May a Jew work for a gentile owned store, or company which sells Basar Bechalav products?

May a Jew work for a gentile owned store, or company which sells Basar Bechalav products?

Working in a store or company that sells non-Kosher food raises the question of the prohibition against doing business with non-Kosher foods[1], and the prohibition against benefiting from foods prohibited in benefit [i.e. Basar Bechalav or Yayin Nesech]. Practically, the Poskim[2] rule that there is no business prohibition involved in working as an employee in such a store or company, if one will not come into actual contact with the non-Kosher food. If one will come into contact with open non-Kosher food, then this matter is debated amongst the Poskim, and one may be lenient in a time of need.[3] This, however, only applies to businesses that sell non-Kosher foods that are not forbidden in benefit. However, working for a store or company that sells foods forbidden in benefit [i.e. Yayin Nesech, cheeseburgers etc] raises the additional issues of benefiting from the forbidden food. Practically, if the store also sells products that are permitted in benefit, and the Basar Bechalav/wine products is not their main item of sale, then it is permitted to work for them. If, however, the main product that is sold is Basar Bechalav, then according to many Poskim[4] it is forbidden to work for them.

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[1] See Michaber 117:1

[2] If one does not actually touch any of the foods, or it is in a closed box, this applies according to all opinions: Chasam Sofer 105; Maharam Chalva Pesachim 23; Chelkas Yoev Y.D. 18; Halef Lecha Shlomo 188; Imrei Eish 50; Maharam Shick 136; Michtam Ledavid 14; Aruch Hashulchan 117:28; Kaf Hachaim 117:73 in name of above Poskim. Furthermore, even if one deals with the actual food, and there is suspicion that one may come to eat, many Poskim rule it is permitted to do so. [Maharsham 1:126; Levushei Mordehcai 4:125; Chavolim Benimim 2:46; See dispute in Poskim brought in Darkei Teshuvah 117:50; Kaf Hachaim 117:43 and 72-73, and Yabia Omer 4:6; Beis Shlomo Y.D. 192; Maharshag 1:22; Avnei Nezer Y.D .1:105; Daas Kohen Y.D. 57-58; Beis Avi 3:104; Igros Moshe Y.D .151; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:392] the final ruling is that it is permitted in a time of need. [See dispute in Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 117:43 and 72-73, and Yabia Omer and his conclusion that it is permitted.]

[3] Even if one deals with the actual food, and there is suspicion that one may come to eat, many Poskim rule it is permitted to do so. [Maharsham 1:126; Levushei Mordehcai 4:125; Chavolim Benimim 2:46; See dispute in Poskim brought in Darkei Teshuvah 117:50; Kaf Hachaim 117:43 and 72-73, and Yabia Omer 4:6; Beis Shlomo Y.D. 192; Maharshag 1:22; Avnei Nezer Y.D .1:105; Daas Kohen Y.D. 57-58; Beis Avi 3:104; Igros Moshe Y.D .151; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:392] Yabi Omer ibid concludes he that it is permitted in a time of need.

[4] See regarding Chametz: P”M 450 A”A 12; Shaareiy Efraim 66; Halef Lecha Shlomo 263; Doveiv Meisharim 1:40; Piskeiy Teshuvos 450:11; See however Shaar Efraim ibid who is lenient; See also Shearim Hametzuyanim 117:13 regarding receiving Behavlah, such as if he receives a monthly salary.

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