Halacha for Thursday 20 Cheshvan 5778 November 9 2017

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well?

Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to children, even if they are only infants. It is indeed a Torah prohibition to feed children non-kosher meat or any other food prohibited by the Torah. The question remains regarding foods which are not forbidden by an actual Torah prohibition but only raise Kashrut concerns, such as milk whose origin is unknown, in which case there is room to say that most milk comes from pure animals and ascertaining the fact that it is indeed so is only a rabbinic law. In such a case, it will be permissible to feed such an item to a child when necessary. Similarly, regarding sweets which may not be under superior Kashrut supervision and there may be room to act leniently and eat them, nevertheless, adults customarily abstain from eating such things. The question is, is there room for stringency with regards to children as well?

The holy Torah writes, “Do not repulse your souls by (consuming) any crawling creatures and you shall not become impure through them, for they shall cause you to be impure.” Our Sages expound this verse to mean that when one consumes forbidden foods, one’s heart becomes spiritually blocked and a holy spirit cannot rest upon the individual (Yoma 39a). The Gemara in Masechet Yoma (80a) states that when one impurifies himself slightly (by consuming forbidden foods), one is impurified even more from Above.

The Talmud Yerushalmi states that an infant may nurse from a non-Jewish woman and this is not prohibited at all. It seems from the Yerushalmi that there is not even room for stringency and this is completely permissible. The Rishonim nevertheless write that one should not do so unless one has no other choice. Indeed, the Rashba writes that Jews are naturally bashful and merciful and by nursing from a non-Jew, this will cause the baby to develop a cruel and brazen nature. His student, the Ritba, adds that the milk of a non-Jewish woman who consumes all sorts of insects and repulsive creatures will cause a bad and cruel nature to enter the child. The source of this matter is based on what our Sages taught that eating forbidden foods causes the individual’s heart to be spiritually blocked and a spirit of purity will not be able to enter him and he will not be able to absorb matters of holiness.

Based on this, even when something is completely permissible, nevertheless since it may cause spiritual blockage of the heart, one should be careful and abstain from consuming it. Every Jew wishes to see his children grow up to follow the true path of the Torah, but through a lack of concern regarding forbidden foods, one can bring great evil upon one’s sons or daughters by strengthening their hearts until it resembles a heart of stone, which will, G-d-forbid, be incapable of heeding the Torah.

It is therefore truly worthy to be stringent and not allow even young children to eat any food which poses a Kashrut concern. By doing so, one will merit seeing a spirit of purity resting upon them like their other holy Jewish brethren.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading-The Proper Procedure for One Who Has Missed Hearing a Portion of the Megillah

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor

On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Tetzaveh this year, 5777) and in the second one we read the portion of &ld......

Read Halacha


The Custom of the “Commemoration of the Half-Shekel”-5777

It is customary to donate money before Purim as “a commemoration of the Half-Shekel” which was donated by the entire Jewish nation when the Bet Hamikdash stood. This money is customarily collected on the eve of Purim before reading the Megillah, as our Sages tell us (Megilla 13b) that &l......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

The Essence of Leavening The Torah (Shemot 13) tells us regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in all of your borders.” The leaven that the Torah prohibits is produced by the combination of grain-flour and water......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur-Unique Laws for this Year

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha