Monday, October 26, 2009

Kashrut: Badatz and a Gentile turning on a stove


The bakery where I work has the Hechsher (kosher certificate) "Badatz (Beit Din Zedek) Belz" or others call it "Machzikei HaDa'at".
Last night I spoke to one of our Mashgichim ( a Belzer Chassid) and asked him how either "Badatz Belz" or the "Badatz of the Edah HaCharedit" are checking on restaurants, cafes, etc. if a Gentile did not turn on the stove early in the morning.

Especially in Jerusalem, countless Arabs work a Falafel stores at the Machane Yehudah Market, in bakeries, cafes or restaurants. What happens if an Arab arrives at work early in the morning and has to turn on the stove in order to start a cooking process. The owner has not yet arrived - so, what should the Arab do ?

A stove has to be turned on by a halachic Jew. In particular, when the business is run with a Badatz Hechsher.

Our Mashgiach told me the following:

If the Arab (or another Gentile) arrives in the morning and the owner has not yet arrived, he has to find a Jew in order to turn on the stove. He could ask a Jew passing by or a neighbour.
He himself (the Mashgiach) has been asked a few times while passing over Machane Yehudah.

"Do you trust the Arab with this ? He basically could tell the owner that a Jew turned on the stove but the truth is that he himself (the Gentile) turned it on." - I asked the Mashgiach.

"No, we don't trust the Gentiles with this but what we ask for is a name and a telephone number. Meaning: The Arab has to find a Jew in order to turn on the stove and the Jew then has to write down his name and phone number onto a special list. This list belongs to the shop owner and is being checked by him and the Mashgiach. Thus, the Gentile is forced to find a Jew to turn on the stove.


  1. Wow! I did not know about the list! Do you know if anyone checks or verifies these things?

  2. B"H

    Usually the Mashgichim check the list but I don't know if they call each person up.

  3. I always learned that for ashkenazim the halacha was that a goy may turn on the stove, but sephardim hold that it must be a Jew. In fact just recently I was at a very heimishe kosher chinese restaurant in New York, and a sephardic woman walked in for a take-out order. She specifically asked the person taking her order if a Jew could turn on the stove, as she knew that it was an ashkenazi restaurant.

  4. B"H

    As far as In know the Halacha:

    A Jew has to turn on the stove or, at least, stir the food during the cooking process.

    However, Belz and the Edah emphasize the importance of a Jew turning on the stove. The Rabbanut (Mehadrin) does too but doesn't check too much.

    I know Haredim who don't even let an ordinary Jew turn on the stove but only a Jew keeping Mitzvot.

  5. al pi divrei kicur shulchan aruch that jew who makes oven has to keep shabbes,... so don´t be so