Is it, in principle, a problem to eat by a shomer-Shabbos Jew who has good intentions, but only basic knowledge of the laws of kashrus?

His involuntary sins--presumed, not known--are not a problem for him. But are they for you?

  • Would you get have medical surgery , or even just your teeth tended to by a Doctor/dentist who has good intentions but poor knowledge?? Why should your spiritual health concern you any less than your physical health? Jun 5, 2018 at 18:28
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    @ribbis because חמירא סכנתא מאיסורא obviously. That's an easy question.
    – Double AA
    Jun 5, 2018 at 18:35
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    Restaurants must have higher standards al pi halacha. (Wish I could give you the source, but I can't; I just remember learning it.) In the home, for example, we let a housekeeper clean the kitchen unsupervised after our (presumably quite superficial) explanation of the kashrus protocols to her. And as for hasgacha, it is enough that she be aware that someone "could" walk in at any time.
    – SAH
    Jun 5, 2018 at 20:03
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    Related judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11957
    – Double AA
    Jun 5, 2018 at 21:55
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    @SAH you have been making useful posts on this site for years, and they been a huge help to me as an in-progress BT, but this is the first known instance of you actually posting in Yeshivish! (we do not generally use "by" to mean "with" in Standard English). Balaei status officially obtained. Mazel! Jun 6, 2018 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


The following is from Mishnah Demai 4:2. The translation is mine, following Bartenura. To keep things straight I’m referring to the people in question as Reuven and Shimon instead of “him” and “him.”

הַמַּדִּיר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁיֹּאכַל אֶצְלוֹ, וְהוּא אֵינוֹ מַאֲמִינוֹ עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת, אוֹכֵל עִמּוֹ בַּשַּׁבָּת הָרִאשׁוֹנָה, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַאֲמִינוֹ עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר לוֹ מְעֻשָּׂרִין הֵן. וּבְשַׁבָּת שְׁנִיָּה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּדַר מִמֶּנּוּ הֲנָיָה, לֹא יֹאכַל עַד שֶׁיְּעַשֵּׂר:

If Reuven makes a neder that Shimon cannot benefit from him if Shimon does not eat by him, but Shimon doesn’t trust Reuven regarding Ma’aser, Shimon may eat by Reuven for Reuven’s Shabbos Sheva Berachos, even though Shimon doesn’t trust him regarding Ma’aser, as long as Reuven tells him Ma’aser has been taken. If it’s the Shabbos after Sheva Berachos, then even if Reuven made a neder against benefit, Shimon cannot eat by him until he takes off Ma’aser himself.

Drawing the analogy over to “regular” Kashrus, since meat can’t be shechted again once it’s already neveilah, Shimon would be stuck and unable to eat by Reuven.

Now, it’s not an exact comparison: Demai is only Rabbinic, and so it’s much more lenient than other prohibitions against eating; maybe that’s the only reason that they were lenient in a case where he made a neder. By ordinary Kashrus, which is much stricter, certainly Shimon would be unable to eat by him.

It should be noted that some cases people are generally strict not to eat when there’s nothing wrong with it. Take eating on glass plates: glass does not absorb and therefore can be used for both milchigs and fleishigs, provided it’s cleaned and beyond 24 hours from its last use at the strictest (see, ex., here. Some people insist on being stricter, but it’s not necessary. There are many such instances; the line of logic above is only when the food is a concern of being actually treif.

Edit: Somehow it totally slipped my mind before, but ultimately this ends up being a classic case of Safek d’Oraisa l’chumra.

  • "Demai is only Rabbinic, and so it’s much more lenient than other prohibitions against eating" - no! Maaser is deoraisa and a chiyuv misa biydei Shamayim - STRICTER than most of kashrus (except cheilev and blood, but the butcher handles those nowadays, and chametz during Pesach). Demai is a Rabbinic formalized structure applied on top of the deoraisa of maaser. I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusion, but if anything, the argument goes the other way - there's no structure like demai for normal kashrus, so you fall back to deoraisa rules of neemanus.
    – Heshy
    Jun 5, 2018 at 19:36
  • "Some people insist on being stricter, but it’s not necessary." You might not think it's necessary but seemingly they do.
    – Double AA
    Jun 5, 2018 at 20:04
  • @Heshy In many cases of Demai we’re lenient, as the case in question, rather than the general rule of Safek d’Oraisa l’Chumra (which ought to be the real answer now that I say that).
    – DonielF
    Jun 5, 2018 at 22:38
  • @DoubleAA The point is that the Halacha doesn’t.
    – DonielF
    Jun 5, 2018 at 22:38
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    @SAH I was just giving an example. Demai is generally classified as a d’Rabbanan, and so is much more lenient in many cases. Other types of Kashrus are almost always d’Oraisa (though not always), and it’s to those that I refer. Take the case of Joe, who went to Hebrew school and knows that if you go to the store and get food labeled as “Kosher” that it’s okay. He even knows that milk and meat together is forbidden. But he doesn’t know that you need separate dishes, even if they’re cleaned in between uses. Beli’os are d’Oraisa, and my logic would apply.
    – DonielF
    Jun 6, 2018 at 2:51

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