On the Chocolate Trail



1.שו”ת הר צבי יורה דעה סימן צז

Rabbi Frank

Question: May one take bitter pills that have chocolate sprinkled on them, even though the chocolate does not have a hechsher and contains milk from non-Jews?

Answer: There is not a clear answer and it depends on a bigger machloket (argument) that takes us back to the Talmud.

Reason: The discussion centers on whether or not swallowing is really eating (in which case it would still be prohibited) and whether the pills are meant to be chewed or swallowed. If the pill is meant to be swallowed then it is permitted to take it with chocolate; if it is meant to be chewed, than it would be forbidden to take it with this chocolate.

2.שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ד סימן עד

Moshe Feinstein (1895 – 1986) was born in Belarus and lived in New York. One of his works is the Igrot Moshe, a work of responsa.

Question: Is it permitted to mix lumps of instant cocoa powder into a drink on Shabbat?

Answer: It is permitted, in the same way that sugar may be mixed into drinks.

Reason: This is just like melting snow into water. Helping the snow melt by stirring it in should not be prohibited.

3.שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ד סימן עד

Rabbi Feinstein

Question: May you put cocoa (or coffee) in ak’li sheni (a second vessel) as if it were a spice?

Answer: It is permitted, but preferable to be machmir (strict) and only have the coffee/cocoa in the k’li sh’lishi (a third vessel).

Reason: Cocoa and coffee are considered comparable to a spice in this regard and most likely are not cooked in the k’li sheni. Since there are those who say that it does get cooked even in the second k’li, it would be better to add the coffee/cocoa to the water in the third k’li. This system of stages of pots or vessels for food on Shabbat is intended to prevent transgressions of the prohibitions of cooking on the Sabbath.1

4.שו”ת יביע אומר חלק ד – אורח חיים סימן יב

Ovadia Yosef (1920- ) was born in Iraq and lives in Israel. Yabia Omer is the name of one (out of two) of his responsa sets.

Question: May one drink before shacharit (the morning prayers)? If so, which drinks?

Answer: Yes, it depends on which drink; and mostly it depends on whether or not the drink contains milk. Cocoa with sugar is permitted, although it would be preferable if it were not drunk before shacharit.

Reason: Pious men should follow the Zohar (medieval Jewish mystical text, which states that drinks that strengthen the blood should not be drunk prior to shacharit. But if this is a weak person who needs the drink, he has later poskim (halachic decisors) whose opinions he can lean on to do so.

5.שו”ת יביע אומר חלק ג – יורה דעה סימן ג

Rabbi Yosef

Question: Can you give a katan (a boy who has not yet had his bar mitzvah) dairy, even if less than six hours passed since he ate meat?

Answer: Milk chocolate or dairy candy is definitely prohibited within the six hours (or at least the first five and a half hours).

Reason: Some of the considerations in answering this question, are: Is the child at an age where he can understand the law that says you need to wait between eating meat and milk? What kind of dairy is given? Is the dairy chocolate given for health reasons? If so, that is allowed. Is it available and the child choses to take it or is it actively given to the child?

6.פסקי דין – ירושלים דיני ממונות ובירורי יוחסין יא עמוד רמ

Question: May you eat chocolate you received in a mishlo’ach manot (package of treats exchanged at the holiday of Purim)? Answer: Of course.

Reason: This is chocolate that was not made in Israel and perhaps it does not have a hechsher. The fear is that you do not know if the process was constantly supervised by a Jew, ensuring that the milk is kosher. Milk powder that is imported to Israel for chocolate making is made in factories that have governmental supervision that ensures that the milk powder is not made out of milk from an impure animal.

On the Chocolate Trail

On the Chocolate Trail