Volume 29 Number 40
                 Produced: Wed Aug  4  7:53:05 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Do restaurants closed by Supervision withdrawal have a lawsuit
         [Russell Hendel]
Lifnei Ivair
         [Zvi Weiss]
Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control" (5)
         [Gershon Dubin, Warren Burstein, Bill Bernstein, Josh Hoexter,
Religious Organizations Mandated to Control
         [Carl and Adina Sherer]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 23:38:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Do restaurants closed by Supervision withdrawal have a lawsuit

There already have been two almost full issues of Volume 29 devoted
to the issue of "Mandated control by Jewish orginazations".

[Here is at least #3, and as I suspect that there were several since
Russel sent this in it is probably more like #7 or so. There is still
more material, but I will be reviewing more carefully so that we don't
just keep repeating the same thing over and over. It is clear that there
are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, but simple repition will
not add anything. Mod]

I would just like to supplement the rich discussion that has already
taken place with the idea that a restaurant that was forced to close
because an orginazation withdrew its supervision may have a lawsuit
(under Jewish Law).

Compare the following Rambams (Gift and Presents; 6:24)

>>My teachers have paskined that if it was the national custom
>>to make a wedding feast or pay for fancy Chazans at the Ofroof
>>or to have prewedding parties for close friends and a person
>>followed the national custom and then she broke off the
>>engagement then she has to reimburse him BECAUSE SHE CAUSED

How do others feel about a Din Torah obligating the withdrawing
orginazation to pay? How do the lawyers feel about such a lawsuit in
secular courts?

Russell Jay Hendel Phd ASA
Moderator Rashi Is Simple


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 22:16:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Lifnei Ivair

> From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
> 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).
> 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.

 In the case of the caterer, the responsa was that the caterer had no
"connection" to the activities of the hall.  Hence, for the caterer to
operate was not a violation.  [In addition, there are OTHER caering
facilities available] It *appears* that the glatt yacht was
presented as a "package" -- somebody wanted to get a boat, get food, and
then advertise the "package".  If without the Hasgacha, this could not
get off the ground, this would seem to be a real case of lifnei ivair.


[I find the halachik logic above unconvincing. I doubt we will convince
each other, but I find that the strictly halachik rule of lifnei ivar is
highly overused, and may have become a figure of speech almost, but then
people use the full implications of lifnei evar where it is not
appropriate. Avi Feldblum]


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 12:20:34 -0400
Subject: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>

>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?

Yes, if I go into a restaurant I expect not to be offended by the dress
of the staff.  In particular I don't want to have to watch where I am
facing when making brachos.  And if I were the proprietor of such an
establishment, I'd want the customer not to feel uncomfortable.  You
seem to be asking this as though it were a ridiculous request or do I
read you wrong?

[I think the question is not directed at the proprietor, there you
should be indicating your preference with your feet and dollars. The
question is whether when the mashgiach walks in and finds the wait staff
inapropriately dressed he should shut down the establishment or remove
the hashgacha, as he would if he walked in and found that the meat was
not kosher. Mod]


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 14:51:44
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

Carl Sherer writes about problems with "places that are open for
business on Shabbat".  I'm not clear if he refers to establishments that
accept payment on Shabbat, such as restaurants (are there any that are
under Rabbanut hashgachah?), or hotels (or prepaid restaurants, there
used to be one on Rechov Yafo years ago).

He's concerned about "the Chillul Shabbat that may well occur during the
preparation of the food" and mashgichim absent on Shabbat - this would
be a problem in a hotel.  This would seem to lead to the conclusion that
hotels should be closed on Shabbat and catered Kiddushes should be

But why should the mashgiach be absent on Shabbat any more than during
the week?  In cases where the mashgiach drops in at random times, this
can be done the same on Shabbat, either the mashgiach doesn't go to shul
at the same time each week, or someone else is assigned to drop in when
the regular mashgiach is at shul.  In cases where continual supervision
is required, the mashgichim work shifts (just like they do during the

In any case, if the problems are kashrut ones, this question is not
related to "control".  It only becomes relevant if the food is kosher,
but other violations go on at the establishment.

As to Carl's encounter with inappropriate entertainment, while one
result of the Rabbanut having control over entertainment would be one
less encounter of his with a belly dancer, another would be less kosher
establishemts leading to increased consumption of treif food by the
masses on a daily basis, I would say this is "yatza scharo behefsedenu"
(his gain is outweighed by our loss, after Avot 5:15).  Perhaps those
who object to the possibility of being present at such entertainment
should only eat at Mehadrin establishemnts.  Or talk to someone and
ignore the show, take out a cellular phone (you won't be the only one)
and scribble on a napkin.

From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 10:39:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

I feel I am somehow missing the point in this whole discussion.  (Note:
I live in a place that has *no* kosher restaurant)  There is a big
difference between what individual patrons may do in a public
establishment (dress inappropriately, not say brochos, etc) and what the
establishment represents and/or supports.  I think everyone might agree
that a glatt-kosher strip bar would be horrendous and no rabbi would
want to be associated with such a thing.  OTOH, if some patron came in
in a tube top and shorts that's not a management decision.  We should
also distinguish between food for a one-time event (wedding, state
dinner etc) and an on-going establishment.
I think kashrus organizations have not just a right but a
responsibility  to certify as kosher establishments that provide a
"kosher setting" as well as kosher food.

From: Josh Hoexter <hoexter@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 16:04:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

> From: Carl M. Sherer <csherer@...>
> 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. 

I know of a few towns in the US where the Vaad will give hashgacha to a
restaurant that's open on Shabbos if it's owned by non-Jews. I heard
that in one of these cases a mashgiach actually visits the store once in
a while on Shabbos to mitigate the problem mentioned. The same could
apply to a Jewish-owned restaurant.

I think that not giving hashgacha to (Jewish-owned) restaurants opened
on Shabbos indicates that local Vaads, at least, do feel "mandated to
control" non-kashrut issues (the issues here being Jews patronizing,
and/or a Jew running, a business on Shabbos). It seems to me that Vaads
have always had this role, and I think it is perfectly legitimate. While
the vaad no longer has the same authority to enforce policy that it had
in pre-modern times, I don't think that the vaad has or should forfeit
its right to set communal policy. The question becomes making decisions
of policy, enforcement and public relations to remain effective in
modern society.

I guess the question is trickier when a kashrus organization is not as
closely associated with a community as a vaad is. I would argue,
however, that such an organization has the right to set its own policy,
and would simply hope that it does so wisely in complicated
situations. At least if you don't like it, you can pick another
organization - you don't have to move!

Josh Hoexter

From: <Israel.Rubin@...>
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

To add one more voice on that subject, I'd like to make two points.

1) Regarding the "right" of a kashrus organization to interfere with
matters not related to food supervision, I think the same rules should
apply to them as apply to any other institution, or private person, for
that matter.  Everyone has the right to do business in any matter that
they feel, & if these kashrus organizations do not feel like giving
supervisions to any class of business, they have the "right" to do
so. As long as the only pressure applied by the organization is the
withholding of their supervision, they are well within their rights.

2) Regarding the advisability of doing so: Arguments can be made on both
sides of this issue, as many posters have ably done. But I believe the
rationale of those organizations that would withhold supervision based
on nonfood-related matters is that they are concerned that their
supervision of the food is being misused by extension to give a kosher
imprimatur to the entire proceedings. I myself have on many occasions
heard people discussing the morality of goings on at various affairs and
the term "and it was all glatt kosher" frequently comes up. The
inference being that anything happening at an affair which served kosher
food cannot be beyond the pale of acceptability from a halachic
standpoint. The kashrus organizations have a justifiable interest which
must be acknowledged, in not allowing their supervision to be misused in
this manner. Of course there are also reasons to do otherwise, as
mentioned earlier, and this issue would perhaps be best left to greater
minds than ours to rule on, perhaps on a case by case basis.

From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 17:56:07 +0300
Subject: Religious Organizations Mandated to Control

Ellen Krischer writes:

> 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?

Funny you should write in about this, Adina just mentioned to Avigayil
last week how your mother was the most trusted Kashrus supervisor in
Washington :-)

I think that there are two sharp distinctions that need to be drawn here
and perhaps we are losing sight of them. First, I don't think anyone
expects the person who actually supervises the food to wander around an
establishment making sure that everyone behaves. I think it is clear to
all of us that is unreasonable, and may well lead to the Kashrus
supervisor neglecting the food! I also don't think Kashrus organizations
have enough employees to undertake a tznius patrol :-) I do think that
whatever issues there are - mixed dancing, being open on Shabbos, and
all the other issues people have raised - are issues of policy that need
to be settled with the establishment's owner before any Kashrus
supervisor ever sets foot inside. They have nothing to do with the
person doing the supervising.

Second, I think there is a BIG difference between a caterer and a
restaurant. Outside of Israel, there are very few catering
establishments that ONLY do Kosher, fruhm affairs, and if you don't let
them cater affairs where things other than the food may be at issue,
they will have a very difficult time making a living.  Certainly when
Rav Moshe zt"l wrote the tshuva that Moshe Feldman quoted (1958), it is
doubtful that anyone could have made a living in North America,
especially outside of the New York City area, catering only fruhm
affairs. I think Rav Moshe zt"l's tshuva recognizes that reality. The
caterer does not control what goes on at the affair. But a restaurateur
(unless s/he rents out the restaurant, which is a more difficult
question) DOES control what goes on in his/her establishment. S/HE
decides whether there will be entertainment and what that entertainment
will be. S/HE decides what the restaurant's hours will be. Given that
reality, I think a Kashrus organization has a right to tell the
restaurateur, "if you want our hashgacha, you play by our rules." Of
course the Kashrus organization has to set the rules out in advance....

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

That's good advice without regard to the current discussion....

Akiva Miller writes:

> 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?

I think that if the restaurant outfits its waiters (and waitresses) with
uniforms then yes, the supervisory organization has the right to say
that the outfits must have proper sleeve and skirt lengths. Again,
because it's something within the proprietor's control, and I think that
the supervisory organization has the right to say that the restaurant
has to play by its rules if it wants a Hashgacha.

-- Carl M. Sherer

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


End of Volume 29 Issue 40