Does Bishul Akum Apply to Foods Cooked in a Microwave

Kashrus Kurrents Fall 2008

Q:  Does bishul akum apply to food cooked in a microwave?

A:  Before answering this question, we must first address whether or not the use of a microwave would be defined by the Torah as cooking.  Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l,1 was asked whether the Torah prohibition of cooking on Shabbos applies to cooking in a microwave.  He answered that, although cooking by the heat of the sun is not considered a violation of the Torah prohibition of cooking, this is due to the fact that it is not a standard method of cooking.  However, nowadays a microwave is an effective and commonplace way of cooking and, therefore, would be considered a Torah violation on Shabbos.  Based on this, it would seem that using a microwave would also be considered cooking in regards to the prohibition of bishul akum.

The counterargument is that it is not clear that one should compare the requirements of bishul akum to those of cooking on ShabbosBishul akum is a Rabbinic gezeira, and the Remah tells us that the Rabbonon forbade cooking on a flame.2  It would seem that there is a significant difference between the gezeira of bishul akum and the prohibition of bishul on Shabbos.  When it comes to Shabbos, the Torah forbade ‘cooking’.  Since using a microwave is considered a normal way of cooking, it is included in the prohibition.  However concerning bishul akum, the Remah tells us that the Rabbonon forbade ‘a flame’.  Since the Rabbonon specified the parameters of their gezeira, and using a microwave falls outside those parameters, it would not be included in the prohibition of bishul akum.  For this reason, the position of the Sefer Chelkas Binyomin is that there is no restriction of bishul akum with a microwave.3

However, Rav Wosner, shlita,4feels that it is ‘obvious’5 that bishul akum applies to cooking with a microwave.  He argues that the Rabbonon had specific concerns about an akum cooking for a Yisroel, which led them to institute the gezeira of bishul akum.  These concerns are equally valid whether the cooking is done by fire or by microwave, and the exact mechanics of the cooking process do not impact the gezeira of bishul akum.6

Rabbi Heinemann, shlita, is of the opinion that the gezeira of bishul akum applies only to cooking over a flame, and that cooking with a microwave does not fall in this category.  He argues that since the Rema limits bishul akum to cooking on a flame, the ‘obvious’ conclusion is that the restriction of bishul akum does not apply to a microwave.7

Q:  Does a bike shed need a Mezuzah?

A: The Torah commands a Jew to affix a mezuzah to the doorpost of his house,8 as well as the doorposts and doorways within the home,9 with the exception of the bathroom.10  There is a discussion in the Gemora and Rishonim concerning whether this obligation extends to the doorpost of a barn, chicken coop or grain silo.  The Shulchan Aruch paskens that these locations do, indeed, require a mezuzah.11  Reb Akiva Eiger understands that one should make a bracha when putting up a mezuzah at these locations.12  Other Achronim, however, feel that because this halacha is debated in the Rishonim it would be preferable to put up the mezuzah without a bracha.13  In a case where the grain silo was attached to the house, all agree that the mezuzah on the silo door should be put up with a bracha.14

In general, a mezuzah is only required for a house in which a person lives.15  Even though no one lives in a barn or grain silo, it still requires a mezuzah because the owner uses the room and will enter it whenever the need arises.16  Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, was of the opinion that even an infrequently accessed storage room still requires a mezuzah, since the owner will enter at some point to retrieve an item that is stored there.17  However, according to Reb Elyashiv, shlita, a storage room requires a mezuzah only if it is frequented on a regular basis.18  Rabbi Heinemann feels that a storage room needs a mezuzah only if it is accessed at least once every thirty days.19

The Shulchan Aruch also states that a storefront in a marketplace does not require a mezuzah.20  The reason for this, as offered by the Taz, is because the store owner is not there at night.21  However, this seems difficult to understand.  Even though the owner is not there at night, the shop still serves as a storage room for its goods, and a storage room is required to have a mezuzah.  The Pischei Teshuva explains that the store is not required to have a mezuzah because it is only used for a few days each year, at the time of the market, and is considered a temporary dwelling.22  Thus, according to the Pischei Teshuva, a shop that is used year-round would require a mezuzah because it serves as a storage room, even though the items that are stored are not used by the owner but are sold to the public.  This conclusion is accepted by the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch23 and by Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita.24

The Ben Ish Chai25 also suggests this interpretation of the Shulchan Aruch.  However, he offers an alternative approach, as well.  He suggests that a storage room requires a mezuzah only when the items within it will be used in the owner’s house.  Since the storage room is used for the needs of the house, it is considered an adjunct to the house and, therefore, it is required to retain a mezuzah.  However, the shop in the marketplace is used only to store items for sale and, therefore, is not required to have a mezuzah.

The Debretziner Rov26 also suggests this explanation, thereby addressing the question as to whether a garage requires a mezuzah.  He argues that since a car is never brought into the house, the garage where the car is stored does not become an adjunct to the house; consequently, the garage does not need a mezuzah

However, it would seem that according to the Pischei Teshuva, a garage would require a mezuzah.  As previously noted, the Pischei Teshuva argues that a temporary store is exempt from a mezuzah.  However, a year-round shop would require a mezuzah, even though the items that are stored there will not be brought into the owner’s house.  So too, even though a person does not bring his car into his house, the garage in which the car is stored would require a mezuzah.  Furthermore, just as the shop requires a mezuzah even though it is not attached to the house, so too would a garage require a mezuzah even if it was not attached to the house.27
The Minchas Yitzchok28 and the Az Nidberu29 are of the opinion that a garage needs a mezuzah, and Rav Moshe Feinstein has also been quoted as having paskened this way.30  Rabbi Heinemann believes that a garage that is attached to the house, and serves as an entranceway to the house, needs a mezuzah.31  However, he agrees with the viewpoint that a storage room is required to display a mezuzah only if it is used to store objects that are brought into the house.  Therefore, according to Rabbi Heinemann, a bike shed does not require a mezuzah if it is not attached to the house and does not store objects that are used in the house.32

1.שו”ת אגרות משה או”ח ח”ג סי’ נב

2.ברמ”א יו”ד סי’ קיג סעי יג כתב “דלא אסרו אלא בישול של אש” 

3.ספר חלקת בנימין לר’ בנימין כהן שליט”א סי’ קיג ס”ק קכו 

4.שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”ח סי’ קפה וח”ט סי’ קסב

5.”הדבר פשוט כי דבר זה אסור משום בשולי עכו”ם” 

6.ועי’ מש”כ בזה בספר שבות יצחק ח”ו דף נח, ולבסוף הביא שר’ אלישיב שליט”א החמיר בדבר 

7.וע”ע בספר מנחת אשר לר’ אשר וייס שליט”א פרשת דברים סי ‘ו מש “כ בזה

8.שו”ע סי’ רפה סעי’ א 

9.שם סי’ רפו סעי’ טז 

10.שם סעי’ ד 

11.שם סעי’ א, ובט”ז שם ס”ק א כתב שהמזוזה ברפת בקר ולול של תרנגולים צריכה להיות מכוסה, ועי’ בפת”ש שם ס”ק ב שאם נפיש זוהמיינו פטורין מן המזוזה, ועי’ בשדי חמד ח”ד דף 247 אות קכו ובקונטרס המזוזה (נדפס בבית ברוך סוף ח”ב) סי’ רפו אות טז מש”כ בזה 

12.שו”ת רע”א קמא סי’ סו, וכן פסק ר’ חיים קניבסקי שליט”א בפרשה סדורה על מס’ מזוזה סוף ס”ק טז ובמזוזת ביתך סי’ רפו ס”ק יב 

13.הערוך השלחן סי’ רפו סעי’ ט כתב שהיה נראה לו שלא לברך אלא שכבר הורגלו העולם לברך, ובספר מקדש מעט סי’ רפו ס”ק ט כתב שלא לברך, וכ”כ בשו”ת מנחת יצחק ח”ד סי’ פט אות ו וח”י סי’ צו אות ב ובקונטרס המזוזה סי’ רפו אות יא, וע”ע בשו”ת שבט הלוי ח”ב סי’ קנו וח”י סי’ ד אות ב 

14.ספר מקדש מעט שם ושו”ת מנחת יצחק שם 

15.פסחים דף ד ע”א 

16. דרישה סי’ רפו ס”ק ב הובא בש”ך שם ס”ק ב שחיוב מזוזה במקומות הללו הוא כשיוצא ונכנס שם, ובשו”ת נודע ביהודה תנינא או”ח סי’ מז כתב “במזוזה לא ע”י דירת הבהמות מקרי דירה אבל מקרי דירה בשביל בני אדם שנכנסין ויוצאין בו” 

17.שו”ת אג”מ יו”ד ח”ב סי’ קמא ענף ב, ועי’ בשו”ת שאילת יעב”ץ ח”ב סי’ קיט אות א מש”כ בזה

18.שו”ת אבני ישפה ח”א סי’ רט ענף ב בשם ר’ אלישיב שליט”א, וע”ש מה שהביא בזה מבעל שו”ת מנחת יצחק 

19.עי’ ביה”ל סי’ שיג סעי’ ג ד”ה שאין 

20.שו”ע שם סעי’ יא 

21.ט”ז שם ס”ק י’ 

22.פת”ש שם ס”ק י’ בשם ספר יד קטנה על הרמב”ם פ”ב מהל’ מזוזה אות כא 

23.קיצור שו”ע סי’ יא סעי’ יד 

24.פרשה סדורה ס”ק טז ומזוזת ביתך סי’ רפו ס”ק ק 

25.שו”ת רב פעלים יו”ד ח”ב סי’ לו 

26.שו”ת באר משה ח”ב סי’ פה, וכיון לדברי הרב פעלים 

27.עי’ בספר בירור הלכה יו”ד עמ’ קמז 

28.שו”ת מנחת יצחק ח”י סי’ צו אות ב 

29.שו”ת אז נדברו ח”ג סי’ נח 

30.בשו”ת אז נדברו שם הביא מכתב מרב אחד שכתב לו שהמנהל של אגודת הרבנים בארה”ב דיבר בזה עם ר’ משה פיינשטין זצ”ל ור’ הענקין זצ”ל והם אמרו שבכה”ג חייב במזוזה 

31. עי’ בט”ז סי’ רפו ס”ק י ובמקדש מעט שם ס”ק לו 

32. ועי’ סיוע לזה בביה”ל סי’ שנח סעי’ א ד”ה לדירה