other reasons to wonder here. Even if reheating is cooking, as we might want to say by liquids, reheating may be low enough on the honor scale to have not been disallowed.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:01
  • I don't think honoring is the issue. I think the leniencies of melacha on Yom Tov only apply biblically if they are for the food of Yom Tov. Cooking for someone not obligated in Yom Tov doesn't qualify as part of the heter ochel nefesh so it is no different than cooking on Shabbos, which means that if we assume reheating water is bishul, that would be the case on Yom Tov as well.
    – Loewian
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 15:26

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