I have been self employed for over 6 years and have been trying to find full-time work that would provide me a consistent cash flow. I am a Conservative Jew born to Orthodox parents. I mention all of this background because I have a company who is about to make me a job offer; however, they are in the business of manufacturing crab cakes. Would it be wrong for me to work for a company that produces non-kosher products even though I try to maintain a kosher life style for myself? I truly could use the job assuming an offer is made to me, but I am worried that this would be viewed as unethical or immoral. Can someone let me know what Judaic Law says about such actions?
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The Talmud (Pesachim 23a) tells us that it is forbidden to do business with non-kosher food items (see Shulchan Aruch YD 117:1). The commentators disagree as to whether this prohibition is biblical or rabbinic in nature (see Pischei Tshuva 6 and the Nachlas Tzvi). This is only a prohibition on edible foods. Some say the reason for the prohibition is that a person may come inadvertently come to eat the forbidden food. This prohibition of doing business with treif food is only a prohibition in the case of a biblically prohibited food, which is the case with crab. It is unclear to me what your role in the business is. There is lengthy discussion about whether a person may work for a non-Jew who sells treif. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:51) permits one to drive a truck for a company that sells treif. There is also no prohibition if the Jew came into possession of the treif incidentally. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabea Omer Y.D. 4:6) extends this leniency to one who is having difficulty finding another job, and is temporarily working for a company that sells treif while trying to find other work. In short, this is a serious issue, biblical in nature according to most. But it is impossible to give specific psak halacha without knowing the particulars both of the person’s life and the job.
I have been self-employed for over 6 years and have been trying to find full-time work that would provide me a consistent weekly cash flow. I am a Convservative Jew born to Orthodox parents. I mention all of this background because I have a company who is about to make me a job offer; however, they are in the business of manufacturing Crab Cakes would it be wrong for me to work for a company that produces Non-kosher products even though I try to maintain a Kosher life style for myself? I truly could use the job assuming an offer is made to me, but I am worried that this would be viewed as unethical or immoral. Can someone let me know what Judaic Law says about such actions?
You ask an interesting question.
The Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) in Chapter 117 of Yoreh Deah deals the restrictions of selling non-kosher food. As a rule, one may not derive financial benefit when selling non-kosher food. The rationale behind this proscription is to prevent the Jewish person from eating it. The Talmudic Encyclopedia frequently reiterates that anything that is not physically consumed by the person, is not in the category of benefiting from a forbidden foodstuff.
However, this rule does not apply so long as he never takes actual physical possession of the forbidden food.
One of the more interesting questions centers on whether a Jewish person can work as a cook and serve non-kosher food for a gentile. Indeed, this case is somewhat analogous to a Jewish salesman who works for a company that sells treif, or other non-kosher foods—and this would be analogous to your own situation with respect to working for a crab company.
Such problems have arisen in the past generations, since employment has always been a chronic problem for the poor Jews of Eastern Europe. Several Halachic scholars (but certainly not all!) are lenient about this given the scarcity of jobs for Jews.
Rav Moshe Feinstein allowed someone to take a job that involved transporting non-kosher meat.
After reading your original question, it was unclear whether you were working as a computer programmer, or as a marketing professional. Even if you were an actual salesman, the only restriction I can foresee is not directly selling the product to a Jewish nursing home or some other Jewish institution.
Best of luck,
Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel
 Talmudic Encyclopedia Vol. 1. S.v. Ain Isur Chal al Siur.
Providing for yourself and your family is a fairly high priority and an obligation ethically and in Jewish law.
You can see the answers to question number 850 (http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=850) on Jewish values online about serving as a personal chef in a non-kosher facility; there the responses are that it is permissible, so long as the Jewish person is not eating the treif (non-kosher) items. I see that as the same situation you are in.
More, there is sanction for dealing with things in business that are otherwise proibited in Jewish law. Looking at Mishnah Avodah Zarah we find that in 1:8 Rabbi Eliezer allows one to make adornments for an idol for a wage. That would seem to be an even more direct violation of Jewish law, values, and ethics than working for a company that produced non-Kosher foodstuff.
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