- Question: [Monday, 6th Adar, 5783]
It is common in hotel lobbies and bars to serve a slice of lemon on top of the drinks that one orders. My question is regarding if there is any Kashrus worry about this, and if one was already served the drink with the lemon, is the drink permitted to be consumed? I was on a Shidduch date in a hotel lobby, and I ordered two glasses of water and they both came with the lemon slice.
Certainly, one should initially explicitly request for no lemon slices to be placed on the glass cup. If one forgot to do so and it came with a lemon slice, then by water which one did not pay for, the best thing is to spill it out and ask for a new glass. If it is a paid drink, then from the letter of the law there is room to permit removing the lemon slice, and then drinking the beverage. This certainly applies if one is not even aware that any actual hot non-kosher food is served in this hotel bar for which the same knives as the lemon knives are used. Obviously, one who desires to be extra Mehader in Kashrus, can choose to discard it and order a new drink.
Explanation: According to most opinions, lemons are considered a Charif fruit. Accordingly, if the lemon is cut with a non-kosher knife, then the lemon is not kosher. However, this only applies if the non-kosher knife has in the past been used to cut hot non-kosher food, such as hot meat. Furthermore, according to some Poskim, it is permitted to buy Charif foods from a gentile if they are processed in bulk quantities, even if they were cut with an Issur knife. Now, according to all we only prohibit a Charif food that was cut with a knife of a Gentile if it is not common for them to have special knives just for cutting the fruits and vegetables, and they use the same knives for cutting hot non-kosher foods. If, however, it is common to use a special knife for the cutting of fruits and vegetables, then the food is permitted to be purchased and consumed. In a case where there is doubt as to which type of knife is used, then it is disputed as to whether any leniency applies. Practically based on all the above we can deduce that one should avoid drinking a glass cup from a hotel lobby with a slice of lemon inside, being that one is unaware which knife was used to cut it. However, after the fact there is much room for leniency, being that in addition to all that was explained above and the fact that perhaps a fruit designated knife was used, most certainly any lemon juice that entered the cup is nullified 60 times.
Sources: See regarding the Charif status of lemons: Michaber and Rama 96:4; Shach 96:20; See regarding the law if a Charif food was cut with a non-kosher knife: Michaber and Rama 96:1-2; See regarding if the knife was only used to cut cold non-kosher: See Rama 96:1; Beis Yosef 96 in name of Rambam; Beis David Y.D. 38; 39; Zivcheiy Tzedek 96:34; Kaf Hachaim 96:48; See regarding the law by a bulk amount of Charif cut with a non-kosher knife: Michaber 96:4; Rama 96:4; Admur 447:60; Levush 96; Pleisi 96:6; Beis Lechem Yehuda 96:21 that so rule all Achronim; Chavas Daas 96:14; Aruch Hashulchan 96:18; Zivcheiy Tzedek 96:38; Kaf Hachaim 96:54; See regarding buying Charif from a Gentile if it is common to use special knives or if there is doubt: Rama 96:1