Volume 12 Number 41
                       Produced: Thu Apr  7 22:30:31 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chumrot and Kashrut (2)
         [Robert A. Book, Leonard Oppenheimer]
Glatt Pots (2)
         [Janice Gelb, Leonard Oppenheimer]


From: <rbook@...> (Robert A. Book)
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 12:59:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Chumrot and Kashrut

Frank Silbermann <fs@...> writes:
> I am skeptical of the wisdom of this reasoning.  Suppose I take on a
> Chumra to be better accepted by a local community, but then my
> grandchildren decide that they'd rather not keep it.  Considering the
> importance of keeping the Minhagim of one's fathers, exactly how much
> freedom will my grandchildren have to drop this Chumra?

Perhaps you could tell them not that "we are keeping this Chumra" but
that "we are respecting these people here in this community, and they
keep this Chumra, so we do in their presence."  You could even
underscore this point by, for example, not insisting on this Chumra when
visiting friends or relatives in a community which doesn't keep it.

This way, they will be perfectly justified in keeping your minhag of
respecting the community, but temporarily going by the Chumrot of the
community in which they happen to be at a particular moment.

--Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  Rice University

From: <leo@...> (Leonard Oppenheimer)
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 12:26:59 -0500
Subject: Chumrot and Kashrut

Frank Silberman writes:
> Leora added:
> > Another issue that comes up here is doing what the rest of the
> > community does.  If the entire community does something that you feel
> > is a chumra, it sometimes makes sense to keep that chumra anyway, just
> > in order to avoid situations like this, just because you want to be
> > part of the community.  If you davka don't keep that chumra, there may
> > be some perception that you don't care all that much about belonging
> > to that community.
> I am skeptical of the wisdom of this reasoning.  Suppose I take on a
> Chumra to be better accepted by a local community, but then my
> grandchildren decide that they'd rather not keep it.  Considering the
> importance of keeping the Minhagim of one's fathers, exactly how much
> freedom will my grandchildren have to drop this Chumra?
> To bind my descendents for perhaps thousands of years, unnecessarily, to
> an additional rule for the sake of my own personal convenience and
> popularity seems to me to be more than a little selfish.

First of all, there is a simple way out for any descendents.  If a person
takes on a chumra or "minhag tov" (righteous custom) and later chooses to
cease this practice because of some hardship, he may attain an annullment
of the "vow" by going to 3 Jews and asking them for the annulment as a
court.  The process is reproduced in the Hatoras Nedorim that we say before
Rosh Hashana.  In that text we specifically annul any obligation of "any
righteous custom that I have practiced without being careful to to specify
that I was not vowing to so practice".

Secondly, no less important than "keeping the Minhagim of one's fathers"
is the keeping of the minhagim of the place in which one lives (Minhag
HaMakom).  Although with today's mobile society this is of lesser
importance than it used to be, if in fact there is a custom that the ENTIRE
community keeps, it may rise to that level.  In any public practice, Minhag
HaMakom has precedence over Minhag Avos.  (I do not know how that applies to
the kashrut standard in your private home.)

The issue also touches on the prohibition of "Lo Tisgodidu", which is taken
by our Sages to include not dividing Jews into seperate camps of practice.
(How this is overcome by Chassidim/Misnagdim, Satmar/Lubavitch,
Sefard/Ashkenaz makes for an interesting discussion).  But it certainly
does include an individual who is transgressing the rabbinic adage "Al
Tifrosh Min Hatzibbur", (do not seperate yourself from the community).
There are many places where this dictum is used to castigate those that
"know better" than the community.  One should CYLOR when contemplating
striking out on one's own.

Moadim LeSimcha,
Lenny Oppenheimer


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 1994 19:10:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Glatt Pots

Leora Morgenstern writes (vol. 12, no. 28):
>I sympathize with Ben Zion, but I can also understand the other point of
>view.  I know the difference between halacha and chumra, but I wouldn't
>want to eat chicken prepared by people who didn't keep Glatt -- at
>least, not in America.  The reason is that I don't know any butchers
>whom I trust who sell non-Glatt meat.  I haven't come across many such
>butchers, but those that I have have been very problematic for some
>reason or other -- e.g., they are not Shomrei Shabbat.  (This is
>something I've noticed not only in New York, but in smaller communities
>as well.)  So I would wonder if the meat that is sold is Kosher
>(l'halacha, not l'chumra): has the salting been done properly?  the
>treibering (deveining)?  Have the chickens been salted properly?  Even
>if one knows that the sh'chitta is perfectly reliable, there are many
>important functions which the butcher performs, and it is important to
>have complete trust.
> (The point is not that non-Glatt butchers are necessarily untrustworthy;
> my understanding is that as Glatt has become more popular in America,
> many of the most reputable Kashrut organizations have made a policy of
> giving their hashgachot only to places that carry only Glatt meat.  So
> the butcher shops that care about reliable Hashgachot carry only Glatt
> meat.  So by inference, the other butcher shops, carrying non-Glatt
> meat, are the ones that don't care so much about Hashgachot.  I realize
> this is a gross oversimplification; for one thing, Glatt meat is more
> expensive and this may be a reason for carrying non-Glatt, but given the
> much greater market for Glatt these days, this is probably less of a
> concern than it once was.)

I think this is a lot more than a gross oversimplification: I think
unless you've talked to kosher butchers all over the country and know
exactly why they don't carry only glatt meat, it's close to being
lashon ha'ra. First of all, you say that you "understand" that the most
reputable kashrut organizations only give their hashgachot to butcher
shops that carry only glatt meat. From that unsupported assumption, you
state that you don't know any butchers you trust who sell non-glatt
meat, although by your own admission you don't know very many
non-glatt-only butchers. Then from that statement, you infer that the
ones who carry non-glatt meat don't care so much about hashgachot. 

You seem to be saying here that there are two kinds of hasgachot in the
given community for butchers: one that is reliable and one that is not.
How long could a hashgacha organization stay in business if it was
known or proved to be unreliable? Do you think that just because people
are not keeping a chumra they wouldn't investigate hashgachot and
insist on reliable ones (assuming you can accept that a hashgacha 
can be reliable while not insisting on this chumra).

Also, I can think of a reason for a butcher carrying other than glatt
meat that you haven't mentioned here: there are many observant Jews who
are outraged at this chumra and davka deliberately buy non-glatt meat
to make a point that glatt is not necessary. I can easily see a whole
community with this outlook and the kosher butcher who serves them in

> So, I'd also have a problem eating other foods at a home that used
> non-Glatt meat; I'd wonder: don't they care if their butcher is
> reliable?  Perhaps they don't know?  Either answer wouldn't make me feel
> too comfortable.  I realize that this is not the situation in Israel,
> where there are very reliable hashgachot for non-Glatt meat, and it may
> not have been the case at the time when Ben Zion's story took place.
> It's also possible that there are perfectly reliable butchers that sell
> non- Glatt meat today in America, of which I'm not aware, which might
> also alter the situation.

I am sorry to sound rude, but I find this line of reasoning chutzpahdik
in the extreme: some people have chosen to keep a chumra and then they
disparage the reliability of people who have chosen *not* to keep a
chumra, using the rationale that if they're choosing not to keep this
chumra, who knows if they really truly are careful about anything at

> There have been
> situations (concerning non-Glatt households) where I've felt a lot of
> pressure, and I've wondered: who's being intolerant?  I, for insisting
> on a particular standard?  Or they, in insisting that good relations can
> be preserved only if I eat their cooking?
> I don't know if there are any easy answers to these situations.  Is it
> better to use excuses, or just to say: "I'm sorry, but I'd feel more
> comfortable if I didn't eat at your house" ? 

I think putting pressure on someone to eat at your house if it's 
clear they're not comfortable with the idea is rude. However, I think 
the response also depends on how you refuse the invitation. Politely 
saying, "I'm sorry, we don't feel comfortable eating out" is one 
thing, and even explaining that you keep cholov yisroel or glatt 
is another. However, surely in a frum community there are some food 
items that everyone can agree on. I also think it goes past the bounds 
of politeness to imply that it's not just the issue of glatt or 
cholov yisroel that bothers you but the implication that if the other 
person doesn't keep these chumrot they must not be too careful about 
other things as well.

-- Janice

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 

From: <leo@...> (Leonard Oppenheimer)
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 14:23:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Glatt Pots

There were two postings in this issue (v12n38) that I would like to respond
to together:

> Frak Silberman writes:
> > Ben Zion Berliant writes (vol. 12, no. 22):
> > I invited them to join me for a Shabbat meal.  The woman declined,
> > explaining that they ate only Glatt, and they knew that I didn't.  I
> > offered to serve only chicken, but she still objected, saying, "But
> > you'll still use the same pots!"

> In vol.12 #28 Leora Morgenstern responded that few non-glatt butchers in
> America are reliable.  I would like to hear more about this.

I have heard this many times from many sources, most recently from Rav
Dovid Cohen and Rabbi Berel Wein (who are both considered experts in the
field of Kashrus.)  Since there were so many egregious problems with
Kashrus for meat years ago, the relatively minor problem of glatt became
the sine qua non standard for a reliable butcher.

I remember reading about this in a biography of Rabbi Jacob Joseph, the
first Chief Rabbi of New York.  His career was unfortunately marred by
his inability to succeed in winning the battles against fraudulent
practices in the Kosher butcher industry.  (Unfortunately I don't
remeber the name of the book.)

Unless one knows something specifically about the practices of the
non-Glatt butcher, I would be VERY hesitant about using their products.

Benjamin Svetitsky writes:
> Some of the postings on this subject really got my goat.  As of seven
> years ago, when we lived in Boston, there was no problem with inviting
> Glatt friends over for dinner -- they ate Glatt meat or chicken off our
> pots and dishes, in accordance with the p'sak halacha of the Bostoner
> Rebbe shlit'a, to the effect that non-Glatt is NOT tref.

I do not know the specifics of this Psak.  I can say, though, that NO
posek says that non-glatt is treif.  Glatt kosher is a chumrah, as has
been explained several times.  The issue is the reliability of the
butcher, supra.

> Why does it get my goat?  Because, where do you get off refusing an
> invitation from a Jew who is shomer mitzvot??  Can you PROVE that his
> meat is tref?  Can you PROVE that he violates any mitzvot whose
> violation makes his kitchen untrustworthy?

If in fact one KNOWS that another Jew is abiding by a non-acceptable
Kashrus standard, then proof of what they do with the meat in the
kitchen is irrelevant.  The kitchen, by definition, is tainted with
traces of meat from a sub-standard Kashrus source.  One need not prove
what else that person does or does not do.

> Let's look at the bare bones of the halacha.  "Ed echad ne'eman
> be-issurim."  One witness is sufficient in matters of prohibition.  This
> means that if a shomer-mitzvot Jew tells me that some meat is kosher, I
> can eat it.  

This adage is irrelevant here.  "Ed echad ne'eman be-issurim" only
applies to the admissability of evidence about the unknown.  Here we
know that the person is using a sub-standard hechsher.

> By what right do you insult your friend?  And by what right can you
> force your non-Glatt friend to spend money to get new dishes?

No one is forcing anyone to do anything.  Insult is a function of how
the issue is presented.

> In Israel, you sometimes see notices posted by the Rabbinate announcing
> the withdrawal of supervision from some establishment.  That means, for
> all intents and purposes, that you can't shop there anymore because the
> meat might be tref.  What about your pots?  The posters invariably say
> that you should inquire further if you have such problems.  This means
> that even though there is a possibility of actually tref meat having
> been bought, it is not obvious that the dishes should be replaced.  

I question this reasoning.  The reason one needs to inquire further is
to determine the cause of the hechsher removal.  Was it actual treif,
was it insubordination to the standards of the Kashrus agency, was it
non-payment of fees, etc.  In each case the implications for the end
user vary.  That is the reason one must know more.  If in fact treif
meat was sold, it might very well be the case that the dishes are treif.
This involves very difficult issues of Ta'aruvos (mixtures of kosher and
non-kosher) which must be decided on a case by case basis by a competent

> The situation in Israel is actually more difficult than in galut.  I'm
> not referring to meat, but to produce.  It all has to be tithed, and
> the penalty for eating tevel--untithed produce--is probably karet
> (death at the hands of God), a situation which I believe is impossible
> in galut.  But the halacha is that I don't have to worry when I eat in
> somebody else's house, and God forbid that I ask a shomer-mitzvot Jew
> whether he tithed his vegetables correctly.

This is because of two factors:

a) Most opinions hold that all of the Ma'aser laws are only deRabbanan (of
   Rabbinic authority) today.  Thus there is no question of Karet.

b) The Rabbanut HaRashit takes at least a minimum of Ma'aser for all
produce procured through Tnuva, which is the source of the overwhelming
majority of all fruit sold.  Thus, one does not make a bracha when taking
Ma'aser, since it is a safek whether or not it is neccesary.  At worst the
produce is d'mai (questionable tevel), not tevel.

> Let's hear more about chumrot regarding sinat chinam, shall we?

I couldn't agee more.  But I must question whether an attempt to live by
a higher standard of Kashrus neccesarily implies that such person
harbors sinat chinam towards those who don't keep that standard.  It is
a grave disservice to all of us to bandy that charge around lightly.

This is especially so in the case of Kashrus, where traditionally
Chumros are more acceptable than in other areas.  I don't remember who
said this, but a great Rov explained the severity of Kashrus laws as
emanating from the danger of "Timtum HaLev" (Stopping up of the heart).
According to this idea, the danger of non-kosher food goes beyond the
substantive law, it affects a person's soul.  The more a person's
physical essence is made of non-kosher material, the less that physical
body can be a vessel for containing the holiness of a Jewish soul.

May we all merit to infuse our selves with holiness.
Moadim LeSimchah,


End of Volume 12 Issue 41