Eved Knani


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld   

                In Vayikra 25:46 the Torah tells us that an Eved Knani stays an eved forever. The question arises; may a Jew eat from what was cooked by an Eved Knani? Is it bishul akum, or not? In addition, we know that it is forbidden for a Jew to cook for a Non Jew on Yom Tov. Would this ruling apply to an Eved Knani as well?

The answer to the first question would be based on a Tosfos in Avoda Zora 38a and in Tur Yoreh Deah 113Rabbeinu Avraham ben Dovid held that bishul akum is forbidden only if the goy cooked it in his own house. In the event the goy cooked it in the Jew’s house there is no worry of chasnus (intermarriage) or that he might feed you treife food. According to Rabbeinu Avraham, a slave would not have these issues since he cooks in the master’s home. The Rabbeinu Tam disagrees with this position and says that when it came to bishul akum the Chachamim did not differentiate between the domain of the goy and the domain of a Yid. Therefore, it would stand to reason that an Eved Knani would have the same issue, no matter the location of the cooking.

The Re’Oh in Bedek Habayis says in the name of Ri bar Manoach that there is no problem with bishul akum by an eved or a shifcha. Since he owns them and they are doing the work under duress there is no problem of hischatnus (intermarriage.) The Ramban agreed to this sevara, but only bdieved. The Rema in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 113:4 paskens like the Ramban that if the Eved already cooked the food, bdieved one can eat it.

Regarding the second question, the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 512 says one may not cook food for a goy on Yom Tov. Would the same ruling apply to an Eved Knani? The Ran in Beitzah 10b in the Rif says that there were some who allowed cooking for an Eved Knani since a person is required to feed the eved. The Ran disagrees and says that would only be according to Rabbi Akiva in Beitza 21 that says when the Torah permitted cooking; it even includes cooking for your animals. It would seem to include avadim and shefachos too. The Rif, on the other hand, paskens like Reb Yosi Haglili that it is forbidden to cook for an animal on Yom Tov. That would include an issur for avadim and shfachos also.

The Yaaros Devash 17 argues and says that despite the fact that one is not allowed to cook for a goy on Yom Tov, he will nevertheless be allowed to cook for his eved or shifcha on Yom Tov since they have a chiyuv to do some mitzvos. With this sevara he explains how was Esther able to cook on Yom Tov for Achashveirosh since she was cooking for a goy. Since Esther invited Haman, who was Mordechais slave, she was allowed to cook for him and thereby serve the meal to both of them.

May we be zocheh to be mekayem all mitzvos bishleimus!


Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com


P.S There is available a great resource for reviewing or learning the daf and yerushalmi amud yomi you can ask to join by either texting 7185772401 or clicking this link https://chat.whatsapp.com/ICOJi1X9liuDZ9FR8wuxNoor by emailing dafbirchaschaim@gmail.com for archives of the shiur or to download it visit this link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-1WKLHscMKmlXIumNqU8Aa0FePKfQlqY?usp=sharing_eip&ts=5e135c10


  1. Dear Rabbi,

    I really am a bit puzzeled.
    If a Eved Kenani is chayov in mitzvos like a woman that makes him a Jew so there should not be any problem with him cooking in your house or his house (which is really your house – kol ma shehkaneh….). So we must assume that when the Rishonim talk about eved or shifcha they are talking about a hired non-jew who works as a shifcha – sleep over Cleaning lady (guy) etc. b’laaz.
    If he is a jew then you should be able to cook for him on Yom Tov – a Jew is a Jew. Again the poskim ypu quote may be talking about a hired sleep over help who for one reason or another you must feed from a financial – mamonous – angle.
    I am not a learner but figured I’ll vent my puzzlement to for some feedback.

    Yosel the Baaleh baus.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here