In an effort to avoid the problem of bishul akum, a Jew should be a part of the cooking process. In order to be using "aish yisrael" a Jew must turn on a flame, add something to the fire, or have created the fire from which the cooking flame is taken (all, for Ashkenzaim, as per this website's write up).

Does the Jew who lights the flame initially have to satisfy any standard of being a Jew? Could a child who is not yet bar mitzvah age qualify? What about a child who cannot formulate the intent* (he flails his arms and it hits a button which ignites, or even, a non-Jew moves a Jewish baby's hand)? Could it be someone who is a shoteh?

*the Shulchan Aruch (Y"D 113:7) talks about חתוי בלא כונה but I'm not sure if this means someone who COULD have intent, or what kind of intent he doesn't have (to turn on the flame, or to move his own hand etc) and it seems to be argued upon by commentators anyway.

1 Answer 1


Without intent:

As you pointed out in the question, the Shach (10) and Taz (8) both argue with the רמ"א, which is what we would follow. This is true the other way as well, if a non-Jew turned on the fire without intent. Even that case won't be considered Bishul Akum. (חיי הלוי חלק ד' סי' נ"ב אות ג). Intent means "intent to help the cooking with adjusting the fire". (Shach)


For a D'Rabonon such as Bishul Akum, a child whose intent is recognized from his actions, is considered as an intentional action. Here the intent must be to take off the Bishul Akum status. A child that does not understand the concept of Bishul Akum, and how to correct it, would not suffice. Six or younger would be problematic. (ערוגת הבושם יו"ד סי' קטו)

I don't know if the two definitions of intent disagree, or if there is a difference between a child and an adult.

  • From your statement "A child that does not understand the concept of Bishul Akum, and how to correct it, would not suffice" can I assume this would apply to a shoteh who doesn't understand? What about a adult tinok shenishba who never learned about Bishul Akum and had no intent, therefore, to remove it as a problem? If I am asked to turn the burners on, do I need to be interviewed to know if I understand the law?
    – rosends
    Jun 27, 2018 at 23:53
  • @rosends - According to the way I understand the ערוגת הבושם, a Shoteh would be the same as a child, if not worse. Because I"m not sure we say כוונתו ניכרת מתוך מעשיו by a shoteh. The real question is, if the ערוגת הבושם's rule is the same as the Shach that says the intent to cook is all you need. According to the Shach, all your cases would be Bishul Yisroel. Jun 28, 2018 at 3:57
  • @rosends I don't know whether this will add anything toward answering your question. Rav Shmuel Vosner ZTL in his Shevet Haleivi )(vol.9 ch. 164) rules that a monkey turning on the fire for the cooking of a goy would not obviate bishul akum. Jun 28, 2018 at 12:51
  • a Jewish monkey?
    – rosends
    Jun 28, 2018 at 16:50

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