- Question: [Tuesday, 30th Tishreiy 5783]
I am a non-Moroccan Sephardi and am touring Morocco with a group. We went to the local Shul in Marakesh [which has a kitchen] to pick up some Kosher food and they offered our group deep fried dough, known as spingim [i.e. Sufganiyot]. The dough, however, was entered into the oil by local Moroccan gentiles. The Shamash at the shul told us that he threw a twig into the fire so it be Pas Yisrael. Is there any issue with us eating from these spingim. I know that Sephardim are more strict than Ashkenazim regarding Bishul Akum, so I wanted to know if it is permitted for us to eat these Spingim?
As a non-Moroccan Sephardi, you should not eat it. It may be eaten by Ashkenazim, and by those who keep Moroccan custom. Furthermore, in a time of need in this specific case, even regular Sephardim have upon whom to rely if they eat it, even though some are stringent even here.
Explanation: Regarding baking bread, everyone agrees that by a Jew lighting the flame of an oven one prevents the bread from becoming Pas Akum, even if a gentile later entered the bread inside and bakes it. However, by cooked foods, it is disputed amongst the Rishonim and Poskim if simply having a Jew turn on the flame so suffices to prevent the prohibition of Bishul Akum, or if one must have a Jew actually cook the food by placing it into the pot or over the flame. Practically, while Ashkenazim are lenient, Sephardim are stringent, with exception to Moroccan Jews who are accustomed to be lenient in this matter as rules the Rama and Ashkenazim. Now, while baked dough is subject to Pas Akum, and therefore is perfectly Kosher according to all even if the Jew simply turns on the flame, deep fried dough is subject to Bishul Akum and hence simply having a Jew turn on the flame does not suffice and the food remains forbidden for Sephardim. However, some Poskim rule that the prohibition of Bishul Akum never applies in the home of a Jew, when a gentile worker cooks the food. Hence, Bedieved or a time of need, some Sephardi Poskim rule that even a Sephardi may be lenient to eat the above Sufganiyot that were cooked in the Shul by gentile workers, having had the flame raised by a Jew. However, other Sephardi Poskim are stringent even in such a case.
Sources: See regarding lighting the fire to avoid Pas Akum: Michaber 112:9; Avoda Zara 38b See regarding lighting the fire to avoid Bishul Akum: Michaber and Rama 113:6-7; Taz 113:6 and 8; Shach 113:12; Kaf Hachaim 113:53; Rav Poalim Y.D. 3:9; Pesakim Uteshuvos 113:16-17; See regarding law for Sephardim being stringent Bedieved: Kaf Hachaim 113:53; Rav Poalim Y.D. 3:9 [stringent even in house of Jew]; See regarding that deep fried dough is subject to Bishul Akum: Rivash 28; Peri Chadash 112:17; Beis Lechem Yehuda 112:14; Birkeiy Yosef 112:11; Kaf Hachaim 112:36 and 43; Yechaveh Daas 5:53; Sefer Hakashrus 19 footnote 14; See regarding the home of a Jew and gentile worker: Michaber and Rama 113:4; Shach 113:7; Rav Poalim O.C. 4:6 and Kaf Hachaim 112:38 [stringent even Bedieved for Sephardim]; Pesakim Uteshuvos 113:12 footnote 138; Hakashrus 19 footnote 43; Poskim who are lenient for Sephardim when Jew turned on flame due to sfek Sfeika: Yabia Omer 9 Y.D. 6-4