It is prohibited to derive pleasure from this world without reciting a berachah. Even a Jew who is not observant is required to recite berachos over food. In fact, there are a number of anecdotes about the Vilna Gaon in which he encountered heretics and warned them that they would be held accountable for every berachah that they failed to recite. This seems surprising, because the berachos of a heretic are meaningless. (This is even true if his heretical views are the result of his deficient education.) Seemingly, it is pointless to encourage a nonbeliever to recite a berachah. However, a heretic should be encouraged to recite berachos over food in case he recants from his heretical convictions at that moment. If the recital of berachos is a step in his growth process, there is certainly great value in encouraging a heretic to do so — even if there is no inherent value in the berachah of a nonbeliever.
This is one side of the coin, feeding a non-observant Jew in your home. What about eating in the homes of one’s “mekarevees?” We will not be going into this question in depth. As a maskanah, Rav Dovid Cohen paskens that if someone is shomer Torah u’mitzvos, then you can eat by them. But, if they are not keeping kashrus in some areas, you should not eat there, period.
Please refer to the archives below for the previously published chapters of the Laws of Outreach:
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