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Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Vayechi

Cruise Control   

Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Rav Yehoshua Sova

December 16, 2021



Zevulun will dwell on the coast of the seas; he will be at the harbor of the ships, and his boundary will be at Tzidon.

Bereishis 49:13

There are many halachic issues that arise when embarking on a cruise on the high seas, a few of which we will mention here. To properly deal with all the issues, one must be aware of them in advance and prepare accordingly.[1]

One issue is kashrus. Due to the large size of the kitchen staff on a cruise, a vigilant mashgiach is necessary to ensure that nonkosher food is not served. Additionally, he must verify that kosher and nonkosher keilim are not washed together, which may cause nonkosher blios (absorbed tastes) to migrate into the formerly kosher keilim. In addition, the mashgiach must prevent the keilim from being switched while in port.

One must be cognizant of the problem of bishul on Shabbos if the non-Jewish staff warms up TV dinners after Shabbos begins, since the food might not yet be fully defrosted and edible.

Another concern is chalav Yisrael. Even one who does not avoid chalav stam milk must be aware that on a cruise, milk is sometimes sourced from countries where the governmental oversight on milk production is not to American standards, so R’ Moshe Feinstein’s heter to drink regular milk may not apply.

Another issue is tznius (depending upon the weather and region), as some passengers may not be modestly attired.

[1] For a fuller discussion of the issues, see the article by Rabbi Zvi Goldberg of the Star-K, “Don’t Miss the boat: Halachic Guidelines of Kosher Cruises, available at


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