Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Coffee Heated by a Gentile - Yevamos 46 - Daf Yomi

The Gemora states: Anything which is normally eaten raw is not subject to the prohibition against gentile cooking. (Water does not need to be heated and therefore should not be subject to this prohibition.)

The Radvaz in his teshuvos (3:637) writes: It is permitted to drink coffee heated by a gentile and it is not subject to the prohibition against gentile cooking; even though coffee cannot be eaten in its raw state, it is something which does not eaten at a king’s table as an accompaniment to the bread and therefore it is permitted. There is also no concern that they cooked something forbidden in those pots beforehand, since it is well known that they have designated utensils for the coffee (because otherwise, the taste of the coffee would be ruined). He concludes: One should not drink coffee in the accompaniment of gentiles since that will result in many transgressions.

It is brought like that in the Hagahos from the Maharikash (114) as well. He rules that one should be stringent about drinking coffee in a coffee house of gentiles, similar to the halacha regarding wine and beer. Furthermore, it is considered a moishev leitzim (i.e. a session of jesters) and should be avoided.

The Knesses Hagedolah in his sefer Ba’ey Chayei (Y”D 145) disagrees and maintains that coffee heated by a gentile is prohibited to drink. He states: Anything which is eaten or drunk at the royal table by itself, even if it does not come as an accompaniment to the bread is subject to the prohibition of gentile cooking. Furthermore, the requirement that the food must be something that accompanies bread on the royal table is limited to food items, not liquids. He continues: “Even though when I was younger, I would rely on those who ruled that it is permitted, I have now investigated it thoroughly and cannot find a reason for its permission and therefore I refrain from drinking it.” He found that the Arizal prohibited drinking coffee heated by a gentile. He concludes that he is not prohibiting it for the public, but he himself refrained from drinking it.

Pri Chadash (114:6) writes that it is permitted based on Tosfos (Avodah Zarah 31b): Wheat is nullified in water in regards to reciting the blessing of shehakol, so too it is nullified in regards to the prohibition against gentile cooking. Similarly, the coffee is nullified in the boiling water that it is being cooked with and it is therefore not subject to the prohibition against gentile cooking.

Teshuvos Beis Yehudah (Y”D 21) objects to the reasoning of the Pri Chadash. The Gemora Brochos (39a) rules: The proper blessing on water which was cooked with vegetables is ha’adamah and this is the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (205:2). The reasoning is based on the fact that this is the common method for these vegetables. Accordingly, the blessing on coffee should be ha’adamah as well. Our custom of reciting shehakol on coffee is astounding, but we cannot add to this novelty by being lenient with the prohibition against gentile cooking.

Rabbi Yaakov Emden in his sefer Mor U’ktziah (204) writes that actually the proper blessing on coffee should be ha’eitz since it is a fruit from a tree and that was the original intent of those that planted the coffee beans; to drink from the liquid. He concludes that the custom is to recite a shehakol anyway, similar to date beer and barley beer.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is brought like that in the Hagahos from the Maharikash (114) as well. He rules that one should be stringent about drinking coffee in a coffee house of gentiles, similar to the halacha regarding wine and beer. Furthermore, it is considered a moishev leitzim (i.e. a session of jesters) and should be avoided.
The Meam Loaz Speaks About it in rference to being there on shabbos

Chaim B. said...

The coffee houses of the 16th and 17th century were very different than our modern Starbucks. They were more like a modern bar or club. This site paints a good portrait of an English coffee house http://waeshael.home.att.net/coffee.htm The tshuvos you cite probably refer to middle eastern coffee houses which were a little different, but still not exactly the same as a modern restaurant or cafe. I think a better comparison would be to hanging out in a lounge or bar, even if no alcohol is consumed.

Alexander Seinfeld said...

Regarding the bracha, I've wondered the same thing about chocolate, which is the primary way in which the fruit of the cacao tree is consumed - should it be ha-aytz as well?

But it seems to me that coffee and chocolate are different from cooked vegetables in a couple ways. Unlike cooked vegetables, the coffee beans themselves are not eaten. Perhaps the water from vegetables gets adama because of the vegetables; however cooked coffee beans would presumably be she-hakol if one were to attempt to eat them.

Regarding chocolate, one could reasonably argue that the ikar is the sugar.

The really pelleh is Florida orange juice which everyone should agree would be ha-aytz (unlike California OJ).

chacham olam said...

I found this here

http://www.ottmall.com/

There are indeed a number of sources brought in that teshuva about how a restaurant/cafe is not the place for a Jew because that is where the time wasters are, and it causes socialisation, but none of those comments purtain to the kashrus of their kelim per se. And, of course, Rav Ovadiah holds in that teshuva that drinking coffee is mutar and effectively rejects these opinions (By the way people were asking on this list about drinking coffee in non Jewish restaurants/cafes, and the
assumption of those answering seemed to be that the cups that this coffee is being put into are paper/plastic, but of course the discussion of drinking coffee in cafes predates the existance of paper/plastic cups, and Rav Ovadiah's summation in that teshuva is instructive "it is permitted to drink coffee of non Jews, and there isn't in it any question of cooking of gentiles, and the achronim write, that this was the simple minhag in all places"