Halacha for Thursday 8 Shevat 5781 January 21 2021

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on the floor, for this is degrading towards the cake; this is especially true since this will cause the cake to be ruined and no longer be edible.

The Reason for the Prohibition Against Acting Disparagingly Towards Food
The reason why it is prohibited to act in a degrading manner towards food is because food is an integral component of the abundance which Hashem showers upon us. If one treats it disrespectfully, he is in essence stomping on the goodness which Hashem bestowed upon him. There are additional reasons for this as well.

All of the laws regarding the prohibition of acting degradingly towards food are discussed explicitly in the Gemara Masechet Berachot and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, Chapter 171).

Sitting on Foods and Beverages
Regarding the above question about whether or not it is forbidden to sit on top of boxes of food and drink, the Tur and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (ibid, Section 2) rule based on the Baraita in Masechet Sofrim, as follows: “One may not sit on top of a box containing figs and dates; however, one may sit on top of a cake of pressed figs or a box filled with legumes.”

This means that one may not sit on top of food items which can become ruined by sitting on them, such as a sack filled with figs, for figs are easily crushed and smashed. It is therefore forbidden to sit on them, for doing so causes them to be ruined. One who does so transgresses the prohibition of acting disrespectfully towards food.

However, it is permissible to sit on a solid box filled with figs since doing so will cause no damage to the figs. It is likewise permissible to sit on a sack filled with dried legumes (beans and the like), for doing so will not cause it to be ruined.

Based on this, it would seem that it should be permissible to sit on a case filled with beverages since doing so does not cause them any damage. However, sitting on top of foods which may become ruined by doing so, such as cakes or cookies, is strictly forbidden.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation cus......

Read Halacha


Everything is Foreseen and Permission is Granted

Israeli Independence Day is celebrated today. Since we have discussed this topic several times in the past, we will not delve into this matter lengthily at this point. Let us just note that according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, although one must show thanks to Hashem for removing the ......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

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

One Who is Unsure Whether or Not One Has Counted the Omer

We have already explained that one who has forgotten to count the Omer one day during the counting period may no longer count with a blessing on the subsequent days. The reason for this is because the Rishonim disagree as to whether the Mitzvah of counting the Omer is one long Mitzvah that span......

Read Halacha

Anyone Who Brings Merit to the Public, No Sin Shall Come Through His Hand

Our Sages teach us in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 5, Mishnah 18): “Anyone who brings merit to the public, no sin shall come through his hand.” The Tosafot (Yevamot 109b) question this, for Elisha ben Avuya taught Torah to Rabbi Meir and nevertheless, he strayed from the path, became a heretic, ......

Read Halacha