Terumot 6:3

By :  Daniel Nevins Former Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School and the Division of Religious Leadership Posted On Jan 1, 2008 | Mishnat Hashavua

Who pays the penalty for eating forbidden foods—the host or the guest?

המאכיל את פועליו ואת אורחיו תרומה הוא משלם את הקרן והם משלמין את החומש דברי ר”מ וחכמים אומרים הם משלמין קרן וחומש והוא משלם להם דמי סעודתן:

If one serves his employees or his guests terumah [i.e., food tithed as a gift for the kohen; unwitting consumption by an Israelite requires repayment plus a twenty percent penalty], he should pay the principal, and they should pay the twenty percent penalty, according to Rabbi Meir. The Sages say that they [the employees or guests] must pay both principal and penalty, and [the host] must reimburse them for the cost of their meal.


Both the host and the guest have made an error. Although the host appears to be more at fault, it is his guests who have actually eaten the forbidden food. Responsibility is shared between the parties for the violation.


  1. Extrapolating to kashrut, should a guest ask the host how the food was acquired and prepared?
  2. How should we balance the host’s dignity with our own ritual requirements?