Aug 21, 2007

Do you agree?

In this past weeks Torah Tidbits, they wrote,

"Been thinking of different ways to present the following or possibly not even presenting it. let's do it straight.

I was greatly upset to see the falafel stores on King George corner Agrippas open on Tisha b'Av. Including Leil Tisha b'Av! (One of the two; both were open during the day.) My challenge to them was met with "talk to the Baal HaBayit". I went a step higher - I called the hashgacha people who give them their mehadrin supervision. Thought they might not have known. They knew. They even gave their permission, with the following reason: People who eat on Tisha B'Av would probably eat in less kosher or non-kosher places if these places wouldn't be available.

My opinion: Restaurants should not be open on Tisha b'Av. Hashgachot should be removed from places that flaunt this rule. (And I think people who want falafel in that area of town should buy at MAOZ on King George, who stays closed on Tisha b'Av.) --Phil (personal)

What say you?"

I do not know if restaurants should be open or not on Tisha b'Av. I have a feeling they should not be, but there is no actual issur and at worst it is d'rabbanan to eat on tisha b'av.

What I do not understand is this - every year coime tisha b'av we hear complaints from the frum, be it the politicians or the askanim or the rabbonim or the frum media, about all the coffee shops open in Tel Aviv and the people who go out to eat and ignore the fact that it is Tisha b'Av.

And it is sad that people do not recognize the seriousness of the day, even if just on a cultural and historical level if not on a halachic level.

Yet, we hear all these complaints from the frum community. We hear from the politicians how they are going to enforce this law or that law about the restaurants being closed and we get shown pictures in the frum papers of people sitting in the coffee shops of Sheinkin Street or Dizengoff Square.

Phil's letter tells us that the frum community allows this to happen. How can we complain about what is going on when we are assisting them? I would be hesitant to call it mesayeia l'dvar aveira, but it can't be too far off from that.

How can we complain that the secular are so insensitive to Jewish history as they sit eating their steaks or drinking their espressos, while we then offer them mehadrin hechsherim for their restaurants?

Is it all just money - we complain about them but since they do it anyway we will be happy to take their money?

And what does that mean, "People who eat on Tisha B'Av would probably eat in less kosher or non-kosher places if these places wouldn't be available."? Does that really justify it? What about giving hechsherim to restaurants open on shabbos - they would be eating anyways, so maybe we should make sure they are at least eating kosher and even mehadrin!! (oh yeah, shabbos is assur d'oraisa, but we can get around that by having payment by credit and a goy cooking and all sorts of solutions to make it only d'rabbonon).

Should we really be concerned about them eating mehadrin when they are doing so on Tisha b'Av? What can possibly be mehadrin about food eaten on tisha b'av anyway?

If a restaurant wants to be open on tisha b'av, that is sad but that is part of life. Not everybody is religious and not everybody follows the rules of tisha b'av. But do we have to help them by giving them mehadrin hechsherim?

What say you?


  1. a) hechsher is not an ethical issue, it is a factual one. does this restaurant meet our criteria for kosher food mehadrin? yes, ok then, no, ok then. should someone who has a heter to eat on a di'rabbonon fast day be denied the ability to eat there? yom kippur and shabbos are di'oraysos and there are other issues like maras eitin and mekach u'memkar, etc. but tisha'a b'av, sorry - go ahead and fres.

    besides - maybe they are just getting a jump on "kara mo'ed"?

    b) when it comes to a macha'a and the frum community and their money, please....

    people scream and yell, right up to the point that it may cost them extra, then they say, "don't tell me where to spend or not spend my money". too much for here, but this issue is a chilul hashem in our community, and the good people are exceptions, not the rule.

  2. oops - meant maras eiyin, and bishul b'shabbos.....

  3. so let me get this straight: the rabbis (frum community) are upset that secular jews, who reject the rabbincal explanations and laws, are upset for not adhering to the rabbinical explanations and laws?

  4. Even those who are allowed to eat may not (or may, depending on their situations, and an apparent stirah in the S"A) be allowed to eat delicasies. While felafel is hardly the food of kings, why would a person need a restaurant in the first place?

    In general, are we talking about take out food, or the ability to sit down (i.e., is this a store or a stand).

    In truth, being open leil tisha b'av and in the morning poses another problem. What heter do they have to work? Furthermore, does the mashgiach have a heter to work? And if not, doesn't that mean that there's no yotzei v'nichnas (if you _know_ he can't show up, then there's no reason to be afraid of a surprise). OTOH, being open in the afternoon would seem OK (esp. if someone wanted to buy takeout for post-fast), and seems to be the minhag hamakom among "frum" establishments as well.

  5. shaya - regarding point a, it is nice but not really true in practice. They add all sorts of extra things into the hechsher; keep shabbos, treat employees humanely, tzaar baalei chaim issues, even cleanliness, atmosphere, perceived level of social scene, etc.

  6. We have to break down the group of people who eat on Tisha b'Av into two groups:
    1)-people who have to eat because of health reasons
    2)-people who eat cause they don't care (we are assuming they don't care but maybe they fall under group 1)
    As far as Tisha b'Av is concerned it is d'rabbanan and people who have to eat because of health reasons can do so after consulting their rabbi and a doctor. This group should not be the concern of the frummies.
    By letting the restaurants to be open; you will let the first group who maybe can't cook and eat because of health reasons to eat there. Again we are assuming that the second group eat because they don't care but maybe they also eat because of health reasons. At the minimum the sick people and the "menuval"* are eating kosher.
    As far as this issue is concerned my honest opinion is these frummies (I am not talking about you Rafi G, I am talking about the holier than thou crowd) should first show some Derech Eretz and Ahavas Yisroel to BTs and Gerim and after that is cleared up, we can go meshugot over stupid issues like this.I mean there are more pressing issues affecting the frum world like the 300,000 to be Jews who have been waiting in line since G-d knows when. Luckily the intelligent politics of Rav Amar and Rav Haim Druckman might bring a solution to this issue soon. Another pressing issue that made my blood boil today was to read that x-Gush Katif residents don’t have a place to pray for Rosh Hashanah.

    *menuval used in a sarcastic tone

  7. dan - are you talking about regarding what I mentioned about tisha b'av? about things being open on shabbos?

    Here nobody was upset. I compared something to a different situation and asked why this is different.

  8. mike - that's right. there are reasons people need to eat, but going out to falafel does not seem to fall into those categories. It is more of a pass by a falafel shop while you are out shopping and pick one uip kind of thing. not a I am hungry and sick and going out for a falafel....

  9. rebel - falafel does not seem to fall into either of those categories. However it still might happen.

    the thing is if it needs to be open and some people need to eat there, so be it, but mehadrin?

    you are right that there are more pressing issues, but I do not believe any issue is mutually exclusive. Meaning, just because there are important issues does not mean one can't or should not deal with the smaller and lesser issues. Also, this is just a symbol of the same hypocricy. So even though the manifestation is a simple issue of a falafel stand, it is really part of a bigger issue.

    the shul thing is very distrubing and hopefully the latest initiative will help them solve that.

  10. You know what is wrong here? Most normal people go to both these stores for their SHUWARMA.

    Yes they have felafel, and I usually ask them to put a ball in my SHUWARMA. But these are SHUWARMA stores that also sell felafel.

  11. joe - that makes it even a bit more serious, as one should not be eating meat....

  12. The Star K allows a restaurant - specifically a bagel store - under its hashgacha to be open for carry out on fast days. That way people can buy for after the fast.

  13. I have too much to say. It will be the topic of a book I will write one day (bl'n) "Orthodoxy Gone Mad"

    But in a nutshell -- there are pro's and con's either way.

  14. whoa - you used your real name! welcome!


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