Selling Non-Kosher Foods

From Halachipedia
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.


Source and Reason

  1. It is forbidden for a Jew to sell or gift[1] non-Kosher food to a non-Jew provided that it is biblically forbidden or has a doubt of being biblically forbidden[2]. However, something that is only rabbinically forbidden one can sell to a non-Jew.[3]
  2. The reason it is forbidden to sell non-Kosher to a non-Jew is based on a pasuk and according to many poskim this derivation is biblical.[4] However, some hold that it is only a rabbinic enactment so that a Jew doesn't come to eat the non-Kosher food.[5]


  1. Just as it is forbidden to sell non-Kosher food to a non-Jew it is forbidden to give a non-Jew a gift of non-Kosher food.[6]

Work Animals

  1. It is permitted to sell non-Kosher animals to a non-Jew if they are going to be used for work and not eaten such as horses, donkeys, or camels.[7]

Vegetables with Bugs

  1. One can sell vegetables that have bugs in them since one isn't profiting from the bugs.[8]

Forbidden Fats

  1. One can do business with non-Kosher fats (chelev) of kosher[9] animals as the pasuk says "יעשה לכל מלאכה" (Vayikra 7:24) that it can be used for any purpose.[10]
  2. Many poskim permit anointing oneself with forbidden fats but since some rishonim forbid one shouldn't do it unless one is in pain.[11] As a result some are strict not to use bar soap that was made from forbidden non-Kosher fats (such as lard).[12]

Feeding Workers

  1. Some poskim permit feeding one's non-Jewish workers non-Kosher food, while others forbid this.[13] One can fulfill all opinions by giving one's worker money and letting them choose what to buy because then one isn't buying the food for them. However, if the worker buys it on the Jew's credit card that is the same as the above dispute.[14]
  2. It is forbidden to invite a non-Jewish client to a non-Kosher restaurant and pay for their meal.[15]

Working in a Store that Sells Non-Kosher

  1. Some poskim forbid working in a store that sells non-kosher, while others permit it.[16]


  1. Some are lenient to allow a Jew who owns a store that sells non-Kosher to make a partnership with a non-Jew and all of the non-Kosher food will be the property of the non-Jew.[17]
  2. Some defend the practice of Jewish owners who sell non-Kosher food as a small part of their business in order to make money to pay rent and taxes. However, most poskim hold that this is forbidden.[18]

A Shochet, Hunter, or Fisherman

  1. A shochet who does shechita in order to sell kosher meat and on occasion has a Teref or Nevelah animal is allowed to sell it to non-Jews since it isn't his intention.[19]
  2. A hunter or fisherman who trapped a non-Kosher animal may sell it to a non-Jew since it wasn't his intention to trap it.[20] One should sell it immediately and not keep it around to grow and become more expensive.[21]
  3. If someone is hunting or fishing for sport and not as a profession and they trap a non-Kosher animal they may not keep it to give to a non-Jew.[22] Some are lenient.[23]


  1. Hagahot Maimoniyot Machalot Asurot 8 establishes that it is forbidden to give a gift of biblically non-kosher food to a non-Jew just like it is forbidden to sell them non-kosher food. Bet Yosef 117:1 explains that it is based on the fact that when you give a gift it is like paying someone since people generally don't give gifts unless it is in exchange for a favor. Shach 117:3 quotes this and doesn't argue on this part. Kaf Hachaim 117:28 agrees and cites many who do as well including Pri Chadash 117:3, Pri Toar 117:3, Makom Shmuel 77, Shoel Umeishiv 1:3:122, and Mahari Ayash in Bet Yehuda 15. Ben Yisrael Lnochri YD 15:8 also says it is forbidden to gift a non-Jew non-Kosher food.
  2. Rabbi Akiva Eiger 117:1. Rambam Machalot Asurot 8:18 implies this as well. See Kaf Hachaim Y.D. 117:1 who writes that this depends on whether selling non-Kosher is biblically prohibited or only rabbinically. If it is only rabbinic then if a food is a doubt then it can be sold. Peni Moshe 1:3 proves from the Rambam that he holds it is a biblical prohibition to sell non-kosher food from the fact that he forbids selling something which is only a doubt of being non-kosher.
  3. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 117:1
  4. Tosfot Pesachim 23a s.v. amar, Rosh Bava Kama 7:13, Rabbenu Dovid Pesachim 23a, and Maharam Chalavah 23a. Meor Yisrael Pesachim 23a also cites Nemukei Yosef Bava Kama, Tashbetz 3:292, Rabbenu Yerucham 15:5, Or Zaruah 1:330, and Aguda 2:17 as holding it is biblical. Kaf Hachaim 117:1 based on many poskim concludes it is biblical, see also Darkei Teshuva 117:25. Note that Nodeh Beyehuda YD 2:62 favors the approach of the Rashba and Trumat Hadeshen 200 who think it is only rabbinic.
  5. Taz 117:1 explains that the Rashba holds that the derivation is only an asmachta.
  6. Shach 117:3, Kaf Hachaim 117:28
  7. Tosfot Pesachim 23a, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 117:1, Shach 117:1. Kaf Hachaim 117:2 points out that this depends on the majority practice of the time and place.
  8. Kaf Hachaim 117:3
  9. Shach 117:4, Kaf Hachaim 117:13
  10. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 117:1
  11. Kaf Hachaim 117:15 cites Tosfot Niddah 32a and Avoda Zara 77a, Rashba, Ritva, Tosfot Harosh, and Meiri niddah who are lenient with anointing oneself with non-Kosher fats. Isur Vheter 39:24 forbids anointing oneself with forbidden fats since anointing is like drinking. He concludes that although most poskim are lenient including Zivchei Tzedek 117:45 it is good to be strict unless one is in pain. Nekudat Hakesef 117 is lenient.
  12. Nekudat Hakesef 117 connects whether one can use soaps made from forbidden fats with the question in general of anointing oneself with non-Kosher fats. However, Pri Chadash 117:4 writes that everyone should permit the soap since it isn't edible. Biur Halacha 326:10 writes that it is proper to be strict. Kaf Hachaim 117:17 is lenient. Orchot Rabbenu v. 1 p. 290 records the practice of the Steipler not to use soap ever because of a concern of the non-Kosher soaps. However, the Chazon Ish did use kosher bar soap.
  13. Rama 117:1 is strict, but Shach 117:3 is lenient. Kaf Hachaim 117:12 cites those who are lenient and those who are strict. Pri Chadash 117:3 is also lenient and implies that as long as one doesn't buy non-kosher animals to raise them to feed to his workers it is permitted. Pri Toar 117:3 is strict on feeding one's workers with non-kosher food. However, he answers the Pri Chadash's proof by explaining that telling working that they can buy whatever non-kosher food they want and he'll pay the bill since he didn't buy it and then give it to them. Aruch Hashulchan YD 117:19 says the minhag is like the Shach. Rav Shmuel Furst (Shailos of the Week, min 8) is lenient.
  14. Rav Shmuel Furst (Shailos of the Week, min 8-9)
  15. Rav Shmuel Furst (Shailos of the Week, min 7-11)
  16. Kaf HaChayim on Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 117:72 quotes the Chatom Sofer 2:106, Bet Shlomo 192, Kol Eliyahu YD 27, and Chesed Lavraham 9 forbid a Jew from working in a store which sells non-kosher foods. However, Shoel Umeishiv 3:122, Maharsham 1:126, Tuv Taam Vdaat 3:5, Zivchei Tzedek 117:46, Yad Yosef 83, and Mitzvat Kehuna 36 lenient. Yeriyot Shlomo 19 is lenient on anything besides pig. Yad Shalom 12 says that there's extra room to be lenient if the non-kosher food is packaged. Kaf Hachaim concludes that we can be lenient as the Maharam Chalavah Pesachim 23a is a proof to be lenient.
  17. Rav Matloub Abadi in Magen Baadi 15:2 writes one can rely on the Maharam Shik to sell non-Kosher if one has a non-Jewish partner. He stipulates that the non-Jew will buy and sell the non-kosher items. To avoid marit ayin one should have a sign pointing out that the non-Kosher foods belong to the non-Jew. Kaf Hachaim 117:71 agrees.
  18. Aruch Hashulchan 117:27 has leniency to defend those who are lenient. He says that they need to sell non-kosher in order to pay rent and taxes and it isn’t their main business. Therefore it is like they don’t intend to sell the non-kosher and it just ended up that they sold some non-kosher. Kaf Hachaim 117:67 and Magen Baadi 15:1 disagree.
  19. Rama 117:1
  20. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 117:1
  21. Rama 117:1, Shach 117:11
  22. Shach 117:6 citing Bet Yosef, Taz 117:3, Kaf Hachaim 117:18
  23. Shach 117:6 citing Rama Mpano 29
Category Topics
Bishul Akum - Checking for Bugs - Gelatin - Kosher Food without Kosher Supervision - Kosher Food Packaging for Deliveries - Kosher Food Left with a Non-Jew - Koshering a Kitchen - Kashering for Pesach - Kosher in the Workplace - Medications - Pat Palter - Selling Non-Kosher Foods - Serving Guests - Sharp Foods - Shechitah (Kosher Slaughter) - Tevilat Keilim - Tzaar Baalei Chayim - Yashan
Meat and Milk
Dairy Bread - Eating Dairy and Meat at the Same Table - Kosher Cheese - Kosher Milk (Chalav Yisrael) - Milk and Meat in the Kitchen - Non-Dairy Milk - Waiting between Meat and Milk
Principles of Kashrut
Items That Cannot Be Nullified - Transferring Taste - Nullification - Zeh Vzeh Gorem - Trusting Others for Kashrut
Shechitah_(Kosher_Slaughter) - Who_Can_Be_a_Shochet - The_Shechitah_Knife - Modern_Day_Industrial_Shechitah - Glatt Kosher Meat - Kashering Meat