Is there a problem with a non-Jewish babysitter making quick oats for a baby in regards to Bishul Akum? If yes, what do you suggest to avoid it?


There is no problem with a non-Jew making quick oats since it is not עולה על שולחן מלכים.

It is important to note that there are particular Kashrus concerns that apply if a non-Jewish helper or worker (e.g. nanny, carpenter, etc.) is left alone in our home, as described below. To avoid any Kashrus problems with our food and dishes, it is highly recommended to lock access to the kitchen, or alternatively, to arrange a Yotzei V’nichnas (coming in and out continuously) system.

An effective Yotzei V’nichnas system consists of two parts: a) We tell the workers that they are not to use our dishes or handle our food, and b) We frequently have a Jew come into our home without notice during our absence.

Another option is to set up a CCTV surveillance camera system and inform the helper that the cameras are being monitored. The non-Jewish helper’s concern that they might “be caught in the act” will keep them from doing anything that is against our wishes. Even if we stay out for a lengthy period of time, though not ideal, as long as the helper is not aware of our schedule—how long we will be out of the house—the food is permitted to be used.

If an adequate supervision system is not in place, meat and other foods such as dairy products, oil, bread, or Mevushal wine should not be accessible to them to be switched for non-kosher food. The non-Jewish helpers may also not have access to our pots and pans, as well as our ovens, as they could use them for their own Treif, non-kosher, food, or mix milk and meat in our pots. We do not have to lock up all cooking utensils; we can tape the relevant areas shut so that any tampering would be immediately noticeable. Alternatively, we can neutralize the stove, oven, and microwave (e.g. shutting off the electricity to the oven), so that they are not usable while we are out of the home.

In the event that vessels, dishes, or pots, were left in the presence of non-Jews, they are permissible after the fact, but it is preferable to wait twenty-four hours before using them for hot food.

In a case of necessity, such as a senior citizen who has a non-Jewish aide, and none of the above-mentioned solutions are feasible, we should provide the non-Jewish helpers with their own set of dishes, pots, and pans, as well their own microwave oven, and then we need not be concerned that they will use our pots. However, if the worker does not do any cooking and only cleans the house, and is regularly served lunch by us or another Jew, there is room for leniency to leave the pots accessible to them (unless the worker is alone in our home for an extended period of time).