Not The Right Job

Question

Ari designs adverts. He was approached by the Jewish owner of a food business
to create designs for an advertising campaign. When Ari enquired as to the nature
of the product being marketed, he was told that the company's specialty was
chicken in dairy sauce. "Surely Jews are not allowed to eat meat cooked in milk?
If it is forbidden for him to sell the product, how can I help him advertise
it?" he asked. Is such work really prohibited?



Answer

The Torah mentions the prohibition of mixing milk on
three occasions. Our Sages inform us that not only is it forbidden to eat meat
cooked in milk, but it is also forbidden to derive any other form of benefit
from the mixture. In addition, one may not cook meat and milk together even
if one does not derive any benefit from the mixture. The Torah prohibition only
extends to domesticated animals. Fowl and wild animals are not included. Nevertheless,
eating fowl cooked in milk is rabbinically forbidden. Our Sages did not extend
the prohibition to deriving other forms of benefit from the mixture, nor to
performing the actual cooking Yoreh Deah 87:1). It would therefore seem
that, strictly speaking, there is nothing wrong for a Jew to sell chicken cooked
in dairy sauce (to non-Jews). However, in our case, the chickens in question
were not slaughtered in accordance with shechitah laws. Eating such meat
falls under the Torah prohibition of eating neveilos (meat which was
not ritually slaughtered). Once again, the Torah only prohibits the eating of
such meat, but not deriving other forms of benefit from it. It would still seem
that one could sell meat which was not ritually slaughtered to non-Jews.

The Shulchan Oruch (Yoreh Deah 117) rules that all forms of
non-eating benefit from neveilos are permitted, with the exception of
trading in items which are primarily intended as food. Our Sages were concerned
that since these items are meant for eating, a Jew trading in these forbidden
foods might come to eat them. Therefore, although one may derive personal benefit
from non-kosher chickens, one may not trade in this product. It is thus clear
that the Jew who owns the business in question is not acting in accordance with
the halachah.

This brings us to the next question: Is Ari enabling or assisting a fellow-Jew
to contravene the halachah by designing advertisements for his forbidden
business? If one Jew makes it possible for another Jew to transgress, he is
in contravention of the prohibition, “Do not place a stumbling block in front
of a blind man (Vayikro 19:14).” The classic example is of a person handing
a glass of wine to a nazirite (who may not drink wine) standing on the other
(inaccessible) bank of a river. The nazirite could not have procured the forbidden
beverage without the assistance of the other Jew. However, if the nazirite could
have taken the wine by himself but this Jew happened to hand it to him, he is
not in infringement of this prohibition. He is nevertheless guilty of assisting
a Jew to sin, which is a separate prohibition (m'saya'ah li'yday ovrei aveiro).
Ari is not the only advertising designer available. If he does not take the
job, someone else will create adverts for the non-kosher chicken business. By
taking the job he would not be enabling his fellow-Jew to sin. He would still
be guilty of assisting him in sinning. We can thus conclude that Ari should
not take the job. (There are differing opinions as to the present-day status
of non-observant Jews. According to some authorities, the prohibition of assisting
does not apply in this case [see Shach, Yoreh Deah 151:6]. The
Chazon Ish [Eruvin 23:14 and Yoreh Deah 2:28] holds that
they are like any other Jew in this regard.)