Both eating a non-kosher cheeseburger and pork are assur, but suppose one is stuck on a desert island and has only these two options (the bun has already been eaten).

What should one do? Is eating one of these worse than the other?

  • What’s wrong with the water and the fish? Feb 5, 2019 at 17:02
  • @DanielRoss hahaha! #touché
    – alicht
    Feb 5, 2019 at 17:02
  • 1
    was the patty cooked with the cheese on it, or was the cheese added after the patty was cooked?
    – rosends
    Feb 5, 2019 at 17:08
  • 1
    Similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/77375/759
    – Double AA
    Feb 5, 2019 at 17:12
  • 1
    I do recall hearing a hora'a that Jewish soldiers in Vietnam should, in such situations, attempt to eat meat from a kosher animal (even if not kosher) rather than meat from a non-kosher animal. So cheeseburger, but hold the cheese, is preferable to pork.
    – Menachem
    Mar 7, 2019 at 3:08

3 Answers 3


The Torah Prohibition is to cook meat with milk (Shulchan Aruch Yore Dea 87,1).

The majority of opinions say that frying cheese with meat does not fall under the category of Bishul to be forbidden Min Hatorah (although obviously forbidden Miderabannan) see Chavos Daas who quotes Rashi and Tosfos in Sanhedrin 4a, Pischei Teshuva Yore Dea 87,1 who quotes The Maharam Shif, Maharshal, Minchas Yaakov, Pri Megadim and Chassam Sofer. The 2 opinions who prohibit cheese fried with meat are the Creisi upleisi and the Pri Chodosh, but the Chavos Daas says that this opinion is unfound and we rely on the Rishonim who say frying cheese with meat is prohibbitted only Miderabannan. So there seems to be no prohibition mideoraisa of Basar Bechalav for cheese fried with burger according to most opinions.

Also scientific research has been done to suggest that as little as 12% content of the average burger is actual beef (see here). The Rambam Maacholos Assusros 14,4 that inflating a piece of meat with water which accounts on average 49% of the burger does not count towards the measurement:היה פחות מכזית מבתחלה ונתפח ועמד על כזית אסור ואין לוקין עליו:
The Rambam Maacholos Assuros 4,18-20, mentions bone, sinews hooves,stomache (these get mushed up in burgers) etc. are not Chayav Min Hatorah (though prohibited miderabanan when one eats them as food).

Of course it is Forbidden Min HaTorah to eat even a small content of Neveila which has not been Shechted, but i think its safe to say that an untouched piece of pork contains significantly more non-Kosher Meat than the same size Hamburger, so eat the hamburger first in a life threatening situation.


Chances are that the beef is not kosher, in which case there are two issurim for the cheeseburger: eating neveila, and basur v'chalev, versus one issur of eating pork.

There may be additional problems of "kedoshim tihiyu" or ma'arit ayin (assuming it is only a proverbial desert island) but I'm not sure societal norms make a difference between pork and cheeseburgers. My impression is that pork is slightly less acceptable in the western world, but only slightly less so.

  • 5
    Unless you hold like the Rambam that Basar BeChalav doesn't affect Nevelah meat
    – Double AA
    Feb 5, 2019 at 18:53
  • 2
    How does kedoshim tihiyu apply to this guy on a desert island?
    – robev
    Feb 5, 2019 at 18:55
  • @doubleaa How about 2 lavin for eating pork 1. don't eat an animal that doesn't chew the cud and 2. don't eat pig? Even without the Rambam pig would be worst than cheese burger as putting cheese with meat is not cooking and not Chayav Min Hatorah according to Rashi Tosfos see Beis Yosef 87
    – yosefkorn
    Feb 5, 2019 at 19:24
  • Also this question might be subjective as some people won't feed MC Donald's burgers to their dog as it tastes like rubber and might be like neveila serucha though this probably isn't true
    – yosefkorn
    Feb 5, 2019 at 19:31
  • @yosefkorn There’s no special issur by pig; one is not allowed to eat animals which don’t chew their cud, of which pig is an example. Only one prohibition.
    – DonielF
    Mar 6, 2019 at 15:24

Eating pork is worse. We have no instances of God speaking of divine retribution for those who consume meat or dairy together, or even those that don't eat properly prepared/slaughtered meat from an acceptable animal. But we have God very clearly condemning those that eat the flesh of pigs.

Isaiah 66:16-17

‏כִּי בָאֵשׁ יְהוָה נִשְׁפָּט, וּבְחַרְבּוֹ אֶת-כָּל-בָּשָׂר; וְרַבּוּ, חַלְלֵי יְהוָה

‏הַמִּתְקַדְּשִׁים וְהַמִּטַּהֲרִים אֶל-הַגַּנּוֹת, אַחַר אחד (אַחַת) בַּתָּוֶךְ, אֹכְלֵי בְּשַׂר הַחֲזִיר, וְהַשֶּׁקֶץ וְהָעַכְבָּר--יַחְדָּו יָסֻפוּ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה‏

For by fire will the LORD contend, and by His sword with all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves to go unto the gardens, behind one in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the detestable thing, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .