A Little Clarity – Halachic Questions via Text Message

photoDue to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.

If you would like my phone number to submit questions, please leave a comment and I will send it to you.

Q:  We were invited to a Shabbat meal at someone’s house that is beyond the Eruv boundary.  Can someone that’s not Jewish that’s coming with us push our baby in her stroller?

A:  One is permitted to ask a non-Jew to do something that is forbidden only rabbinically on Shabbat for the sake of performing a mitzvah, for example to bring the instruments needed for a bris to where a baby is located (when there is no Eruv and carrying is a rabbinic prohibition).  The case of the Shabbat meal which can also be eaten at home, however, is comparable to a situation where the bris can be carried out where the baby is currently located, and one would not be allowed to ask a non-Jew to transport the baby to a shul for the bris.

Q: I used soy milk that is OU-D in a meat frying pan while making french toast.  I am not going to eat the french toast but do I have to throw out the pan?

A:  Some people treat OU-D soy milk as completely pareve, and according to some opinions that is legitimate and it may be eaten with meat.  Most people, however, follow the position of the OU itself.  According to the OU, the soy milk is not actually pareve but diary equipment so one would not be allowed to eat it with meat.  But if it was used in a meat pan with pareve food, the food is certainly permitted and the pan is not affected.

Q: Is this product kosher?  100% PREMIUM COCOA BEANS ROASTED AND GROUND TO CREATE A RICH DRINK THAT PROVIDES LONG-LASTING ENERGY AND WHOLE-BODY WELLNESS.  Richer and more robust than hot chocolate, it brews just like coffee. But unlike coffee, it supplies you with long-lasting energy without the crash or other negative effects of caffeine.

A: Yes since it may be assumed that the company itself must ensure that any non-kosher contaminants are kept out of the product since they would compromise its quality.

Q:  I know that one may not switch cutlery or pots from meat to dairy or vice versa, since there is a concern that it would cause confusion.  Would this apply to an oven as well?  I only have one for both meat and dairy.

A: First of all, there are halachicly valid ways to use one oven for both milk and meat (e.g. covering the food, and non using it simultaneously for both, etc.).  Regarding the Ashkenazic custom of not kashering from meat to dairy or vice versa, common practice is to treat ovens as an exception, likely due to the practical challenges of using only one oven for both.

Q: Is Starbucks kosher?

A: No, but most of the drinks are.  There are actually several opinions regarding this issue.  www.kosherstarbucks.com is an interesting resource regarding this topic.  Some people won’t even order regular coffee in a full-service Starbucks since the non-kosher food cooked on premises can potentially contaminate the coffee equipment during dishwashing.  Common practice however is to assume that the equipment does not become contaminated and that any drink with kosher ingredients may be considered kosher.

Source: Rabbi Isaacs Blog

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