- Gentile Cooking, Wine and Milk
Shalom, I am a charedi yid, b’al teshuva (American-born) living in Erets Yisroel visiting my secular family in North America. I have several questions regarding this trip relating to kashrus. I am normally very strict with kashrus, and I only eat and drink foods and drinks that are bishul yisroel even if they are not "fitting for a table of a king" such as cup of coffee. 1) I will be staying with my family in a non-Jewish hotel. If there is a coffee pot in the hotel room may I use it to heat water and/or coffee in the morning. I am assuming the hotel is owned by a gentile and that keylim do not need to be toiveled. What about the kashrus of the pot? 2) We will be visiting a secular brother whom I have already been told by a rav that this brother’s cooking unfortunately has a din of bishul akum. If my brother has a kettle in his kitchen that he claims has never been in the dishwasher may I use it heat up water? I also assume this pot has never been toiveled as well. May my brother turn on the fire to heat up water for me even though I am told his cooking has a din of bishul akum? Thank you. G-d bless you.
ב"ה Shalom First of all, may Hashem bless you with a smooth path on your way to becoming closer to Hashem and learning the Torah. Now, to answer your questions. On the one hand, I am happy that you define clearly where you stand in regard to Halachic observance. Furthermore, you have spoken to a Rav in regard to your brother. I will answer your questions, but I do feel especially someone who is a Baal Teshuva, should consult a Rabbi with whom you are close and knows you the best in order to give you the proper guidelines. Simply because while you are living In Eretz Yisrael like for many of us, we live our ideal Halachic life without limitations. Going out of Israel, especially going to non-observant relatives poses a lot more challenges than what you may be bargaining for. There are many questions that may arise for which you may not have a solution on the spot. If you are the new religious person among your family would want your family to follow your example. I am not saying you should change your customs, but you probably know that many great Rabbis are lenient in regard to drinking coffee prepared by goyim. Serving coffee is a basic offer of hospitality. You have to consider, for example what would you do if the local Rav invites you for coffee and he happens to have at home a non- Jewish housekeeper for whatever reason , who prepared your coffee. Will you now not drink it? Are you going to turn down the Rav's offer? And you also should know that if you unknowingly drank coffee prepared by a Goy, after the fact it is not like you committed an Aveira. There are situations, where the embarrassment of your host has to be considered. Rav Ovadia Yosef zt"l , in his Shut (יביע אומר חיו"ד ח"ה סי' ג)) allows a Sefardi Jew who eats only Glatt meat to eat the meat if invited to a Simcha even without verifying if the meat is Glatt out of respect for the family. Now in regard to your specific questions; Using an electric water kettle in a hotel doesn’t seem to be a problem. The kettles are used only for water. The issue is with using their cups. Porcelain cups cannot be used so you're best off bringing with some disposable paper cups. In regard to the visit to your brother , even if you are to follow the strict ruling the Rav gave you in regard to your brother, there is no issue of Bishul akum in regard to water. All the best and have a pleasant visit