Oct 28, 2015

Chief Rabbi vs the Rabbanut

Corn on the Cob is great food. Unfortunately it has been the target of some of the "bug infestation experts" (quotation marks are not to indicate that those people are not really experts, but because I made up that title) people.

They say that corn on the cob cannot be eaten because it is infested and cannot be cleaned. The only way to eat corn on the cob would be off the cob - you'd have to cut the kernels off and then eat it like simple corn.

The Chief Rabbi happens to disagree.

Rav Yitzchak Yosef is quoted as having said in a shiur that not everything written by the bug expert is correct or accurate. Rav Yosef said that "he prohibits eating dates, he prohibits eating strawberries, he prohibits eating sunflower seeds, he prohibits eating corn on the cob... I don't know what he allows [people to eat] - everything is prohibited, prohibited, prohibited. Why? Because he found bugs!"

Rav Yosef went on to say that not everything is assur, and he then related a story of when he was out with his students in a camp and the boys wanted to buy corn on the cob from someone selling it nearby. WHen he bought the corn, one of the students protested, upset about the corn being infested. Rav Yosef relates that he challenged the boys to find him a single bug - he offered $1 for every bug found in the corn. Sure enough, not a single bug was discovered. 100 boys carefully inspecting the corn for bugs so they could earn some money, and not a single bug was found!

Rav Yosef said, sure, you need to look for bugs, so look. If you find one, remove it. That does not make it assur to eat.

Kipa points out that Rav Yosef's statement about corn on the cob is against the directives issued by the Rabbanut. The Rabbanut takes the position that corn on the cob cannot be eaten due to bug infestation.

Kipa also points out that this puts the group of people about to be tested by the Rabbanut for certification as kashrus supervisers in a tough spot. How are they supposed to answer such a question on the test - according to the Rabbanut's position, or according to the Chief Rabbi's position?

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  1. People obsessed with bugs aren't quite as annoying as those obsessed with women, but they're about just as silly.

  2. Notice, however, that the Chief Rabbi said you have to check before you eat. How many people actually check for bugs when they eat corn on the cob?

  3. Also there is a question of how to check it. One approach is that you can't "see" the bugs because they dive into the middle. So I was taught to cut them in half lengthwise to see what's in the middle, then cook & eat it.


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