Pat Akum Part Three – The Parameters of the Edict by Rabbi Chaim Jachter


In the previous two issues we reviewed the range of opinions and practices regarding Pat Akum, Chazal’s edict prohibiting eating bread baked by a Nochri.  Some opinions in the Rishonim and classic Poskim believe that this edict remains in full effect.  Others believe that this decree was rescinded and Pat Akum is permitted if the bread is obtained from a professional baker (Pat Palter).  Compromise opinions permit Pat Palter only if Pat Yisrael (bread baked by a Jew or had at least some Jewish involvement in the baking process) is not available or is of inferior quality relative to the Pat Palter. 

We also noted that the Shulchan Aruch records the Minhag to follow the strict opinion regarding the Pat Akum edict during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva.  In addition, we saw that the Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berura write that it is proper to eat only Pat Yisrael on both Shabbat and Yom Tov.  This week we will explore some of the parameters of the Pat Akum prohibition and its application to cake, cookies, crackers, bagels, Dunkin Donuts, bread crumbs, and Cheerios.

Jewish Owned Bread Baked by a Nochri

It is important to recall that even the most lenient approach to Pat Yisrael does not believe that this edict was completely rescinded.  Even according to the lenient opinion Pat Akum is permitted only if it is Pat Palter.  The reason that the edict was partially relaxed was because it was too difficult for most Jews to observe.  However, the edict remains in effect when it is readily observed. 

Accordingly, the Shach (Y.D. 112:7) rules that the Pat Akum edict applies even according to the most lenient approach to bread that is owned by a Jew and baked by a Nochri.  In such a circumstance it is relatively easy for the Jewish owner of the bread to at least participate in some minimal fashion in the preparation of the bread.  The Chochmat Adam (65:6) and many other major Acharonim (cited in the Chelkat Binyamin, 112: Tziyunim number 72) rule in accordance with the Shach.

Thus, one should be careful regarding this Halacha if one hires a Nochri to help at home.  If the Nochri helper bakes bread then one should be sure to participate at least minimally in the baking process.  If one did not participate in the baking process the  consumption of the bread might be rabbinically forbidden. 

Rav Binyamin Cohen (Chelkat Binyamin 112: p. 9 Biurim s.v. Sh’mei’kilim) suggests a possibility that in such a case the bread might be permitted Bidieved (after the fact), based on the Rama’s ruling (Y.D. 113:4) that the Bishul Akum (food cooked by a Nochri) prohibition does not apply Bidieved if one’s Nochri servant cooked food.  The reasoning is that Chazal prohibited Bishul Akum (and Pat Akum) because of concern for social interaction that might lead to intermarriage and this concern might not be particularly relevant regarding one’s servant.

This lenient approach is questionable because of two considerations.  First, Rav Cohen (ad. loc. 113:35) writes that it is questionable whether the Rama’s leniency applies only to servants or even to hired help.  Moreover, we discussed in our previous issue that it is not clear if the leniencies that pertain to Bishul Akum apply to Pat Akum.  Rav Cohen, on the other hand, told me that although many Poskim rule that the Eino Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim leniency does not apply to Pat Akum, as we discussed last week, this does not necessarily imply that every other leniency that applies to Bishul Akum does not apply to Pat Akum.  Nonetheless, one should make every effort to avoid this problem and one should consult his Rav should this issue arise for a decision as to whether it is permissible to consume the bread. 

A Jewish Owned Bakery

It would appear, accordingly, that bread baked in a Jewish owned bakery should be required to be Pat Yisrael even according to the most lenient opinions.  Indeed, Rav Binyamin Cohen (Chelkat Binyamin 112: p. 9 Biurim s.v. Sh’meikilim) notes that under such circumstances it is relatively easy for the store’s Jewish owners to ensure that the bread is Pat Yisrael by ensuring that there is at least minimal Jewish involvement in the baking of the bread.  As we saw in last week’s essay, this is relatively easy to accomplish.

However, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe 1:45) rules that one may be lenient in such a situation if it is difficult to ensure that the bread is Pat Yisrael.  Rav Moshe argues that the Shach is strict only in a situation where it is very easy for a Jew to participate in the baking.  However, in case of difficulty one may be lenient as is the generally accepted practice regarding Pat Akum that we discussed last week.  Rav Moshe writes that one may certainly be lenient if the bread bakers are non-observant Jews, as Rav Moshe explains that he is inclined to rule that the Pat Akum edict does not apply to non-observant Jews (see Chelkat Binyamin, 112: pp. 1-2 Biurim s.v. Am’mim for a discussion of the debate regarding this issue and for Rav Cohen’s ruling that one may be lenient regarding a non-observant Jew who is classified as a Tinok Shenishba).

 One might suggest that the resolution of this dispute depends on how difficult it is for the Jewish owner to arrange for the bread to be Pat Yisrael.  If the owner is involved with the daily operations of a relatively small bakery, it seems difficult to be lenient.  One the other hand, if the Jewish owner is merely a “silent partner” and is not involved with the daily operation of the bakery, then it seems that we may rely on Rav Moshe’s lenient approach. 

Cakes, Cookies and Crackers

Thus far we have discussed the applicability of the Pat Akum edict to bread.  However, cakes, cookies and crackers might also be included in this edict.  In fact, it is very important to know which edict applies to these items, Pat Akum or Bishul Akum, as   there are “advantages” and “disadvantages” to being classified as either Pat Akum or Bishul Akum.  The leniency of Eino Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim (that the food must be worthy of serving at a formal meal in order to be forbidden as Bishul Akum) applies to Bishul Akum and does not apply to Pat Akum according to many Poskim, as we discussed last week.  On the other hand, the leniency of Pat Palter does not apply to Bishul Akum according to almost all Poskim (see Teshuvot Minchat Yitzchak 3:26 and Mesorah 1:93-94).  Thus, it is crucial to determine whether cake and cookies are subject to the rules of Pat Akum or Bishul Akum.

Tosafot (Beitzah 16b s.v. Ka Mashma Lan) cites a difference of opinion about this matter.  The first opinion in Tosafot believes that the Pat Akum edict applies only to bread upon which one always recites the Bracha of Hamotzi Lechem Min Haaretz.  According to this opinion, cakes, cookies and crackers are subject to the rules of Bishul Akum.  On the other hand, Tosafot cites Rabbeinu Yechiel who rules that cakes, cookies and crackers are subject to the rules of Pat Akum.  Tosafot presents two reasons for Rabbeinu Yechiel.  One opinion is that these items are “baked in a manner that is similar to bread”.  The other opinion is that since one potentially recites Hamotzi on these items, they are defined as bread.

Some background on the topic of Pat Habaah Bikisnin is necessary to comprehend Rabbeinu Yechiel’s second reason.  The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 168:7) rules that one recites Hamotzi on cake, cookies and crackers (Pat Habaah Bikisnin) if one establishes a meal (Koveiah Seudah) on them.  I recall hearing that Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik explained this rule as follows.  Fundamentally, explained the Rav, Hamotzi is a Bracha on a meal and not specifically on bread.  The Bracha is recited on bread since it is traditionally the centerpiece of a meal.  The Rav also explains that fundamentally Pat Habaah Bikisnin is also defined as bread.  However, when one eats Pat Habaah Bikisnin and is not Koveiah Seudah one does not recite Hamotzi since one is not eating a meal.  However, if one is Koveah Seudah on Pat Habaah Bikisnin then the Bracha of Hamotzi should be recited (and one should perform Nitilat Yadayim), as this Bracha is recited only on “meal based bread”. 

Accordingly, it is quite logical that Pat Habaah Bikisnin should be subject to the rules of Pat Akum as, fundamentally, it is bread.  Indeed, the Rama (Y.D. 112:6) rules in accordance with the view of Rabbeinu Yechiel.  However, the Shach (Y.D.112:18) limits this ruling to Pat Habaah Bikisnin that is baked with a thick batter (Belilah Avah, such as most cookies).  Pat Habaah Bikisnin that is baked with a thin batter (Belila Rakah, such as most cakes), rules the Shach, is subject to the rules of Bishul Akum. 

The Shach’s ruling seems to hinge on the two reasons that Tosafot offers for Rabbeinu Yechiel’s ruling.  If one follows the first reason, one might argue that only Belilah Avah is similar to bread.  However, according to the second reason there seems to be no distinction between a Belila Avah and a Belilah Rakah, since one recites Hamotzi even on a Belilah Rakah if he is Koveiah Seudah. 

Although the Chochmat Adam (65:7) rules in accordance with the Shach, Rav Binyamin Cohen (Chelkat Binyamin 112:64) notes that many Acharonim reject the Shach’s distinction (see ad. loc. Tziyunim number 202) and rule that Pat Habaah Bikisinin is always subject to the rules of the Pat Akum edict, even if it is a Belilah Rakah.  Rav Cohen rules in accordance with the opinions of these Acharonim.  Thus, all Pat Habaah Bikisinin are subject to the rules of Pat Akum.  Rav Zvi Sobolofsky, in a Shiur he delivered in Teaneck on this subject, agreed with this ruling. 


Bagels are made by first boiling them in water and then baking them.  One might think that since they are boiled they should be subject to the rules of Bishul Akum.  Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe Y.D. 2:33), however, writes that since the boiling does not render the bagels even minimally edible, the bagels are not considered to have been cooked.  Therefore, bagels are subject to the rules of Pat Akum, just as one recites Hamotzi on bagels (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 168:14).  Rav Cohen (Chelkat Binyamin 112: p. 26 Biurim s.v. Kichlach) adds that even if the bagels were rendered minimally edible by the boiling, the subsequent baking might subject the bagels to the rules of Pat Akum (as the Aruch Hashulchan, Y.D. 112:31, seems to indicate).  The Rama (Y.D. 113:9; regarding Bishul Akum) permits food that a Nochri cooked to the point that it is minimally edible and a Jew subsequently finished cooking.  Rav Cohen suggests (as does the Teshuvot Avnei Neizer Y.D. 1:100) that this Halacha might also apply regarding Pat Akum (Shulchan Aruch 112:12 seems to clearly support this suggestion).  Rav Moshe, however, seems not to subscribe to this leniency.  Perhaps it is because he believes that one cannot apply the leniencies that apply to Bishul Akum to the Halachot of Pat Akum.

Dunkin Donuts and Sufganiot

I have been told that Dunkin Donuts and Israeli style Sufganiot are made from a Belilah Avah that is deep fried in oil.  The Rishonim debate whether one recites Hamotzi and separate Challah on such items (see Tosafot Brachot 37b s.v. Lechem).  Rav Cohen (ad. loc. 112:64) rules that such items are subject to the Halachot regarding Bishul Akum since our practice (Rama O.C. 168:13) is to recite Borei Mini Mezonot on Dunkin Donuts or Sufganiot even if one is Koveiah Seudah on them (unlike the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam that is cited in the aforementioned Tosafot).  Similarly, the Halacha (Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 329:3) essentially rules that Challah is not separated on such items. 

Rav Sobolofsky noted that even though the Shach (Y.D. 329:4) rules that one should separate Challah without a Bracha on such items in deference to the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam, the general practice outside Eretz Yisrael (where the obligation to separate Challah is only rabbinic in nature) is not to separate Challah on these items.  Thus, Dunkin Donuts and Sufganiot are subject to the Halachot of Bishul Akum, unlike Rabbeinu Tam who would rule that they are subject to the rules of Pat Akum.  Accordingly, Rav Elazar Meyer Teitz (who supervises the Dunkin Donuts in Elizabeth and Teaneck) arranges that the Mashgiach turns on the fire in the ovens of the Dunkin Donuts that he supervises.  In addition, it seems that Dunkin Donuts might be excused from the Bishul Akum prohibition as they are not Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim (one would not serve them at a formal meal). 


Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (cited in Vizot Habracha p.219 in the 5761 edition) rules that cereals whose raw batter rises like bread dough, such as Cheerios, Grape Nuts, and Wheat Chex have the status of Pat Habaah Bikisinin.  Thus, these cereals are subject to the rules of Pat Akum and the fact that they are not served at a formal meal is irrelevant according to many Poskim.  Accordingly, Rav Daniel Neustadt (The Weekly Halachah Discussion p. 539) writes that those who do not rely on the Pat Palter leniency throughout the year and everyone during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva should avoid these cereals.  

However, Rav Binyamin Cohen told me that the common practice is not to treat these cereals as Pat Habaah Bikisinin.  For example, people do not recite Hamotzi if they are eating two bowls of Cheerios together with milk and a piece of cake.  Thus, Rav Cohen said to me that it seems to him that the common practice is to follow the ruling of Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg who rules (see Vizot HaBracha ad. loc.) that these cereals are not Pat Habaah Bikisinin.  Indeed, Andrew Malca of Teaneck told me that Rav Hershel Schachter told him that Cheerios are not Pat Habaah Bikisinin.  Thus, these cereals are subject to the rules of Bishul Akum and are permitted since they are not Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim.  Accordingly, they may be eaten during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva and throughout the year by those who do not rely on the Pat Palter leniency.

Bread Crumbs

Rav Neustadt (ad. loc. p. 540) writes that during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva one should avoid ice cream sprinkled with Pat Palter cookie crumbs.  Even though Tosafot (ad. loc.) and the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 112:6) rule that the primary ingredient of the product (the Ikar) determines its status regarding Bishul Akum and Pat Akum, nevertheless the cookie crumbs cannot be disregarded since they are noticeable and not dissolved into the ice cream (Rama ad. loc. and Taz Y.D. 112:10).

Rav Neustadt rules that the same applies to bread crumbs on chicken or fish cutlets.  This, however, is debatable since the bread crumbs were cooked by a Jew in the preparation of the cutlets.  The cooking might cancel the bread crumbs’ Pat Palter status and render it as a new entity (Panim Chadashot Baooh Likan).  Teshuvot Avnei Neizer (Y.D. 1:100) explores applying the Rama who rules (Y.D. 113:9; as we mentioned in our discussion of bagels) that food is not prohibited as Bishul Akum if the Nochri cooked the food to a minimally edible state and a Jew subsequently finished the cooking. 

The Avnei Neizer suggests that the same could be said if the Pat Akum is cooked even after it has been baked.  He argues that the Yereim (cited in the Shulchan Aruch O.C. 318:5) who believes (in the context of Hilchot Shabbat) that “Yesh Bishul Achar Afiyah” (an item may be cooked after it is baked; which is why we should not put Challah pieces into very hot soup on Shabbat) would subscribe to this leniency.  Moreover, the Avnei Neizer suggests that everyone would agree that bread that was cooked loses its status as bread (see Brachot 38b) and if it is subsequently baked then Panim Chadashot Baooh Likan (a new entity has been created).  Similarly, since in the process of preparing cutlets the bread crumbs are rendered inedible by immersing it in raw egg batter, the subsequent cooking of the bread crumbs might redefine the cutlets as a new entity.

However, Rav Cohen (Chelkat Binyamin 112:p. 46 s.v. Yesh Takana) notes that the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 112:12) cites the possibility of a Jew “correcting” bread classified as Pat Akum by the Jew returning the bread to the oven and enhancing the taste of the bread (“Mitztameik Viyafeh Lo”), since he thereby participates in the baking process.  However, notes Rav Cohen, the Shulchan Aruch implies that once the baking process is completely finished and it is not possible to further enhance the quality of the bread, there is no further remedy for the breads’ status as Pat Akum.  Furthermore, Rav Cohen cites (Tziyunim 112:324) many Poskim who seem to disagree with the Avnei Neizer’s leniency.

Accordingly, bread crumbs that are Pat Palter should be avoided during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva.  However, it seems that one would be permitted, Bidieved (after the fact), to eat cutlets breaded with bread crumbs that are Pat Palter based on the opinion of the Avnei Neizer and the lenient considerations we outlined last week regarding bread that is prepared in factories.


We see from our discussion of Pat Akum that there is a firm basis for those who follow the lenient approach to this issue.  Nevertheless, there is also a basis for those who wish to be strict regarding Pat Akum.  The Halacha, however, has insured that those who are lenient and those who are strict are able to co-exist and avoid strife.  Nonetheless, the issue of Pat Akum should not escape our attention, especially during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva.

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