Have Questions or Comments?
Leave us some feedback and we'll reply back!

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number)

    In Reference to

    Your Message


    Last week we
    discussed the
    monetary concerns of
    employing a cleaning
    lady to clean before
    Pesach, such as
    snatching a cleaning lady from her place of
    employment or dealing with her directly,
    avoiding the cleaning agency that sent her.
    Today we would like to address kashrut
    issues. Let’s start with the question of leaving
    the lady home alone. When we leave her
    alone in the house, there are concerns,
    referred to as -העין מן שנתעלם בשר” meat that
    was covered from the eye”.
    Chazal prohibited us from leaving the food
    around the non-Jewish person without
    supervision, as they might have exchanged
    our meat, chicken, fish, etc., with non-kosher
    ones. In the event it was left unattended, the
    . (יו״ד סימן קיח)forbidden becomes food
    There are other concerns, such as she might
    have cooked with our utensils, rendering
    them not kosher, or opened the wine bottles,
    . (סימן קיח סעיף יב)unkosher them making
    Chazal also prohibited eating goy’s cooking,
    even if the food is kosher food. This decree
    is known as “bishul akum.” The reason

    Chazal didn’t allow it is to distance us from
    the goyim so we don’t intermarry with them.
    Not only does the food become not kosher,
    but also the utensils used become treif. Thus,
    when we leave a cleaning lady alone at
    home, we are concerned that she might have
    gotten hungry and cooked something to eat
    or boiled herself an egg, thereby rendering
    the utensils treif.
    She might also have used our oven, toaster,
    or microwave to heat her food. This is true
    even if we are certain she didn’t bring any
    food with her.
    אגר״מ יו״ד ח״א סימן)Feinstein Moshe Rabbi
    סא (warned about this and said that one
    should not leave her alone. But in the event
    one didn’t know and left her alone in the
    house, the utensils don’t require kashering.
    However, one should wait 24 hours before
    using them, as after 24 hours if she cooked in
    them, it becomes rabbinically prohibited.
    Since it’s doubtful if she cooked in them, it’s
    a doubt in rabbinical law. Rabbi Moshe adds
    that even if the cleaning lady was hired only
    for cleaning and not for cooking, we are still
    On the other hand, Shevet Hakehati(סימן ח״ו
    רפא (argues against this and says that the

    concern is only if she was hired
    to cook as well. Otherwise, we
    aren’t worried that if she was
    only supposed to clean, she’ll
    also cook.
    Another concern is that she’ll
    cook meat and dairy together or
    cook meat in a dairy pot or vice
    In the event one must leave his
    house and can’t be around, there
    are some ways to permit leaving
    her there. One way is to enter the
    house every once in a while
    הוא היתר לכתחילה ראה כף החיים)unexpectedly
    קכג ס״ק (. One should enter the house for no
    (גר״א סימן קכט סק״ב)minutes 18 than longer
    and make sure the house isn’t locked unless
    . (ש״ע סימן קיח ס“י)keys the has he
    This way, she’ll be worried about being seen
    doing something she isn’t allowed and
    potentially be fired. Even if one can’t come
    every once in a while, he should tell her he’ll
    be back shortly, thus creating the same sense
    . (סימן קיח ס״י)fear of
    Of course, when hiring her, we should make
    sure to inform and warn her that she isn’t
    allowed to cook or warm any food in the
    kitchen. Otherwise, she might cook without
    realizing she isn’t allowed to do so.
    The practice of entering once in a while
    also addresses the issue of “meat that was
    not seen” and the problem of wine that was
    left alone with her.
    A more updated solution is to install a
    camera in the kitchen. When doing that, we
    should either put the camera in a visible
    place that she can see it so she’ll know
    she’s being observed, or inform her that
    שו״ת עמק התשובה ח״ט סימן)camera a is there
    . (פו
    Another way to permit leaving her alone in
    the house is either locking the food in a
    closet and hiding the keys, or sealing the
    food in packages so that if she opens them,
    the seal will break and we will know. This
    reassures us that the food wasn’t handled.
    In the event one didn’t follow this halacha
    and left her alone without entering once in
    a while, the food becomes restricted only if
    we suspect that she has a gain by changing
    the meat, fish, etc., for example if we think
    she changed it with something of lesser
    quality(ס״י קיח סימן (. Since today it’s very
    unlikely she will have lesser quality meat
    and change it, we are therefore lenient to
    . (שו״ת מנחת אשר ח״ב סימן נא)food the permit
    Leaving the non-Jewish person in the
    house with an open bottle of uncooked
    wine is not permitted, as we are concerned
    that she might shake the bottle as a form of

    worshiping avoda zara. However, we can
    permit this if we enter the house often as
    explained before.
    In the event we forgot we had such a bottle in
    the house and left for the day, Rav Elyashiv
    permits it since we don’t suspect that the
    lady would do two things: first, open the
    bottle, and then shake it.
    Yichud with the Cleaning Lady.
    Another relevant issue is the question of
    yichud (seclusion). Can the husband or boys
    stay home while the wife needs to leave?
    Here as well there are some ways to permit:
    1. There is a debate about whether leaving
    the front door unlocked saves a person
    from the prohibition of yichud. The
    מובא בפתחי)Raaved and) אלף רנא)Rashba
    סק״ח תשובה (permitted, saying that
    yichud is only if the door is locked since
    people would not sin if the door isn’t
    locked, as they are constantly afraid that
    someone might walk in. Some
    their explained’) רע״א סימן ק)poskim
    opinion to forbid closed doors even if
    not locked.
    2. If the wife or other people can walk in
    at any given time, then the place is not
    considered a yichud place(דובב שו״ת
    ס״ה ח״א משרים (.Therefore, a good idea
    would be to give keys to a neighbor and
    ask them to come in once in a while as a
    surprise visit.
    3. As we spoke before regarding the
    kashrut section, the same solution of
    placing a surveillance camera would
    apply here as well. But here, the poskim
    say that someone else besides the
    husband should be able to have access,
    such as the wife or another trusted
    individual, to view the recorded
    surveillance, whether in real-time or
    חוט שני הלכות מזוזה עמוד תכט,)afterward
    (אמנם יש הרבה פוסקים החולקים בזה
    Another requirement is to make sure that the
    entire house is covered by the surveillance
    camera. Otherwise, we are concerned that
    they might go to a room that doesn’t have the