May one arrange for a Non-Kosher business lunch to be served to his gentile employees?

May one arrange for a Non-Kosher business lunch to be served to his gentile employees?

Providing an employee with 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, such as meat and milk, and Yayin Nesech. Practically, if the meal will only be paid for by the Jewish employer after it is already eaten or given to the gentile [i.e. paying a bill at a restaurant after the meal, or paying a caterer after the event] then it is permitted to do so.[2] Nonetheless, the Jewish employer must have in mind to not acquire any of the food if it will be placed in his property or if he will be carrying it.[3] If, however, one plans to pay for the meal prior to it being eaten, then he may not provide them with foods forbidden in benefit.[4] Furthermore, even if the non-Kosher foods do not contain wine or Basar Bechalav, it is debated amongst the Poskim[5] as to whether providing one’s employees with non-Kosher food transgresses the business prohibition. Practically, one may be lenient in a time of need. However, initially one is to either provide them with a Kosher meal or make sure to pay only after the event is complete.[6]

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[1] See Michaber 117:1

[2] See Admur 450:23 regarding Chametz from where it is clear that having the gentile take the food on credit circumvents both the business and benefit prohibitions from being transgressed by the employer.; 2nd opinion in Michaber 450:6; Mordechai Remez 549; M”A 450:9 that so is main opinion; Hagahos Mahrshal on Tur 450; Peri Chadash 450:6

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to have the gentile buy for himself Chametz on the basis that one will pay him, or the store owner, back. [1st opinion in Michaber ibid]

[3] As otherwise the food becomes his before it is paid for and once again all the prohibitions return.

[4] If the employer is obligated to provide the meal as a condition of employment, then it is certainly forbidden for him to provide the Basar Bechalav foods to his employees. [See sources the previous Q&A!] Furthermore, even if one is not required to provide meals for the employee, it is possibly forbidden due to the prohibition of feeding Basar Bechalav to any person or animal.

[5] Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to purchase non-Kosher food for the sake of feeding one’s employees due to the business prohibition. [Rama 117:1; Taz 117:2; Peri Toar 117:3; Rash and Ovadia Bartenura Dmaiy 3; Erech Hashulchan 117:3; Peri Hasadeh 3:193; Zivcheiy Tzedek 117:7] Other Poskim, however, rule that it is permitted to do so and that so is the custom. [Shach 117:3; Peri Chadash 117:3; Aruch Hashulchan 117:19; Makom Shmuel 77; Chochmas Adam 69:1] See Kaf Hachaim 117:12 and 52; Levush 117:1; Pischeiy Teshuvah 117:4; Maharam Brisk 2:56; Pnei Meivin Y.D. 101; Beis David 117:13; Neta Shurak Y.D. 41; Daiy Hasheiv 5; Darkei Teshuvah 117:28; Chelkas Binyamon 117:12; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:394 and 393

[6] See Maharam Shick 136 that a G-d fearing Jew is to suspect for the stringent opinion which prohibits providing the emplopyees with non-Kosher food, however, one need not protest against those who are lenient;

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