Mar 7, 2011

Kashrus Problems

2 items of interest happened in the past couple of days in the kashrus world. Probably more than 2 things happened, but 2 that meet both of the following criteria:

  1. I am aware of the event having happened
  2. I find it interesting
1. Maariv has an article on something Rav Avraham Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Holon, said in his halacha shiur on the radio the other day. The truth is that the headline claiming was he said is a bit sensationalist, as if you read the article you will see the actual quote and it is not what the headline claims he said.

Rav Yosef was asked in his radio show if it is ok to eat mehudar meat, that is chalak beit yosef (a point Maariv fudged as well, confusing the standard of chalak with the name of the 3rd party hechsher), under the hechsher of the Rabbanut.

Rav Yosef, who is a member of the Vaad of Kashrus of the Rabbanut, responded, "I do not buy meat that is chalak beit yosef under the hechsher of the Rabbanut, and that is all i can say".

The headline claims he is telling people not to rely on the Rabbanut, but in reality he only said he himself does not eat it. We find all the time, right or wrong, that mashgichim work for companies and certify based on the standards used by the agency, and they themselves do not eat from their own hechsher because they prefer to use only higher standards. I know many people who build eruvin, but they themselves will not carry within them. That alone is nothing unusual, and it is a far cry from claiming that he said other people should not. even if it is implied. 

He did not say the Rabbanut meat is neveilos and treifos and nobody can rely on it. Perhaps he could have worded it better saying something like I myself prefer to only eat meat with certain standards that the Rabbanut is not careful about, but even what he said was not a call for people to abandon the Rabbanut.

2. After the incident of the rosh yeshiva at the wedding who got upset regarding the chosson's minhag of not having a yichud room pitstop after the chupa, another sephardi rosh yeshiva is in the news making waves for a similar incident. This one is of a rosh yeshiva who got upset at his students wedding in beit She'an when he found out the wedding was being catered using chickens from the Atara company under the hechsher of Beit Yosef, as run by Rav Ovadia and his family. When he found out, he announced that is leaving the wedding, and will not conduct the ceremony. He further said that the chosson must not have any yiras shamayim if this is the hechsher he chose for the wedding. He further refused saying that Beis Yosef is a hechsher that causes people to eat neveilos and treifos and he therefore cannot perform at the wedding.

A solution was found when they arranged to serve the yeshiva boys and rosh yeshiva food under the hechsher of Rav Machpud instead. He found the solution satisfactory and performed the ceremony. (source: Kikar)

In response, the administrators of Beit Yosef said that this rosh yeshiva has never visited the shlachthouse, nor called them to clarify their standards, and therefore there is no way he can make such a statement. In addition, they said 90% of the sefardi yeshivas serve their boys from Atara and the beit Yosef hechsher (90% sounds like a lot, but thats what he said). This rosh yeshiva has a past of being against Rav Ovadiah, he has thrown out boys from yeshiva for watching Rav Ovadiah's shiurim. 

The question is what he knows and does not know. Most of what we eat, and how we decide which hechsher we rely on and which we do not is almost completely, for most people, based on rumors, hearsay and innuendo. Very few people call up the hechshers and ask for a list of policy and standards and then make decisions. We eat this because we heard it is reliable, we dont eat that because we heard it is not. If he did not visit the shlachthouse, or send someone on his behalf to conduct such a survey, he should not be able to make such a drastic claim. He can recommend against eating it, as many people recommend against eating various hechsherim without personal knowledge, but saying they deal in neveilos and treifos without specific knowledge of that being accurate is slander and evil.

9 comments:

  1. My father used to say that if the Arabs wanted to wipe out Israel, all they had to do is make a genuine peace with us.
    Within a generation we'd all be dead from infighting.

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  2. I'll tell you a story about this second Rosh Yeshiva.

    When I was in Yeshiva in E"Y, I was learning Kaf HaHayim for Halacha Seder, and my Mashgiah (at an Ashkenazi Yeshiva - whom I still greatly respect despite this story) sent me over to this Rosh Yeshiva's house late at night to talk to him about what I should be learning for Halacha seder. (His Yeshiva and home were a short distance from my Yeshiva at the time. Since then, both Yeshivot have apparently moved to different neighborhoods.) Later, I realized this was a setup.

    He talked to me in English, which was very good - he apparently learned in Gateshead. He told me that although the Kaf HaHayim was a great rabbi, he didn't compare to the Hafetz Hayim in learning, and therefore, I should be learning Mishna Berura. I also asked him about learning Yalkut Yosef (Rav Ovadia Yosef's son's multi-volume halacha sefer, which was just coming out at the time and very popular). He told me that half of the halachot in Yalkut Yosef is a mistake. I was young and naive at the time, and I followed what he said. I later realized that there was a huge anti-Rav Ovadia movement in the neighborhood I was in. His plan backfired. I'm now more pro-Rav Ovadia than ever.

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  3. Well, Rafi, as a Shochet, do you have any recommendation re. the meat of Rabbanut Hechsherim?

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  4. I have not personally investigated the quality and standards of any specific hechsher, and therefore I dont make any recommendations regarding what is reliable or not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. All stories like these do for me is lose faith in any Rabbi I am not familiar with. I only respect Rabbanim that I have met personally and think are honest and don't have agendas. It is a sad statement, but if I don't know a Rabbi on a personal level I am very suspicious.

    Oh well, what are we gonna do? Kashrus is a huge scam, but how else are we gonna rely on what is kosher?

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  6. and since when in the last 5 years has not knowing any or all the facts stopped a rabbi from paskening or commenting?

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  7. Several weeks ago, I was listening to R. Avraham Yosef's radio show, and a caller asked if she could give food under regular rabbanut hechsher that she acquired accidentally to a neighbor who eats it, or if it would be considered being "machshil" them.
    R. Yosef objected to the question and particularly to the term machshil. He said, that rabbanut hechsher is kasher. Even though it is good to be machmir, not everyone can or chooses to. He said he would eat rabbanut poultry if he was invited to someone's house and they are careful about kashrut but use rabbanut. When asked about beef, he responded that he would even eat beef.
    He also pointed out that for certain products the rabbanut hechsher is better than the badatzim, and since he is in the kashrut field he knows what they are and avoids those products.

    On another occasion during shemitta, he was asked about heter mechira. He said that in his home they buy only shemitta lechumra, but heter mechira is permissible and if someone brought him heter mechira or if he accidentally bought it, he would eat it.

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  8. Watch how you speak about Rabbanim because of you bastard we lost the baeis hamikdash! Just wait till you come up there Hashem will show you...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Watch how you speak about Rabbanim because of you bastard we lost the baeis hamikdash! Just wait till you come up there Hashem will show you...

    ReplyDelete

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