Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jonathan Steffen

Fourteen days of confinement to base were imposed on a Nahal Brigade cook who lit fire on Shabbat at an outpost on the Lebanese border, to prepare a dish for a vegetarian soldier. According to Ynet, the incident took place last Saturday in one of the outposts on the northern front, where the battalion conducts operations.

During the Shabbat it became clear that apart from bread and salads, there was no warm meal left for the vegetarian soldier, because all the warm dishes prepared on Friday at the outpost for Shabbat included meat or meat gravy.


Following the vegetarian soldier’s request, the cook lit a fire on Shabbat and cooked a packet of chickpeas for him. An officer who noticed this reported the incident to the battalion commander and the cook was court martialed.

According to Ha’aretz, before the cook went on trial, a military rabbi was summoned to the base and gave him a harsh reprimand, explaining that his violation would necessitate re-kashering the entire kitchen. According to the leading poskim, vessels that were used for cooking on Shabbat are traif and must be kashered according to the halakhic principle of “the way it was swallowed is the way it must be repelled.” However, a number of poskim suggest that a Jews who cooks on Shabbat is tantamount to a gentile in this regard, and one must only wait a period of time Saturday night before using the vessels without kashering.

The IDF said that the chef had made two mistakes when he did not prepare suitable food for the vegan soldiers before Shabbat, and when he lit fire during the Sabbath and did not use the alternatives in the kitchen he could prepare a vegan dish for the fighter.

The IDF spokesman said in response: “Cooking on Shabbat is contrary to military orders, which is why the cook was court martialed. An investigation revealed that the battalion’s kitchen has a variety of alternative solutions and special vegetarian dishes that do not require cooking on Shabbat. The IDF takes care of the welfare of all the soldiers and makes sure to provide a variety of suitable solutions for vegetarian soldiers.”

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