Bread, Cooked Food, and Milk of a Non-Jew
1. The sages have forbidden us to eat the bread of a non-Jew. In some localities, they do buy bread of a non-Jewish baker, either when there is no Jewish baker in that locality, or when there is one, but his bread is inferior to that of the non-Jewish baker. However, they are more strict regarding the bread of a non-Jewish private person, and they permit the use of such bread only in cases of emergency. When we are on the road, we should wait for kosher bread, if it can be obtained within the distance of a mile. Only bread baked especially for the family, is called private bread, but if it is made for the purpose of being sold, it is called a baker’s bread, even though ordinarily he does not bake for the trade; if a baker bakes bread for his own family, it is called private bread. One authority holds that in a locality where no baker can be found, it is even permissible to partake of the bread of a non-Jewish private person, and one need not wait for kosher bread; and this opinion is generally followed.
2. If a Jew has thrown even one piece of wood into a non-Jewish oven at the time it was heated, the bread baked in that oven is no longer considered as the bread of a non-Jew.
3. The bread of a non-Jew is forbidden only when it is made of one of the five species of grain: wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats, but bread made of pulse, like beans, peas, etc., is not considered bread; neither can it be forbidden as food cooked by a non-Jew, since such food is not fit to be served on “the table of a king.”
4. Non-Jewish bread smeared over with eggs is forbidden on account of the eggs, for it is then considered as the cooking of a non-Jew. Those cakes which are baked on iron pans are forbidden in any event, because there is a possibility that the iron has been smeared with some kind of forbidden fat, and that the pan has absorbed some of the fat.
5. Jewish bread baked by a non-Jew is much worse than the bread of a non-Jew, and it is forbidden as food cooked by a non-Jew, unless the owner of the bread has prepared the oven by throwing a piece of wood in it. When we send something to be baked or roasted in an oven of a non-Jewish baker, we must be careful to have Jew throw a piece of wood into the oven, or that a Jew put the bread or the pan into the oven.
6. An article of food that is not eaten raw and is also fit to be served at the table of a king, either as a relish eaten with bread or as a dessert, if cooked or roasted by a non-Jew, even in the vessels and in the house of a Jew, is forbidden, inasmuch as it was cooked by a non-Jew. However, an article of food that is eaten when raw, or if it is not a delicacy fit to be served at the table of a king, is not forbidden as the cooking of a non-Jew. Nor need any scruples be felt regarding the gentile’s vessels, because it is assumed that ordinarily no cooking had been done in them in the past twenty-four hours.
7. A Jewish household employing a non-Jewish servant who also does the cooking, the cooking is not forbidden, since it seems unlikely that some member of the household will not rake the fire while the cooking is being done.
8. However, if the servant cooks food for herself only, it is not likely that any member of the Jewish family would rake the fire—and it is possible that even raking the fire would be of no avail; it is worse than when she cooks for a Jew. Therefore, if she cooks food which is subject to the rules of non-Jewish cooking, then not only the food but also the use of the pots is forbidden, and if we happen to use them, we must consult a competent rabbi about it.
9. The food cooked by a non-Jew for a sick person on the Sabbath, may not be eaten at the close of the Sabbath, even by the sick person himself, if it is possible to cook other food for him. The vessels, however, may be used after the expiration of twenty-four hours.
10. Although an egg is fit to be swallowed raw, yet if it is cooked by a non-Jew, it becomes forbidden food. This rule of law applies also to anything similar to it.
11. Fruits, not fully ripened and are eaten raw only in cases of emergency, are forbidden as food cooked by a non-Jew, if they are expertly preserved in sugar.
12. It is customary to permit the drinking of beer made either of grain or of honey, even when sold in the house of a non-Jew. This is not subject to the law of non-Jewish cooking, because the grain loses its identity in the water. It is only necessary to investigate whether or not it has been made with wine-yeast. In a locality where Jews trifle with the law and permit the use of non-Jewish wine, a scrupulous person should refrain from the use of beer. A scrupulous Jew should avoid the drinking of coffee (without milk, for with milk it is surely forbidden), chocolate or tea of a non-Jew. Some authorities permit to drink the above only occasionally, but not to make it a regular practice.
13. It is forbidden to use the milk which has been milked by a non-Jew, not under the supervision of a Jew; and it is even forbidden to make cheese from it. It is necessary that a Jew be present when the milking is begun and to see to it that the vessel into which it is milked be clean. It is customary to refrain from milking into a vessel generally used for milking by a non-Jew. It is permissible to let non-Jewish servants milk the cows either in the premises of a Jew or in a barn belonging to them, if there is no house belonging to a non-Jew obstructing the milking from view, and there is no danger of their drawing milk from an unclean animal. However, if the milking is obstructed from view by a house belong to a non-Jew, it is necessary that a Jew be present at the milking; even a minor male or female, nine years of age is considered competent for that purpose.
14. The cheese of a non-Jew is forbidden food. If, however, a Jew has supervised the milking as well as the making of the cheese, then if during the process the cheese belonged to a Jew, it is permissible to partake or it; but if during the process it still belonged to a non-Jew, it is forbidden food.
15. As to non-Jewish butter, it depends upon the custom of the place. There are certain communities where such butter is not used, and others where it is used. He who goes from a community where it is not used, to a place where it is used, is allowed to eat it with them even though he intends to return to his own community, he who goes from a place where it is used to a place where it is not used, is not allowed to eat it there. Nowadays, as it is rumored that non-Jews mix the butter with lard, the scrupulous should avoid using their butter.