Ask the Rov: I forgot food under a stroller with my child sleeping. May the food be eaten?
By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin – Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah
Chazal teach that one should not place food or drink under a bed.1 The reason for this halacha is the subject of debate amongst Rishonim.
The Rambam explains the concern is that a harmful substance may fall in without the person realizing it.2 But others explain that a ruach ra’ah (evil spirit) rests on such food, and this is the reason quoted in Shulchan Aruch.3 According to this reason, the concern applies even if the food is sealed.4 Though some poskim are lenient regarding raw foods, the Alter Rebbe does not differentiate between the two.5
What is the halacha of such food after the fact? While some poskim hold that the food may still be consumed,6 others hold the food is prohibited, and it should be disposed of to prevent others from mistakenly consuming it.7 The Rebbe Rashab was stringent and even discussed whether Tobacco left under a bed may be smoked.8
Is an airplane seat or stroller also considered a “bed”?
Some poskim hold the issue only applies to a proper bed designated for sleeping, and according to some, only a bed for adults.9 This would exclude a baby stroller.10 Additionally, poskim are lenient if the food is completely off the ground, like under a plane or bus seat.11 Food under a pillow or inside one’s pockets while sleeping is permitted.12
Conversely, putting food under a bed on which no one is sleeping is a machlokes among poskim. Some say that its designation for sleep brings a ruach ra’ah, while others hold it’s only an issue if someone is sleeping on it at the time, and that is the accepted custom.13
In practice, any food left under the bed of a sleeping person should be thrown out. Yet, if it involves significant loss, one should consult a rov.
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From The Weekly Farbrengen by Merkaz Anash