Shabbat Parashat Toldot| 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Bishul Akum on Dried Potatoes- part II - From Chavot Binyamin, siman 113
[We saw last time a machloket among rishonim and poskim about food that was partially cooked by a non-Jew and completed by a Jew. We saw further room for leniency when one cooks and dehydrates the food in one process, as the food was not fit for eating when the non-Jew finished his part.]
The following gemara is critical for the various opinions on a case where a non-Jew starts cooking and a Jew completes it. “Whether a non-Jew places the food on the flame and a Jew handles it afterward or whether a Jew places the food and a non-Jew handles it, it is permitted (Avoda Zara 38b). We can claim that the only question is whether the Jew joined the cooking process before or after the point of ma’achal ben d’rusa’i (barely edible). But the Ra’ah takes issue on the Rashba, who says that once a non-Jew brings food to ma’achal ben d’rusa’iy, it can no longer be permitted. The Ra’ah says that even food that was fully cooked by a non-Jew can become permitted by a Jew’s further involvement in the cooking as long as that involvement improves its taste. Another requirement of the Ra’ah’s leniency is that the cooking process was not halted, which would finalize the status of bishul akum. The Rosh says that even after ma’achal ben d’rusa’i, the Jew can still permit the food, but only because the food is not cooked enough for the prohibition to take hold. The Rashba assumes that at ma’achal ben d’rusa’iy, the prohibition takes hold and cannot be removed. Rabbeinu Chananel, whose opinion carries great weight, does say that ma’achal ben d’rusa’i is sufficient to create the prohibition, but the Ra’ah understood that acording to him, the prohibition could still be removed by a Jew continuing the process without interruption. One who examines the sources upon which the Rama (YD 113:9) is based sees that he accepts this approach.
In our case, a non-Jew cooks the potatoes fully and stops the cooking process. However, this is done with the intention to return the food to an incomplete state, requiring the consumer to finish the job himself. Therefore, when a Jew cooks the food at home, he is completing the process and the food becomes permitted according to the Ra’ah’s and Rama’a understanding of Rabbeinu Chananel.
There is another reason to permit cooked, dehydrated potato powder. For the prohibition to apply, the food must be fit to be served at a distinguished affair (Shulchan Aruch, YD 113:1). It isn’t sufficient that the food eventually has that status. Rather, the food must already be fit to serve without further preparations as the non-Jew completes his part, which is not so in our case.
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