Volume 29 Number 28
                 Produced: Fri Jul 30  6:18:59 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control" (8)
         [Yeshaya Halevi, Zvi Weiss, Ellen Krischer, Mark Feldman, Carl
M. Sherer, Akiva Miller, Joseph Geretz, Israel Botnick]


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 13:25:23 EDT
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

 Quite right -- but it's been going on for many centuries.  Remember:
the rabbis of yore set up economic sanctions against buying food from a
Jew who may not have gotten rid of his hametz during Pesah, or did not
engage in the "legal fiction" of temporarily selling his hametz to a
            Is there a difference I'm missing?
Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)

From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 12:01:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

> > ===> I do not understand why the poster here believes that the
> > organization that provides hashgacha has no responsibility for the
> > prohibition of Lifnei Ivair.

> I believe this is incorrect halachik usage of the rule of Lifnei Ivair. It
> may be a case of a Rabbinic level Mesaih ledevar averah (assisting one in
> doing an aveira).

 The question appears to be "Trei Evrei D'nahara" -- in other words,
absent the availablity of the "Glatt Yacht", would the people STILL have
been able to readily do "mixed dancing" in this manner.  If the people
*were* makpid on kosher food such that they would NOT do these
activities unless a "Kosher Yacht" was available and this was the ONLY
one, then it seems that there would be a problem of Lifnei Ivair.


From: Ellen Krischer <krischer@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 09:31:39 -0400
Subject: RE: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

     My mother is an orthodox kashrut supervisor in the Greater
Washington Area.  Yes, establishments that are lax about some things may
also be lax about kashrus - THAT'S WHY THEY HIRE A KASHRUT ORGANIZATION.
(Sorry for the shouting.)  Even establishments that are very careful
about all aspects of halacha usually have at least some
non-Jewish/non-observant/non-knowledgeable workers.

> whether the supervising agency has the right to enforce the proprietor's 
>  decision (again, most likely, yes)
> If you want hasgacha, you follow the rules of that agency or else you
> look elsewhere.

Kosher supervisors (mashgichim) are paid independantly of the
establishments and are not associated with any policy stated or implied
of the establishment.  They are paid by the Kashrut Organization they
are associated with to supervise FOOD.  They are trained in procedures
for the preparation of FOOD and any associated Shabbat and other laws
that hinge on the preparation of FOOD.  Why should a Kashrut
Organization have rules about *anything* other than FOOD!

Kashrut Supervisors are not all Rabbis.  They are not necessarily well
versed (or versed at all) in the detailed halachas of mixed dancing, kol
isha, tzniut, or business ethics.  They are supposed to certify the food
and let individuals decide for themselves whether to attend the function
in the first place.  My mother has supervised kosher food provided to
the Israeli delegation during state visits to Washington, D.C.  Do you
think the Kashrut Organization should have to approve the entertainment
at the White House?  Certify that Hillary's dress is tzanua?

We've all got to stop watching other people so much and start watching our
own behaviors.

Ellen Krischer

From: Mark Feldman <mfeldman@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 10:47:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

Zvi Weiss wrote:
> The mandate is probably one of "Lifnei Ivair".  If you can do something
> (or NOT do something) that will absolutely ("Trei Evrei D'Nahara")
> prevent the other person from committing an Isur, there is a mandate to
> do so.  
> <snip>
>  The only possible opening here is if it was clear that these couples
> would -- willy nilly -- go to a non-Kosher operation in order to hold
> their "celebration".  I believe that R. Moshe answered that it was OK
> for a Kosher caterer to cater a wedding where mixed dancing wsa being
> held because the catering activity was not a direct enabler of the
> dancing AND that -- if anything -- the caterer is actually helping the
> people to [at least] eat kosher food.  However, it is not so clear [does
> anyone have more data?] that this was the case.>>

Rav Moshe's tshuvah is in Yoreh De'ah 1:72.  He was asked whether one could 
act as a caterer for a wedding where he knows there will be mixed dancing.  
He responded that (1) there is no lifnei iver since the wedding party could 
always rent a different hall, and (2) with regard to the issue of 
misayei'ah yidei overei averah (the rabbinic prohibition to aid one in the 
commission of an averah, the classic case being a person handing a cup of 
wine to a nazir who could have reached the wine himself since he is on the 
same side of the river), for a number of reasons, there is no issur.  One 
reason he suggests is: "It stands to reason that they did not forbid 
misayei'ah except in the case where the aider gives the sinner the object 
with which the latter will commit the sin, but if the object is essentially 
used for permissible acts, such as renting a hall which is used for making 
a wedding and catering the meal, just that there will also be the forbidden 
act of dancing, we should not consider this as a rental for this purpose 
and forbid it."  R. Moshe reasons that otherwise it should be prohibited to 
sell any pot to a non-religious Jew, since that Jew may cook on Shabbat 
with it or cook treif with it; the reason that it is permissible is that 
the main purpose of the pot is not for committing prohibitions with it.

I believe that based on this tshuvah, there is no problem of lifnei iver
or misayei'ah in a hashgacha giving a hechsher to the Glatt Yacht.  My
understanding is that the hashgacha was withdrawn for "public policy"
reasons (i.e., not strictly halachic reasons).  Personally, I believe
that those objectives (as I understand them) would have been equally
accomplished by simply posting a notice at the entrance to the Glatt
Yacht stating "Hashgacha X does not endorse mixed dancing" and perhaps
citing the halachic basis for the issur.

In another issue, Zvi wrote:
<<BTW, I am not sure that there is a heter for public mixed dancing even if
it is restricted to married couples... One item that comes to mind is that
some of the women may not be tehoros at the time -- but be a bit
"ill at ease" publicizing their status by sitting out all of the 

I find Zvi's reasoning unpersuasive.  Do we forbid husbands from passing
objects to their wives because we are afraid that other wives, who are
niddot, would then have their status be "uncovered?"  In addition, the
fact that a husband may choose not to dance with his wife does not
necessarily indicate that she is a niddah.  He or she may be a poor
dancer, have a foot problem, not enjoy dancing, etc.

Kol tuv,

From: Carl M. Sherer <csherer@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 17:08:12 +0300
Subject: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

dwenger writes:

> Yasher koach to Gitelle Rapoport for bringing up the thorny topic of
> whether kashrut-supervising organizations are "mandated to control"
> anything else. IMHO, they are there to ensure that the food served in a
> restaurant that represents itself as kosher is, in fact, kosher. That's
> it.

Sometimes, things that appear to someone less knowledgable to have
"nothing to do with whether the food is Kosher," have a lot to do with
whether the food is Kosher. For example, here in Eretz Yisrael there has
been controversy from time to time over whether it is legitimate for the
Rabbanut to refuse to grant hashgachos to places that are open for
business on Shabbos.

As I see it, there are two reasons that may make it legitimate to deny
hashgacha to such places. One is the chilul Shabbos that may well occur
in the preparation of the food, although obviously there are ways to
prepare even hot foods without chilul Shabbos.  What is more common,
however, is a situation where the Mashgiach is not present on the
premises because it is Shabbos and the proprietor KNOWS the Mashgiach
will not come to the restaurant because it is Shabbos. This can cause a
whole host of problems such as basar sheneelam min hayin (meat which is
not under the supervision of an observant Jew, and therefore, absent
markings that prove its Kashrut, may no longer be considered Kosher), or
out and out fraud by an unscrupulous proprietor (I trust that too many
people on this list recall the pizza shop in New Jersey several years
ago that was discovered to be mixing treif cheese into its pizza - and
they were closed on Shabbos).

>  I once lived in a small city that had one (count 'em, 1!) kosher
> restaurant. To attract clientele - as we all must admit, most kosher
> restaurants outside NYC must also serve nonobservant customers in order
> to keep their businesses going (another reason for serving meat during
> the 9 days, but that's another story) - it decided to feature live music
> one night a week. One time, the group it had featured a female singer -
> and the supervising organization immediately removed its hashgacha,
> thereby forcing the owners of the restaurant to close, losing their
> parnasa. My question: did this organization have the right to do this?

I think that there is little doubt that, if you are in the US where all
of the Kashrus organizations are privately owned, they have THE right to
do it. The question is whether they were right to do it.  Reasonable
minds may differ on the answer to that question, but IMHO the answer is
yes. I think that when an organization gives a hashgacha to a
restaurant, they have a reasonable expectation that their name is
associated with more than the Kashrus of the food, and as long as their
standards are set out ahead of time, they have a legitimate expectation
that the restaurant live up to their standards if it wants their
Hashgacha. Would you suggest that if the Playboy Club suddenly decided
to serve Glatt Kosher food, it would be proper for a Rabbinic
organization to give them Hashgacha? I think not.

> If observant patrons objected to this form of entertainment, couldn't
> they still eat at the restaurant during the rest of the week? Did the
> singer make the food treif??

The singer doesn't make the food treif, but the singer may make the
establishment an inappropriate place to be frequented by fruhm
people. Lifting the Hashgacha insures that no one fruhm looks at the
door and thinks this is an appropriate place for him or her to be.

These problems are not exclusive to chutz laaretz or to private Kashrus
organizations. If anything, where Kashrus organizations are government
supported, the problems can be more difficult. The Rabbanut here in
Israel, in many instances, has no choice but to give establishments
Hashgacha, despite other things that may go on in the restaurant. (In
many cities and towns there is a separate "Mehadrin" Hashgacha which is
not given to establishments with inappropriate entertainment).

Several months ago (before I switched jobs), my then-employer took all
of the lawyers in our office to an establishment with the (non-Mehadrin)
Hashgacha of one of the better Rabbanut's in the country where the
entertainment was a belly dancer! (Come on now - after last week's
discussion, how many of you thought that the business lunch problem only
existed in chutz la'aretz? :-) The powers that be decided that it was
okay to take us there because, after all, the restaurant had a
hashgacha. My two fruhm colleagues and I spent the entire performance
looking down at the floor, and we were told afterwards that the
performance was shortened and made less provocative because of our
obvious discomfort. Might the whole incident have been prevented if the
Rabbanut had the power to deny a Hashgacha based on the entertainment
taking place in the establishment? I think that is likely the case.

-- Carl M. Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, 
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel. 
Thank you very much.

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 09:39:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

Several posters have suggested that the rabbis are justified in revoking
supervision because of a woman singer, since they would surely revoke it
if there was a belly-dancer. Following that logic, shouldn't they also
require proper-length sleeves and skirts for the waitresses?

Akiva Miller

From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 11:16:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

I think the title of this thread is a bit off the mark. Actually, the
'Glatt Yacht' phenomenon, is not so much an attempt by the Religious
Organization to 'control' the client enterprise, as it is a refusal by
the Religious Organization to participate in activities which are
inconsistent and contrary to its own standards and priciples.

Now my buiness is not in the nature of a Religious Organization.
Nonetheless, I would not work for or with any business enterprise whose
activities run contrary to my Halachic obligations and
sensibilities. I'm not attempting to control them, just refusing to
associate with them. What's wrong with that?

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz

From: Israel Botnick <icb@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 17:08:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

On Wednesday, 28 Jul 1999, Avi Feldblum wrote:

< I no longer remember the exact details of the Glatt Yacht case, but, if
< they supplied the music and the dance floor, and people choose to mix
< dance, why is that different than supplying the food and people choosing
< to eat without making a bracha and birchat hamazon. As far as public vs
< private, that may be more involved in how to rebuke than in mesaih.

The difference between eating without a bracha, and mixed dancing is
that the former is a rabbinic prohibition whereas the latter is
potentially de-oraisa (biblical). The Responsa Toras Chesed (R. Shneur
Zalman Fradkin ) talks about owning a restaurant where patrons don't say
brachos. He is lenient only because the lack of saying brachos is a
rabbinic prohibition.  For aiding in biblical prohibitions he doesn't
allow it.  (although birchat hamazon is biblical if the person ate a
complete meal, that is a positive commandment as opposed to the mixed
dancing which is negative. This distinction is also relevant by mesaya)

(I included Birchat hamazon specifically to avoid the rabbinic/biblical
issue. The positive/negative commandment distinction is something I need
to think about, is that discussed in responsa you quote above? Avi)


End of Volume 29 Issue 28