Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Rav Ephraim Greenblatt Zt"l: Giving Food to a Non-Religious Guest

The Halacha states that one may not give food to a person who won't make a Bracha. On what grounds do we do so today? Rav Ephraim Greenblatt in Rivevos Ephraim (8:74) brings from Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that if by refusing to give him food he will hate religious Jews then it is better not to refuse him food. He also brings from the V'Zos HaBracha that a technical way out of this dilemma is to be Mafkir the food before letting him have it, thereby avoiding the prohibition, since it is no longer your food.

All this notwithstanding Rav Greenblatt says it is best to ask him nicely if he would like to make a Bracha, or at least listen to your Bracha and answer Amein.

He also relates the following moving story. He was once in a taxi from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim and the taxi driver pulled out a bottle of coke and gave him a cup offering him a drink. Rav Greenblatt asked the driver to pull over as he took out a Yarmulka from his pocket and told him he would drink only if the driver also makes a bracha and drinks. Together they made the bracha. The taxi drivers eyes filled with tears and thanked the Rav warmly telling him it was the first time in forty years that he made a bracha. Rav Greenblatt encouraged him to continue.

From here, says Rav Greenblatt, we see that we can influence others and therefore although technically there are ways around this sticky issue, it always pays to gently try.

And who knows better than Rav Ephraim Greenblatt zt"l who served as Rov of Memphis, Tennessee for half a century and gently brought many hearts closer to Hashem. Yehi Zichro Boruch.

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha. We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation. Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.