Question: May a person deduct necessary household expenditures, such as food and clothing, before giving maaser k’safim?

Short Answer: Some poskim allow a deduction for necessary personal and household expenses. However, the consensus of the contemporary poskim is to the contrary, that no such deduction is allowed.

Question: Is there a prohibition of Bishul Akum on milk that was pasteurized by an akum?

Short Answer: Many contemporary poskim rule that there is no prohibition of Bishul Akum on pasteurized milk.

A young avreich from Jerusalem fell ill and had to undergo a complex brain operation at a medical center located in the former Yugoslavia. In order to translate from English what the medical team was saying, the father of the avreich asked his friend R’ Yosef Rafoul, shlita, to accompany them on their journey. Upon arrival, they immediately made an appointment to see a top surgeon at the prestigious Institute for Neurosurgery in Belgrade, Serbia, who specialized in brain operations of the type required by the avreich. After days of exhaustive tests, the surgeon fixed a date for the operation.

Question: Does a person violate Bishul Akum on a food that he eats raw but the general population does not normally eat raw?

Short Answer: According to most poskim, Bishul Akum is based on the general populace’s eating preferences, and thus, the person would violate Bishul Akum. This has practical ramifications for sushi.

Question: Is there a prohibition of Bishul Akum on potatoes, French fries, and potato chips that are cooked by an akum?

Short Answer: Many poskim rule that potatoes are subject to Bishul Akum, while French fries and potato chips are tougher calls. The OU’s position is that French fries and potato chips are not subject to Bishul Akum.

Question: May a respected person (“adam chashuv”) eat foods that were cooked by an akum where the food is edible when eaten raw?

Short Answer: Many poskim are strict on this issue, but the OU appears to rely on the lenient poskim, including the Aruch HaShulchan.