Home » Rabbi Meir Rabi, Recent Posts, Religion and Jewish Thought

What Happens when your Food Gets Mixed up with the Dog’s Food? Invite your Rabbi over to Eat it!

June 18, 2013 – 6:26 pm20 Comments
Has anyone asked the dog how it feels being fed treif?

Has anyone asked the dog how it feels being fed treif?

By Rabbi Meir Rabi
Here is a very sad story. Someone I know brought home eight sausages for the family and two for the dog. He put the two bags down in the kitchen and rushed off to attend to the ringing phone. One thing led to another and a good hour had passed before the aroma of grilled sausage reminded him of his forgotten packages. He followed his nose to the kitchen where he found his efficient and happy daughter grilling ten identical sausages.

Well they looked the same but he knew that two of them were from the non-kosher section of the supermarket.

“When’s Supper?”  
With great composure he kissed his daughter and thanked her for being such an angel. “By the way”, he asked, “When are we eating supper?” After determining that he still had 40 minutes to supper he said, “Anyway make sure that you don’t even taste them before supper, OK? They are very special ‘bangers’ and they are a surprise for supper.” Little did he know how special they really were.

No Joke
In the privacy of his study he called the rabbi and outlined the problem. It was a good thing he was seated when he heard the rabbi’s response. The orthodox rabbi had to repeat himself three times before his answer was understood not to be in jest or a misunderstanding of the query. The rabbi said they could sit down to supper and eat all ten sausages. He even accepted an “invitation” to join them for supper.

Russian Roulette
Some time later as the rabbi and the sausage family were all seated at the table eating the grilled sausages the rabbi explained why they were not playing “Russian Roulette” with the non-kosher sausages.

“We think that food is kosher because we have processed it according to the guidelines in the Shulchan Aruch, our Code of Jewish Law. We think of it as a mechanical sort of thing: if the process is incomplete or distorted then the food is not kosher. But this is only partially true and as such is misleading.”

G-d Rules
“The truth is: food is kosher because we have followed G‑d’s rules. There are rules guiding us how to prepare kosher food and there are rules guiding us in situations such as the one we find ourselves in today. All of these guidelines emerge from the same G‑d. These rules may appear to us to be nonsensical but that is the will of the Almighty. He who told us not to eat these foods instructs that those same foods, in different circumstances should be eaten.”

The Majority
“In this particular case we are instructed to follow the majority. Since the majority of snags in this mix are kosher we must consider them all to be kosher. We are not playing “Russian Roulette”. Far from it, we are fulfilling a very special opportunity that is not available very often. Even if we consider that non-kosher foods are “toxic” [which I am very disinclined to accept and very much deem to be a blight on our glorious Torah], certain toxins are known to not only be healthful but absolutely necessary for our survival: but they must be consumed in the appropriate manner.”

Table Salt
“Take chlorine for example. Our drinking water is chlorinated to ensure that dangerous microbes are destroyed. It is also fluoridated for various health benefits. These chemical elements are highly toxic but in the correct concentrations are of enormous benefit to humanity. But I have an even better illustration. When chlorine is combined with another highly toxic element it becomes something without which we cannot live. Regular food salt is a combination of sodium and chlorine.”

Spiritual Energy
“You see, all matter in this universe exists through G‑d’s will. This means spiritual energy resides in every single atom of the world. Every single food harbours G‑d’s spiritual energy. In some foods that energy is suitable for us and those foods are considered to be muttar – untied (think of the bracha we make each morning – Mattir Assurim) and permitted for us to consume. Other foods contain a form of G‑d’s energy that is assur – tied and locked. It is not in a form that we can use and may even harm us. However when circumstances are such as we have them here today these energies become “untied” and available. We have now before us spiritual energies which otherwise are unavailable to us. The great author of the Sefer Bnei Yissaschar therefore concludes that it is preferable to eat such food mixtures.”

“But”, cautioned the rabbi, “this does not mean that we should mix non-kosher and kosher foods. Such mixing creates a prohibited mixture; well to be honest it is not prohibited but there is a penalty imposed upon the cook and those for whom it was prepared. The mixture is permitted, no penalty is applied, when it has occurred inadvertently or deliberately but not by or on behalf of, a Jew.”

Perfect Sense
This information struck them like a thunderbolt and they all sat there like stunned mullet whilst the rabbi continued enjoying their sausages. It all made perfect sense and they discerned the rabbi’s sincerity, but it was too much to digest at the moment of disclosure. After further learning, analysis and discussion however, they felt that this episode had made them re-evaluate their appreciation and evaluation of Judaism.

Sad Story?
Why did I say at the start that this is a sad story? Because this rabbi and this family represent only a very small minority. There are many more who are unaware of these perspectives and mistakenly believe that it is wrong to eat such sausages. Often this conclusion is based upon one’s own gut feeling, it just would not feel right to be eating those sausages. Is this however an appropriate method by which to assess what G‑d wants and does not want?

Indistinct Spiritual Attainments
Is it possible that the foundation of halacha, pursuing G‑d’s guidelines, has become clouded by the pursuit of indistinct spiritual attainment? This quest may be predicated upon Torah and halacha but essentially has its own dynamics and direction.

Upon reflection a serious concern begs for our attention. The response of the general body of orthodox Jewry to such a scenario provides a glimpse into the mind and philosophy of today’s average orthodox Jew, about whom, I believe it can be safely said, would be repulsed by the very idea of eating any of the sausages.

But how can this be? How can commitment to a system of Divine Law by which we pledge our loyalty and allegiance to G‑d, give rise to an attitude that defies the rulings of that very same Divinity? It is as though a new organism has emerged from G‑d’s system, which is in fact a Briyah Chadasha, a new entity.

Chomets Medicine
Some kashrus authorities have recently recognised this type of distortion. They have ceased offering Pesach lists banning or not recommending certain medications for Pesach use. The reason for this change is that many well meaning people were ignoring the warnings that decisions must only be made with approval of their rabbi and doctor.

This is to be applauded but it fails to address the root of the problem; why are so many acting against G‑d and His halacha, and doing so sincerely believing that they act in the name and best interests of G‑d?

Shabbos & Kosher
We are commanded to desecrate Shabbos and almost all other Torah Laws to save a life. We must slaughter and/or cook on Shabbos for one who is seriously ill. And one who is seriously ill must eat non-kosher foods if necessary.

Which option is to be chosen if both are available: non-kosher food, or slaughtering and cooking on Shabbos?

The Shulchan Aruch [O”Ch 328:14] rules that we desecrate Shabbos rather than have the patient eat non-kosher food. We nod our heads in unified agreement. But wait, it’s not for the reason we think.

The Mishneh Berurah offers three approaches as proposed by the Acharonim, to explain the rationale, none of which include a consideration that the non-kosher food will adversely affect the recipient’s spiritual life. On the contrary, according to one approach, if the patient is a child then it is better to feed him non-kosher than to desecrate Shabbos.

May HaShem guide us to know His statutes, be inspired to know His wisdom and see the truth of His Torah.

Print Friendly


  • Joe in Australia says:

    Thank you, R’ Rabi. Was this a true story? I wonder at the foolishness of a man who thought that he could set up rules to distinguish between kosher and treif food served from a single kitchen, particularly when he wasn’t around to keep an eye on things. Surely nobody could be that stupid.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    Please tell me the name of the Rabi who ate the sausages? My dog ate kosher bones and dry dog food. She never wanted to share her dog biscuits with me and I never asked her. She has since passed on to better things.
    I have heard that some butchers…..let’s not go there????
    Personally, I like my food to be kosher and prepared properly. If the doggy sausages were Pork or Camel or Kangaroo meat? You aren’t assuming they were beef or lamb or chicken now, were you?

  • Ian Grinblat says:


    I go along with only one part of the story – we all need to lighten up.

    Some years ago I was involved with a congregation on the Bagel Belt which used for its kiddushim a caterer who worked out of Doncaster. Our Rabbi was most uneasy with the arrangement snd insisted that all platters had to be double wrapped and sealed. I had a recurring mental image of the caterer’s van stopping at the lights in Camberwell Junction whereupon hundreds of middle-aged blue-rinse ladies surrounded it, opened the doors and covered everything with pork fat. I have been twitchy about Camberwell ever since.

  • Questioner says:

    Aren’t sausages a chatcha reuiah lechitchabed? (Fir to be served before a guest) and therefore not nullified (see SA YD 101 and the first line of 109)? It’s surprising that the rabbi didn’t discuss this.

  • gangreen says:

    The Halachic analysis in the initial story is, to my understanding, wrong and worrying to think there is a rabbi out there that wold do what has been relayed. There is in Kosher laws the concept of taam. The flavour or the taste, say of a non kosher item that permeates the kosher substance. In this case the bittul of the sausages themselves is largely irrelevant. (And not batul brov anyway for the reason mentioned by an above commentator) On a grilling device the taam will enter into the grilling device and become the problem. The law of bittul brov would only apply to dry separate items that remain so until after the mixture is discovered.

  • Questioner says:

    Maybe the problem is that this Rabbi thought he knew better than others and had a pathological desire to tell everyone.

  • Steven says:

    Rabbi Rabi we are all waiting with (sausage) bated breath for your response.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    There’s no need to badger R’ Rabi. I think this must have been meant as an allegory. Nobody sensible would serve kosher and treif food from the same kitchen, and I’m sure that any decent rabbi would have told his client that in order to be both kosher ve’yoshar he should throw out all the meat and kasher his utensils.

  • joseph says:

    Joe, what are you talking about?
    The whole point of his article is how ignorant everyone is of the laws and that these sausages should be eaten. He’s stating that it is illogical but still necessary to observe.
    In truth the law is that the sausages should not be eaten and the law is far from illogical. Min Bmino Batul Brov is logical from the perspective of the assimilation of the non kosher items and the rule of following the majority. The concept of taam and flavour need bitul bshishim has got to do with the need not to taste the non kosher flavour. Its perfectly logical and has nothing to do with some sort of illogical blind faith.
    This really is the very basics of shulchan aruch.

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    I am sincerely impresed with the rationale of you story/argument. The implications of valid unversalism of Hashem’s wisdom are evidently imperative.
    Hshem is responsile for everything we would encounter in our existential experiences. He has give us the possibuilit of acquiring wisdom, the rest is up to us to “cultivate”. Seeminlgly “right” paths could lead to wrong destinations etc.

    Yet, in your haste and passion, you seem to have inversed y mistake the rationale of the 3rd and 2nd last phrases.
    In the use of the adverb “rather” you used two negatives which do NOT result in a positive at all. The phrase ” we desecrate Shabbos RATHER ( my italics) than have the patient eat non-kosher food” does NOT ( also my talics ) make sense. look at the function f the adverb “rather” !!
    Also the sentence, 2nd last, ” It is better to feed him ( the child n.b. ) non-kosher food than to desecrate Shabbos”. See the departure from logic ! Eating non-kosher IS, in fact, a formal desecration, so ” better” accentuated by “than” do not make sense.
    Consistent with your article, one may say that Hashem has given us cerebral spheres capable of expressing illogical structures> Question is, do we desecrate the need to remain at all times, I emphasise PAERMANENTLY ( I reckon this is Hashem’s italics ) rational !!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    In my comments I left out an important proviso.
    Based on the Rabbi’s extended meaning of the generic sanctity of anything we do as a result of specific “instructions” from Hashem, the comprehensive meaning of Shabbos, for instance, goes BEYOND the immediacy of the customary acceptance of Shabbos practices. Behaviour seemingly contrary to the known “superficial” protocols/stringencies, but consistent with fundamntal principles of Judaism, those prevailing notions of “sanctity of life “, is consistent with Shabbos observance as one and any form of a comprehensive Jewish life.
    To this extent, not having strict kosher veyosher food at any time, does not have to be Shabbos after all, under circumstances constistent with the prevailing principles, doeas not result in a contradiction. So, I could correct MYSELF and say that the tautology abserved and stated by me above may not exist.
    Yet, because I must give course to a necessary course of vanity particularly today, my birthday, the good Rabbi should have been as explicit as me or at least more clearly implicit………….

  • meir rabi says:

    WELCOME BACK everyone, BeRuchim HaBaIm, I am delighted to refresh our acquaintance.

  • meir rabi says:

    Joe, I agree wholeheartedly.
    I have long protested, as I am sure you know, about various eateries here in Melbourne and in Sydney [my first-hand information is a couple of months old but the second hand info is quite fresh]
    that are owned and operated by non Shomrey Shabbos,
    and who do not have a full time Mashgiach,
    and who serve foods such as meat and/or fish,
    which require either two seals when not supervised by a Shomer Shabbos
    and/or cheese and Chalav Yisrael,
    which require one seal when not supervised by a Shomer Shabbos.

    However, I hear that some persuasion is taking place, is it through YOUR good offices Joe in Australia? to correct this serious lapse.

    If only all Kashrus in Australia [as well as the posture and character of its proponents] would follow the impeccable standards observed by Kosher VeYosher, we would be able to hold our heads high.

    KVY – Its Kosher does not provide Kashrus unless a Mashgiach is present for the entire duration of the food preparation until it is sealed in tamper evident packaging; or if there are systems in place via which full disclosure and accountability is constantly available, and when the Kosher dedicated utensils are securely locked beyond the reach of the non-Kosher.

  • meir rabi says:

    Ilana, very astute, and thank you for your clarification.
    Indistinguishable sausages means that they are all beef or chicken but some are from Kosher chicken or beef whilst others are from non-Kosher chicken or beef.

  • meir rabi says:

    Sausages are not a ChaTicha HaReUYa LeHisKaBed Bah, we do not serve sausages in order to impress our boss.

  • meir rabi says:

    please explain your point.

    When all the sausages are beef or chicken, there is no discernible non-Kosher TaAm
    That identical flavour is ALREADY found throughout all the components of the mixture, and has already permeated into the pot and all cooking utensils.

  • meir rabi says:

    I am not sure what Joe in Australia defines or qualifies a rabbi as decent, but one would think it should have something to do with knowing and respecting Halacha.

    Telling a client to “throw out all the meat and kasher his utensils” is contrary to Halacha. And so I draw your attention to the following in my article, “Upon reflection a serious concern begs for our attention. The response of the general body of orthodox Jewry to such a scenario provides a glimpse into the mind and philosophy of today’s average orthodox Jew, about whom, I believe it can be safely said, would be repulsed by the very idea of eating any of the sausages.

    But how can this be? How can commitment to a system of Divine Law by which we pledge our loyalty and allegiance to G‑d, give rise to an attitude that defies the rulings of that very same Divinity? It is as though a new organism has emerged from G‑d’s system, which is in fact a Briyah Chadasha, a new entity.”

  • meir rabi says:

    I would appreciate some more assistance identifying the problem with ”we desecrate Shabbos RATHER than have the patient eat non-kosher food” does NOT make sense.

    Does it not mean that where there are 2 options to help someone who is ill on Shabbos, A) Shecht beast which in normal circumstances is a violation of Shabbos, or B) do not Shecht but give the sick person some non-Kosher meat. Is it not correct to say the Halacha prefers B) rather than A)?

  • meir rabi says:

    Also don’t see the problem with, ”It is better to feed the child non-kosher food than to desecrate Shabbos”. Eating non-Kosher is a violation of Halacha but it is not a desecration of Shabbos.
    Again, there are two options and Halacha prefers one over the other.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Editor: This comment has violated our new comments policy. It has therefore been deleted. Please refer to the “editorial” section for further information. Any future infractions of our policies will result in suspension of your account.

Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.