Story LineNon-Kosher JobRabbi Meir Orlean
Mr. Weiner formerly owned a kosher food business, but it folded a year ago. He was having a hard time finding a new job. He networked with people he had been in contact with through the years, seeking a job opportunity.
A non-Jewish acquaintance, Mr. Smith, contacted him. “I know of some job openings, if you’re interested,” he said.
“At this point, I’m willing to hear about anything,” said Mr. Weiner. “What kind of work?”
“Some jobs are with factories,” said Mr. Smith, “and some with eateries.”
“Sounds hopeful,” said Mr. Weiner. “Let’s start with the factories. What kind of plants?”
“One is a winery,” said Mr. Smith. “They produce a fine line of fancy wine. I heard that, as a perk, they treat the workers to wine!”
“Is the wine kosher?” asked Mr. Weiner.
“Kosher?!” replied Mr. Smith. “Oh, no! It’s a regular winery. Does that make a difference?”
“It may,” replied Mr. Weiner. “We are quite strict about non-kosher wine.”
“I don’t have much contact with kosher food establishments,” said Mr. Smith. “The other factories also produce non-kosher food.”
“What about the eateries?” asked Mr. Weiner. “What kinds of jobs are there?”
“I know of some restaurants and eateries looking for waiters or people behind the counter,” said Mr. Smith. “There also the food is not kosher.”
“What about the customers there?” asked Mr. Weiner.
“Like in any other non-kosher restaurant, most are not Jewish,” said Mr. Smith, “but some of the customers will likely be Jewish.”
“This is not an easy situation,” said Mr. Weiner. “I’m going to have to check about this.”
Mr. Weiner called Rabbi Dayan. “I have some job opportunities in the food industry, but in non-kosher food establishments,” he said.
Can I take a job in a non-kosher winery, food manufacturing plant, restaurant or eatery?
“The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 62a-b) teaches that just as it is prohibited to benefit from yayin nesech (libation wine), so, too, the Sages prohibited benefiting from its wages,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Moreover, they extended the prohibition also to stam yeinam, wine touched by a non-Jew. Thus, one may not work producing wine touched by non-Jews, and if one did, he may not benefit from the salary and must discard it” (Y.D. 133:1).
However, Rama is lenient and writes that nowadays stam yeinam — although it’s forbidden to drink — is not prohibited to benefit from, post facto, since most non-Jews are not true idolaters and the practice of libation is rare. Accordingly, the salary from such work is also permitted nowadays, post facto. Even so, Shach (Y.D. 134:4) writes that one should initially avoid working or renting his premises for stam yeinam. Therefore, you should not take work in a non-kosher winery.
“What about other factories?” asked Mr. Weiner.
“Working in a non-kosher food factory is much less problematic,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Although the Sages prohibited running a business primarily of non-kosher food lest one eat from it, there is a dispute among the Acharonim whether this applies also to an employee. One can follow the lenient opinion, if necessary, especially in a factory setting where the employees are less likely to eat of the food being produced (Darchei Teshuvah 117:50).
“Working as a waiter or counter person in a non-kosher restaurant or eatery is problematic,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “First, there is greater concern about accidentally eating the non-kosher food. Furthermore, there is a likelihood of having to serve nonobservant Jewish customers, and a serious concern of lifnei iver or mesayei’a lidei ovrei aveirah (abetting others in sin). There is extensive discussion of the parameters of these restrictions, and some authorities are lenient if the person is not observant or if you are working for pay, but many disagree. Therefore, you should avoid this to the extent possible (Pischei Choshen, Sechirus 7:17).
Ruling: To work in a non-kosher winery is not allowed, but in other non-kosher food factories it is allowed. Work as a waiter or counter person in a non-kosher eatery should preferably be avoided.
From the BHI HotlineWho Pays the Ticket Tag?
Q: Someone borrowed my car, and was issued both a moving violation and parking tickets while he had possession of it. He did not pay those tickets, and now the authorities are demanding that I pay. The borrower admits to having committed some of the violations, but says that some of them were issued unlawfully.
He claims that since he is a grama on these tickets, he is not required to pay for them. Is he correct, or is he required to pay the fines?
A: In cases in which a violator of traffic laws is certain to be caught, such as if he went through a red light that is monitored by a camera, the damage is considered garmi (direct causation), and he is certainly required to pay.
The question is: what happens in cases in which the violator is not certain to be caught, such as parking violations that were incurred because a traffic cop happened to pass by while the car was parked illegally. Does the fact that it is considered a grama (indirect causation) absolve the person who borrowed the car from payment?
Now, a borrower is classified as a shomer (guardian), and any shomer who was negligent in guarding an animal or object is a grama, because he didn’t directly inflict the damage, and yet we require him to pay (Beis Yosef 66:41; Shu”t Chasam Sofer, Choshen Mishpat 140; see Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 443, Kuntres Acharon 2).
Some note, however, that we only find this rule applied to cases in which the actual item under the guardianship of the shomer was harmed through his negligence, not when an external financial loss is caused to the owner of the object (Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak 2:88, 4 and other poskim; cf. Shu”t Chasam Sofer ibid., cited in Pischei Teshuvah 55:1). In your case, since the borrower’s actions didn’t cause damage to your car, but rather caused you to suffer a loss by incurring fines that you must pay, we cannot require him to pay in beis din, although, like all cases of grama, he would be required to pay latzeis yedei Shomayim (to avoid retribution in Heaven).
Nevertheless, there are two precedents to require him to pay the fines, even in beis din.
The halachah is that if Reuven owed Shimon money, and Shimon coerced Levi to pay Reuven’s loan, Levi cannot force Reuven to pay him back (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 128:2 with Shach 10, but see also Aruch Hashulchan 5). Since Levi had no halachic obligation to pay the loan, Reuven can tell him that it was his misfortune that brought about this coerced payment (Sefer Haterumos 70:2).
If Reuven owed taxes to the government, however, and Levi was forced to pay for him because they couldn’t find Reuven and the law allows them to force a fellow citizen to pay on his behalf, Levi is entitled to demand that payment back from Reuven, since he was lawfully required to make the payment on Reuven’s behalf (Shulchan Aruch 128:2).
In our case, if you are required to pay the tickets due to dina d’malchusa dina (local law is upheld in halachah), and the government will not accept your claim that you weren’t the responsible party, your friend must reimburse you for the tickets. In such a case, the authorities expect the driver to take responsibility for fines he accrues, but they send the tickets to the car owner because he serves as a guarantor that the tickets will be paid. Therefore, this situation is comparable to the case of the taxes where the payer is entitled to compensation (Meishiv Behalachah 13).
If, however, the authorities had no right to issue those tickets, and they were written out unfairly, then you cannot demand compensation from the driver.
The borrower may be required to pay because he is considered an areiv (guarantor), because there is a tacit agreement between the borrower and owner, similar to the contract signed by a renter at a car rental agency, that the owner will not lose money on fines racked up by the borrower or renter (see Nesivos 176:51).
[According to this approach, the borrower might be required to pay even if the tickets were issued unlawfully, because his agreement is to pay all tickets received while he had the car. We might say, however, that since tickets issued unlawfully are rare, the car owner did not include such tickets in his tacit agreement with the borrower, who is therefore absolved from paying such tickets.]
Money mattersCircumventing the Shadchan#474
Q: I suggested a shidduch, but it was rejected. The couple subsequently met on their own and got married. Am I entitled to the shidduch fee?
A: The broker or shadchan is entitled to his fee unless the conclusion of the deal was unrelated to his efforts, depending on the circumstances.
The Rosh, in his responsa (105:1), addresses the case of a real-estate broker who found a potential purchaser, but the seller refused the offer, claiming that he hated that person. Subsequently the two concluded the deal on their own. The Rosh obligated them to pay the broker, since the deal appeared a trickery to evade the brokerage fee. Beis din has to ascertain on a case-by-case basis whether, in fact, the deal resulted from the broker’s efforts or not (Rama, C.M. 185:6; C.M. 15:3-5).
Even if the shidduch was initially rejected for honest reasons, in many cases the broker’s efforts helped facilitate it, so that he is entitled to at least partial payment as one who “began” the shidduch (maschil) (Pischei Choshen, Sechirus 14:).