Volume 32 Number 45
                 Produced: Tue Jun  6  6:09:42 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Jordan Hirsch]
Kosher L'Mehadrin (5)
         [Yisrael Medad, Stephen Phillips, Carl Singer, Eli Turkel,
Andrew Klafter]
Kosher vs. M'hadrin
Sale of liquor over Pesach (2)
         [Richard Fiedler, Avi Feldblum]


From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 22:37:05 EDT
Subject: Re: Coca-Cola

<< I stand corrected.  So is the use of HFCS during Passover acceptable?
 Keith Bloomfield
 [HFCS is Soda would not be acceptable for most Ashkenazi use, as Corn
 Syrup is considered Kitnius and not used on Pesach. It should be
 acceptable for most Sepharadim. Mod.]

Actually, isn't the prohibition against "Mei Kitniyos" a chumrah that has 
taken hold in the last two decades?

Jordan Hirsch


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 16:20:01 +0300
Subject: Kosher L'Mehadrin

Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...> wrote:
>But they couldn't explain the difference between "kosher" and "Kosher
>L'Mehadrin."  Does anyone have a good explanation?

Since Mehadrin refers to persons, and Jewish people are well known to
search out Humrot (stringency in observance), it's a lost cause.
There'll always be someone more restrictive in his custom.  Either that,
or its a problem of "truth-in-advertising" and a PR scam.

From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 15:29 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Kosher L'Mehadrin

> From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
> I was in Yerushalayim for Pesach this year. I was discussing kashrus
> issues with various people and kept getting the same comment. They said
> that they wouldn't eat from "regular" Rabbanut or most American
> hechsherim because they are not "Mehadrin."
> But they couldn't explain the difference between "kosher" and "Kosher
> L'Mehadrin."

When I was in Yerushalayim last year a friend of mine there explained
the difference as follows. "Kasher LeMehadrin" requires that every piece
of food that is served be absolutely 100% Kosher, which means, for
example, that they are much stricter on the checking of vegetables for
insects. My friend said that the "Kasher LeMehadrin" Hechsher was
probably the most reliable Hechsher in Yerushalayim.

Stephen Phillips.

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 07:14:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Kosher L'Mehadrin

<<  Last week I saw a label on fresh veal that said "Chalak (Glatt)
 L'Mehadrin." Is this really extra-Glatt?
 Chaim Tatel  <ChaimYT@...>   >>

If they charge ten cents a pound more, it must be extra glatt :) If you
know and trust you butcher than what else do you need?  If you're
dealing with strangers than you need to rely on labels and
certifications and plumbas.

Carl Singer

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 15:11:41 +0300
Subject: Kosher L'Mehadrin

Batya Medad writes

> Recently I was invited to a "sheva brachot" and asked to contribute
> food.  I readily agreed, but then I was told that it had to be
> "mehadrin;" not only the food cooked for the event, but cooked in a
> "mehadrin pot"...  L'havdil, it sounds like the kosher covered frying
> pan my sister bought for my visit last year.  Is my "just plain
> carefully kosher kitchen" traif for "mehadrin only eaters?"  Or am I
> just over-sensitive.  I dread shmita for this reason.  Kitniot's a dream
> in comparison.  One thing--it only lasts a week.

I made a wedding several years ago in yerushalayim and paid extra for
mehadrin food for some relatives. When they came they went into the
kitchen and found out that the regular pots were used for the mehadrin
food.  They promply left the wedding on the spot.

I don't agree with them but that seems to be life in Israel.

Eli Turkel

From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 11:40:57 -0400
Subject: Kosher L'Mehadrin

> From: Batya Medad <isrmedia@...>
> Recently I was invited to a "sheva brachot" and asked to contribute
> ... [See above posting. Mod]

"Carefully Kosher", IMHO, is a very good translation of "Kosher
l'mehadrin".  Are you over sensitive?  Perhaps.  On the other hand, I
think it is somewhat obnoxious to tell someone, "Your food might be
kosher, but not kosher l'mehadrin."

With respect to commercial food products "mehadrin" might have some more
meaning.  In Jerusalem, the rabbanut authorizes two different kashrun
certificates.  The "regular rabbanut" hashgacha allows for certain
leniencies which, while halakhically valid and based on authoritative
sources, may be more lenient that many orthodox consumers would ever
allow in their own homes.  Some of the issues involve heter mechira,
chalav yisroel, hashgacha yotze v/nichnas, etc.  The specifics vary from
place to place.  The "mehadrin rabbanut" endorses restaurants which do
not rely on those leniencies.  However, this in an idiosynchratic use of
the term "mehadrin".  With respect to cooking cake for a dessert at a
se'udas sheva b'rachos, the term has no specific meaning.

-Nachum Klafter


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 00:46:21 +2
Subject: Kosher vs. M'hadrin

[This submission came from someone who has spent many years in the field
of kashrus, and asked to remain anonymous. Mod.]

From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
> But they couldn't explain the difference between "kosher" and "Kosher
> L'Mehadrin."

Although this might be a bit of a long answer, I think it important to
go through the details to get a clear picture of kosher vs. m'hadrin.

According to Israeli law, only the Rabbanut (to be referred to as "R")
(local or Rasheet) is allowed to give hechsheirim in Israel.  (We will
leave the obvious question of the various BaDa"TZim for the meantime.)
In addition, it is a "given" that every R accepts every other R's

Many years ago, a local rov began giving hechsheirim for a kashrus
organization in the US for products destined for the States.  When he
began visiting the factories that wanted to sell to the US, he
discovered that the kashrus standards in many places left much to be
desired (to put it nicely).  He made the changes he felt necessary and
approved the products.  He then realized that these same factories were
producing various ingredients and products that were being sent to the
factories under his hashgocho.

The rabbi realized that he could not stop the use of these ingredients
in his factories, since he was "required" to accept the R hechsher on
the products & ingredients, so he invented a solution - m'hadrin.  If a
factory wanted to use "regular" R ingredients, no problem - they would
get a regular hechsher.  If they wanted a *really*"reliable" hechsher,
they would have to source their ingredients, etc. from places he would
designate.  Since the law defines / mandates "kosher" but not m'hadrin,
he could not do much to change the "kosher" situation, but was free to
set his own standard for m'hadrin.

This idea of m'hadrin caught on over the years, and many Rs now have two
parallel systems running.  Of course, a m'hadrin hechsher, like any
regular one is only as good as the organization behind it, and therefore
one has to know if and how the "m'hadrin" is *really* different than the
regular hechsher.

The obvious question is, if a R knows that the products they are
certifying are problematic, how can they give a hechsher at all?  The
answer is quite simple.  (I have actually heard the same explanation
from numerous kashrus people in the field.)

Although the standard is not what "I", Rabbi X would accept, there are
work-arounds (or in Halachic parlance "heteirim") for most problems
(orlah, ma'asros, etc.).  So the R uses a tziruf - a combination - of
heteirim and kulot (leniencies) in order to be able to say "kosher".

Why would they do that?  There are two reasons, neither of which will
make people happy to hear: 

1.  *OUR* tzibbur doesn't eat R hechsheirim , and those who *do* eat R
are not usually particular about the quality of the hechsheirim they
use.  (*OUR* means the chareidi / semi-chareidi world - *many*, and
possibly most Mo'atzot Datiyot in Israel and their kashrus setups are
run by chareidi / semi-chareidi rabbonim)

2.  Most of the people in Israel are not religious, and would eat
products which are traif (even b'di'eved) as easily as they would eat
kosher.  Better to have them eat kosher using various heteirim, than
eating traif.

In other words, the kashrus system in Israel is geared to the *lowest*
common denominator, not the highest one.  Unfortunately, the LCD can be
quite low at times...., and that is why those "in the know" avoid
"regular" R hechsheirim and go either with R m'hadrin or one (or more)
of the various BaDa"TZim that abound.

By way of example, would we buy meat from a shop that sells kosher and
*possibly* non-kosher meat (but it's okay, because the meat is only
*possibly* traif, and the rov giving the hechsher said that are
different opinions whether or not it is traif and he follows the lenient
opinions, and even if it *is* traif, it would be nullified because....)?
No?  Then why buy fruit in stores that sells "kosher" fruit but also
fruit which may well be orla (which in Halacha is no different than
eating pork)?  Of course, we can open a new avenue of discussion -
relying on heteirim / b'di'eveds vs. l'chatchila, (or an even more
interesting question of relying on heteirim / b'di'eveds *l'chatchila*)
but still, is that how we run the rest of our lives - would we buy a
house or a car or take a job with so many question marks hanging over

There is a story of a man who came to a shtetl and asked the rov about
the shechita.  The rov said he was the shochet, and the man said that
was good enough for him.  The rov then asked him for a sizeable loan,
and the man said "I'd like to give you the money, but I don't know you".
The rov then asked him, " You wouldn't lend me money because you don't
know me, but yet you would eat my shechita?  You don't even know if I
know what a chalef (special knife used for slaughtering) looks like!  Is
your money worth so much to you (and your neshomo worth so little) that
you are so careful about it, but so careless about your soul?"


From: Richard Fiedler <dfiedler@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 09:14:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Sale of liquor over Pesach

on 6/5/00 5:28 AM, Avi Feldblum at <mljewish@...> wrote:

> [I would strongly suspect that this friend does not sell any actual
> chumetz. It is our custom to get rid of all actual chametz except for
> wiskey. From what I remember, this was quite common among the crowd I
> grew up in, as the non-liquer chametz would not likely fall under hefsed
> merubah (major loss). Things that are not actually chametz, just not
> Kosher for Pesach is what was usually sold. Mod.]

It would be helpful if someone could clarify the issue.

Obviously a loaf of bread is clearly chamtez. Is that chamtez able to be
sold or not? Should that chamtez be sold or not?

Is Wiskey 100% chometz or not? Is it able to be sold or not? If it is
able to be sold is this only because it is a hefsed merubah (major
loss). In today's economy where ridiculous sums are spent on wigs is it
really a hefsed merubah?

A notable contributor to this list challenged my destroy chametz don't
sell it position with the issue of chametz that is present on the
surface of kelim. It is difficult for me to believe that pre the
evolution of the sale of chametz that kelim where being
destroyed. Evidently the rabbis did not consider such chametz to have
real existence in the prohibition to possess chametz though it did have
real existence in the consumption of chametz.

Based on our moderators note does it all boil down to the idea that we
sell sham chametz with a sham sale?

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 05:54:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Sale of liquor over Pesach

On Mon, 5 Jun 2000, Richard Fiedler wrote:
> It would be helpful if someone could clarify the issue.
> Obviously a loaf of bread is clearly chamtez. Is that chamtez able to be
> sold or not? Should that chamtez be sold or not?

Clarification may not be that simple. Is that chametz able to be sold?
Yes. Should that chametz be sold. No way to have a simple answer to
that.  The requirement is just that it not be seen / found. You can
accomplish that by destroying it, giving it away to a non-jew or selling
it. My personal custom, based on the way I was brought up, is that I
will use one of the first two methods, rather than selling it. However,
if my friend chooses to sell his bread, I will not tell him he is doing
anything wrong.  He simply has a different custom than I do.

> Is Wiskey 100% chometz or not? Is it able to be sold or not? If it is able
> to be sold is this only because it is a hefsed merubah (major loss). In
> today's economy where ridiculous sums are spent on wigs is it really a
> hefsed merubah?

I don't know if it is "100% chametz", for that matter I'm not sure if
pasta and cold cereal is "100% chametz", I suspect not. I'll get rid of
cold cereal, usually give away the pasta, but sell the Bushmill and
related wiskeys. As the whether by this custom only "sham chametz" is
sold, my understanding is that one of the issues that drove the original
halachic arrangement were food shops, and they will still be selling
"100% chametz".

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


End of Volume 32 Issue 45