Feb 12, 2017

Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef says Rav Vaye got his bug issue wrong

There are some people who think that only Rav Vaye (expert rabbi in bug infestations in fruits and vegetables) have the right to have an opinion/stance on such matters, and nobody else, no matter how learned that person might be or how involved and knowledgeable in kashut matters that person might be, if this person's opinion is any different than Rav Vaye's, it is to be discounted and rejected. Rav Vaye is the expert and nobody else can have an opinion or psak. When I asked such a person about kashrut organizations that pasken differently than Rav Vaye, such as regarding how to deal with strawberries, the response was that he is the expert, Rav Elyashiv said so, and therefore they are not experts and do not know what they are talking about - only Rav Vaye and the people he himself has trained, have the right to pasken on such matters.

I have no problem with people wanting to follow the psak of Rav Vaye. If they want to check certain fruits or greens a certain way, or stay away from others, because of what Rav Vaye paskened about those items, labriyut, as they say. Eat, don't eat - it is your business, and I don't really care.

What does get to me is the rejection of any other opinion as illegitimate.

Besides for having heard many times from other rabbonim and kashrus organizations how to  check strawberries and corn on the cob, for example, in order to properly eat them, the Chief Rabbi  himself, in a recent shiur about eating Tu B'Shvat fruits, discussed the matter as well.

Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef said that Rav Vaye has done great work raising the awareness of bugs and infestations, thus making people knowledgeable regarding the need to check for bugs. But his approach is wrong. Rav Vaye says you are not allowed to eat strawberries, corn, figs, sunflower seeds... but according to the halacha only when there is a significant minority of infested fruit does one have to check it. Rav Yosef testifies about his father, Rav Ovadia, that he himself would open figs to check them and then give them out to the others to eat. Strawberries, you just need to cut off the top, split them in half, and then eat it.

Rav Yosef describes having bought campers fresh corn on the cob and when one asked about bugs he offered to pay $1 per bug found. He says all 100 students looked very carefully but not one bug was found.

Rav Yosef says about sunflower seeds that Rav Vaye found a bug in one and photographed it, magnified the picture and says they are infested and you can't eat them unless you check every single seed. That is bittul torah, Rav Yosef says! According to halacha [Rav Vaye] is wrong - this is not a significant minority of infested produce - a few bugs in a pack of sunflower seeds? People need to know that not everything is prohibited.

I fully support what Rav Yosef said, as if he needs my support. He is saying exactly what I heard form many other rabbonim. If you want to follow Rav Vaye and avoid corn and avoid strawberries and avoid other fruits, go ahead, but he is not the only voice out there.

and you can hear Rav Yosef say it himself...






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8 comments:

  1. Interesting. Figs and dates and other fruits are native to Eretz Yisrael, yet we don't have a record of Hazal going crazy - or making everyone else crazy - with this issue. Why do we have to be more frum than our holy forefathers?

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    Replies
    1. I have heard two different responses to that form different rabbonim:
      1. of course they checked for bugs. do you think they would eat without checking?
      2. they didnt have to check because they didnt have bugs. we have bug problems and infestations that used to not exist and pesticides have made it worse

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    2. I'd love to hear the explanation for how pesticides have made it worse. Do the people telling you this one not understand what pesticides are for?

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    3. they basically say it is like a virus with antibiotics. eventually the virus learns to adapt and the antibiotic is no longer very effective. the bugs have learned to adapt and the pesticides make us end up with "superbugs", so to speak

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    4. I saw a midrash (quoted by Rav Vaye, IIRC), which implies that figs, at least, used to be picked right after they ripened, before they had a chance to get too buggy.

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  2. Yes, our fruits and vegetables are increasingly being but infested; even being that once some of them didn’t need checking. However, it is wise to check ALL such foods, because now-a-days because of our obstinance in doing teshuva and rampant lashon harah we have inherited BUGS. And all Eretz Yisrael fruits and veggies should be checked and then eaten with a hearty Bracha.

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    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure that when you replace sense and Halachah with mystical garbage, you've created a new religion.

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  3. Rav Eitam Henkin z"l wrote the definitive work on this subject.
    Here's a link to a pre-publication version:
    http://www.michtavim.com/EitamHenkin5770.pdf

    ReplyDelete

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