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Soft Matzah: Rabbi Rabi Responds to Rabbinical Council Criticism

March 26, 2010 – 10:16 am244 Comments

A American rabbi carefully checking soft matzahYesterday Galus published an article by David Werdiger on the new soft, pita-like matzah that is available this year in Australia. As raised by commenters on that article, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) issued a press release yesterday warning people not to eat the soft matzah. Here is the press release accompanied by Rabbi Meir Rabi‘s line-by-line response:

RCV:
The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) wishes to express grave concerns about a new product called “Laffa Matza” being sold in certain food outlets in Melbourne, which bears a Kosher for Passover symbol and is soft and chewy.

R. Rabi:
The RCV has to date, 25 March 2010, not disclosed its concerns, not in this nor in any other message that I am aware of. Although I have had verbal communications with the RCV they have not in the course of those communications disclosed their concerns.

RCV:
The RCV has also received copies of rulings from two world renowned Halachic and Kashrus authorities in Eretz Yisroel, both of whom strongly question the acceptability of this product for consumption on Pesach.

R. Rabi:
I am aware of one such “ruling”, a leter from Rabbi Wosner. It questions the acceptability of Laffa Style Soft Matza only due to its innovative nature. This letter is actually an endorsement of our Matza, as it expresses no Halachic concern whatsoever other than the perceived break with Tradition. I have yet to be shown or told the contents of any second letter.

RCV:
Considering the stringent laws pertaining to Kashrus on Pesach, which are stricter than the laws of Kashrus during any other time of the year, and considering the strong Halachic concerns issued to date, we strongly advise the community against owning or eating this product at any time during Pesach.

R. Rabi:
Considering that the RCV has great trouble articulating what precisely seems to be the problem, or what seems to be troubling them, I have not the faintest idea of what seems to be troubling the RCV. Furthermore, there are no strong Halachic concerns and not even any weak Halachic concerns expressed in the letter issued in the name of Rabbi Wosner. Rabbi Wosner’s concerns are simply that he is opposed to innovation.

RCV:
Should consumers seek further information regarding this matter we urge them to consult their Rov or Kashrus authority as a matter of priority.

R. Rabi:
Should any consumer discover further coherent information about “this matter”, I would be very grateful to receive such information. Please contact me by email: rabbi AT kosherveyosher.com.au

___________________________
More information on soft matzah can be found on Rabbi Rabi’s website, and his comment on David Werdiger’s article.

Image Source: SoftMatza.com


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244 Comments »

  • rachsd says:

    Editorial note: We have received confirmation that one of the two Rabbis on whom the RCV have based their position is indeed Rabbi Wosner (as R Rabi suggested – see above). The other Rabbi is Moshe YY Landau. We have not yet seen Rabbi Landau’s letter or any information about it. If anyone has access to such information, please let us know: editorial AT GalusAustralis.com

  • The Hasid says:

    Does anyone know whether it will be possible to buy some soft matzah on Sunday or Monday? Or is it completely sold out?

  • meir rabi says:

    sorry all sold out
    There is a slim chance that we will have some for Chol HaMoed and the last Days of the Chag
    Best
    Rabbi MGR

  • meir rabi says:

    Please look at my site.
    I maintain with full conviction that the LSSM (Laffa Style Soft Matza) is very likely to be the most Mehudar Matza, the Matza that best and most fully satisfies the entire range of stringencies, available on the planet.

  • Milhouse says:

    How does it keep?  The standard Sefardi soft matzot don’t keep at all, and must be baked fresh every day.  On Shabbat they must be soaked in water to be edible.   The web site softmatza.com gets around this by freezing the matzot as soon as they’re baked, and advising the consumer to put them in the oven 5 minutes before they’re to be eaten.  Is that how you’re doing yours too?  And how do you handle Shabbat?

  • Chaim says:

    good point Milhouse. Freezing would be a problem for me.

  • Henry Zelman says:

    The matza is packed in a resalable bag (we bought it when it was available and opened one to try it)

    We have an other bag , so that we will be able to have a “Hillel sandwich in the most authentic way that we know.

    Thank you Rabbi Meir for this opportunity of further connection with our deliverance from slavery
     

  • xyz says:

    And how do you do yachatz with laffa?

  • Henry Zelman says:

    Doe’s break mean snap or could it be tear or divide in a suitable way ??

     

     

     

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Friends,
    The word is – we have everything wrapped up!
    The Matza keeps for months at room temperature due to its low moisture content. It also has an oxygen scavenger in the pack. Once the pack’s seal is torn open, it can be resealed with its zip lock but I think it should then be consumed within a week or so. It can be moistened or heated to refresh its taste.
    Yachatz means DIVIDE, just tear it BUT please note that it has a grain and tears along a straight line in from one edge but will not tear easily from the other edge.
    However, doing Korech will no longer be to remember what Hillel did but to do as Hillel did. Roll up your Marror in the Matza.
    Best
    Rabbi MGR

  • gav says:

    This post may not be about Kosher Australia, but it does remind me of the monopoly they have on kashrut certification in Melbourne.  Can we have an expose in the future about some juicy under-the-table wheeling and dealing?

  • Firstly, KA don’t have a monopoly in Melbourne. Secondly, I would argue that for a city this size, a suitably governed unified kashrut authority is the best option.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom David,
    With respect, I disagree.
    Please explain why you think that a properly governed unified kashrus is best for Melbourne.
    Competition is V important. We stagnate without it. In every pursuit and ambition of humanity’s discourse, no career of value emerges unless it is driven by such motivations. In the Beit HaMikdash they illustrated and highlighted the competitive spirit as a display and testament to Gd’s glory.
    In the deliberations of the Beis Din they exploited these human qualities to promote the best possible justice and judgments.
    Rabbi Rudzki was adamant that Melbourne required a variety of kashrus authorities, and we spoke about this when he requested that I undertake to continue and expand his pioneering work for kashrus in Australia.
    David, I must politely but firmly, whilst still retaining an open mind, disagree.
     
    Rabbi MGR

  • The Maven says:

    With all due respect, R. Rabi has absolutely zilch credibility in the field of kashrus, especially when compared with Rabbi Mordecai Gutnick. R. Rabi is just a guy with smicha who teaches who decided on his own that to set himself up as a hechsher because it would be a good source of income for him. Rabbi Gutnick ,on the other hand, is  world renowned and highly respected around the world, an erudite Rav, not just in the area of kashrus but, in all of general halacha too, with impeccable credentials and decades of experience. It is blatantly obvious which individual one should trust with one’s kashrut.

  • Chaim says:

    Maven.
     
    You may be 100% correct but people these days are not going to accept decisions like this without details and education. The KA needs to explain to the community exactly what is the problem here.
     
    People want to make an educated decision.
     

  • Henry Zelman says:

    So sad to see such a great name as “The Maven” put to such a puny argument
    You need to have information, and then be responsible for your own decisions

  • Henry Zelman says:

    Alas Chaim, only some of the people.

  • The Maven says:

    Come on get real, R. Rabi is a lightweight. It is almost insulting to compare him to Rabbi Mordecai Gutnick and his esteemed colleagues.  Where does R. Rabi get the notion that he is in a position to challenge the likes of Rabbi Mordecai Gutnick? And why on earth do the Rabbonim have to make a whole pilpul explaining their psak? Anyone who has a lamdeshah query about it is welcome to ring up the Rabbonim who will surely, when they have the time, give them all the intricate halachik explanations they desire. In the meantime, the Rabbonim are under no obligation to offer anything but a simple pask, take it or leave it,the rest is up to the ‘consumer’.

  • Meir,

    For a small city like Melbourne, there is way too much duplication in the provision of Kashrus services. There are two organizations investigating locally manufactured foods, two shechitas that are both of a high standard. If orgs worked more closely together, they could achieve a greater number of products certified, and therefore greater availability of kosher. That is just one example.

    Competition in an industry like this causes conflict (this and the related story on GA are perfect examples) and misunderstood standards (ditto).

  • frosh says:

    To “The Maven”

    Insulting a member of the community in a public forum, when you yourself do not even have the courage to use your own name, is poor form. I suggest you consult with your Rabbi and get his opinion on this.

  • The Anti Mavin says:

    Amazing. When all logic fails, start attacking the credibility and personality of the person. 

    Mavin, all you are doing in bringing disgrace upon yourself and your family. Tomorrow night, you will be the 2nd of 4 sons.

  • Chochom says:

    A Rabbi needs tro supervise the manufacturer/wholesaler to ensure that not the person who has a financial interest in the product and can be compromised is to be trusted.
    This is the principle of Kashrus. A Rabbi overseas the doings of the manufacturer etc.

    Isn’t Rabbi Rabi both the dealer and supervising Rabbi???

  • meir rabi says:

    That is a very legitimate point which I am glad to address.
    I am not the businessman behind this enterprise.
     
    meir

  • Henry Zelman says:

    I’m surprised that there is a conflict with a Rabbi being in the Kosher Food business.
    I thought that the role of a Meshgiah addressed that issue.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom David,
    May this Pesach be the last such year; may we celebrate the next in a true Yerushalayim.
    Please find a single case where Kosher food prices have gone down even here where we have too much competition in Kashrus. It just does not happen. We need MORE TRANSPARENT competition not less. If Melb would have another option and not just another look alike Kosher org, that’s when we would begin to see some serious and meaningful competition.
    Do you remember when, no I cant write that. I tell you what, just think of any real changes in services for Kosher consumers and ask, what drove it? Or ask your mother.
    Be honest, would Melb have a K Sushi Bar if not for KVY’s initiatives?
    Having one group just means that consumers cant compare.
    The great experiment of producing one single model car for the masses has been tried and retried. It does not work. Of course on paper it looks fantastic. Avoid all that unnecessary duplication and presto, the costs savings on small parts alone would make such standardised cars incredible cheap. So what? People dont want it, they WANT to be different (that’s how Gd made us – its hard-wired) and the process of making such a communal device just never works, the system gets abused, always. Ask Mr G. Samuels. Notwithstanding all his govt powers they are running circles around him and the ACCC.
    The power that accumulates in one enclave is just too  tempting. There is no safeguard against Arayos and so too no safeguards  can prevent the abuse of great power. And “great” is subjective. In our little fishtank the machinations are no different than in bigger tanks. The Brisker Rav famously said the responsibility of the town rabbi is to ensure that the little guy does not get beaten up. It makes no diff if the town is tiny or gigantic, the human dimensions are identical.  Concentrating power like that attracts and promotes the best of the worst.
    As far as causing conflict is concerned: the seeds of conflict are the issues that need to be addressed. Attempting to remove the opportunities where conflict might be displayed is like saying we have achieved peace with our enemies because we have built really big walls. That is just avoiding the real issue. Gd does not want us to all wear the same hat, Hah! David knows what I am talking about.
    Many proofs for this but not for now. Just think of this, Gd always wanted the tribes to be independent and retain their identities retained, they have their own flags hierarchy of courts, blessings and territory. Of course this can be abused to promote conflict but that is not the point of conflict.
    Best
    Rabbi Meir Rabi

  • Henry Zelman says:

    I would be pleased if I could attend a face to face forum on this subject, perhaps someone in this discussion could suggest a time and place. You seam to know each other. I think that there may be others who may be interested also.

  • meir rabi says:

    I think that’s a great idea, a face to face discussion. I dont think it really offers more info but it does offer more dynamic exchange.
     

  • Chochom says:

    “..That is a very legitimate point which I am glad to address.
    I am not the businessman behind this enterprise.
    ..”

    Could Rabbi Rabi please  address this isue

  • The Maven says:

    Frosh, may I point out you are also anonymous? And by giving this tacit support to Rabi you are insulting our Rabbonim.  I only bring out the obvious-that when comparing expertise between the two, Rabbi Gutnick and the Rabbonim are light years ahead of Rabi. How does he justify challenging them when his credentials and experience and learning are far inferior to theirs? Rabi should think hard about this because he may very well be putting a stumbling block in front of the blind and could, G-d forbid, be responsible for many Yiden eating chometz on Pesach and some writers on this site are his enablers in this!
     
    There are people who are sincere and want ton know what is the correct thing to do and ask a pask and follow it, then there are people who already made up their minds they want to eat the soft ‘matzah’ because of their own physical desire to do so, and then they search for a rabbinical psak that suits their physical desire. Hashem is the true judge

  • Chaim says:

    Right Maven:  Hashem and not you. No Jew likewise is a “lightweight”.
     
    By the way to all. I am very careful on Pesach. I spent hours koshering with alfoil and a blow torch. The reason I personally will not eat the soft matzah is because the thicker the matzah is the more likely there is a CHANCE there will be uncooked flour which when becomes wet can become chametz.
     
    HOWEVER this is my stringency. It is not universal nor does it need to be. There is a very strong Sephardi custom and like  the original matzah to have soft matzah. If you are trying and have sincerity Hashem will help you out so that the above chance occurrence will not happen.
     
    Judaism did not start in Eastern Europe.
     
    A happy and Kosher Pesach to all.
     
     
     

  • frosh says:

    Maven,

    I’m hardly anonymous – http://galusaustralis.com/contributors/

    as well as http://galusaustralis.com/about/

    Since you are completely wrong about your accusation of my anonymity, perhaps you will consider the possibility that you are also wrong about your accusations against R. Rabi.

    Furthermore, I will not be eating laffa matzah this year, for the simple fact that it is sold out. Hence, I have no gastronomical bias (by the way, an absurdly childish allegation).

    As for R. Rabi’s learning and experience, I understand that he is very learned in these areas. As with your accusation of my anonymity, you are speaking from a position of total ignorance.

    If the RCV wish us to take their decision seriously, then they should publish both these statements from which they base their case.

    Finally, I find it interesting that you do not even question why these statements have not been published. Is your mind really that lacking in inquiry?

  • The Maven says:

    Compared to the Rabbonim, Rabi is a lightweight in Torah learning, not to diminish his value as a Jew. Why is Rabi flagrantly rebellious against the foremost expert on kashrus in Melbourne?   From where does he get his source that his viewpoint is correct? Has he approached the Rabbonim and discussed this with them and if not, why not?  I doubt his motivations in this issue are purely for the sake of Heaven. Never trust a lone Rabbi who sets himself up as a kashrus authority without an infrastructure or organsiation behind him.Alot of the way about Rabi operates does not smell very kosher.
     
     
     

  • The Maven says:

    Some of the commenters on this site are very quick to besmirch our respected established Rabbonim in favour of a lone individual without comparable credentials. Why should I trust Rabi? Where did he get smicha? What exactly are his credentials in kashrus, or dare I ask?
    And since when are Rabbonim obligated o provide explanations to a pask? Ay, if someone asks for one they will likely receive one, but a Rav answers a pask and that is that.
     
    It is as if some of the people on this site are simply against the establishment, and therefore support someone like Rabi because they see that as helping to weaken the established Rabbonim.
     
     

  • Harold Zwier says:

    The arguments put forward by Maven are disappointing and quite in opposition to his signature (my assumption that Maven is male, may of course be wrong). He uses the technique of the “straw man” to push his line. As he says: “Some of the commenters on this site are very quick to besmirch our respected established Rabbonim”

    The only established Rabbi who is being besmirched is Rabbi Rabi and by none other than Maven. To quote: “R. Rabi has absolutely zilch credibility in the field of kashrus”, “R. Rabi is just a guy with smicha who teaches” (presumably not a real Rabbi). “R. Rabi is a lightweight in Torah learning”, “Alot of the way about Rabi operates does not smell very kosher”, “Where did he get smicha?”, “What exactly are his credentials in kashrus..?”

    Maven seems to be very concerned about issues of lifnai iver (putting a stumbling block before the blind) but has no concern about lashon ha’ra (evil speech). And the potential for my causing him public embarrassment (also a form of lashon ha’ra) is limited by the anonymity with which he hides himself.

    But of more concern to me than Maven’s ability to insult, is his total disinterest in learning about the issues relating to the different forms of matzah, the halachic arguments that underpin Rabbi Rabi’s production of the soft matzah, the halachic arguments of the Rabbinic Council of Victoria (RCV) in opposing the use of soft matzah on Pesach, and the educative benefit within the orthodox community of having  a constructive discussion on this issue.

    Maven’s response? “why on earth do the Rabbonim have to make a whole pilpul explaining their psak?”, “..the Rabbonim are under no obligation to offer anything but a simple pask, take it or leave it,the rest is up to the ‘consumer’”, “since when are Rabbonim obligated to provide explanations to a pask?”, “..a Rav answers a pask and that is that”.

    It seems to me that the Jewish tradition carries with it a lifelong obligation to think, to inquire and to learn. If I ever decide I want others to do all of those things for me I will join a cult.

    Disclosure: I attend a shiur with Meir Rabi each week.

  • meir rabi says:

    I would like to address the observations made by Maven, From where does he get his source that his viewpoint is correct? Has he approached the Rabbonim and discussed this with them and if not, why not?
    I get my sources from the only place possible for orthodox Jews, from our Shulachan Aruch and commentators. Intense study of the Gemara and its commentators is the only way to responsibly approach Halacha. Through discussion and debate I have had with rabbis both here and abroad concerning all relevant issues, I and the rabbis I have discussed this with (meaning those who were prepared to engage with me in discussion about this matter), have concluded that the LSS Matza is likely to be the most Mehudar (Halachically beautiful) Matza available in the world today. As I mentioned earlier, the only concern of those opposed to LSSM is that this is apparently, an innovation which is unacceptable to those who wish to retain Yiddishkeit, Judaism in its ‘original’ form.
    To this moment I have not had one word or consideration that suggests that any aspect of the Laffa Style Soft Matza is contrary to Halacha. On the contrary, the rabbis I have discussed this with have had to agree that this LSS Matza is far more closely aligned with the Matza that the Gemara and Halacha describe and is historically also much more like the Matza that our ancestors ate in days of old.
    please see the following PDF  http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/assets/files/LSSM%20PDF%202%20CLMNS.pdf
    You may also be interested to see the article in the Caulfield/Port Phillip Leader newspaper mag, March 30 2010, page 12.

  • meir rabi says:

    further to the comment posted by Harold, I would add; if I have said something that is demeaning of any person or Jewish custom, I would like to be informed so that I may remedy the matter.

  • The Maven says:

    ON the contrary Harold, the credentials and level of expertise of a man who sets himself as a maven in kashrut is an issue of the utmost importance. It seems to me that any thinking person who is not in a cult would not simply blindly follow any individual just because he proclaims himself an expert, in fact, any thinking person would check out this person’s background.  Rabi’s credentials, in my opinion, do not suffice. Nor does his seemingly one man organisation have the sophisticated scientific and  technological infrastructure needed in today’s high-tech world to adequately determine if anything is kosher or not. Only the naive or  uninformed would follow a self-proclaimed kashrut ‘expert’ whose research methodology seems to consist of soley looking into the Shulchan Aruch. Moreover, how does Rabi get paid? Obviously he is in this kashrus business for himself, therefore he is biased by his own profit motive, and is accountable to no one, so there is not transparency at all.  Compare all this to Kosher Australia which has all salaried employees who do not benefit regardless if any particular product is kosher or not therefore no bias, who have experienced chemists on staff, and who have internationally recognised protocols in place. No, Harold, I am not the cultist, I am the thinker, and you sir, have been duped!

  • The Maven says:

    By the way, since Rabi asked, yes, I have personally consulted with the Rabbonim concerning this and received a full pilpul as will anyone else who is truly interested. It is a bold faced slanderous lie to assert that the Rabbonim discourage ‘thinking’ inquiry into kashrus issues, and anyone who has made the effort to contact them to discuss will find them amenable to open and deep halachik give and take. So stop slandering our respected Rabbonim and our established and internationally prestigious and highly regarded kashrus organisations. You make yourselves look like rebellious kids.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Chaverim,
    Without needing to detail the untruth of what maven has just posted, I will simply point out that HaRav Wosner, who is certainly a true Maven, an expert, in matters of Kashrus and indeed in all matters of Halacha, is fully aware of all the points raised by my critic, and yet HaRav Wosner is not concerned by any such considerations. They are not even a blip on his radar.
    It is also important in this context to mention the opinion of HaRav Moshe Fienstien, who wrote that as a rule, it is better to rely on the small vulnerable individual rather than the large organisation when it comes to matters of Kashrut. The very fact, says HaRav Moshe, that the individual is vulnerable to the type of inane criticism that we see here, makes such Kashrut providers all the more reliable.

  • meir rabi says:

    Maven, Shalom to you.
    I do not recall asking other than that if anyone discovers further Halachic reasons to expand upon the proclamation of the RCV, would they please inform me of those reasons. Now that you seem to have herd a full Pilpul on the matter I kindly request that you share what you now know with me. You can do that on this forum and thereby edify this entire group, or contact me directly on rabbiATkosherveyosher.com.au
    And I again extend the same request to anyone else who may have discovered reasons of Halachic concern that underpin the proclamation of the RCV.
    Enjoy the Chag everyone even though we have run short on Soft matza.
    Rabbi MGR
     

  • Henry Zelman says:

    I do not want to join in the “Slam the Maven” because he is creating his own “Dark Corner”.
    He seams to think of “The Rabbonim”(RCV) as ORACLES and is some way divine in all knowing and all seeing way and “we” are so lowly that we would never understand such matters.
    This may be the practice in some circles, but not all.
    As I understood a “Rabbi” is a teacher and not a priest, that being the premise, it is incumbent on the “Rabbi /Rabbonim” to teach us by illuminating and informing “us” in a way that the students “JEWS” will learn and know the teachings of  the “TORAH”.
     The Maven has some secret or at least privileged information, I for one would like him to include me as one of his students, as I was told that “You can learn something from everyone”

  • Objective observer says:

    Over Yom Tov I saw a letter fromthe Bet Din of Rabbi Wosner of Bnai Brak sent to Rabbonom here in Melbourne (it was hanging openly on the wall of the shule I attended) in which it states that Rabbi Wosner examined a sample of the locally produced soft laffa matza and then condemnded it in the sharpest of terms.  His reasons were:
    1. The serious questions on the Halachic correctness of the preparation of this item.
    2. The fact that someone had taken it upon himself to produce a controversial item that goes totally against the trend of accepted current practice in this area.

    It prompted me to talk to a number of Rabbanim and I have gleaned that it appears that the first point is based on the difficulties in making soft matzas and in particular regarding the baking process needed to avoid the matza becoming chametz.  I was shown the sefer Netei Gavriel (a universally accepted  modern compendium of Halachic opinion) who brings down (in Hilchot Pesach Vol 2 Ch 30) a number of sources for not relying today on the otherwise  classic sign of whether or not threads appear between two broken pieces as referred to in the explanation as to howthese matzas were checked for acceptabilityand whether they were baked well enough.  Apparently this sign is considered no longer acceptable for the heavier dough that we use today.   It is for this reason of ensuring that matzas are baked appropriately that virtually everyone today bakes matzas today until they are hard and have certainly been baked well enough.   It is interesting that a Rabbi here in Australia appears to be the only one today who seems to claim so positively that he knows how to make these matzas -with the added claim that they are the most mehadrin product to boot!

    The second criticism was apprently based on what I was told also came from the office of Rabbi Landa of Bnai Brak.  Apprently they explained that the soft matza that was produced until relativley recent times by some Sefardi communities is not readily available today in Israel today (they claim that only one Teimani rabbi certifies a production today for his community)  due to the complexities of making a viable product.  This Sefardi (or more precisely Teimani) soft matza is made according to a mesora from a batter on a griddle and is apprently a totally  different method and product to that made locally.  So  any talk of mesorah for soft matzas has presumably been deemed as NOT applicable to the locally produced product.

    Perhaps those so blindly defending the local product should also take some time out from venting on blogs and approach some of the local rabbis directly as I did.  (I urged at least one of the rabbis who seemed particulrly erudite on this topic to explain more publicly what he had told me.  The rabbi replies that no rabbi of any standing is going to answer on a site like this given the general attitude and chutzpa exhibited by anonymous bloggers most of whom are quite obviously  not really interested in getting an objective opinion but  use any excuse to Rabbi bash.)

    I have heard other problems regarding the local product but as I am unable to personally verify them as proven fact I will not list them for fear of perhaps justified charges of Lashon Harah or Rechlut. 

    In any event, as one Rav wrote in his letter to his kehilla on this topic,  we are dealing here with a possible issur kareit  Surely that should influence the more sincere inquirer to indeed try to honestly get to the bottom of this entire episode and not simply blindly rely on and defend the solitary opinion of one rabbi who has produced this product basically as a private business…. 

  • Henry Zelman says:

    I thank the “Objective Observer” for his candid information and would like to invite him to the “Flat Earth Society”. If you have not seen (and timed) it as it was made, how can you or any one other for that matter say and condemn this “Matza” and this “Rabbi”

  • The Maven says:

    Kol hakovd Objective Observer, thanks for taking the time to explain some of the halachik problems with this Laffa matzah so eloquently.  Rabi totally understood the entire issue or is misrepresenting the facts. Either way, you have given us enough information to through more than considerable doubt on Rabi’s credibility.

  • The Maven says:

    correction of typo—I meant to write that “Rabbi totally misunderstood the entire issue or is misrepresenting the facts…..”

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to all,
    I thank all for their patience and good humour throughout these proceedings.
    In response to “objective observer” may I say the following; he has said nothing that has not already been said and responded to. I will nevertheless address each point he raises.
    1. HaRav Wosner has not the slightest concerns about the Halachic status of this soft Matza above or beyond the preparation of any other Matza. Had he the slightest concern that this Matza is Chamets by even the remotest possibility one be absolutely sure that he would have made that criticism.
    2. As best I can determine, HaRav Wosner was urged to express such concerns and he pointedly refused to do so.
    3. I have HaRav Wosner’s letter on the KVY website http://www.kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=294
    4. It is therefore clear that the one and only concern of HaRav Wosner is the innovative nature of the LSSM. Otherwise he has no Halachic concerns.
    5. I urge everyone who maintains allegiances to the Hashkafa perspectives of banning innovations in our Jewish practice, to maintain those standards.
    6. Rav Bluth (a noted student of HaRav Moshe Feinstein) and Rav Schachter (one of the two senior authorities to provide Halachic guidance to the OU, the Orthodox Union of Synagogues) and Rav Aviner (one of the spiritual leaders of the Religious Zionist movement) all maintain that all Jews may eat soft Matza.
    7. Clearly these Rabbanim do not consider soft Matza a forbidden innovation.
    8. Clearly these Rabbanim have no concerns about being unable to determine when such Matza is fully baked.
    9. Clearly Rabbi Meir G Rabi is not “the only one today who seems to claim so positively that he knows how to make these matzas”
    10. I wonder why it is necessary to speculate about what HaRav Wosner was referring to and suggest that “it appears”. Is HaRav Wosner (and rabbi Klein who penned the letter) not capable of expressing themselves with clarity?
    11. It is clear that the concerns of our critic and the anonymous rabbi he consulted, and their speculations; do not bother HaRav Wosner in the least.
    12. The Nitei Gavriel is a beautiful compendium of laws collected by a great genius, but is certainly not the final world on Halachic matters. HaRav Zinner would be the first to say so himself.
    13. The Chazon Ish is the first source I know of to suggest that the type of dough used today for Matza does not even in its raw state display this characteristic of tearing and showing doughy threads. However, it is not clear if the Chazon Ish is therefore suggesting that the test is not applicable or if in fact he is alluding to a concern that we a re not making Matza as it should be made. I have raised this with a number of Rabbanim.
    14. The dough used for making LSSM is soft and certainly showed doughy threads when torn apart before baking.
    15. LSSM was tested according to the guidelines of the Mishneh Berurah and torn apart whilst still warm from the oven. In all cases it showed to be perfectly baked.
    16. It is highly illogical to propose that a reason that has only recently been promoted and which has not been mentioned by any of the Halachic authorities, Poskim, is the reason that we have been baking hard Matza for the past 200 odd years.
    17. Never mind the Halachic argument; even the custom of baking Matza until crisp is not important enough to be mentioned. It is not mentioned even in passing by the great Poskim of the previous generations.
    18. Please find and show us the letter from HaRav Landau.
    19. It is entirely unreasonable to base any claims upon what is “apprently (sic) based on what I was told also came from the office of Rabbi Landa of Bnai Brak”
    20. The Mesorah we have been referring to is the Halacha itself.
    21. Does anyone doubt that 300 years ago hard Matza was unheard of?
    22. Does anyone question that hard baked dough is according to Halacha, not bread at all but what we call Mezonot?
    23. Any reference to Mesorah, Tradition is to the facts of the Halacha.
    24. I do not think that any of the bloggers on this site or other sites that I have perused, who are in support of LSSM, have shown disdain or disrespect for Halacha or its processes.
    25. Rabbis need not publish their opinions on blog sites where they might be treated with disrespect, their opinions can be published on any number of websites that do not permit any comments or permit only moderated comments.
    26. However once such opinions are published they are certainly open to full scrutiny and criticism.
    27. Does anyone suggest that Halachic opinions should be above scrutiny and criticism?
    28. That is not ‘rabbi bashing’ but the proper path of Torah and Halacha.
    29. Such discussion can only be classified as true pursuit of Torah, as the Talmud says; during the battle of Torah scholars, even father and son become enemies.
    30. As I said previously, I am not the businessman behind this venture.
    Wishing all a clear vision to truth
    And MoAdim BeSimCha
    Rabbi MGR

  • Objective observer says:

    Rabbi Wosner clearly used the words –
    “Milvad Hachashoshot Hagedolot al Kashrut Matzah Zu”  (apart from the great concerns on the Kashrut of this Matzah). 
    His Dayan used the words “”Milvad Shetzarich bedika achar kashrut matzot eilu”  (apart from the need to check the kashrut of these matzot).
    Iam reliably informed that Rav Landa’s office clearly said that the making of soft matzas even by those who had a clear mesora to make them has been virtually phased out in recent times due to the many problems involved in their production. 
    (BTW I am told that the reason that ther information from Rav Landa’s office has not been formally released is becuse, unlike Rav Wosner’s letter,  it was addressed to a private individual who has not been given permission to release it to the public.  I am also told that such permissiomn is currently being sought.)

    To me these staements are clearly criticising the Kashrut of this particular product.   How would Rabbi Rabi therefore explain his statement that “HaRav Wosner has not the slightest concerns about the Halachic status of this soft Matza…”?!

    Secondly I fear that Rabbi Rabi  is attempting to obfuscate by introduucing the concept of soft Matzot in general.  No one that I spoke to  has criticised the concept of soft matzot.  A form of soft matzot has indeed always been with us although less and less was being rpoduced in recent times.  As I mentioned clearly, I was told by the Rabbis I consulted that there certainly is a mesora for the making of soft matzas.  The problem is that Rabbi Rabi appears to be using that mesora (and the discussions by Rav Shachter and others regarding its permissibility) as a cover for his particular matzas.  According to the information I have gleaned – and as expressly stated in the letter from Rav Landa’s office – the soft matzas usedand made  in accordance with the mesora are made totally differently and look totally different  to the ones that Rabbi Rabi has made (and this is indeed surely why Rabbi Wosner apparently raisedthe general statement regarding aquestion on the kashrut of these particular locally made laffa matzas after he examined them).

    May I suggest thatRabbi Rabi (or his supporters) take some time to contact and speak to Rabbi Wosner in particular to discuss Rabbi Wosner’s public ban on his products raher than simply ignoring or even ridiculing (as some have done) the psak of one of the  major Rabbinic authorities in the world today – and then let us know the result of such discussions….

    As to being accused of being a member of the flat earth society, if I had to make the choice I would rather be accused of being a  member of a society in the company of the likes of Rav Wosner and Rav Landa than in the company of a lone individual rabbi who took it on himself to make and personally sell a controverisal product that is at the very least highly questionable…. 

  • frosh says:

    Is “Objective observer” to objectivity what “the Maven” is to mavenkayt?

    It is interesting that those besmirching Rabbi Rabi are all anonymous. Anonymous hearsay is not worth anything in my book.

  • Objective observer says:

    Frosh –
    I certainly believe that I started out as objective but if I seem to be pushing one side of the argument it is simply in reponse to the very feeble attempts to honestly and convincinglyaddress the isues that have been raised by the other side.
    BTW in my book it says that a Chochom is one who learns from anyone… anonymous or not.  And aren’t you a little like the kettle calling the pot black?

  • meir rabi says:

    I wish to respond to the posting of Objective Observer,

    I made 30 points in my earlier post; they have been ignored. This does not allow our discussion to progress in a meaningful and constructive fashion.
    I will again, in response to the next posting of ObjObs, briefly say what is already said and need not be repeated but to help those who may be slightly confused:

    HaRav Wosner has no particular concerns of any Halachic substance.
    He is certainly capable of saying “VeYesh BoHen Safek Chametz, and there is a risk that they may be Chametz”. He did not say this or anything like this.
    Neither did he say anything that quite leads to the ruling that LSSM should not be eaten or owned during Pesach.
    HaRav Wosner was as best I can determine, urged to support such a comment but he pointedly refused.
    All those who are familiar with such letters, circulated against all innovations that are contrary to the Hashkafic principles of “All that is new is prohibited by Torah Law”, know their standard wording. This letter is no different and simply means, this soft Matza requires as much care as the preparation of any other Matza.
    Soft Matza in Ertz Yisroel today is ubiquitous, apart from certain small enclaves that are rigorously guarded by the very vigilant protectors of the traditions we see being promoted in this discussion.
    Please let me know ASAP re HaRav Landau’s letter.
    All variations between LSSM and the Matza made by Teimanim and Sefaradim are clearly only enhancements. They all improve the speed and efficiency and reduce the possibilities for the Matza to become Chametz.
    It for this reason that I claim with pride that these LSSM are most likely the most Mehudar – Halachically beautiful – Matzos available in the world today.

     

  • meir rabi says:

    why do some postings retain the numbering whilst others lose the numbering?
     

  • meir rabi says:

    And I wish to thank Reb Dovid for his links. Very intersting.
    Perhaps I might try to paraphrase parts of  them and post them here and/or on our site

  • The Maven says:

    R. Rabi, it is not befitting of any Rabbi of any stature to address halachik issues as a commentator on a blog. Along with your blatant self promotion in the Caulfield Leader, which you also publicised on this blog, your behavior as a Rabbi is just shameless. The more you try to present your point of view on this blog, the more defensive you look and the more you discredit yourself. The half-truths and misrepresentations you state are too numerous to reiterate but, you have painted yourself  into a corner. , and I am almost embarrassed for you . Maybe you should just stop and be quiet now. What little credibility you may have had has now been almost  completely lost as you have exposed yourself for being the fraud you truly are..

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Maven,
    Shameless or proud?
    There is nothing to be ashamed of when promoting Torah. Indeed this is one of the earliest laws in our Shulchan Aruch.
    This pride and obstinacy is enshrined in the name we proudly bear, Ivrim, as we aspire to follow in the footsteps of Avraham Avinu, Avraham HaIvri. As our Sages say, Avraham on this side (BeEiver Zeh) and the rest of the world on the other side. The entire world ridiculed and spat upon Avraham, but he stood by his beliefs and principles.
    If more Jews can be encouraged through articles in the local newspapers, to eat Matza then count me in. Maven, I am sure you would agree and would join me, if it would be promotion of any Jewish values other than LSSM.
    We share too much in common as loyal servants of HaShem to allow this minor disagreement to divide us and turn us away from the natural affinity that binds those loyal to the Holy Name.
    Have a V good MoEd and Chag
    Rabbi MGR

  • Henry Zelman says:

    Rabbi, you sound like a good teacher, G’D only knows where you get your patience from, but alas “Mavin” is a type of student who gets thru his studies by cribbing from last years exam papers. It is not that he could not pass with “High Distinction” as he has the ability, it is just his style of  getting thru the education system.

  • The Maven says:

    From The Editors: This comment has been removed because it blatantly insults another commenter without adding anything substantial to the discussion.

  • Observer says:

    What else does “Chashashot hagdolot” mean other than serious concerns.  To suggest that HaRav Wosner was not questioning the halchic basis of the locally produced Lagffa bread is totally putting one’s head in the sand.  I could use more appropriate words but I maintain my respect for a rabbi even in the current circumstances.

    Yes Rabbi you have listed 30 points in your earlier post and you certainly have mastered the art of giving answers that superficially at least appear lengthy and impressive.  However a more careful analysis of that answer shows that many  points simply  follow on from the previous ones and that basically only two issues have been addressed.  One is the continued contention that Rav Wosner didn’t find any halachic objections to the locally produced soft matzah – while it is just so blatantly obvious from the statement I quoted that he did.

    The second point raised once again is that soft matza has been or still is an acceptable alternative.  I acknowledged this from the outset but have yet to receive a reply to the comment that the local product is produced differently to and looks different to the traditional soft matza used and allowed to-date –  other than an unsupported contention that the local product is even more mehadrin than the ones produced strictly according to a mesora.  What recognised authority has concurred with this innovative method of production of this locally produced item?  I have only seen condemnation of it.

    I entered this discussion as a truly objective observer.  I now leave it somewhat saddened at not getting convincing and relevant  replies to my questions.

  • Henry Zelman says:

    I think “Observer” has a point that only to see it and do it for him-self would suffice

  • Uncle Yankel says:

    Having a monopoly kashrut org is bad and dangerous. Look at Sydney where thi s is the case. Whether you are happy or unhappy about the rabbi or people behind their NSWKA there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. They have  completely tied it up andwoe betide anyone who touches their kavod or finances.

    Melbourne is lucky that there are 3 supervising groups, Rabbi M Rabi’s KV, Adass and MK/KA. G-d help us if we only had one. Same thing with the Kosher meat. Sydney meat is far more expensive than Melbourne – because KA is the only show in town. Why do you think Yankel Unfanger has so many clients in Sydney? (Sure, him being such a mentch and kind-hearted fellow helps – but the main reason is price)

    Have a look at AJN Watch’s articles about what happened in Sydney this past January when a baal simcha decided to bring a Melb caterer up to do their daughter’s wedding.

    Eshel (Fogels) came and by all accounts did a beautiful job at less than half the cost of Sydney’s caterers. But you should have heard the outcry by the monopoly rabbi  and his people there. Is this fair?  Is this the way Kashrut will be able to expand?

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-really-going-on-in-aussie-kashrut.html

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/sydney-kashrut-affair-part-2.html

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/another-comment-on-sydney-kashrut.html

    When Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick was running his own kashrus org here – before being hired by Mizrachi kashrut, he also acted in an independent manner without consulting others. I have no idea if he knew/knows mor eor less than Rabbi Rabi but thos eof us who remember those times are still stunned when talking about the time that Rabbi Zaichyk removed the MK hashgacha from Glicks bakery after some serious infractions. Within an hour and without even contacting Rab Zaichyk, RMGutnick gave Glicks his approval!  (Confirmed by Rabbi Z)
    Imagine Rabbi M Rabi doing such a thing! Imagine the outcry! Let’s stop the hypocracy.

    Another question. Both melb and Sydney KAs until recently gave their Kosher Lepesach stamp on locally produced matzot. Seeing that one of the  repeated points made against the KV matza is that Australian flour is washed – and therefore chametz , what was going on at Snider and Solomons bakeries? Did they import shemurah flour from Israel – or what?

    Can we get a reply from the Rabbis Gutnik and KAs please. (O r maybe via David Werdiger who seems to know a fair bit about this topic.)

  • Uncle Yankel says:

    While on AJNwatch I saw a  great pic of Rabbi Groner baking (traditional) matza.
    Have a look. It brings back memories of that wonderful and greatly missed personality.

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/rabbi-groner-baking-matzos-in-melbourne.html

  • Chaim says:

    Objective Observer. Thank you for your comments.
     
    Meir: Firstly, the letter clearly says their are possible kashrut issues. Obviously without someone else observing the actual production no one can make specific criticisms.  He also says there is a need to investigate the matzah. Have you invited anyone else  to come and investigate it? I have not problem people accepting your hechsher but I and others would not accept it without proven experience and reliability or a secondary supervisory authority.
     
    I have spoke to some people who have made soft matzah in Israel – It was made in a pan. And in very small quantities by experienced and trained  individuals given its easy tendency to become chometz. Your attitude that you are so convinced that your matzah is 100% kosher and mehadrin is worrisome to me and trivializes the obvious risk. Mass production elevates all risks.
     
    Maven: Their is an appearance of elitism and arrogance among the Rabbis in general. People need effective and open communication. This issue could be diffused  easily by public statements in newspapers, shuls etc. The community feels out of touch with its Rabbis. This is a very serious and often ignored problem.
     
     
    I have no problem with innovation nor soft matzahs. I have a problem with arrogance. It makes me suspect authenticity.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom All,

    I respond to “Observer”, I accept your stated purpose is to search for truth and I therefore respond again. However I must advise you to look to Halacha for guidance. This is the great divide I discern between the opposing perspectives in this discussion.

    Matza need not be produced according to a Mesorah, Matza must be produced according to the dictates of Halacha.
    It is the Halacha that supports the fact that LSSM is likely the most Mehudar Matza available in the world today.
    All differences between LSSM and other soft Matza are enhancements that speed up processing and also reduce possibilities of it becoming Chametz.
    As soon as HaRav Wosner sees or is informed of any slight change from Traditional Practice, he is always concerned with “Chashashot hagdolot”.
    HaRav Wosner was informed about the production of LSSM and in order to evaluate what he HAS said one must know what he has NOT said.
    He has not said that there is any risk of LSSM being Chametz, an easy thing to say and something he was urged to say.
    I say again, HaRav Wosner has not the slightest Halachic doubt beyond the doubts that apply to all Matza manufacturing, that this Matza is absolutely Kosher for Pesach.
    It would be better if the 30 points were addressed point by point.

    Gutt Shabbos
    Rabbi MGR

  • meir rabi says:

    To Chaim,
    Much of what you raise is addressed by my response to “Observer”.
    You are encouraged to make your own decisions about which rabbis and Kashrus agencies you rely upon. These decisions should be made according to the dictates of Halacha. I therefore append a partial translation of a Teshuvah from Reb M Feinstien which has previously posted on this site.

    This is the Teshuva of Harav M Feinstien I referred to earlier,
    If the kashrus org earns money through their certifications and these monies are used to pay the various employed officers, then the community Kashrus organization has absolutely no superior credibility than any individual Rov who would be giving Hashgacha.
    In fact the community Kashrut organisation may well be a less reliable option since there is no one individual to bear the responsibility and a group is less vigilant and caring since no one individual bears ultimate responsibility. Whereas an individual Rov must bear the consequences of his decisions and actions and is fearful of making an error and there are many who will check and pursue him. This is not at all the case for a communal kashrus authority.

  • Chaim says:

    Meir:
     
    I completely agree with that. I do not know you. I do not know if you have yirat shomayim. I do know and trust R. Gutnick. Everybody has to make an educated and honest decision and live with the consequences.
     
    It should be noted that the vast majority of people on this website do not keep kosher and do not care if the matzahs are really chometz. To them the kashrut is a mute point. The rest is  all on your shoulders.
     
    Have a great Pesach.

  • The Maven says:

    M. Rabi, you posted earlier to me that you believe that this is a ‘minor disagreement between us”. This indicates to me that you lack yiras shamayim, because no Rabbi worth his salt would treat the possiblity eating of chometz on Pesach so lightly.
    M. Rabi, regardless of what Moshe Feinstein may or may not have said, he is not here in Melbourne today and our Rabbonim are, yet you completely disrespect and disregard them and set yourself up as an authority over them. That is elitist.
    Regardless if you think it is best for a lone individual to be in charge of kashrut rather than an organisation, the fact is that it makes no sense to trust you in kashrut while you have absolutely no tech support. Food technology today is extremely complicated, and without scientists on staff, without technological protocols in place, there is absolutely no way on this earth you are able to determine if something is kosher.
     
     

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Chaim,
    I have no idea about the nature, persuasion or preferences of the vast majority of participants on and readers of this blog but I certainly am of the opinion that they all care very much about the Matza they and their friends eat on Pesach. I am also sure your comment about the readers of this blog was made in haste and you did not mean what you seem to have said.
    I am available and well known in the community. You can get to know me yourself or ask almost anyone in Melbourne about me. I daven and learn daily for a couple of hours in Adass.
    BTW how do you know if anyone has Yirat Shamayim?
    I am confident that by learning about LSSM you have had the opportunity to become educated. However, a human being’s ability to make an honest decision depends upon other considerations.
    Every Jew is a leader and there is a responsibility to take that task with all seriousness. You too are a leader and your comments although unlikely to, may be leading people in the wrong direction. Are you Chaim, confident that without any real knowledge about the status of LSSM and only the vaguest notions about why it is unacceptable to either HaRav Wosner or other local Rabbis, you are acting responsibly and Halachically?
    I am also a leader, not only in the Port Phillip, but in the broader field, and I take my charge very seriously. To be able to provide Gd’s chosen people with additional opportunities that will expand their enjoyment in pledging their loyalty to HaShem, is not only a great privilege but also a great responsibility.
    Shalom, 
    May this Festival of Redemption provide redemption for all who require it.
    Rabbi Meir G Rabi

  • The Maven says:

    It’s amazing that Rabi does not answer some simple questions raised here like:
    1. where did he get smicha?
    2.what is his expertise in kashrus if any?
    3. does he or has he ever consulted with the Rav Hamachshir of kashrus of our city Rabbi Mordecai Gutnick?
    4. why does he consistently rely on opinions of overseas Rabbis?
    5. Without technological or scientific infrastructure how can we rely upon his opinions?
    6. How is he paid? As a one man band, is he the mashgiach, the business manager all, in one and if so, where is the accountability or transparency?
     
    7. How does Rabi explain how it is kosher to have ‘kosher’ sushi in a treife sushi bar?
    Rabi, why do you skirt these direct yet simple questions?

  • Chaim says:

    Actually Meir I do know about the majority of the readers (Editors: You should do polls!)
     
    I am also not in Melbourne so it is unlikely we will meet.
     
    As I said above I have no problem with authentic kosher soft Matzah. I have no problem with varied Kashrut authorities. I fully support you in that the Rabbis who have been against this matzah should come out with clear and open responses or statements detailing their opposition.
     
    I do believe you have misinterpreted the letter from R. Wosner but that is my opinion and I do believe you have failed to show sufficient evidence that the matzahs are 100% kosher because you  have not had other supervising Kashrut authority or independent Rabbi validate your claims but again that is only my opinion. Hence I will stick to the hard matzos for now.
     
    I do hope that you have not lead people astray but that is between you and Hashem.
     
     
    I wish you the best.
     
    Kol Tov.
     

  • meir rabi says:

    My daughter in law had a baby girl this morning, all are well BH.
    The word in Adass is that she will be named Laffa :)

  • Chaim says:

    Mazel Tov.

  • meir rabi says:

    Chaim, Shalom to you.
    We can certainly agree to disagree about the significance of HaRav Wosner’s letter but I, and the other readers of this discussion, would be better able to asses your opinion if you would address the considerations that I have put to support my understanding of HaRav Wosner’s letter.
    Within the framework of Halacha, which is the foundation of this discussion, I have done all that is necessary to positively establish that LSSM is all that I have promoted it to be. I am disappointed that you find the parameters of Halacha inadequate to satisfy your personal requirements.
    Even if you do live by a “higher standard” it is not correct to promote such an opinion in a public forum thereby suggesting that others who may not follow such an approach are somewhat inferior. Besides, it is a poor reflection of character to publicly parade these “higher standards”.
    How can anyone, other than the USA spy agency that monitors all emails and phone calls, possibly know who on earth reads these discussions? Do you work for the State Department?
    Chaim, there is no need to meet me to know more about me.
    Wishing you a Gutt Shabbos and a redeeming Chag,
    As we approach the last days of the Chag, the commemoration of the Jews’ crossing of the Reed Sea, may I reflect that we all have our “Reed Sea Crossings” in life. May we have the strength and presence of mind to remain faithful to Gd and not be intimidated by the approaching foreign legions.
    Best
    Rabbi MGR

  • Chaim says:

    Actually if you read all that  I wrote,  you would see that I do not see others as inferior nor do I expect them to hold by any standard that I do. That was very clear. Validation and authenticity  from a rabbinic Authority is what I expect. This is what you have failed to show me and you are sounding a little paranoid now.
     
    Letter from R. Wosner:
    “Aside from the grave concerns about the Kashrus of this Matza, this may lead to terrible and frightening (additional) breaches.”
     
    BTW Your granddaughter is Chai Nissan Tifret she’b Chesed – very nice.
     
    I am done. Good Shabbos. Chag Sameach.
     
     
     
     

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Maven,
    I will respond to the relevant parts of your last two posts

    Is there a rabbi in Australia who supports your contention that “regardless of what [HaRav] Moshe Feinstein may or may not have said, he is not here in Melbourne today and our Rabbonim are”?
    Is there a rabbi in the world who would not severely rebuke you for the tone and posture of that comment? I think you should retract on this forum ASAP. I also think you should ask your rabbi for directions as to how to atone for such appalling Chutzpah.
    Are there rabbanim in Australia who do not consult with international rabbis?
    Are there rabbanim in Australia who do not rely on the opinion of international rabbanim?
    Why do you think that manufacturing Matza for Pesach requires, “technological or scientific infrastructure”?
    See our website http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=269 for more info about the Soho Sushi Bar (serving delicious Kosher Sushi, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Look for the sealed packs, 276 Carlisle Street, just near the corner of Nelson St)
    I am able to show you emails that indicate that I have been in touch with local rabbis. Unfortunately, I am unable to publish these on a public forum.

    Gutt Shabbos
    Rabbi Meir G Rabi

  • dovid says:

    Maven
    you wrote:
    <And since when are Rabbonim obligated o provide explanations to a pask? Ay, if someone asks for one they will likely receive one, but a Rav answers a pask and that is that>
    since when are people obligated to listen to a “psak” of a shull rov, whose duties and knowledge are not more than to give a drosho and “make” a levaya?
    You also wrote:
    <Compare all this to Kosher Australia which has all salaried employees who do not benefit regardless if any particular product is kosher or not therefore no bias>
    are you brain dead, from where do think their salaries are coming from? Gone are the days when kosher Australia didn’t charge for their hashgacha.
    once it mk became a ”business”, there is no difference between a single rov who gives a “teudat, kashrut”, and a kashrut organization. See the tshuva above.
    Instead of telling us something that we all know-that each and everyone of the rabbonei Melbourne is m’gedolei Hador, explain to us what is wrong with the lafa matza.

  • moshe says:

    To Uncle Yankel:

    To say that Rabbi Mottel Gutnick took over Glicks from Zaychik “within the hour” is a pathetic exaggeration and makes the rest of what you say seem equally dubious. I think I speak for many when I say that the standard of Glicks kashruth changed dramatically when rabbi Gutnick took over the hashgacha. I still remember the delays in production while things were being kashered and for the new guidlines to be put in place.

    Furthermore your reference to the hate site “AJN watch ” is equally sad. While in theory a media watchdog on our sometimes openly anti charedi jewish newspaper is highly commendable, AJN Watch has turned out to be huge dissapointment and has lost credibility in the eyes of many in the frum community. The not so  anonymous adassnik behind the blog clearly has a huge chip on his shoulder re Chabad. Furthermore, some of the hate that he spews, particulary towards the non religious is downright disturbing.

  • frosh says:

    “Objective observer”,

    Your implicit accusation that I am also anonymous is really stupifying, especially when one considers that I have already corrected “The Maven” on this very same point in this very same thread. I suggest you scroll up a bit.

    If you have got this simple fact so very wrong, isn’t it possible that you are also getting other less simple ‘facts’ wrong?

  • meir rabi says:

    Chaim, Shalom.
    Thank you for your kind thoughts and observations regarding my new grand-daughter.
    My perspectives and yours and what we “sound like” are subject to the evaluations of the readers of this blog, so there is nothing for me about which to make a comment.
     
    Gutt Shabbos.
    Rabbi MGR

  • The Maven says:

    M. Rabi, you’re deceit is so obvious I need not refute your ridiculous assertiond, your false arguments, and your distortions. All that destroys your credibility. Keep it up, after this blog discussion less and less people will ever trust your hechsher and I believe that is a good thing. You are in no position to rebuke anyone or give spiritual advice because what you are doing is an abuse of the title ‘Rabbi’ if you even earned such a distinction, as you have yet to offer your credentials. You are trying to diminish the respect of Rabbonim who dedicate their lives to the kehillah all for your own gain. Shameless. It is you who needs to ask for forgiveness. I am finished with this discussion now since it is apparent you are neither truthful nor rational but a man obsessed with defending the indefensible and hoping to pull the wool over as many eyes as you can. Your sanctimonious ‘holy-roller’ attitude doesn’t fool all of us.

  • dovid says:

    maven
    you wrote:
    <You are trying to diminish the respect of Rabbonim who dedicate their lives to the kehillah all for your own gain>
    was the reason that the rabbonim came  out against the matzo,  that they had the chshash that if  if  their “kehilah” will drive to shull on pesach while eating lafa matzot, they will be oiver on two issurim?
     

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Maven,
    We will let those who read the discussion decide.
    Shabbat Shalom Chag SaMeAch
    Rabbi Meir G Rabi

  • moshe says:

    To Meir Rabi,

    I don’t know you personally but I don’t understand why you feel the need to respond to every anonymous tom dick and harry who writes a comment on this blog. To be honest, it looks childish and you come across looking rather insecure. You’ve stated your position sufficiently already many days ago, either people trust your competence or they don’t. Have some self respect.

  • meir rabi says:

    Moshe,
    Well said. I shall heed your advice.

  • Heimishe Yid says:

    Moshe I agree with your earlier comment re the  AJNWATCH blog.  As part of the “heimishe” melbourne frum community, I am utterly embarassed and offended by who is likely my fellow mispallel. I think his attitude and intolerance towards other Jews is far worse than the bias that the Jewish News shows towards frum Jews. He is obviously a hateful person with a total lack of ahavas yisroel and yiras shomayim. He is using the (valid) pretense of making the AJN more accountable to push his own agendas and invalidate others who follow different branches of Yiddishkeit.   I think I speak for many when I say his blog is a total disgrace and a chillul hashem.  I personally do not frequent that site anymore and I hope and trust that others have come to the same unfortunate conclusion that I have.

  • Michael K says:

    well said Dovid.

    Those rabbis have far far greater problems in their own shuls. Many (most?) hardly have a munyan of shomrei shabbat there.

    How many of those rabbis have told these congregants of theirs that it is preferable that they stay home of Shabbat – rather than travel to shul by car?

    How many of those rabbis have kicked up a stink about the Jewish News advertising treif? And how many of them took up the cudgels when the JN advertises treif caterers as ‘kosher friendly’. Check out the recent article in the AJNwatch blog about this.

    No, kashrus doesn’t truly seem to bother them. Rather a competeing supervisor is what brings them out. (I am not taking any view in theh acceptability or other wise of the laffa – I truly wouldn’t know.)
    But I do get upset when there is so much hypocricy around. According to the halacha – our rabbi actually taught us so last week – a person who descerates shabbat is considered  in most thing to be a AKUM.

    When will all the rabbis come out with that statement?

  • Rifkah says:

    For those who don’t know what an AKUM is,  its basically Goy in today’s terms. So what Michael K is saying is that his Rav siad that a Jew who is not observant is like a Goy . Michael, Since you sound like a Baal Teshuva, I should just let you know that this is not a mainstream opinion, and not too many Rabbis in Melbourne  (or anywhere)would agree with your Rav on that. (FYI it has been my experience that the same Charedi right that says that a non religious Jew  is like a goy does not think much better of baalei teshuvah and do not regard BT’s as one of their own, pasken differently for them, etc).

    This is a very dangerous attitude and leads to the desecration of G-d’s name.  It ends up having terrible consequences, like people with beards and peyot selling non kosher tefillin and mezuzot to unsusepecting non (or even semi) observant Jews.  It means that a Rav Hamachshir with this attitude will not follow his usaual protocols and maybe not even send mashgichim to functions under his hashgacha that are not attended by what he considers to be religious Jews.  It is a primitive and disgraceful attitude and one of the uglier aspects of right wing Charedi philosophy.

    Thankfully our local Rabbinate does not share this attitude and if they feel that unsuspecting Jews may be eating possible chametz on Pesach they should be commended for bringing this matter to the attention of the Jewish community – even if some of those Jews are not as religious as you and me.

  • Rifkah says:

    If I could just add (like Michael) I have no idea if laffa matzah is possible chametz or not , that was not the point I was trying to make

  • Michael K says:

    That is what the shulchan aruch and even kitzur shulchan aruch says. True someone who was brought up irreligiously and never knew better does have some leniencies regarding this. But say, his touching of (non-mevushal) wine makes it unfit for kiddush – as if a goy had done so –  that is the rule.

    But that was not my main point. It was that to the best pf my memory this laffa issue was the first time in many many years that our worthy rabbis found the time and need to make such a strong statement about something.

    Wouldn’t it be as important to criticise the JN for its blatant anti-torah ads and views?
    (And I didn’t even see the rabbis defend one of their own – Rabbi Engel from adelaide
    when the jewish news plastered that despicable ‘rabbi charged” front page.

    Why don’t we hear the rabbis raisng their voices about the plague of mamzerim caused by the reform clergy in this country? Or their virtuall total acceptance of intermarriage – by welcoming non-jewish partners into their communities following a joke of conversion?

    Or is it easier and far less controversial to go for the throat of a  rabbi with some new invention.

  • Jason says:

    Rabbi Rabi,
    It’s obvious you are an intelligent fellow. Being so, would you care to explain your other hairbrained idea in regard to removing fetus’s from slaughtered cows, doing so in huge numbers, then rearing those living/born fetus’s into giant herds which would thus eliminate the need for Jewish ritual shechita?
    Might not this exotic over the top idea, plus others you have had in the past, now joined  by your Laffa shtick be the reason why you have been shown the door by Melbourne synagogues  and learning institutions?
    By the way, your comment in a previous post (as if you were speaking to an imaginary flock)  – “May this Festival of Redemption provide redemption for all who require it”, was facetious to say the least. Every Jew requires and wants redemption, the genuine redemption from the Golus we are in. I suspect even you do! You dear sir, speak with a contemptuous and smug forked tongue.
     
     

  • Michael K says:

    Jason, it would be proper when insulting another Jew – especially a talmid chacham – not to hide behind some nickname.

  • Jason says:

    Dear Michael K (is that your kosher handle?)
    There is a concept of Hoichiach toichi’ach es amisecha. Additionally I subscribe to the concept of Lifnei iveir loh siten Michshol. One can do both of the above using their name, a nickname or even your name, however truth should be the name of the game. Therefore, pay attention to what I wrote earlier,  if it’s untrue, I’ll apologize. If however it is true, alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.
    That, dear Mr K comes first and foremost.
    Unlike the dear rabbi who always loves to have the last word, I have nothing further to add other than inviting readers to do their homework, and of course, a response from the esteemed and learned rabbi.
    Once you read his shecht-free-cattle rubbish, all this laffa business will recede into irrelevance.
     

  • Rifkah says:

    Michael the laws you refer to are complex and there is much written on this issue by contemporary halachic authorities. I am not a rabbi but I am confident that if you consult a competent  mainstream orthodox rabbi, he will be happy to discuss this issue with you in greater detail. I do not know all the “ins and outs” but from living in the frum world all my life it seems that your rabbi is extremely radical in his opinion on this matter.

    As for your perception of the rabbis “never doing anything” and that this response is uncalled for, with respect you must be pretty insulated. The fact is that there are always emails and statements from our rabbis about kashrut issues (citing some problem or another ), I get them all the time.  I also know of many, many actions taken by our local rabbis  in recent years regarding issues in our community that arise and that they deal with. Some are dealt with quietly, some publicly, but if you wish to know more I suggest you contact Rabbi MS Kluwgant who was at the helm of the RCV over the past number of years and I’m sure he would be more than happy to inform you of them.  As a matter of fact, I  think he would be somewhat offended by your claim that this is the first time in many many years the rabbis have taken a stance on something…

  • Ben says:

    Most of us have heard of Harav Moshe Feinstein, the great Posek. Not sure who this Moshe Feinstein is?(the one mentioned in Wajsbort’s post!)

  • Ben says:

    Sorry. I meant “mentioned in The Maven’s post”

  • dovid says:

    I was told that the reason why  the rabbonim  who are members of rcv don’t tell their members that you have to keep shabbat or eat kosher is that they don’t want them to brake a minhag.

  • Eli says:

    Dear Editors,
    Perhaps it is time you alerted your readers and more importantly those that post here, of your Moderation Policy.
    It is buried unfortunately in your Editorial Page. I would have thought that a blog that encourages and attracts a large amount of comments would make that policy more obvious and accessible.
    A number of posts here have already breached your own guidelines eg: ” Personal insults, particularly when unrelated to substantive comment, will also be removed”
    Although your policy is to be “largely hands-off” I find many of the comments hateful,inflammatory and as a public site perhaps a cause for defamation.
    I am sure that you have already edited many, however the tone in some posts that remain only allows others to descend to a similar level.
    The policy of anonymity is perhaps advantageous in attracting many comments, however the responsibility of maintaining a modicum of decorum is substantially higher.
    Please return the responsibility of posting quality comments to your readers by enforcing proper guidelines.
    Thank you for your indulgence.
     

  • Michael K says:

    Rifkah, the last time I recall RMSK and the RCV publicly condemning was when they decided that the Chevra kadisha was ‘too frum’ in installing a mechitzah between the sexes.
    Yes, rather than supporting the halachik POV asthe CK were instructed by their rabonim and posek, the RCV decided that the AJN’s psak was preferable.

    I suppose the fact that both the CK and RMM don’t think too higly of the RCV must  bug them – so they do what they do. Actually the way I see it the RCV has quite a few prominent honest and above reproach rabonim in its membership, but for some reason they are rarely seen at the help of that organisation

  • Observer says:

    As indicated above I did not get satisfactory answers to my questions regarding the questioning by Rabbi Wosner et al regarding the processing of the locally produced soft matza – just denial that any question or criticism had been levelled. I had intended to accept that situation and draw conclusions accordingly and not comment further

    But over the past few days I have heard of specific questions raised against the practical side of tmanufacture of these locally produced soft matzas that prompt me to writer again as a matter of urgency .

    I have been told that the first question raised regarding this has been with regard to the flour used.

     I googled flour milling in Australia and one of the first results yielded the following:

    “Water is added to the wheat blend in a process called conditioning or tempering. The amount added is usually between 2–4%, depending on the initial moisture content of the grain and the type of wheat being milled. The wheat is then allowed to lie in the conditioning bins for between 10 and 20 hours. The bran layers are toughened by the addition of water,minimising shattering during milling and the endosperm is made more friable (crumbly), requiring less power to be ground into flour.”

    I asked around over the past few days and have been reliably informed that it was this problem of the  virtually universal  addition of water, and the eventual refusal (for safety reasons) of all bar one Australian mill to grind flour without water that resulted in flour having to be eventually imported from Israel to bake local machine matzas.  When this proved to be unviable for a number of reasons the local Shnider matzas are actually noe made in Israel.  Apprently just one mill has agreed to produce a limited amount of  flour that is not tempered or cooled with water for Sydney’s Solomon’s matzas but this is only done for specially supervised designated batches taken by Solomons.

    Rabbi Rabi denies (and actually ridicules) the contention that water is added during the flour milling process. He also claims that the shmira of his matzas began beshaat lisha (at the time of kneading).  However,it seems quite clear to me, contrary to Rabbi Rabi’s contention, that in the normal process of wheat milling water is added – bringing with it the problem of the resultant flour being Chometz.  The Achronim on Shulchan Aruch (see Mishnah Berurah Ch 453 end of s”k 23) clearly state that when there is clear reason tho suspect that water has been used on the wheat before the milling process the flour must be considered as Chametz even bedieved and therefore in such circumstances the actual milling would require proper shmira (supervision).

    I also came across the fact that chemical bleaching of flour is banned in the EU and Australia, but that flour whitening and improving is done by adding some fava bean flour or soy flour. They act as flour improver as they fast forward the the gluten development as well as whitening wheat flour.  So bleached (white) flour even in Australia has additives that at least initially could be problematic for Pesach as well.

    Perhaps the good Rabbi could reassure us that he did know of these issues and that the wheat he used was indeed specially produced under proper supervision without any water or ingredients added.  I have also been asked to see if he would share with us exactly which mill he received the flour from as I am told that the local matza manufacturers would indeed wish to be able to have a new source for Pesach flour.  As he is being so upfront I am sure he would not mind sharing this information with us.  It may just also assist in defusing another aspect of the criticism that is being levelled against his soft matzas.

     

     

     
     
     
     
     
     

     

     

     

     

  • moshe says:

    dovid:

    the joke is about the rabbi who did not rebuke his congregants who drove to shule on shabbat because he didn’t want them to “brake” the minhag…

    corny, I know, but if youre gonna tell it, tell it rite!

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to Observer,
    I assure you and all the readers of this blog and all those interested in the Halachic considerations related to our LSSM, that I was fully aware of all the aspects that you have raised in your last post. The flour was produced without use of water, and is perfectly suited for producing Kosher for Pesach Matza. It complies with the Mishnah Berurah Ch 453 end of s”k 23 you quoted. With respect, may I suggest that you actually meant to refer to s”k 24, not s”k 23.

    I would urge you and the readers interested in the finer Halachic details, to also read the ShaAr HaTziyun on that comment (and where the custom is to use wind driven power for milling the flour then provided the custom is not to wash the wheat, Shemirah is not required {according to this opinion} until the time of kneading)
    Shalom to all,
    May the last days of our Festival that commemorate the crossing of the Reed Sea and the final destruction of our sworn enemies, be for us too an opportunity to do what is pleasing in the eyes of HaShem so that He will deliver us from our enemies and bring world peace.
    Rabbi MGR

  • Jason says:

    So R’ Meir, what’s with the Shechitah-free-cattle story?
    Shul was full of it yesterday.
    Your take on it would be most interesting.
     

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi – can you let us know the name of the mill you supervised?  This would certainly put an end at least to this particular major criticism amnd support your case considerably. 

  • Observer says:

    BTW I stand corrected it is indeed s”k 24…
    However   I am not sure why you have referred to the comment of the Shaar Hatziyun (I presume you are talking about comment #33) as it would not apply to Australian flour – as he quite clearly adds at the end, for clarification, that when he says that shnmira is not required that  is only if it is not customary to wash the wheat.  The contenti0n is that in Australia it is certainly customary to actually SOAK  the wheat in water  before milling. (This is easily checked by ringing the mills and asking – which I will do after Pesdach iy”H.)  Any heter of not needing shmira for the milling would then not apply.  Could the Rabbi please clarify the relevance of the quoting of the comment of the Shaar HaTzion. 

  • Eli says:

    Observer
    I would imagine that the information regarding the mill would be sensitive commercial information and this is certainly not the forum that would provide any substansive support in respect to ending any criticism.

  • Observer says:

    Eli-
    I would think that quite to the contrary – it would be much better for “commercial” reasons if the source of the flour was revealed given the criticism being raised about it.  And I can assure you that, given the talk in town in many Shules at the moment, any such elucidating information posted on this thread would eventually get around….

  • Biased Observer says:

    Unlike objective observer I am a proudly biased observer. I am biased to those that are making matzas according to halachah. I am also passionately biased towards people who have been convicted without a fair trial.
    It appears to me that Rabbi Rabi has not received a fair trial by the RCV and other local Rabbi’s. It is fair enough to make announcements against someone in the community after thorough investigation and real evidence. mIstakes happen and it is possible Rabbi Rabi inadvertently made mistakes. I would completely support announcements made with that sort of thorough investigation. But I’m yet to see evidence against the matzos or Rabbi Rabi and I believe there has been a total lack of due process in the lead up to the infamous RCV letter. I don’t care if you are an organisation, Rabbi who supervises Sushi bars, doctor, lawyer or on the dole, when somebody in the community is publicly criticised it must be done with clear and readily transferable evidence.
    I rang up the RCV to enquire about the email and spoke to a key member who takes full responsibility for the letter and claims to have rang Rabbi Rabi personally to let him know such a letter would be released (the one commendable thing they did in this matter). We spoke for half an hour.
    I asked him why the letter seems to be claiming that the matza is chometz since it advises people not to own or eat the matza. His response was that it didn’t say it was chometz. They specifically didn’t write that because they have no way of verifying it.
    I asked what halachah Rabbi Rabi has contravened. He said that it likely and very possible that since local flour was used the product is chometz. I responded by saying words like ‘likely’ and ‘possibly’ and ‘probably’ isn’t enough to merit such a letter of condemnation.
    I asked if Rabbi Rabi was consulted fully before this letter was released with a thorough question and answer session taken place between the Rabbi and the RCV. He said that by releasing his matza so close to Pesach not enough time was given to interview Rabbi Rabi.
    I quizzed him about the implications of such a letter to Rabbi Rabi’s reputation and his family’s welfare. He said that the decision to write the letter was not an easy one and was not taken lightly. Three days were spent arguing the merits of the letter and many hours were spent wording the letter.
    Yet in all that time Rabi Rabbi was not given one of those three days to put forward his case and respond to the RCV’s concerns. They could have asked the seven or so people that were involved with the Rabbi to make the matzos and were therefore witnesses to the operation (that’s right, the matzos were produced by more than one person).
    I asked what their concern was. They said the fact that it was locally made flour that was probably treated with water. Nothing was said against the concept of soft matzas or the specifications of baking soft matza.
    I asked why that wasn’t mentioned in the letter (about the possibility of water treated flour). He said that they were worried that the laymen wouldn’t be able to understand because they don’t have an adequate understanding of the law. I asked how well he personally knew the laws of baking matzos lehalachah. The Rabbi replied “to be honest not that well.”
    Here are some other issues to consider:
    - Rav Wosner is often used as an example as someone who was against the matzos (seemingly just for reasons of innovation). It is important to note that he is also against women driving, women talking on their mobiles in public and the internet. How did Rav Wosner suddenly become the mainstream voice of halachah? Rav Wosner almost certainly wouldn’t eat from Kosher Australia as most of Adass don’t – yet his views have suddenly become popular in the mainstream.
    - Adass who has its own kosher list as a result of Kosher Australia not responding to its number of complaints about items in the kosher list that it deems unacceptable, has never made the allegation that Rabbi Rabi is behind a product that is more than likely chometz. Not only that, they welcome him into their shule and kollel and were quick to wish him a Mazel Tov at the naming of his granddaughter which was held at – you guessed it – Adass! Do you think they would have allowed a peddler of chometz to receive such an honour in their shule without a storm of controversy?
    I welcome and commend any Rabbi for publicizing anti-laffa matza material after a through investigation has been made with real and well communicated evidence against Rabbi Rabi properly transmitted.
    I have yet to see this happen.

  • Eli says:

    Observer,
    Quite the contrary.The original determination and subsequent pronouncements as to the status of the product were queried by firstly a competitor and later supported by the RCV.
    Those advices created the now  “talking” points around the various shules and congregations both here and elsewhere.
    That fact does not place it in the public arena, nor would a Caeseresque pronouncement in a public square give the debate any more credence or clarity.
    Since the majority would still require a nod from the RCV  on the matter, it is only out of mischievousness that the continuation of this  public debate endures.
    Perhaps the mispalim would be better devoting their time to quiet Avodah rather than chit chat during the services.
     

  • Observer says:

    Eli –

    Do you honestly believe that a p0ssible serious michshal is chit chat?  Please do not comntinue the arrogance and  have more respect for your fellow yidden – many of whom are trying to understand and come to terms with an innovation intoduced here in Australia by an individual daat yachid when surely, if the matter was so simple, there would have been much of these soft matzas available in the past.    Doesn’t this fact alone beg for further elucidation.  Excuses of “commecial confidence” are just that – excuses.  Let the go0od rabbi answer his crticis practically  and not by beating around tyhe bush with saying the same thing over and over again.  A revelation now of the source of the flour used, which I am led to believe is one of the major  questions raisded from the outset, would help to settle this matter and help bring about a resolution of this ugly rabbi vs rabbi situation.  If the good rabbi refuses to do this one can only wonder why…..  

  • Jack Mac says:

    Can we know the names of the flour mills that Sniders and Solomon used when they DID bake locally? It would sure clear up some of the rumors that went around in those days. A local baker – an expert of 50 yeqars experience (NK) openly stated that all flour millsused water. Even then- neither the KA nor RCV or the bakers tried to clear up this doubt. Why?

  • Rifkah says:

    Biased observer:

    The simple answer to your questionas to why adass has not objected to the laffa matzah  is that Adass people don’t care if the “outside” (the term they use to refer to other non charedi jews) eat chametz on pesach  (as already by the earlier post from micheal k)!

    I guarantee not one adassnik ate the laffa matzah or even remotely considered buying it.  Had that been the case I guarantee they would have objected. after all,  one of their esteemed bakers (with 50 years experience noch) said that every local flour mill uses water and thus how could kosher be made locally!

  • Dear Eli,

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  • I have been following this blog and was amused by the discussions on how difficult it is to make soft matzot. B”H for the last 7 years I have been making soft matzot with talmidim chachamim in Ramat Bet Shemesh.  And it’s quite easy, even fun and very spiritually elevating.
    This year I also made “cracker” matzot at a yeshiva with the mobile matza factory of the Bet El Yeshiva.
    For all of the talk, I discovered that the processes are more similar than I imagined. The kneading and cleaning processes are one and the same. The two processes diverge “only” with rolling and baking.
    The challenge of baking cracker matzot is rolling them very, very thin. And the baking process which marries very intense heat and very floppy uncooked matzah is a recipe for many folds, bubbles, and black matzot… and plenty of bal tashchit since many matzot–made leshem mitzvah–must be thrown away.
    Indeed I was surprised to discover that baking the cracker matzot is actually an inferior if you’re doing it by hand: If you leave them in a second too long, they’re totally scorched. If you take them out too soon, they’re not fully cooked. (I think a machine would avoid this problem as the timing could be more consistent)
    With baking soft matzot by hand, there is much more control over the baking process and much less waste. If matzot do not look fully cooked (and the Mishnah Brura clearly describes a cooked matza), then you can leave them on the blech a bit longer to cook. Then won’t get burned if you cook them for another second or even a minute.
    BTW, 18 minutes is a lot of time to cook matzot before you need to clean everything. This is the time from when the water hits the flour until they are put on the blech. If you really get into it, you can bake two sets of four matzot before you need to thoroughly wash down everything.
    For thousands of years, our forefathers made and ate soft matzot. They were people, not angels.
    The problem with soft matzot is one of HASHKAFA not HALACHA. G-d willing, we will soon have the Bet HaMikdash and then people who refuse to eat soft matzot can struggle to make a real Hillel sandwich.
     

  • Karpas says:

    Rifkah wrote  The simple answer to your questionas to why adass has not objected to the laffa matzah  is that Adass people don’t care if the “outside” (the term they use to refer to other non charedi jews) eat chametz on pesach 
    ==
    While it is noble of you (and I don’t for a minute believe that you are a ‘Rivkah’ – rather just an aggrieved RCV member) vainly trying to defend the honor of its membership – or rather ‘leadership’.
    Bashing Adass people as if they don’t care about outsiders is untrue and hotzoas shem ra. Adass has since it inception done as much for frum Jews outside its community as it has for its own.

    BTs may not know much about this, but those in this community whose background is of shomrei mitzvoth  can check with their parents and grandparents – where they bought their meat and poultry, what mikva they used (both mens and ladies), where they got Kosher milk from etc etc. Who were the first to establish a Jewish cemetery (True they were never into kiruv – leaving that field to the experts like Chabad, Beth Hatalmud etc)

    But back to your disparagement. Do you know who it was that contacted the Israeli rabonim about this new style matza?
    The Adass rabonim – no one else!
    Do you know that there was a notice to this effect on the Adass shul bulletin board?
    Do you know that additionally there was a letter by Rav Beck confirming Rav Wosners ban?

    If you don’t know, then maybe you should check your facts before publicly abusing  a large community of fine decent erlich Jews. And if you did know. then you were blatantly writing ‘untruths’ (I am trying to be ‘nice’ here)

    Either way, (at the latest) prior to yom kippur, find a way to apologize to an entire community that you shamed

     

     

     

  • Rifkah says:

    I stand corrected , over yom tov I was informed by a very credible source that the RCV objection came as a request from Rabbi Beck who wrote a very strong letter to the RCV asking them to warn the general community…

  • Moshe says:

    I think that Machon Shilo’s Rabbi David Bar-Hayim’s no-nonsense, logical approach to halacha is what we all need.

  • Rifkah says:

    oh and I’m totally flattered that you think I’m and RCV rabbi. I’m the furthest thing from it.  Had I been RCV rabbi I surely would have known that this whole protest was instigated by adass and I never would have said what I did.

    I apologize for my earlier statements to any of adass members that I may have offended, and I stand corrected.  I am pleasantly surprised. However I joined this blog to primarily argue with the comments  posted by michael k that a non observant jew is like a goy. I cannot let this slide. One cannot deny that this view expressed by michael k (if that is his real name) is shared by many  in adass. As I said earlier it is a very dangerous attitude and can lead to  inexcusable behavior and terrible chilul hashem.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Rifkah

    The halacha that a non-observant Jew is considered to be like a goy (in many ways) is far from an “Adass” thing!!

    You may have or be able to borrow a copy of Code of Jewish Law (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch) where in chapter 72  the ‘headline’ is ” The greatness of the holiness of Shabbat and whoever desecrates it is like an Akum…”

    Clause 2 explains that if such a person touches (non-mevushal) wine one may no longer consume it, his bread is Pat Akum as is food cooked by a mechalel shabbat.

    It is our duty to bring non-religious brethren back to the fold, but not by falsifying or giving misleading versions of Torah and halacha

  • Rifkah says:

    So basically you are saying that it is OK for a kashrut org. not to send mashgichim to functions that are not atttended by religious jews and it is OK to sell non kosher mezuzot and tefillin to non observant jews.

  • Chochom says:

    How can anyone dare oppose the holy views of the RCV with such learned, righteous and pious Rabbis as Rabbis Genande, Heilbrum and Link etc.

  • Feivel says:

    It  seems much easier for our local noble Rabbonim to critisize someone elses Hechsher than worry about their own.
     I am yet to see any Rabbi give out a letter in regards to any problem in their own Hechsher.

    Easier to look at others I guess.

  • Pesach S says:

    Shavua Tov & L’Shana Haba B’Yerushalayim.
    At the end of the day I will not eat this Laffa Style Matza because of 2 reasons:
    a. Mesora – my family, this community and the general Ashkenazic tradition does not have a tradition of baking this Laffa Style Matza. We do not have a mesora to eat kosher locusts or kosher giraffe – we should not break apart the foundations of our holy mesora by changing our holiest food, matza, which we know to be kosher for certain.
    b. Don’t start showing another Jew that you are eating a soft bread for Pesach – this can have very negative influences and consequences. For example,  an unlearned Jew may decide to paskin their own home-made ‘soft matza’, or alternatively a jew may go and just by laffa/pita from a supermarket and believe that this should suffice in satisfying the mitzva of matza on Pesach, G-d forbid.
    I think one of the reasons for our matza being the way it is, is that it is unique and identifiable. It has one name and one appearance. Lets keep it that way.  Everyone should eat what they have always eaten – what their yiddishe parents and grand-parents brought them up with. No nonsense.
    Regards,
    Pesach S.

  • Sue from Sydney says:

    Is Rabbi Rabi, Hareidi or Modern Orthodox?

    Is the RCV  Hareidi or Modern Orthodox?

  • Hershy says:

    The RCV must be Chareidi as they follow the Ultra Orthodox Rav Wosner of Bnei Brak who banned Women from Driving.
    This probally  mean that all Rebbetzins of the esteemed Rabbonim of the RCV do not drive.  (The RCV might be part of RACV who are trying to get less cars on the roads!!!)

    Rav Wosner also forbid any type of celebration in honour of Yom Hatzmut.  We must have a very ultra orthodox RCV here in Mebourne.

  • meir rabi says:

    MOST PROBABLY THE WORLD’S MOST MEHUDAR MATZAOur LSSM is very likely to be the most Mehudar (Halachically beautiful, i.e. the “Most Kosher”) Matza available in the world today.
    There are three reasons for this:1)   Dough Must Not be IdleThe Shulchan Aruch instructs that the dough must not be left idle even for one moment. As long as the dough is being manipulated, it can not become Chametz. The well known 18 minutes in which the Matza must be made, is the safety net that is utilised if one can not avoid leaving the dough idle.In both hand and machine Matza production there are considerable steps that lead to prolonged times when the dough is idle.For example, when the dough is being rolled into a thin sheet, the roller is not in contact with the entire dough at all times and thus the vast majority of the dough for the vast majority of the time it is being rolled, is actually idle.Additionally, the rolling pins are usually not cylindrical in shape but are tapered towards the ends. This is so in order to provide greater pressure on the dough being rolled. The dough is made with so little water that it is consequently extremely hard and tough to roll into thin sheets. The tapered rolling pins concentrate the pressure exerted by the person rolling the dough, onto a smaller area and thus generate more pressure. It is like having a slight and slim woman step on your foot but she is wearing spiky heels. Her entire weight is concentrated onto that one tiny point on your shoe and there is no way you can ignore her message. In the case of our Matza though, although the Matza is pressured to become thin, it is only that one small spot that is being pressured. The rest of the dough is sitting idle.Later on in the processing, the hand Matza is pierced and loaded onto a long stick from which it is loaded into the oven. The stick however is loaded with 6, 7 or 8 Matza rounds. The first Matza might well be waiting on the stick for up to 45 seconds before being eventually placed in the oven.In machine Matza production, although the rollers are cylindrical in shape and act across the entire width of the dough, there are long periods when the dough is idle whilst it travels on the conveyor belt from one step to the next.Compare this to the LSSM which is idle for no more that 5 seconds in its entire production process.2)   Speed In a similar vein, Halacha advocates that the speedier the process the better. The moment water is added we begin to live in danger, the flour may now become Chametz. In order to remove the danger we must get the dough into the oven as quickly as possible.The manufacturing of LSSM is the fastest Matza processing by a very large margin. In much less than one minute the process is completed. Machine Matza spends more time in the oven than the entire processing of LSSM.3)   ThicknessRashi in explaining the Gemara, states that thick dough will leaven more rapidly than thin dough. (I would be delighted to hear an explanation of why this is so.) This is recorded in the Halacha. It is therefore a Hiddur, a matter of Halachic beauty, to have the dough during its processing, as thin as possible and avoid having it in a thick state, for any time. The LSSM is the thinnest Matza available measuring only one mm or less. Furthermore, LSSM does not spend any of its time after kneading, as do both hand and machine Matza, in a thick state.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Observer, even if the water is turned off before A special batch, it still wouldn’t Make much difference as there is plenty Of water left in the mill From before    v 

  • moshe says:

    Hershy, I don’t think the RCVs main problem was with Rav wosners letter, although that was the main issue cited in Rav becks letter – who is charedi and does follow rav wosner’s other rulings.

    From my understanding after speaking with my rav who is on the RCV, the issue they had was with the flour used. It seems that they felt strongly (and yes, they did speak to Rabbi Rabi before issuing their letter) that the flour was washed with water (as all local flour is) and hence is problematic for use on pesach.

    It seems obvious to me that while rabbi rabi may me a talmud chacham (I wouln’t know since I do not know him) he simply was not aware of this problem with the flour. this strengthens the argument against allowing “jack of all trade” rabbis to be able to give private kosher certifications and better leave it to the experts.

    and Feivel – The kashrut orgs are always removing items from their hechsherim when doubts and problems arise.

    I think we should all thank the good rabbis of the RCV for publicising this matter . It is imperative that there should be authority and accountability in our community. May they continue to have only the greatest success in all aspects of their work.

  • Observer says:

    Feivel –

    In my humble opinion there is not one certtification agency or certifying rabbi who has not made a mistake somewhere along the line – just like kashrus questions pop-up quite often even in the most frumest of homes.  That’s why the Shulchan Aruch and Sheilot and Teshuvot sefarim are full of answers and rulings for such events.  The OU publishes a list each week of products that have been incorrectly labelled as kosher and have been withdrawn for all sorts of reasons.  The local agencies here indeed do likewise – much to our frustration when items originally declared kosher are later withdrawn.  But when the information is forthcoming  there is  usually no need for RCV or other pronouncements.

    In my opinion s judge of a good kashrut agency is not necessarily that they don’t make mistakes.  As someone else wrote – all of us, including supervising rabbis, mashgichim and  other certtification personnel, are not angels.  We are all human and make mistakes.  A major judge of a good agency is, however,  when they are forthcoming when questioned and are not hesitant at correcting and publicising any mistake that may be discovered.

    Unfortunatelythe information we have received regarding the locally produced soft matza has been an ongoing reiteration of the claim that soft matzas are historically acceptable and that the local product is, at least in theory,  the most mehadrin matzas in the world.  But thepractical questions that have been raised have been ignored.

    I and others have raised a major question that I am told was one of those that bothered the rabbis who have commented on this product.  This is regarding the source of the flour used in the local production.  There has been another epistlle a few comments back on how mehadrin the local product is in theory but this important question has not been answered.  Given that the good rabbi concerned has invited bloggers to ask and discuss this issue on this blog why does he now refuse to answer what many consider a vital question – the answer to which could defuse this controversy consiberably?  I ask it again – exactly which mill did the flour come from?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Everyone,
    Gd has a sense of humour.
    This year, for the very first time in the history of Melbourne’s Adass Yisroel, the Matza baked there every year Erev Pesach, the special hand made Matza that is baked to correspond with the Mitzvah of preparing the Pascal Lamb – the Korbon Pesach, which was prepared Erev Pesach from mid-day onwards, was baked to Gd’s perfection. They were found on Pesach night, to be soft and flexible. HaRav Beck ruled that they were Kosher to be used on Pesach.
    Now does it not strike one as more than fortuitous, that of all years for this to occur, Gd should choose THIS year as the year to manipulate history and make these arrangements?
    May we live to see the redemption before we are grown much older
    and may we become much wiser before the redemption
    meir

  • GULASH says:

    RIVKA, ONE WHO DOES NOT KEEP THE MITZVOS IS NOT TRUSTED WITH MATTERS OF KASHRUS, BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. HOWEVER, THEY ARE STILL YIDDEN AND MAY NOT BE FED BY US FOOD THAT IS NOT KOSHER, THE SAME AS YOU AND ME. IGNORE THE CAPS AS THAT BUTTON IS PLAYING UP 

  • Observer says:

    I am reliably informed that the Adass matzot were made from flour that was produced under proper hashgachah from the time of harvesting the wheat (real Shmura).
    I am still waiting to hear the source of the flour used for the locally produced soft matzot.
    BTW if we are being presumptuous enough to think that we understand G-d’s ways and that He has performed wonders regarding the soft matzot issue,  how should we interpret the reports that many of the locally produced soft matzot were returned to the shop they were purchsed from (Kraus’s on Glen Eira Rd)because they had gone mouldy and were therefore not consumed by the purchaser on Pesach? 

  • meir rabi says:

    Now that HaRav Shemuel Wosner’s name is better known by various parts of our community and now that we also know in what great esteem his rulings are held by the RCV, I would like to introduce another ruling of HaRav Wosner.

    According to Halacha, milk requires supervision to ensure that it is produced exclusively from Kosher beasts. According to some, this supervision need not be performed by a Jew. Government regulations that are properly audited and maintained are adequate. The Chasam Sofer is very strict in this matter and rejects relying on government supervision. Nothing other than full comprehensive Jewish supervision can categorize milk as “Chalav Yisrael”. HaRav Wosner follows the ruling of the Chasam Sofer.

    That is not the ruling I wish draw attention to.

    I wish to draw attention to the following ruling of HaRav Wosner.

    In guiding the Mehadrin (that’s the “Super Kosher”) division of the giant Israeli dairy company Tenuva, he determined that supervision of the milking process by video cameras suffices to satisfy the opinion of the Chasam Sofer.

    I anticipate that when Kosher milk, utilizing such forms of modern technology, is offered to the Melbourne Jewish community, it will be embraced with much fervor and applause by all, including the RCV. I am confident that there will be much gratitude publicly expressed (perhaps even from the pulpit) to those who have introduced this additional stringency in Kosher foods making it at the same time both a more affordable and also a more accessible commodity.

  • JCV says:

    IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM THE RABBIS OF THE JCV.:        We have heard that there are those Rabbis in Israel who have introduced new leniencies in the supervision of Kosher milk, namely using video cameras to supervise the milking. There was unanimous agreement from all our Rabbis not to allow such a reform to be practiced in our city. Such milk must not be drunk or even to be kept in ones house.                                                                                                                              even                    

  • Observer says:

     The introduction of a  a new controversial issue regarding milk seems to be nothing other than a cynical attempt to inroduce a “red herring” to avoid further analysis of the soft matza issue. Shouldn’t the good rabbi be concentrating on clearly and properly answering  the questions still outstanding regarding the manufacture of his soft matza and finalising that  issue before embarking on or promoting further innovations? 

    BTW given the good rabbi’s record in uniquely interpreting Rabbi Wosner’s ruling in the soft matza issue, I for one cannot now accept his claims about a ruling from Rabbi Wosner in other issues unless it is supported by clear objective evidence….

  • Benjamin says:

    He needs to divulge the source of the flour, as does both Kosher Australia and NSW KA need to let us know where the flouR came from for the production of Solomons and Sniders.

  • Observer says:

    I am sure that both authorities would provide the information if contacted.  I have always found them to be most informative and forth-coming in their answers to all my questions. For reasons I have mentioned in an earlier post I doubt though whether either Kashrut authority would reply on a site like this even if they knew that the question had been asked.  Rabbi Rabi on the other hand has actually requested questions on this site for which he promised answers.  I, and apparently Benjamin too, are still waiting….

  • Biased Observer says:

    Observer, you claim that “I am sure that both authorities would provide the information if contacted.”
    I am not so sure.
    How about trying to get such information from them?  Good luck!  While you are gaining that information can you ask them about other questions left unanswered such as:
    – Why is soy milk which is listed as mehadrin by kosher Australia deemed unnaceptable by local and overseas authorities?
    – Why do locally made sultanas such as Sunbeam remain as kosher according to Kosher Australia yet deemed unnaceptable by local and overseas authorities?
    – Why do Heinz baked beans and other tinned products remain kosher according to Kosher Australia when deemed unnaceptable by local and overseas authorities?
    – Why did it take so long for Kosher Australia to accept Nutra Grain when local and overseas authorities inspected Kellogs and deemed it to be permissible?
    – Why did it take so long for Kosher Australia and KA NSW to finally accept Leggos was unacceptable when Adass had been contacting them for ages about it being a problem?
    – Why are certain local margarines displaying Kosher Australia symbols when they are deemed unacceptable by Adass?
    Why do Kosher Australia have 2 kosher lists (one for caterers and one for consumers)?
    I assure you Rabbi Rabi has shown greater transperency than the authorities you seem to put so much trust in.
    I absolutely applaud the RCV for taking an interest in local kashrut matters.  However I want those who work for Kosher Australia and on the RCV named and respectfully stood down because of a clear conflict of interest.
     

  • Observer says:

    Biased Observer. 

    You are indeed extremely biased!

    This thread was set up by the publication by Rabbi Rabi of his attempts to answer the criticism of his product.  Questions regarding this product are therefore relevant and indeed useful to analyse the topic Rabbi Rabi himself inititated.

    If you have questions about Kosher Asutralia or any other Kashrut organisation by all means start your own thread on this topic somehwere on this or some other site. 

    Please don’t attempt to defend the production of the local soft matzas by pointing out what you believe are msitakes made by other organsidations.  Such a tactic  will only be interpreted in one of two ways:
    1.  You too are introducing “red herrings” in an attempt to deflect pertinent unanswered questions on the subject of this thread – namely the kashrut of the locally produced soft matza, OR
    2. You too now admit that it appears that the locally produced sof matza product is seriously questionable in the same manner as you obviously think that items that you have now listed are also questionable.

  • Chabad and Coca Cola says:

    Just found this – A concise history of kashrut in Oz

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2009/10/guest-post-by-kosherman-concise-history.html

  • meir rabi says:

    I wish to respond to what Jason said,  April 4, 2010 at 1:12 am
    Rabbi Rabi,
    Would you care to explain your other hairbrained idea in regard to removing fetus’s from slaughtered cows, doing so in huge numbers, then rearing those living/born fetus’s into giant herds which would thus eliminate the need for Jewish ritual shechita?

    My response:
    I am intrigued by Gd’s sense of humour, as I mentioned earlier with regard to this year being the first in 40 or 50 years of Adass Yisroel’s history that they have produced (and endorsed as Kosher) soft Matza for Pesach.

    Well, there is a Torah Journal, MeVakShey Torah, and in the most recent publication, Nissan 5770, there is an interesting collection of brief questions put to HaRav Chaim Kaniensky Shelita.

    Firstly a brief introduction.
    A) Glatt means smooth – a reference to the lungs of a ritually slaughtered beast being entirely without even the slightest blemish. This is a higher than normal standard of Kosher pursued by those who truly fear Heaven

    B) A Ben PeKuAh, is the Torah name for the foetus found within a Kosher slaughtered beast, what Jason refers to as my “hairbrained idea”, I suppose he meant to say, harebrained idea.

    The second question asked to HaRav Chaim just happens to be:

    Is it preferable to eat meat of a regular beast that has been ritually slaughtered and verified to be Glatt Kosher or is eating the meat of a Ben PeKuAh permitted in the first instance [LeChatchila]? [I hope I have done justice in my translation, please feel free to suggest modifications.]

    HaRav Kanievsky’s answer:
    The Ben PeKuAh may be eaten in the first instance and this is what Rav Sherirah Gaon did at his son’s wedding feast.

    Oh and by the way, in this week’s Parsha, Shemini, we find the source for this remarkable Halacha
    And Gd laghed, may we all be delighted to laugh and share the joy.

    BYW I do not respond to questions that have already been answered

  • Ben says:

    Observer, I did indeed Ask about the source of the flour when they were still producind the Matza in Melbourne. Kosher Aust gave me the run around. Onee of their staff told me to ask RMG who sent me to someone else etc.  Finally I was told that they do not have the authority to divulge such private information and to ask the owner of Sniders who told me along the lines of “it’s non of your business”.                                                                                                                                           I know of others who also tried to find out then. There was quite a bit of negative talk about those Matzos at that time. 

  • Observer says:

    Could the good rabbi please refer me to the post where he answered the question regarding the source of the flour used for his soft matza?

    BTW in further answer to Biased Observer – even though, as I have mentioned,  this is ultimately irrlevant to this thread – I am told that the Adasss also do not accept many OU, OK etc products as well, so I suppose Kosher Australia is not the only one to have their products and rulings questioned by Adass.  I was also told that most of the questions raisedin Biased Observer’s post have been openly discussed and explained in the FAQ’s section on the Kosher Australia website.  I have confirmeds that this is indeed the case. So there clearly have been answers readily issued by Kosher Australia on such questions.  On the other hand there are things that Adass does that are not accepted by even those of their own ilk – note for example that the word around town is that many Adass families stopped eating the local Adass shechita recently, apparently due to a very negative report issued against that shechita by a visiting chareidi shochet from Israel. 

    But as mentioned – all this is beside the point.  There will always be those who will not accept the hasggachah of different competing agencies.  That is our right as consumers to choose whatever authority we decide is reputable enough to meet our own particular standards.  

    In this case of the new locally produced soft matzot where the standard and expertise of the particular certifying rabbi is not well known  I havesimply tried to use the offer extended by the certifying rabbi to explain his particular product that has caused so much controversy.  Apparently the offer is now not being honoured when the really  relevant qiuestions are being asked. So I will draw my conclusions accordingly.

  • Observer says:

    Ben –

    I don’t know about your experience in asking the question but I just this morning  asked a KA representative about the flour used for Shniders Matza and received a very forthcoming reply.

    Apparently for the past few years Shniders have been importing their matza ready made under OU KLP supervision in Israel.  (Proof of this is that the OU symbol is, I am told, also on the packet.) Before that they imported certified KLP flour from Israel for a number of years and before that they got their flour from a NSW mill that produced KLP flour under full-time supervision after a thorough cleaning of the mill and after the mashgiach personally ensured that water was not used in the process.  The difficulty in making such supervised KLP flour here was precisely what caused them to have to take the Israel certified rpoducts. 

  • Ben says:

    observer, your forthcoming reply from KA is a lot less thhan what you are demanding from the good Rabbi. If the Rabbi needs to furnish the name of the mill, then it should be the same demanded from KA. I am FULLY aware of all the history you mention. My experience was definitely at the time they were using local flour.

  • Ben says:

    And by the way Observer, these are all multi storey mills and for a mashgiach to check if there is no water, he would need to actually climb into the mill and check every nook and cranny inside. No company would allow this, it would be against health regs. and the mashgiach would need to be Houdini. 

  • Observer says:

    Ben –

    Perhaps these were precisely the difficulties that prompted the change to Israeli product.  And indeed all concerned are to be commended for making such a radical change.  It also shows the reason why it is so hard to accpet that the flour used for the local soft matza production was properly checked and supervised.  

    In any event providing the name of a mill used ten years ago is really quite irrelevant as that is all history now.   The soft matza production is current and that’s why we need and should expect more detailed  information as requested….  I have tried hard to get information that would help answer the questions raised.  I acccept now that it is not going to be provided and will retire from posting.  I will however obviously not be using any future productions of this locally produced soft matza and will continue to advise others of my experience and subsequent conclusions.

  • Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    Each Kehilla has the right establish a Kashrus Authority.
    What they must not do is deride and undermine other Kehillas’ efforts.
    The concept of a unified Kashrus system serves small communities well but not those with vibrant Orthodox Kehilla, who have their own Mesorah.
    I now live in New York, kosher prices here are  the cheapest in the world, the reason is simple, the huge kosher consumer base; estimated at over one million people, Kain Yerbu
    The smaller the consumer base the more expensive the prices.
    As we live in a global village, each community will look to their Halachic Authority to determine how they should conduct themselves in matters of Kashrus and all other areas of Halachic concern.
    The determination of eating a product, new to the market can only be determined by the major Poskim in Eretz Yisroel and the United States.
    I am sure that Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick and Rabbi  Zvi Beck confer with the above mentioned Poskim before responding to enquires concerning newly developed kosher products.
    Rabbi M. Rabi is to be commended for his efforts to help the consumer.

  • Alex says:

    Very well said, Rabbi Woolstone.
     Local Kashrus organisations must
    follow basic guidelines being adhered to by the mainstream Hashgachos in the
    big Jewish centres overseas. If not, people need to be made aware that significantly lower standards apply here.
    Recently, I was given information that some staple foods which are
    approved and even certified here, are actually deemed not Kosher by those
    mainstream hashgachos.
    I have been shown letters from the OU and Star K in response to a paper detailing the production process at the plant in New Zealand which manufactures Heinz baked beans and Heinz soups. Both these Kashrus orgs declared that anything manufactured in this plant is treif. If anyone is interested, I think I could probably get hold of these letter to show them.
    In their FAQ page, Kosher Aust write about these products “we have been assured that the the cleaning between approved and non approved products…is adequate to maintain an approved standard of Kashrut”. What does this help us when according to the OU, OK, Star k, cRc and all the others, anything produced in such a plant is not Kosher, unless of course there is a mashgiach present kashering after a wait of 24 hours. Have a look at the following link from the Star K, where their Kashrus expert writes the following: “If the retorts are disqualified because of the pork and beans, all subsequent vegetable productions would be disqualified as well ”
    http://www.crcweb.org/kosher_articles/canned_vegetables.php
    Then there is Heinz baby food, approved by Kosher Australia and is at least as unkosher as
    the beans, if not worse. One can only wonder what affect this can have
    on our kids, when the first solids they eat as babies, are those that are
    deemed not Kosher by the leading Rabbonim and Kashrus experts.
    Golden Circle tinned
    vegetables and even fruit (under 800grams)can be cooked in the same retorts
    as baby foods with treifs. Again the OU and the others hold this makes
    anything cooked in there, treif. One wonders how such a product
    received certification and a Kosher logo. Which other org anywhere would
    certify such a product??!!
    Some of the above are not only cooked in treif retorts, but even before canning, are cooked in the same pots as treifs, where the cleaning between batches is at least ten degrees lower than the cooking temperature!
    I have heard a CD of a recording by a highly respected OU Kashrus expert who used to visit Australian factories for the OU, speaking in
    Kolel Bes Hatalmud saying that the oil processed on tallow lines and
    approved here as Kosher, is indeed treif, even after the oil flush. He said he discussed it with Harav
    Belsky, who told him the above psak on any oil produced on tallow lines. This is again the opinion of the other kashrus orgs mentioned above. I think this CD is available around town.
    And contrary to what is written in KA’s FAQ page, London Beth Din do NOT allow oil produced on tallow lines. The reason they allow all vegetable oils is because in the UK there are no plants that process both vegetable and tallow on the same lines. Whereas here KA are saying that precisely this oil that we know to be manufactured on treif lines, is Kosher. There is even a letter from the London Beth Din confirming that they would not approve oil produced on tallow lines.
    And then there is the certified “mehadrin”
    sultanas, where the  oil used to help dry them is cooked in the same vessel
    as used oil from restaurants, take aways and fish and chipperies. It
    would take too much place of this post to explain the reasons why the KA’
    FAQ response is not satisfactory on this issue. Suffice to say that those
    responses were rejected by the authorities overseas. I can pass on their reasons to anyone interested in seeing them.
    This is not an Adass issue. There are Rabbis and laymen from Chabad, Litvish and others, both in Melbourne and Sydney who are very disapointed with this situation. The bigger problem is, there are a lot more eating these and other such foods under the impression of “the promise of the highest standard in Kosher certification”.
    I have been told of other such products, but for now I think you will get my point.

  • Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    I know Rabbi Moshe Gutnick very well and I feel confident that he strives to upgrade the products and services under his hashgocho on a continuous basis.
    Let us face the facts, the Kosher consumer of today is much more demanding as to what comes into his/her home; which is an excellent thing.What the most demanding Kosher family in the 1960’s permit onto their tables would it many case be considered treif today.
    Both our Rabbonim HaMachshrim and Balei Batim are striving for  the highest standards possible which is excellent.
    It is instructive to note that in Pirkei Avos which many learnt  Shabbos after Mincha, we were taught  “not judge another until we are find ourselves in the same predicament”.
    No human being is perfect, we all make mistakes but this does not mean that a person looses his credibility to carry out his responsibilities.One who errs is given the opportunity by Torah to rectify the problem at hand.
    Here in New York there are a myriad of Hashgochos, many competing against each other, many from one Kehilla abstaining from an item produced under supervision of another Kehilla; Chassidim avoiding the Hashgoch of a Rav from the Litvishe Velt, Litvaks not eating from Chassidim and many avoiding the OU because of its link to the Modern Orthodox World.
    These “tribal” activities have in most cases little to do with Halacha , but more to do with the perception that my community/Rav is more exacting………..or so they believe.
    As we have just celebrated Pesach let me say, there were numerous discussion on the Orthodox websites in New York about different services and Kosher le Pesach products, be it the standards at this or that Hotel, was Coca powder under this particular Rov  really Mehadrin,  and were the plastic table clothes of this or that Hashgocho really Mehadrim etc etc.
    The saddest aspect of all the above was the harsh and vitriolic tone of many who commented… if the non – Observant were to read many of the comments it would definitely not draw them closer the HaShem and His Torah.
    Yes, we must strive for the highest standard of Kashrus, be it in Australia the US or Eretz Yisroel but it must be done in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and as a Rov once commented to me ” let us be as makpid on what comes out of our mouths as what goes into our mouth”.





  • Jason, says:

    Rabbi Woolstone,
    Currently would you eat any food from any eatery under Rabbi Rabi’s hashgocho.
    B’rabim u’befarhesiya?
    A simple yes or no will be adequate.

  • abc says:

    Jason

    After reading what Alex had to say above would you eat Heinz baked beans and/or let your kids eat their baby foods?
    Does the concern of timtum halev bother you?

    Does the fact that the OU, OK, Star K and London BD (and ein tzarich lomar the major charedi orgs eg Edah charedis, Kedassia, Rav Landau vechulu) consider those products as 100% treif, mean anything to you? Or do you have some special bug re RM Rabi?
    Shouldn’t we who are medakdek be more concerned about the 2 KAs who are approving treifos for our kids  rather than worrying about soft matza which very few medakdekim used anyway – no matter whose hechsher it would’ve had?

    And seeing that you are one of the ‘voices’ here fo the 2 KAs, can you find out how Sanitarium products have featured on both KA lists for the past 3-5 years – seeing that neither org was allowed to inspect their factory?

  • Jason, says:

    ABC
    I’m sure there are always “concerns” no matter what and who gives the hechsher.
    However, as Rabbi Woolstone makes the commendations is it inappropriate to ask him what he would do?
    I might add that the restaurant which was under Rabbi Rabi”s hechsher (on the corner of Carlisle & Westbury) served both dairy and meat foods at the same venue. The weakest hechsher was applied, that is “yeitzei v’nichnas” which might have been more satisfactory if the owners were orthothox but as at the time they were not, trouble was in the making, which is due course arrived when coffee/milk was served after the main course (meat). It was not a substitute whitener, it was milk, and that’s when the proverbial hit the fan. Despite warnings, your good “know all specialist short-cut rabbi” obstinately refused used to listen to good advice. His response was always “trust me. I know everything.”
    And that is why I would like to know if Rabbi Woolstone would eat from his hechsher.
    Whether I would or would not eat from other hechsheirim, is not relevant. Rabbi Woolstone made a comment. A direct question to him is in order despite your red herring as to what I would do with other hechsheirim.
    So Rabbi W, will you or wont”?
    It’s a very simple question.

  • Chezky says:

    Kosher A should call itself “teflon Kashrus” ..   Nothing sticks.

  • meir rabi says:

    As of April 2010, Floridia, Australia’s oldest family owned Italian cheese company, is offering a broad range of Kosher authentic Italian cheeses. See http://www.floridiacheese.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=56

    These cheeses meet the highest standards of Kosher as set out by the Shach.
    Kosher VeYosher is pleased to have guided Floridia Cheese in their quest to provide quality cheese that meets the highest Kosher standards. 
    We anticipate that PG, by August 2010, Chalav Yisrael, supervised milk, will be readily available at regular prices. Floridia will then be using Chalav Yisrael for all their cheese.
    Cheese is subject to a special decree of our Sages. This is known as Gevinas Yisroel (cheese of a Jew). Gevinas Akkum (cheese of a pagan) is not Kosher. This decree is separate and distinct from the decree requiring K supervision for milk (Chalav Yisrael).Our Sages made one decree regarding milk farmed for use as a beverage, and a separate decree for cheese produced from milk. Milk requires a minimal degree of supervision. Its purpose is not to guarantee that the milk is free of non-K milk. Its purpose is to promote the social isolationist policies of our Sages. The supervision merely adds another level of confidence that milk of non-K beasts has not been added to enlarge or enhance the yield.Cheese does not require this additional security since according to Halacha, cheese and butter can only be made with milk of Kosher beasts. In the event that a combination of Kosher and non-K milk has been used for making cheese, the non-K milk will be filtered out in the process of cheese-making. In cheese-making the milk solids are separated from the milk, which is a colloid, by addition of various acids. These solids form curds from which the cheese is manufactured and will form curds from the Kosher milk alone. When the curds are removed to be processed into cheese, all the non-K milk will be left behind in the whey.Thus, even if all ingredients are Kosher and even if the milk has been supervised by a Kosher supervisor, cheese is not Kosher unless it has been made by a Jew. This in truth is only a minor opinion, expressed by the Shach, with most agreeing that Kosher supervision without participation is adequate, the opinion of the Rema. Nevertheless, this stricter minor opinion seems to have been adopted by many Kosher authorities and it is the policy I maintain, in both “Kosher VeYosher” and “it’s Kosher!” in order to satisfy the preferences of the most demanding Kosher consumers.

  • ariel says:

    I’m reminded of a comment that someone made to me regarding other aspects of Yiddishkiet. To paraphrase: The problem in the last 1000 years is that each rabbi thinks his colleague is too maykil so they all try to out-chumra each other…

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    Hey Alex and Rabbi Woollstone and Meir Rabi and others on this site,
    why do you all repeat and believe the slander and lies spread by Yisroel Abelesz, who is  deficient in Kashrus, and who has clearly mislead the Adass public for many years, as evidenced by the Chiddushim that the Adass Rabbonim are now discovering about the things he told them. During his time, he was the posek for Adass, not the Dayan or the Rov.

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    The attacks on KA are all old loshen hora which is based mostly on incorrect advice and information.  Most of the questions raised are based on inaccurate and/or outdated advice.   No overseas authority has investigated these local products or processes and therefore their general comments were only based on what was conveyed to them by a former Adass mashgiach.  Who know what he told them (and what he didn’t tell them)? It is a clear fact that processing conditions vary greatly from factory to factory and from country to country.  It is very unprofessional and inaccurate to pasken on general  second hand information. Each case needs to be personally looked at individually by people with expertise in fields of kashrus and food technology.    

    The OU actually allows the use of oils and margarines in their products that are certified by Kosher Australia.  The present and all previous rabbis of Adass also certified such oils made on machinery kashered by oil for many years until the company concerned (Peerless Holdings) introduced separate machinery for tallow and vegetable a number of years ago. Kosher Australia has refused to certify such oils for many years now as oil became available from dedicated vegetable oil processors – although it did approve them till recently as, while they may not be Mehadrin standard, the processes used here in the approved companies, certainly do not make the oil actually treif as claimed.   BTW Rabbi Rabi now actually certifies Sanitarium that uses such oil produced on machinery used for tallow in the So Good and other “certified” products.  (That is why the established authorities here to-date only “approved” but would not certify certified Sanitarium products.) I wonder if this “Alex” will now speak out against Rabbi Rabi’s hechsheirim as he has regarding Kosher Australia.  

    Kosher Australia does not go round spreading unfounded and one-sided loshen horo against other recognised certification authorities and certainly does not send misinformation to overseas authorities.   Adass should  look in the mirror before criticising others.  Why haven’t they addressed the many problems recently reported that caused a fair number of families within the Adass community to stop eating their own sehechita? What about their strange policy of endorsement of all non-investigated  juices, beverages and soft drinks –  something that all the reputable  agencies such as OU and OK have clearly said that they would never allow – particularly as flavours, for example, in such products have been found to regularly contain non-Kosher ingredients.  Certainly this is not what should be expected of a hechsher reputed to be a Chareidishe Mehadrin hechsher.  At least their Rov has the integrity to write on his supervision cards that the beverages served by his otherwise certified caterers are not under his supervision. 

    People should  be made aware of the fact that it is openly admitted by caterers under Adass supervision, or were formerly under Adass supervision, that they had different supervision standards imposed for their own Adass community’s simchas than for those catered for members of the general community.  One would also be surprised at some of the heteirim openly admitted by these same caterers that are used for kashering halls and equipment for Adass certified kosher functions that are not permitted by other reputable agencies including Kosher Australia.  So perhaps the old adage of “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” can be aptly used here….
     

  • meir rabi says:

    I wish to address Teller of the Truth, April 19, 2010 at 11:52 am, who suggests that I repeat and believe the slander and lies spread by ….

    I wish to make it clear that I have not participated in any of the type of discussion that T of Truth suggests but rather have been the target of such. I certainly assume that T of Truth is not a mind reader, I doubt s/he knows what I do or do not believe.

    The very nature of parts of this dialogue and exchange and the fact that this is not unusual in what appears to be most corners of the world when discussing kashrus, is disturbing and disappointing. Is it reasonable that such intense opinions and such harsh expressions should be founded upon rumours that are far from substantial or substantiated?

    Very much can be accomplished by the participation and power of discussion groups such as this and I thank and encourage all who have contributed to this important objective. I beg that we all exercise restraint and prudence. This will channel the energy of this discussion in a positive and constructive direction.

  • Observer says:

    As indicated above I am no longer commenting on Rabbi Rabi’s hechsher but I do want to add two points to the the discussion now being conducted about Kosher Australia’s standards.

    Firstly, I was at the lecture referrred to given a number of years back by the visiting OU Rabbi.  After he spoke about his experiences with shared tallow and oil equipment I and a few others specifically asked him about the Australian situation.  He clearly both publicly and privately said that he was not referring to the local situation but only about his experiences in the US.  He referred any questions about the local situation to the local authorities.   I later followed this up and was told that the problems this rabbi described about proper cleaning of equipment can indeed be found in certain older equipment even here but do not exist in the cleaning of the shared equipment in the plant that is approved locally.  I have no reason to doubt the information provided by people I believe are both trustworthy and knowledgable of the local scene.

    Secondly, just to calm down both “Alex” and “abc” –

    You both are obviously Adass people so you may not be aware of Kosher Australia’s guidelines as printed in their Kashrut Bulletin that they do not recommend in the first instance “approved” products they have listed because many of them have sheilot and may only be acceptable bedieved.  As such, no person who is medakdek should use such “approved” baby foods anyway – certainly not for their little children.   So the children of the medakdekim are safe!  As for those who are not so medakdek – better they should have the information  allowing them the option to  use products that may at least bedieved be kosher than not have those products listed and they would then in all liklihood use other products that are treif by all standards.  This is not just a possibility but is a probability – I regularly see Adass people who don’t use or go by the Kosher Australia Bulletin purchasing items in the local supermarkets that are not listed even to Kosher Australia approved standards – surely those who are not medakdek would certainly not hesitate to purchase questionable items if at least an approved product was not available.     
        

  • Alex says:

    Teller of   “truth”

    The OU know these machines inside out. The OU Rabbi who said these things, said it here in Melbourne. He visited many plants here and he is an engineer. Non of these machines-retorts or the ones that process oil -are manufactured here. There is no difference between the ones used here or overseas.
    The OU and the others say that ALL products made on ANY such machine processing treif is absolutely treif.

The OU only certify oil here which is processed on dedicated lines. And I have heard that they come out here regularly to check. 

As for your ramblings against Adass Hashgocha, I am not here to defend Adass or anyone else, i will leave that to them, if they feel the need. Although I would imagine that they would be about as accurate as some of the other things you mentioned in your posts.

  • Alex says:

    Observer
    
What you write about the Rabbi from the OU, is very strange. A few years after that speech, I and a few of my friends were introduced to him. He distinctly told us “Goodman Fielder oil has one name, it is called treif”.

He said the same about Heinz beans and soups. 
This is also the recollection of many people.
    
Re your second point. I am not a member of Adass or daven there(not usually, anyway). Don’t kid yourself. 90% of medakdekim feed their kids Heinz baby food. They have no idea.(Adass are only a small portion of medakdekim). There needs to be a lot stronger warnings from KA re these types of products. How is someone meant to distinguish between not mehadrin products such as Weet Bix or Corn Flakes- which have no issues whatsoever- and those which are disqualified by the captains of Kashrus.


    And then the Golden Circle tins. Any medakdek seeing the certification symbol will have no reason not to buy.

  • mweinstein says:

     
    Teller of the Truth says:
    why do you all repeat and believe the slander and lies spread by Yisroel Abelesz, who is  deficient in Kashrus,
    >

    Teller of “Truth” belashan sagi hanar. Not only are you a liar, baal lashan hara and motzi shem ra – but you have upon you the curse of the holy Torah on ‘arur makeh re’ehu baseser”.  I don’t know which one of the kashrut authorities you work for or which of their rabbis you are or are related to, but let me reply and defend the honor of the ‘tzadik me’ikara’ Reb Yisroel Abeles a good, kind and decent mentch whom you slander and vilify so terribly and so publicly

    Like dozens of other frum chasidish and indeed non-chasidic yidden in Melbourne and Sydney – who have absolutely nothing to do with Melb’s Adass community, we were thrilled when we found that we can be helped by Reb Yisroel who for years helped ensure that not we and indeed not our children are nichshal in kulos, sfeikos and worse. Yes, he warned us of the serious problems with oils (which we independently double-checked, he warned us about Leggo – years before the KAs did, and his view on Heinz baby product and beans has been confirmed to us by 4 different overseas kashrut authorities.
    Yes, I understand it hurts when you are shown to have erred. But a chasidish yid – like our Kashrus rabbis and staff should follow the path of Moshe Rabenu who was not ashamed to say that he made a mistake. But what do you do? You lie and make up bilbulim and bubbe mayses against a tzadik of a yungerman – who has absolutely no personal or financial interest in promoting kashrus (and even when employed by Adass was not getting paid for helping individuals – which he went out of his way to do – simply because he has a heart of gold who cannot refuse to do a Yid a tova (Check with your mates who know him).
     
     
    You write: “evidenced by the Chiddushim that the Adass Rabbonim are now discovering”
    Total sheker! I called their dayan today and he had no idea what you were talking about. He told me that despite the fact that he has moved on to London a year ago, they are still using his knowledge and experience. He told me that they were very happy with their new recruit Adam, but had Yisroel also been close by, the Adass kashrus would be a world # 1.
     
    Another fabrication of yours: “During his time, he was the posek for Adass, not the Dayan or the Rov.”
    Noch grober sheker. Anyone who dealt with RYA all the years knew that he always discussed matters with the rabonim. Their psak was the only one that was considered by Adass.
    RYA means it all  ‘bilti leHashem levado’. Shame on you and shame on your backers. The first thing a kashrus supervisior needs is yiras Hashem, and then expertise. Without both these, there is no reliabilty.
     
    RYA is currently a Mashgiach in the UK for the Kedassia – which is the premier Kashrut authority in Europe. He has been and still often is employed by most of the major serious Kashrut organizations worldwide – many who would never rely on any other Aust Kashrut! Yes, that must hurt. Badly. But that is how it is and by shekarim and alilas kazav, you will not change this. Every single person who has dealt with RYA, will confirm that he is a chasid veyirei shomayim who views should be taken very seriously.
     
    As I indicated I am not from Adass and cannot reply to all your nonsense.
    I hope that an Adass representative does answer – or at least put up some anonymous stooge like the KA did using your cowardly nickname.
     
    PS, I f you have a drop of yiras shomayim and fear of punishment, start asking a shaaleh NOW on how to do teshuva on such a disgusting and foul averah of besmirching and slandering the reputation of a fellow Jew. I am unsure on these halachos, being a rabbi or the servant of one, maybe you can sit down and learn Rambam Hilchos Teshuva and hopefully before Yom Kippur you will somehow succeeding wiping this terrible filth and grime from your neshama.

  • meir rabi says:

    I dont think much can be achieved for Kashrus by quoting things we have heard. If a rabbi or Kosher authority is not prepared to publish their position and explain rather just issue an edict, I dont think our discussion or our commitment to HKBH has been edified.

    I append the following teshuvah from Reb M Fienstien relevant to the discussion about oil manufacturing plants
    Factory Cleaning for Kosher

    In the Responsa below Rabbi Fienstien explains that food does not necessarily become non-Kosher if cooked in non-Kosher utensils. Nevertheless, we are not permitted to cook with such utensils nor may we commission a Gentile to manufacture kosher foods in such utensils. Foods prepared in defiance of this ban are prohibited to those who defied the ban.

    This means that potato crisps or vegetable oil for example, that are made with Kosher ingredients can be Kosher despite being cooked in non-Kosher utensils.
    However, these same identical crisps, manufactured for a Kosher label or brand, would not be kosher.

    Rabbi Moshe Fienstien, Igros Moshe Y”D 2:41
    There are factories producing non-Kosher margarine that comply with strict cleaning regimens in order to retain the quality of their production and thus their successful business reputation. Furthermore, they are strictly monitored and enforced to abide by health regulations that bear significant penalties if breached. The query is: may these considerations be used for purposes of producing a batch of Kosher margarine?

    In my humble opinion, if the cleaning regimen employed to satisfy their own quality standards and the standards set by the health regulators, meets the Halachic temperature requirements, it may be relied upon to thereafter manufacture kosher margarine. Proof for this can be derived from the Gemara A”Z 30 where regarding what is considered a health risk, which the Halacha treats with greater caution than matters of Kashrus, Halacha does not require supervision [but relies on the safeguards taken by the Gentiles to maintaining hygiene]. This guideline is well accepted amongst the Poskim who use this Gemara as a source even for cases of potential Torah prohibitions.

    Now in our case we may certainly rely upon their procedures to deem the machinery “Koshered”, since the owners are motivated for their own benefit and will without doubt ensure that the cleaning regimen is closely adhered to. Additionally, our concerns are only of Rabbinic nature since any flavour absorbed within the machinery is “Eino Ben YoMo – more than one day old” and therefore tainted [and unable to contaminate and disqualify the Kosher production].

    [Non-Kosher flavour that is absorbed in a vessel can be either fresh or stale. If it is fresh i.e. Ben YoMo – of that day, it can render other foods that it contaminates, non-Kosher. If it is stale i.e. Eino Ben YoMo, it can not. Nevertheless, our Sages OBM prohibited cooking in vessels that are Eino Ben YoMo – old and thus tainted, not because the food will become non-Kosher but to prevent us inadvertently using such pots when the flavour is still fresh, Ben YoMo.]

    I should mention that actually there is no need for “HagAlah – purging” at all. It would suffice to use clean machinery for the Kosher batch, since the absorbed flavour which is “Eino Ben YoMo” – old and thus tainted, does not render the food un-Kosher.

    This is clear from the Gemara of A”Z 38 which permits us to consume oil cooked by Gentiles in their non-Kosher pots, based on the assumption that such pots are “Eino Ben YoMo – old and thus tainted”. This clearly illustrates that foods cooked in non-Kosher vessels can be Kosher.

    [It should also be noted that although detergents and degreasers were not available in those days, we assume that their pots are clean or clean enough to not contaminate the foods cooked in them.]

    Although our Sages enacted a decree prohibiting “Eino Ben YoMo”, the prohibition bans USING the vessels. It does not, as we just explained, prohibit the foods cooked in them. Our Sages did impose a penalty banning the consumption of the food but only by those who deliberately violated the rule, those who deliberately cooked in such a vessel. The penalty also applies to those for whom the food was cooked. Thus, any Jew, other than those who cooked it and those for whom it was cooked may eat food that was knowingly cooked in a non-Kosher Eino Ben YoMo pot.

    [So to put some flesh on the formula of this Law: if our non-Jewish neighbour offers us some fruit cooked in her non-Kosher kitchen, it is Kosher. However, we may not request that she make some for our son’s Bar-Mitzvah party. If we did and she did, then we and the invitees to the Bar-Mitzvah party may not eat her cooked fruit. We may however, take it to Shule and offer it to the rabbi and the congregation.]

    Consequently, since the factory and the margarine both belong to a Gentile, who is not restricted by the ban against using Eino Ben YoMo vessels, the margarine is Kosher [even though it is certainly made for the Kosher market]. Neither is the Gentile acting under a Jew’s instruction to manufacture the margarine and it most certainly can not be disqualified simply because a Jew supervised its production.

    I have seen though, that the PisChey TeShuvah 122:5, suggests that if a Gentile of his own initiative, cooks food for a Jew in a non-Ben YoMo pot, it is perhaps nevertheless prohibited. Now I have looked carefully at the sources brought by the PisChey TeShuvah, and in my humble opinion it appears that both sources he quotes actually permit the food.

    Indeed, the case he quotes from the MaHaRam of Lublin is far worse since in that case it is not an absorbed non-K flavour that may be contaminating but actual prohibited substance that is less than 1/60 which may be contaminating the Kosher food.

    [That case questioned milk, collected from a herd of animals under the watchful eye of a Jew but the beasts themselves were actually assumed to be non-Kosher since they as a herd had been attacked by wolves and were accordingly all deemed to be non-Kosher. The milk of this non-Kosher herd, which is also not Kosher, had been combined with more than 60 times its volume of Kosher milk.]

    Now the case discussed by the MaHaRam should be prohibited as per the Shulchan Aruch [YD 99:5] that forbids by Rabbinic decree, deliberately nullifying prohibited foods in 60 times their volume of Kosher. Not only is combining them prohibited but the mixture also becomes prohibited. Non-Kosher that is deliberately combined with and thereby nullified to Kosher, is banned both to those who nullified it and to those for whom it was nullified. Nevertheless, the MaHaRam permits this case since a Gentile nullified it. His reasoning is obvious; we penalise those who flagrantly violate the Sages’ decree. The food is banned in spite of its being Kosher [It is Kosher since after all, the non-Kosher is nullified]. However, a Gentile, notwithstanding his acting for the benefit of a Jew, is not subject to these restrictions and penalties.

    However, we may not instruct the Gentile to cook in his non-Ben YoMo pot, since this is tantamount to the Jew cooking it himself. As the PeRi MeGadim notes, if we instruct a Gentile baker to make a cake which includes spices that have been crushed in a non-Kosher grinder [and are therefore non-Kosher], we may not consume that cake since it is tantamount to adding the spices with our own hand. Now, if Kosher spices are also available but the baker uses the non-Kosher for his own convenience, it is certainly kosher even though the baker is instructed by a Jew to make the cake. The Jew did not instruct that spices crushed in the non-K grinder be used.

    We are only in violation of the Sages’ decree if our instructions are tantamount to directing the Gentile to use non-Kosher spices. When non-Kosher spices are the only ones he has and we direct him to make a cake, it is as good as directing him to add the non-Kosher spice, since this is the fixed recipe. However, if the baker has Kosher and non-Kosher spices then we may direct him to make the cake and we can eat it. [The same is true if he does not always add spice to the cake or perhaps even if we tell him we don’t mind if he omits the spice.]

    Similarly, if we do not instruct the baker to make the cake [we purchase cakes made for the public even if the clientele is predominantly or even exclusively Jewish], the Sages decree has not been violated, no penalty applies, the cake is perfectly Kosher.

    It must be noted though, that this penalty is not found in the Gemara (A”Z 75), nor in the RaMBaM (M”AsuRos 17:2) and Poskim, nor in the Shulchan Aruch (Y”D 103:5 & 122:6). The source seems to be the RaShBA, quoted by the Beis Yosef, which I found in Toras HaBayis HaAruch 4:4. However, the Beis Yosef himself does not include this in his Shulchan Aruch neither does the Ran (Chullin 7) who indeed quotes the initial words of the RaShBA but significantly omits his conclusion that the food may not be eaten. So it appears that they do not rule according to the RaShBA.

    Indeed, the RaShBA’s reasoning that cooking in a non Ben YoMo pot is comparable to adding negligible proportions of non-Kosher food, seems to be flawed. In the eyes of the Halacha, since non-Kosher foods are discernible flavour and food enhancers when in sufficient proportions they may therefore not be added even in insignificant doses. Furthermore, if they are knowingly added, a penalty will be imposed prohibiting the entire mixture to those who made it and for those whom it was made. On the other hand, non-Ben YoMo flavour is not a viable flavour or food enhancer. Non-Ben YoMo flavour does no more than prohibit us from using the pot in which it is absorbed. It is identical to the prohibition of using a vessel that has not yet been immersed in the Mikvah; we may not use it but using it does not prohibit the food. The reason for this is that non-Ben YoMo flavour is in fact not at a flavour at all and even if the pot was used defiantly, the food would still be acceptable.

    One may adduce proof for this from the DarChey Moshe 122:2, who explains that the assumption that a Gentile’s cooking vessels are non-beney-yoman applies equally to the utensils of a Jew. Yet the Halacha differentiates between the two.

    The difference is that the vessels of a Jew can be investigated and determined if in fact they are or are not beney-yoman [Sh”HaGiborim A”Z 8]. For not investigating we are penalised and must consider the pot a Ben YoMo whose absorbed flavour is still fresh [and will contaminate]. If we were to penalise one who uses a Gentile’s Ben YoMo pot the DarChey Moshe could not suggest a difference between using a Jew’s or a Gentile’s pot.

    It is however clear that the flavour of a non-Ben YoMo pot can not disqualify the food cooked within it. Such penalties are imposed only for defiance.

    It thus emerges that A), the majority of rishonim and the Sh”Aruch do not agree with the Rashba. And B), even according to the Rashba, Jewish supervision will not be cause the food to be prohibited. However, if the manufacturer is contracted to make a Kosher batch, then according to the Rashba only, will the food be prohibited unless the plant is Koshered.

    Although as explained, foodstuffs not expressly made for the Kosher consumer do not require Koshering of the plant, nevertheless it is shameful to offer Kosher certification without Koshering the plant.

    The Teshuvah is not a word for word translation. I have tried to convey the tone as well as the substance and have included in [] additional comments that provide helpful background information or clarify or emphasise Reb Moshe’s thoughts.

  • Observer says:

    Alex –

    I can only repeat what I myself heard from the OU rabbi.  I am surprised to hear that he allegedly “ruled” on the oils or the Heinz products as he quite specifically told us that he was not a posek or a spokeperson for the OU.  He is what they call a Field representative – in other words a roving mashgiach who needs to report back to the rabbis in the head office for rulings. While he may have given his own opinions both to you and to me I do not believe he can be quoted as a ruling from the OU!  As a matter of fact I tried contacting him via the OU just last night and was told that he no longer works for them.  It appears that he “parted” from them under contentious circumstances.   I was also told that an OU representaive has never visited Goodman Fielder or SPC in Australia nor Heinz in New Zealand so someone here is not telling it like it is – and I know it’s not me.  By all means anyone  contact the OU  and prove or disprove the claims.

    It is very easy to make all sorts of claims uner the protection of anonymity.  More than one good person or organisation has suffered terribly from anonymous rumours and lies appearing on bloggs like this.   Anyone interested in getting to the truth of matters shouls simply go to the source and in conjunction with their own Rav make their decisions accordingly.  I practice what I preach.  Not always can one receive the requested information – and conclusions can be drawn accordingly.  But more  often that not enough  information is conveyed  to allow one to distinguish between what is the real situation and what is conjecture, misinformation and mischievousness (such as a lot of what has appeared here). …

  • Observer says:

    I have also followed up on the Golden Circle claims this morning.  Apparently they are based on out-dated information.  There have apparently been many changes made in recent times since Kosher Asutralia began formally certifying many Golden Circle products (including covering the the issue of shared retorts) that have allowed products to indeed be certified that may indeed not have been acceptable or only “approved” in the past.  They claim to be currently going through an agressive campaign to kosher certify their products (probably for export markets) and claim to have  made appropraite changes to enable this.  The claims made by Adass are known to (and are rejected by) them.  One claim in particular regarding an Israeli juice that apprently  had a certification that Adass would not recognise actually made them quite upset and apparently instigated the policy of allowing only Kosher Australia as their formal certification agency. 

    Could it be that this has prompted the Adass based campaign against the certification by Kosher Asutralia of their products?  In any event it is claimed that any claims by the former Adass mashgiach is based on out of date information and, at least in my view, this  throws further doubt on the veracity of other claims made.

    BTW I for one appreciate Rabbi Rabi’s explanations regarding his certification (when they are indeed forthcoming).  But I am not sure why he has gone to great lengths to prove the status of the oils other than if it is in answer to the comment made earlier on this blogg (not by me) about the oil used in Sanitarium products (that hasn’t been refuted by Rabbi Rabi).   While he may indeed have a point from R’ Moshe’s teshuva that such oils may be okay bedieved (even if, as I am told,  this is not accepted as policy by even the middle of the road kashrut agencies) however R’ Moshe clearly rules at the end that this heter should not be used for an actual  hechsher.   So we are yet to hear an explanation as to how these oils (if they are indeed produced on shared equipment as claimed) were therefor used in a product actually certified by Rabbi Rabi.    

  • Observer says:

    One final point to mweinstein.

    Although his remarks were not directe d against me I must say that for someone who is lecturing others about the evils of loshen horo and crticism of others you certainly do a great job yourself.  As R Yisroel Salanter is reputed to have said ” first improve yourself then you can worry about improving the world…” 

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    Information re Abelesz is well known from Adass circles and he had been carpeted many times prior to his departure. When he left, he took all the Kashrus documentation (guess why?) and Adam Rushniek  had to start from scratch.

    As far as Abelesz’ up to date knowledge, the word from those in the know is that it is not,  and he worked from guesswork and hearsay.

    He may be the nicest chap in the world  but if he is in a position to affect the community, he should not be reckless (or purposefully destructive) so that his employers may benefit.

    Kadassia is an excellent reliable hechsher but if Abelesz is working there, it would be good to find out in what capacity to determine if he is capable of doing damage and to be wary.

  • meir rabi says:

    I have for the past couple of years been inspecting the Goodman Fielder plant in Footscray that produces vegetable oils and I continue to inspect it at regular intervals.

    I have inspected the “deod” from the inside, and have comprehensively analysed all the hardware components at the site. I have also reviewed the automated computer driven processes to ensure that sequencing and cleaning and “boilouts”; pumping sequences and destination vats all satisfy my specifications.

    Furthermore, various modifications to certain processes have been implemented according to my specifications.

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    “The very nature of parts of this dialogue and exchange and the fact that this is not unusual in what appears to be most corners of the world when discussing kashrus, is disturbing and disappointing. Is it reasonable that such intense opinions and such harsh expressions should be founded upon rumours that are far from substantial or substantiated?”,  R. Meir Rabi

    Yes Meir, let’s have kashrus discussions and then open the decisions up to a referendum, forget about halacha altogether, because apparantly for you  it is the public opinion that counts.

  • Jason says:

     
    Rabbi Rabi:
    “So much talent, so little seichel.”
     

  • mendel the mouse says:

    Teller of Truth, Observer and Jason (and maybe a few others, I didn’t go back that far) are all cowardly and spineless anonymous KA spokesman/men.
    You give yourself/ves away by the repetition of the same stuff and canards together with lame excuses for your slip-ups. Statements that you have published and verbally stated ad nauseum – since these matters were revealed.
     
    If KA feels that they have a genuine case  why does a serious Kashrut org not reply openly with a signed statement rather than weasely, gossip and rumour – very often false, fabricated and libellous. One would expect that such behaviour would be beneath the KA and its staff.
     
    Your mean and spiteful attacks on an almost unanimously acclaimed Kashrut person like YA – who, BTW, actually has left Australia about 18 months ago – isn’t going to do KA any good to help its reputation. Like everyone else, I too understand that you are extremely jealous of NSWKA’s monopoly situation in Sydney and would do anything to achieve that here. But it ain’t gonna happen. Forget it. Especially now that Rabbi M Rabi’s KV is moving forward in leaps and bands with approaches to him coming from all sides, KA will just have to accept that competition – indeed increased competition – is hear to stay.
     
    If they have had some common business sense they would realise that what could work in their favour would be to implement GENUINE international Charedi standards.
    Standards that even the frum Chabad and Adass people will accept. Believe me that’s quite a large market – just ask at the kosher stores. That is where KA’s future should be. However while they are being criticised that OU, Star K and others say that some of their items are treif – they will not be able to achieve this.
     
    BTW, I don’t quite understand all the to-ing and fro-ing about what the OU  and Rabbi Blaugrund said about the oils and Heinz. One telephone call should clear this up. Meanwhile someone has offered to send me the cassette of the Blaugrund speech in KBT where he allegedly made these claims.
     
    Finally I agree with MWeinstein that the KA (aka ‘Teller of Truth’, ‘Observer’ and ‘Jason’) have got a huge task in doing Teshuva and aplogising to YA for their nasty attempts to vilify his reputation.

  • Penkivil says:

    I am from Sydney and have just found this site.
    Let me report that here in Sydney we have a sizeable group of families – mainly Chabad ( including rabbis), but also members of Adass , BTs and others who have for the past 4-5 years being careful to use only products which have no kashrus pikpukim and/or kulos.
    Reb Yisroel Abelesz has been of unbelievable assistance to us and his move to the UK was a great loss to us. Some are still in touch with him by email and tel but it was far better when he was close by and could report on his most recent investigations.
    We have always found him to be more than helpful, courteous and never found even slightest reason to be upset at his advice. Never.
    And never ever a single request for moeny to cover for his time and effort. Never.
    And yes, we often checked with his “boss” Dayan Katz of Adass and never heard of any conflict between them at all.
    RYA tells it as he sees it and then let the dayan rule.
    Many times that dayan accompanied him to check out the producers and we had the pleasure to host them here in Sydney a couple of times, which gave us a chance for some face to face sessions.

    So whoever is trying to besmirch RYA, stop it. What you are doing to this decent ‘mentch’ is far worse than you imagine – to yourself, your neshama -beruchniyos ubegashmiyos.

  • meir rabi says:

    To the T of Truth, please explain why you believe I promote, “kashrus discussions and then (suggest that we) open the decisions up to a referendum, forget about halacha altogether, because apparantly (sic) for you it is the public opinion that counts.”

    Is it something I have said on this forum or perhaps on the Kosher VeYosher website?

    I also urge that rumours that are not substantiated, do not edify this discussion and only highlight the weakness of an argument and suggest similar tones about the character of those who make these statements. I have seen with my own eyes information sent from Rabbonim and other experts in Kashrus to Reb Yisroel Abelesz. This was very private and confidential information of utmost importance, that would only be sent to a most trustworthy and reliable individual.

    And to Observer I say, you have misunderstood the Teshuvah of Reb Moshe.

    Furthermore, Oberver’s vague and spineless comment, “as I am told, this is not accepted as policy by even the middle of the road kashrut agencies”, (and other such comments),  are meaningless, misleading and a sad testament to the dismissal of Halacha as the primary and only consideration that should be the determinant of Kashrus and guidance for us.

    Here is another, “I have also followed up on the Golden Circle claims this morning.  Apparently they are based on out-dated information.  There have apparently been many changes made in recent times”. Please omit the word “apparently”. Tell us what you know and how you know it. What are the “many changes”?

    Here’s more: “They claim to be currently going through an agressive (sic) campaign to kosher certify their products and claim to have made appropraite (sic) changes to enable this.”

    Too many “claims” and not enough substance.

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    Reading the last few posts it seems as if Abelesz has called on his relatives to write in for him on his behalf.

  • Observer says:

    Mendel the mouse –

    I challenge you to show where I have criticised Yisroel Abelesz personally thatyou have lumped me in together with those who may have.  Is this a “red herring” type tactic to have my comments dismissed as intemperate because I have raised important issues that refute the ideas that you anbd your fellow Adass apologists are uncomfortable with?

    From what I know of Yisroel Abelesz I indeed believe him to indeed be an erlicher yungerman (if somewhat naive) and have never suggested otherwise. 

    My comments about Kosher Asutralia are based on the fact that I am aware that it comprises of respected rabbonim and staff members with many uears of kashrus experience between them.  Are we to assume that they are all charlatans and frauds based on some anonymous criticism and claims made on this site?  My intentions were therefore to explore the claims made.  So far they have not proven at all accurate as I have found out through my independent investigations.

    By all means do as I have and contact the various sources quoted in the anonymous criticism and post the results in a verifiable way.

    And no, I am not associated with Kosher Australia although I do accept their rulings on  kashrut matterts.

    You on the other-hand hide behind a stupid (but perhaps apt) name but, if we are to use your own  association theories you most probably are a macher in Adass kashrus or a relative of Mr Abeles. As such, your crtitical comments are only to be expected and cannot really be taken seriously….

  • sam says:

    Nice to see that Galus commenters have declared an open day on the Abelesz family!!!!

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi Rabi –
    1.Why don’t you do as I did and ring Golden Circle.  Perhaps you may then find that the “apprently”s are only becasue I am quoting what they have said and  cannot personally verify all the details I have been told – although, in reality,  I have no reason to believe that I was not told the truth…
    2.  I don’t understand why you have claimed that I have misunnderstood R’ Moshe’s teshuva.  Your own quote from R’ Moshe’s conclusion  reads:  “Although as explained, foodstuffs not expressly made for the Kosher consumer do not require Koshering of the plant, nevertheless it is shameful to offer Kosher certification without Koshering the plant.”.
    Please tell me why this is not a condemnation of one who offers certification for such products or products containing such products?   Unless of course you haven’t allowed such products such as claimed regarding the controversial oil used by Sanitarium in the past.  But you haven’t said that yet.
    3.  Youclaim to have seen information to R’ Yisroel Abelesz regarding kosher Australia.  Perhaps you would like to inform us if the information R’ Yisroel sent to them that elicited such response was balanced by information sent to these same authorities by Kosher Australia  before these authorities delivered their alleged condemnations.  I would have thought that one of the first principles of a psak would be to hear both sides of the story from each side – otherwise any such psak based on only one side’s information is basically worthless….
    4.  It is quite mentchlich of you to support Yisroel Abelsz’s claims.  I wonder if he and his supporters would return the support for your hechsher given some of the controversial rulings you have made to date – at least one of which is based on the exact same circumstances as alleged in crticism levelled at Kosher Australia.
    5. Finally I must admit that you are quite right in your statement that unseemly fighting between kashrus authoritites and their respective saupporters cannot assist the promotion of kashrut.   Each authority must really concentrate on getting or keeping their own house in order.  And we the consumers should respectfully make our own enquiries and decide acordingly without being subject to the kind of destructive vitriol and condemnations delivered by many, on all sides of the matter, on this site.

  • The Maven says:

    This is the joke of it –Rabi nor Abelesz  have not done anything to make kashrus cheaper or better. Just a lot of hot air and no details.
    The devil in Kashrus in the detail. Hours and hours are spent on invesigating ingredients and protocols.
    Perhaps Mendel the Mouse would prefer the good old days where you could buy unkashered meat, you didn’t know if the kosher restaurant was Cholov Yisroel or Cholov Akum, Pas Yisroel or Pas Palter, Mehadrin or not?
    Remember, KA does not certify a company using non-Mehadrin oil and likely the approvals on Sanitarium will not last long. Rabi is advocating adopting this as okay!? Shocking!
    He will not reduce the costs but he will reduce or remove the standards.
    Yiddishkeit is an aspirational and perspirational way of life, not just go-through-the-motions.

  • Jason says:

    Meir Meir, your food we don’t swallow
    Wherever you go, controversy follows
    Your ideas you continuously promote and lob
    Wouldn’t it be better if you just got a job

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to you Observer,

    I will respond

    [Observer says] Why don’t you do as I did and ring Golden Circle.

    [meir rabi says] You miss my point. It is not a question of my or anyone else believing you, it is simply a matter to do with the tone and presentation of considerations that far too often are presented as non verified or non verifiable “facts”.

    [Observer says] Perhaps you may then find that the “apprently”s are only becasue I am quoting what they have said and  cannot personally verify all the details I have been told – although, in reality,  I have no reason to believe that I was not told the truth…

    [meir rabi says] Be direct, forthright and Yosher: just say you spoke to GC and they told you the following ….. There is no need for any “apparently”s in such a report. By speaking in this fashion we honour and respect the participants and readers of this blog. No one will imagine that you are personally verifying anything but what you have been told and are reporting to us.

    [Observer says] I don’t understand why you have claimed that I have misunnderstood R’ Moshe’s teshuva.  Your own quote from R’ Moshe’s conclusion  reads:  “Although as explained, foodstuffs not expressly made for the Kosher consumer do not require Koshering of the plant, nevertheless it is shameful to offer Kosher certification without Koshering the plant.”.
    Please tell me why this is not a condemnation of one who offers certification for such products or products containing such products?

    [meir rabi says] You have misunderstood the Teshuvah of Reb Moshe. You are welcome to speak to me directly about this. I assure you I will protect your anonymity. Besides, I will not know if you are “Observer” or somebody else who wishes to engage in discussing this Teshuvah.

    [Observer says] Unless of course you haven’t allowed such products such as claimed regarding the controversial oil used by Sanitarium in the past.  But you haven’t said that yet.

    [meir rabi says] I have made a statement about the oil on this forum.

    [Observer says] Youclaim to have seen information to R’ Yisroel Abelesz regarding kosher Australia.

    [meir rabi says] I said no such thing.

    [Observer says] Perhaps you would like to inform us if the information R’ Yisroel sent to them that elicited such response was balanced by information sent to these same authorities by Kosher Australia  before these authorities delivered their alleged condemnations.  I would have thought that one of the first principles of a psak would be to hear both sides of the story from each side – otherwise any such psak based on only one side’s information is basically worthless….

    [meir rabi says] I made no such suggestions on this forum or anywhere else. Please take more time to read what I wrote.

    [Observer says] It is quite mentchlich of you to support Yisroel Abelsz’s claims.  I wonder if he and his supporters would return the support for your hechsher given some of the controversial rulings you have made to date – at least one of which is based on the exact same circumstances as alleged in crticism levelled at Kosher Australia.

    [meir rabi says] You still misunderstand my comments and seem to be projecting your thoughts or suspicions into my words. I am merely stating that R Y. A had and I can safely assume still has access to confidential information that clearly indicates that he was and is trusted by many prestigious Rabbonim and Kosher agencies.

    [Observer says] Finally I must admit that you are quite right in your statement that unseemly fighting between kashrus authoritites and their respective saupporters cannot assist the promotion of kashrut.   Each authority must really concentrate on getting or keeping their own house in order.  And we the consumers should respectfully make our own enquiries and decide acordingly without being subject to the kind of destructive vitriol and condemnations delivered by many, on all sides of the matter, on this site.

    [meir rabi says] Amen and may all here pledge such honourable and dignified sentiments.

  • Ben says:

    How to tell if “teller of the truth” is saying a lie?                                                                                                                     A. Watch to see if his lips are moving.

  • Alex says:

    Observer

    Did I ever say that R Blugrond gave a psak?? I specifically wrote that he discussed it with Harav Belsky who he said, paskened that it is treif(and said there is a written Psak).
    Also where did I write that R Blugrond/OU visited Heinz or GF? Again I specifically wrote(i think in a post to “teller of fairy tales)that the OU and others hold  ANY such plant ANYWHERE to be treif(saying that the plants here are no exeption).  KA are making up their own laws. Re the 1st 2 points,  an observer needs to be more observant.  There seem to have been other things you have said which were not said. However, you seem to be a decent chap-not a disgusting liar like teller- so I will put it down to pressures from work, old age or similar. You just can’t accept that what you’ve been told all these years is incorrect.
    Re Golden Circle: KA have been certifying them for a while, with the shared retorts. As long as the retorts can produce treife then they are a treif factory according to the OU. What is out of date about this?  You have proven nothing whatsoever.

  • The Maven says:

    Adass Kashrus is a mom and pop shop without infrastructure, the mashgiach only gets paid when he deems something as kosher, hence the profit motive affects his decisions. This means that Abelesz’s income when he worked for Adass was not a set salary but depended on his ‘production’.   This is why Adass deemed certain products kosher that KA deemed treife.  Abelesz would approach a company and made a deal with them to make a batch of a product ‘kosher’ under him, even if KA had already deemed it treife, so that he could get paid for it.  Obviously, this makes the mashgiach as ‘one who takes a bribe’ and unable to be objective.
    Everyone knows that keeping kosher according to Adass standards makes it much more expesnive for the consumer because they allow many less local products, and rely much more on imported products which are more expensive. KA keeps kashrus prices down by making more and more local products kosher.
    KA also expands kashrus astronomically more than Adass ever did.  The amount of local products being made kosher in general is growing rapidly every single year because of KA.  The numberof products that hold the KA logo on its packaging, making keeping kosher easier, is also growing.
    Therefore, the assertions that Adass by being compeition to KA and keeps prices down and makes kashrus easier and more available are both patently false.
     
     
     
     

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    Anyone who makes the claim that Adass lowers price and increases availability of kosher products is either a liar or deluded! Many Adass people I know have openly complained that they wish they were allowed to use local products because they’re cheaper and there is more variety.   I also know quite a few Adass people who rely on the KA kosher book too but do so quietly.  Anyone who claims that Adass has higher standards of kashrus than KA is either a liar or deluded too! Adass has no chemists on staff ( they don’t really even have a staff or an office) while KA has  two chemists. In today’s technologically sophisticated world it takes much more than a single travelling mashgiach (whose income comes from how many products he gives certification to) to determine kashrus.

  • meir rabi says:

    This post is not addressed to Maven; it is about Maven. 

    I remind readers who have been following the discussion here and point out to those who have only recently logged in, that on this very forum we have discussed HaRav M Fienstien’s Pesak regarding Kashrus Agencies.

    Maven’s last comment is testimony to a mind unwilling to read digest and reconsider. It is also a confirmation of an immature disrespect shown earlier on this forum for a world recognised Torah authority. Maven has not shown the least remorse for having said, “regardless of what Moshe Feinstein may or may not have said, he is not here in Melbourne today and our Rabbonim are”.

    Mavens may be brought to wisdom but they can not be forced to drink its sweet and refreshing waters.

    If as suggested earlier, Maven is in fact YW, and the posture of the comments seems to reflect this, then we can readily understand Maven’s infantile and trivial speculations. They are driven perhaps by misplaced loyalty. Our first loyalty must be pledged to HKBH.   There is no substance, fact or Torah content to Maven’s postings.

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    Meir Rabi, You are the one who is without remorse but should be….
    now you show your true colours as a slanderer and tale beraer and you show your vindictive mean streak by trying to ‘out’ Maven’s identity. How dare you hold yourself up to be higher than anyone who disagrees with you? So you are beholden to HKBH and YW (if it is him, who knows? it may not be at all) is self serving? You slander YW without even knowing if it is in fact him posing as Maven. That is pure loshon hora of the worst kind!!!   By spreading this loshon hora you are implying that KA is corrupt and that is a very serious claim and you really need to do teshuvah for besmirching Rabbonim. None of the Rabbonim have besmirched you and I am certain they are not happy with what you are doing, but no one in KA has attacked you, yet you attack others personally. You disgust me.  Your self righteousness  shows your ego is overinflated and you have grandiose vision of yourself . You have shown that it is you who is self serving and infantile with your petty defensive comments, personal attakcs and loshon hora  on a blog. This is not how a Rabbi of any caliber behaves.

  • Observer says:

    Alex,

    You certainly seem to know a lot about KA and the conditions at the companies they supervise.  Who do you get your information from and why should we accept your version of matters (regarding what happens at these companies and regarding alleged rulings by overseas authorities about local conditions etc) particularly when you  can stir and say whatever you like and hide from responsibility and accountability under a nickname ?

    I know what Rabbi Blugrond told me and although he did say that Rabbi Belsky gave him a ruling on situations he had reported within the US he clearly told me that it was necessary to ask the local authorities about the situation as it exists in Australia.  As reported earlier, I did try to contact him a few days ago for confirmation but he no longer works for the OU and I could not get current contact details. 

    In any event Rabbi Blugrond  is not the local posek.  Neither, for that matter is Rav Belsky.  Rav Belsky hinself often has differences of opinion even with his own fellow-OU-posek Rav Hershel Shachter when he says things are treif and Rav Shachter says they are kosher and vice versa.  These are well documented in frfeely available OU papers on their Halachic decisions.  Indeed the various kashrus agencies in the US and certainly in Israel are always differing in halchic issus and their application.  Witness the ongoing bitter fight going on between Rav Landa and Rav Rubin (with the added involvement of the Badatz of the Eida).  And that’s between those who are considered Mehdrin hecsheirim- without evenb mentiuoning the fights with those agencies of lesser standards.

    You can say what you like hiding behind your nickname of “Alex” but I for one am more than comfortable in accepting the rulings of our local communal rabbonim and other reputable and experienced investigators at Kosher Asutralia who I know investigate things pretty thoroughly here and who I respect as knowledgeable and trustworthy. 

    You can disiss me as old or befuddled if that makes you feel better in maintaining your own opnions but I think that I have been honest and upfront in all my comments.  Calling me names will not make those comments any less va;lid or your comments any more valid.

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    You can say what you like hiding behind your nickname of “Alex” but I for one am more than comfortable in accepting the rulings of our local communal rabbonim and other reputable and experienced investigators at Kosher Asutralia who I know investigate things pretty thoroughly here and who I respect as knowledgeable and trustworthy.
    You can disiss me as old or befuddled if that makes you feel better in maintaining your own opnions but I think that I have been honest and upfront in all my comments.  Calling me names will not make those comments any less va;lid or your comments any more valid.

    well said Observer.

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi Rabi-

    Thank you for your reply to me. 

    I must indeed apologise for attributing to you comments about R’ Yisroel Abelesz’s crticism of Kosher Australia.  When you wrote that you had viewed correspondence with R’ Yisroel from overseas authorities I thought that you were referring to the correspondence mentioned till now in a number of posts in which R’ Yisroel outlined his views about some of Kosher Asutralia certifcations.  I had no reason to think otherwise.  You NOW explain your reference as referring to other correspondence.  I accept that and withdraw my remarks addressed to you about that correspondence -although the remarks still remain valid for those other posters who did  indeed refer to the correspondence about Kosher Asutralia.

    That being said, I am confused once again at your failure to reply to a direct question stemming from your own comments about your certifications.

    If you are happy to conduct ongoing dialogue on this site why are you once again refusing to publicly answer a direct pertinent question other than claiming that I have misunderstood the Teshuva you posted.  All I am asking is that if you publicly claim that I have misunderstood the Teshuva why won’t you publicly explain how I have misunderstood it.

    I ask again: 
    Your own quote from R’ Moshe’s conclusion  reads:  “Although as explained, foodstuffs not expressly made for the Kosher consumer do not require Koshering of the plant, nevertheless it is shameful to offer Kosher certification without Koshering the plant.”.
    Please tell me why this is not a condemnation of one who offers certification for such products or products containing such products as you have, by your own admission, done regarding the Goodman Fielder oils used by Sanitarium and perhaps also with other ingredients and products you have certified ?   

  • Observer says:

    If we separate the vitriol and parochial condemnations from the equation it appears as if we have the following information about our local hechsheirim:

    1.  The Adass – who claim to maintain Chareidishe Mehadrin standards and whose supporters, at least on this site, criticise Kosher Australia and the KA in Sydney for holding lesser standards – some of which they claim are actually treif.  Adass kashrut has its own problems regarding justifying the Chareidishe  Mehadrin standard in their shechita and in some of their other rulings in the wake of criticism particularly of late  (some from their very own Chreidishe experts) regarding their standards in those areas.

    2.  Kosher Australia in Melbourne and and the Kashrut Authority in Sydney who, with a few well publicised exceptions, pretty much maintain the same standards.  This being a dual system of what they call “certified” (usually, though not exclusively, also labelled “Mehadrin”) products and those that they “approve” ( that contain various sheilot and that they admit may only, at least in some cases, be kosher bedieved). This dual standard, and in particular the “approved” standard has been justified, on more than one occasion, on the basis of their positions as community based authorities catering for the general Jewish public who, it is argued,  require more lenient rulings to maintain the observance of Kashrut amongst the less committed.  Adass obviously challenges such a philosophy and has in the past, and as echoed in comments on this site, expressed the belief that these kashrut  authorities must maintain a purely Mehadrin certification (and anything less may actually be considered as treif in their opinion).

    3.  Chabad:  They really only certify a shechita and one caterer (at times).  Their standards have not been discussed on this site perhaps because of the fact that they are a minor player.  With the lamented petira of the late Rabbi Groner their current standards probably also require further clarification and assessment.  It is no secret that the Adass kashrus authorities attitude towards Chabad as well has been less than cordial or accepting since Rabbi Groner’s petira – as evidenced by the refusal to sanction the Chabad shechita for their caterers (other than under special conditions, using separate dishes, for Chabad poultry) . However I perosnally would asssume that most objective people would place their standard into a “chareidishe Mehadrin” standard.

    4. And now RabbI Rabi – another even more minor player (at least at  the moment…)  whose standards are not that well known yet but have in a number of areas already attracted controversy.   One thing has become clear, actually from discussion on this site,  is that he is ready to certify, or has already certified, products that Kosher Australia or the Kashrut Authority would only approve (if that) and that Adasss  would consider as being in the category of what they declare as treif (as evidenced that they have done so regarding similar rulings by Kosher Australia and the Kashrut Authority).  

    That’s my assessemnt and I think it’s pretty accurate.   All I have to add is that it’s obviously up to each individual to decide on who they accept but in doing so they really should practice Ahavat Yisroel and maintain due respect for others of different opinions and leanings. By all means questioin and clarify but  without expressing the type of destructive comments and criticism that has unfortunately been expressed by so many, from all sides, on this site.  
      

  • Teller of the Truth says:

    >>>>>>Adass obviously challenges such a philosophy and has in the past, and as echoed in comments on this site, expressed the belief that these kashrut  authorities must maintain a purely Mehadrin certification (and anything less may actually be considered as treif in their opinion).>>>>>

    Except, ironically, Adass is deficient in kashrut due to a number of factors such as lack of infrastructure, lack of technological sophistication,  and a lack of set salaries for  mashgiachim (who are forced to earn income by promoting particular products as  koshe’) so Adass in no position to determine the kashrus status of products adequately and are hypocritical for promoting themselves as ‘Mehadrin only”.

  • Rifkah says:

    Wow!

    Its been a while since I looked at this Blog. Seems like the attention has now been diverted from Rav Meir G. Rabis pitta matzos. Now we have an all out war between Kosher Australia and Adass!

    I am not Adass and I am not Mizrachi, but somewhere in between (not Chabad either!).  I have asked kashrus shailos in the past to both the Rabbis from Adass and KA. I must say I am far more comfortable with the expertise and answers that I get from the KA rabbis. It seems they are far more proffessional than their addass counterpart. For example, who does what Rabbi Kasriel Oliver does at KA in the Adass kashrus? Surely in todays age of food production you need a lot of technical know how. I hear Rabbi Beck (may he have arichas yomim and shonim tovos) walks into a factory and says “ich vays nisht vos tit zich du”. That must be some sight to behold, I tell you!

    Also, It just seems that all the KA Rabbis are very straight shooters…Rabbis Gutnick, Sofer, Barber…. I would trust them not to have decisions influenced by the monetary side of things. Can I say the same about adass? I’ll stop here.

    Finally and most importantly I don’t hear the KA Rabbis talking loshan hora and being motzei shem ra other kashrus orgs. Yet Adass seem to enjoy getting down and dirty (mostly about the same one or two stories (eg Heinz ) which I must admit are getting rather stale already (pardon the pun). When I first read about the Heinz on a blog years ago I called KA and received a very satisfactory response).  Frankly, I think their need to constantly rehash the same 2 issues and constantly berate others, (inclding Rav Meir G. Rabi) makes them  look both a)insecure and b)makes one wonder if perhaps this is their tactic for taking the limelight off their own problems…..

  • benjamin says:

    Rivka, plain motzi shem ra on Rav Beck. Plain lies. sO what if you are satisfied with ka’s answers. Many are not.And moost not from adass.Adass are very small hechsher and have Tony Zipper available whenever neederd. A food chemist with forty years experience . 

  • miri says:

    Who is this abeles fellow? Someone told me he does the ajnwatch hate blog. Or is that his brother? Some family, huh. Such middos tovos!

  • Rifkah says:

    Yumi, my point was not to chas vesholom be motzei shem ra Rav Beck.   If it came across that way I apologize. I think Rav Beck is a tzadik and I wouldn’t say that about many people. I have tremendous respect for him, more than any other Rav here in town and I bring my kids to him for brochos all the time. My point was only that I don’t think he is up to date on all the latest technology of food manufacturing. I think this is why the international kashrus orgs such as the OU and others use the Rabbis at KA for their local products, even though by name Rav Beck is a bigger heavyweight and should ideally be their first choice.

  • benjamin says:

    He knows a lot more than you think. ALL chareidi orgs only rely onn him. And so do many mainstream. Check what you write, 

  • Rifkah says:

    And who is Tony Zipper? I’ve never heard of him. Is he Jewish (I mean frum)? I’m confused,  does Adass rely on AKUM now?

    I’ll stick with Rabbi Kasriel Oliver thanks.

  • benjamin says:

    He is a chareidi and a yorei shomayim shomer Torah Umitzvos

  • Rifkah says:

    A Charedi called Tony. Nice.

  • Moshe says:

    So when you say Tony is “chareidi and a yorei shomayim shomer Torah Umitzvos” that means that if he makes a simcha with a caterer under Adass supervision, you will observe proper standards –  unlike one who is not “chareidi and a yorei shomayim shomer Torah Umitzvos” who unfortunately will not have a mashgiach present .

    Lucky Tony!

  • rebetzen says:

    Rifkah  Shame on you for the disgusting way you write about a Tzaddik like Rabbi Beck!
    Chazal say that anyone who shames a talmid chacham will have no cure for his/her punishment. 

    And I say that to some of the others here as well. Rabbi Rabi is also a recognised Torah scholar and “teller of lies” and the others should also beware.

    That is all in addition to the huge averos of lashan hara, rechiles, sheker, letzanus etc etc

  • Otira says:

    When did Kasriel Oliver become a Rabbi?

  • Rifkah says:

    Rebbetzin,  my point was not to chas vesholom be motzei shem ra Rav Beck.   If it came across that way I apologize. I think Rav Beck is a tzadik and I wouldn’t say that about many people. I have tremendous respect for him, more than any other Rav here in town and I bring my kids to him for brochos all the time. My point was only that I don’t think he is up to date on all the latest technology of food manufacturing. I think this is why the international kashrus orgs such as the OU and others use the Rabbis at KA for their local products, even though by name Rav Beck is a bigger heavyweight and should ideally be their first choice.

  • meir rabi says:

    To the Observer: I accept your apology. Even in this anonymous guise, it is a courageous thing to do and I urge you in that same vein to consider the following aspects of that previous posting of mine, that also deserve redress.

    I urge you to confirm that you (and in fact evryone) will desist from using vague references. If you are for example, quoting Golden Circle, please say so. Be direct, forthright and Yosher: just report that you spoke to GC and they told you the following ….. There is no need for any “apparently”s in such a report. By speaking in this fashion we honour and respect the participants and readers of this blog. No one will imagine that you are personally verifying anything but what you have been told and are reporting to us.

    If you wish to quote rabbonim who refuse to verify their statements, or worse, the comments are made in the name of an anonymous rabbi – please desist from posting such comments. I would add that such comments should not even be made in the course of private conversation. I am sure that this careless, casual and commonly found custom is a plague that has seriously damaged more than just Kashrus, it has contaminated our capacity to be fair, open minded and loyal to Gd.

    We would be delighted if you would post on this forum the substance of your telephone conversation with GC.

    I reaffirm my pledge; you are welcome to speak to me directly about Reb Moshe’s Teshuva. I assure you I will protect your anonymity. Besides, I will not know if you are “Observer” or somebody else who wishes to engage in discussing this Teshuvah.

    I urge you to confirm you have seen my statement about Kosher vegetable edible oil on this forum.

    Please confirm that you have seen my remarks about Reb Y Abelesz and the reasons I feel he is very credible and respected by many rabbonim and kashrus agencies.

    I feel that your speculations whether Reb Y A and his supporters would or would not eat my Hashgocha were disingenuous and not in the true nature of an honourable and dignified discussion and as such are also deserving of a correction.

    And in conclusion, I reiterate, may we all here on this forum pledge ourselves to only honourable and dignified sentiments and expressions.

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi Rabi –

    Please do not go off on tangents and lecture me about style and wording of my posts. 
    With all due respect I think everyone can understand the gist and thrust of  my comments even though I may not have worded them in accordance with your particular rules of debate.

    You appear to be simply using the tactic of commenting on my style  as your preferred tactic of introducing  “red herrings” when you are confronted by the real practical questions. 

    You have yet to explain why it is that when you have publicly posted the information on which my question is based  you will not answer that question on this same forum for all to see and assess.   I don’t believe that one would be seriously remiss in concluding that this is because you no answer that will face public scrutiny?

  • Anonymous says:

    Observer:
    By now surely you must realize you’re dealing with humbug of the first order.
    The piety of this Rabi chap is a bit hard to take, which possibly may explain his difficulty in staying for too long in one place or congregation.
    He wants his 5 minutes of fame, then let him have it. What a waste of talent!

  • meir rabi says:

    From http://www.kosher.org.au/docs/an_overview_of_kosher.pdf
    I paste from the above
    Non-Kosher
    The category of intrinsically non-Kosher includes:
    All hard cheese products that have not been supervised by a Rabbi.

    Cheese production
    where rennet is used in the cheese product (even if the rennet is microbial) a Rabbinic supervisor or orthodox Jew must dose the rennet; end of paste.

    I wish to know, is there a difference between hard and soft cheese regarding the law of “a Rabbinic supervisor or orthodox Jew must dose the rennet”?

    Can anyone help me discover if the certified Kosher cheese made by Blue Bay, and Jindi, are made with “a Rabbinic supervisor or orthodox Jew” adding the rennet?

    Some Pasken that soft cheese is not subject to the laws of Gevinat Akkum, i.e. there is no need to have the rennet etc. added by a Rabbinic supervisor or orthodox Jew. However, HaRav Moshe Fienstien rules that such cheese is not Kosher. He says that nevertheless, due to the laws that qualify when to and when not to admonish, one is not obligated to protest against those who do eat it.

    I inform the readers here that Floridia Cheese, http://www.floridiacheese.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=56, is now Kosher, Gevinat Yisroel (following the more stringent dictates of the Shach) under the Kosher VeYosher certificate.

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I have done some quick research on the question you asked above.

    hope your comments above arenot an example of the application and knowledge and  of Halachah and the cheese making process that you have applied in your certification of your Floridia cheeses,  because it reveals an incomplete knowledge of both aspects of kosher cheese manufacture.

    You appear to base your rulings on your understanding of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s rulings so I refer you to Igros Moshe YD Vol 2 Sim 48 in which R’ Moshe argues that because Cottage cheese would form naturally without the need to add coagulating agents (rennet) it is exempt from the requirements usually dictated for cheese andwould not be subject to the rules concerning non-kosher rennet.  According to this approach he rules that the use of a minor amount of rennet in cottage or other such “soft cheeses” would not require the stringencies of supervision required for Gevinat Akum and the rennet would, in this case, be subject to the laws of bittul even if present. 

    Rabbi Zusia Blech, a universally  acknowledged contemporary expert on Kosher food certification, brings this Teshuva from R’ Moshe  in Chapter m15 of his classic work  “Kosher Food Production” –  and adds that most Kashrus organisations accept this thesis and certify these cottage cheese, cream cheese and other similar types of soft cheese (that contain minute amounts of  rennet) without  the need of an onsite Mashgiach. 

    He adds that not all so-called soft cheeses are considered soft cheese in relation to this law and says that the proper Halchic distinction between permitted soft cheese and those still considered as rennet set is the level of rennet used.  Typically rennet set cheese requires between 60- and 80 millimeters of rennet per 450 litres of milk whereas acid set cheese may use a maximum of 0.8 ml for the same amount of milk and are then not considered as subject to the stringencies of rennet set cheese.

    So Rabbi, your question should have been:

    ” Can anyone help me discover if the certified Kosher cheese made by Blue Bay, and Jindi, contain more than the maximum  allowed amount of rennet and are thus made  with “a Rabbinic supervisor or orthodox Jew” adding the rennet?” 

    It is common knowledge, by the way, that Jindi cheese is made in a factory owned by a religious Jew from milk and rennet owned by the same religious Jew.  So, as I am sure you must know, the lasw of Gevinat Akum do not apply to that cheese in the first place and a mashgiach is not required at manufacture.  (According to some authorities i am told it would even be considered as equivalent to Gevinay Yisroel from Calav Yisroel.)  The question of whether or not a mashgiach is present during the manufacture of Jindi cheeses is thus irrelevant as he is simply npot required in such circumstances.

  • Observer says:

    An additional point:

    I have just seen that Rabbi Blech in his siuummary of cheese production also brings the following three points of interest to anyone ceritfying Kosher cheese.

    1. The rules of Gevinat Akum apply equally to cheese set with any type of rennet – animal, microbial or plabnt derived .

    2. To satisfy the requirements related to Gevinat Akum a Mashgiach must participate in the cheese-making process.  Some authorities require that he actually add the coagulant to the milk which is the commonly accepeted ptactice.  Others rule that his seeing the rennet being added is sufficient.

    3.  Cheese produced without these requirements regarding Gevinat Akum is considered non-Kosher regardless of whether only Kosher ingredients were used.  In addition such cheese would compromise the Kosher status of equipment… if it were cooked in the equipment to temperatures above Yad Soleded Bo. 

    I hope we can be assured  that any Floridia rennet-set cheeses  that are now certified “following the dictates of the Shach” (who I believe is the same stingent authority mentioned above that actually requires the Mashgiach to add the rennet personally) will, if containing more than the maximum anount of rennet, be manufactured at least with a mashgiach present at the time of adding the rennet and preferably also adding the rennet himself (as the Shach requires.) …

  • Nathan says:

    ‘Anonymous’ – shame on you. Was that post worth your Oilam Habo ?

  • Observer says:

    A final point, I wish to state emphatically that I am not the anonymous poster who called Rabbi Rabi a humbug (despite the similar avatar next to our names)  As all my previous posts will confirm I have not and would not resort to name-calling.  I would ask the moderators of this site that if they control the avatars they please avoid the confusion of duplicate avatars.  

  • Benjamin says:

    Rivka, In many operations the OU cannot work with Ravv Beck as he would not give an ok to Chalav hacompanies, which i think is the major Hashgacha project by the OU here. Althouugj i am told he does work with them is some other things, they need.

  • mashgiach says:

    observer, you write that according to some authorities, the Jindi cheese would be considered Ch Y and gevinas Yisroel. Is this without seupervision at the milking? Or does Jindi owners also own the farms where all their milk comes from.?

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi Rabi-

    Before we confuse issues  I would like to pre-empt that my  reference to R’ Moshe’s Teshuva was clearly confined to the issue of his lenient ruling regarding the additon of a small amount of rennet to certain soft cheese – that he allows this without it causing the cheese to be subject to the rules of gevinat akum.

    It is true though that he does add a final paragraph in which he questions the accpetance of soft cheese in general NOT BECAUSE OF ANY RENNET but because of the drops of Chalac Stam milk typically found in (large curd) soft cheese.  (This reason to forbid such cheese would, by the way,  clearly apply even if there was a Mashgiach present to add  any rennet or even if there was no rennet at all – as the milk used is still Chalav Stam and would be found  in ALL such cottage cheese with large curds.) He however does concede that this is not really a problem for those who allow Stam Chalav (or as he calls it – Chalav HaCompanies).  As most “middle-of-the-road” agencies (that include the heavy-weights like OU, OK, Kof K and Star K-D) allow Chalav Stam this explains Rav Zusia Blech’s statement that such soft-cheeses are nevertheless permitted by these agencies – despite R’ Moshe’s reluctance to grant a complete heter because of Stam Chalav concerns.

    There is therefore clearly a heter that is practiced halachah l’maaseh by those major agencies for those who do not insist on Chalav Yisrael to allow these soft cheeses even if they have a small amount of rennet added.    

  • Observer says:

    Mashgiach-

    I do not know if Jindi actually own the farms and cows used for the milk for their cheese.  One could call them and find out.  But does it really make a difference?

    According to my understanding of the Shach (YD Sim 115 Sif Koton 20) where he writes that gevinot belonging to a Jew AT THE TIME OF MANUFACTURE are not included in the gezeira of gevinat akum and are permitted, it appears that all he is saying that is required is that the milk at the time of cheese making (and the subsequent cheese made) needs to belong to the Jew. 

    It is not completely clear to me however if this ownership only removes the gezeira on gevinat akum (and a mashgiach would not be necessary at the time of manufacture by the non-Jew) or whether it also also covers  the necessity to have Chalav Yisroel as well.  Certainly  the heter of ownership brought by  the Shach would not require Chalav Yisroel according to the opinion brought by the Ramo, and expanded on by others, that milk used for cheese may not be subject to Chalav Yisrael restrictions in general.  Those who do not accept this leniency (and the Ramo himself clearly says it is only bedieved acceptable) may however  still require the milk to be milked under supervision to cover the Chalav Yisroel requirement (according to many (but not all) authorities even if the farm and cows were owned by a Jew).

    I note that Jindi cheeses are not declared as Chalav Yisroel or Mehdrin by Kosher Australia so they must obviously rule that ownership of the milk is not enough to allow the cheese for those makpid on Chalav Yisroel.   

    I am not a rabbi and I suppose a definitve ruling should be asked from your Rav. 

  • meir rabi says:

    Thank you Observer for your observations.

    As I mentioned earlier, we do appreciate comments that are sourced. You have sourced your information from Rabbi ZB. And he refers to Reb Moshe’s Teshuvah.
    Wonderful.

    But why are we still relying on your speculations about various factors that are critical to the determination of the Kosher status of these cheeses?

    How can we determine if the cheese is Gevinas Yisroel according to the Shach or the Rema? Or if it is deemed, by this Kosher agency, to be a cheese that circumvents the decree of Gevinas Akkum altogether. Should that not be an open and clear declaration made by the certifying authority?

    Why are you (and in turn, us) still speculating about something so basic and elementary?

    You say that Jindi is owned by a Jew or Jews. Do you mean by an orthodox practicing Jew or Jews? Do you mean exclusively owned by an orthodox Jew or Jews? I did not know that and I asked those at my Shiur tonight (people who do know these sorts of things) and they were unaware.

    We would be far happier to hear you positively verify this rather than your reverting to the old habit of making vague statements the likes of, “It is common knowledge, by the way, that Jindi cheese is made in a factory owned by a religious Jew from milk and rennet owned by the same religious Jew.”

    Please let us know how you know this? Besides it is more than curious that this is not mentioned in any public notice, not on the Kosher website nor on the cheese website; at least that I could find. And I note the same observations by another poster on this blog.

    I do not accept your criticism that my question was poorly worded. I do not know, and I do not care to speculate about why, you do not read my postings with more care. Observer, you would do well to make more effort to be a careful observer.

    My query was based upon the information provided by the Kosher website which states that “cheese production (and makes no exception thus implying ALL cheese) where rennet is used, requires a rabbinic supervisor or orthodox Jew to dose the rennet.” Neither is there any distinction made on that website regarding the status of soft white cheese made with minimal amounts of rennet.

    I think you should be addressing your comments to the Kosher authority, requesting that they clarify their rulings and guidelines which appear to be unclear and misleading.

    You say yourself, “I note that Jindi cheeses are not declared as Chalav Yisroel or Mehadrin by Kosher Australia so they must obviously rule that ownership of the milk is not enough to allow the cheese for those makpid on Chalav Yisroel.”

    “So they must be” you intone in a true Sherlock Holmes parody – Will we ever get a straight declaration that does not require interpretation by a Lamdan? Is it really necessary to puzzle over the meaning of these amorphous comments? Perhaps the Kosher authority means that they consider that the rennet added to these cheeses is not significant even though it exceeds the amounts stated by Reb ZB? Will we ever know?

    Has Kashrus become a game of trying to guess what the Kosher certifier means?

    And in conclusion I assure you that you need not hope; you can be absolutely confident that Floridia cheese do fully comply with the dictates of the Shach.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nathan:
    I firmly believe that Jews are  going to be “nichshal” by Meir’s ambitions.
    As such, despite all the nice sugary words etc, he’s treading a fine line and as he practices as a lone wolf, answerable to no one, plus I assume  also derives monetary benefits directly from the manufacturers of the products he certifies, that too is, at least should be of great concern.
    I recall learning sometime back there was a Tanna (maybe an Amoira) who was able to bring 100 proofs as to why an insect/s  was/were kosher, yet the ruling was that they were treif.
    Why so, one may ask? If there is proof that the insects are kosher, why rule them treif?
    I’ll let you ponder over that one.
    As to the oilom haboh factor you introduced, I’d be more worried about that aspect if I remained silent.
    So start worrying.
    One last point. When contemplating the credentials of a “certifier”, one does not simply look at their torah abilities. We look at the whole person, we look at their history, we check them inside out and back to front. At least one hopes that is done. Some people have very colorful histories, often shrouded in controversy which simply should not be ignored particularly when it is a recurring problem albeit over different controversies. If for example, you were marrying off your daughter/son, you’d make sure no stone was left unturned thus enabling you to achieve the best possible informed observation. The fact that your prospective son/daughter in law may have a glib tongue, a nice smile, speak about every topic as if they were Einsteins and Newtons rolled into one  may very well mask the real personality and methodology of that person, which usually manifests itself later. And later, is too late.
    Ponder about that as well.
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • Observer says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I am really puzzeled as to why you have questioned my comments.

     You asked if anyone knew of a source for soft cheeses being different to hard cheese regarding the laws of Gevinat Akum.  I provided you with a source showing that most reliable agencies do make such a difference.

    You further asked a question about whether anyone knew as to whether Blue Bay or Jindi cheese have a Mashgiach.  I replied that in my opinion your question was not worded correctly to elicit a truly accurate and relevant reply and that it suggested a deficiency in knowledge of cheese making process and the relevant halachas.  This because a perusal of the list of Blue Bay cheeses reveals that they are all the kind of soft cheese that do not require a Mashgiach according to the views of most kashrut agencies – as explained by Rav Blech.  I also added that it is well known that Jindi is owned by an observant Jew – so that ALL their cheeses do not fall into the category of gevinat akum or need a mashgiach from the outset.   I don’t know who attends your shiur but it is indeed common knowledge that Eli Shachna, certainly a Shomer Shabbat befarhesya, is the owner of the Jindi cheese company. 

    As to your question as to why Kosher Australia does not advertise such information – I am not their spokesman and  you should ask them that question not me.  But in all fairness I do not see Adass, Chabad, the OU the OK the Badatz or really anyone else explaining on sites like this the justification for any leniencies or stringencies or other  basis for their certifications either.  The established agencies have their reputations already and don’t need to engage in proving themselves on sites like this to their adherents.  I suppose that you, as a new comer to the field, are insecure and feel it necesary to have to prove your credentials by coming onto sites such as this and attempting to justify in particular some of your more innovative projects that have caused controversy.  But, despite your call to others to be more upfront even you  have refused to be entirely  up front as evidenced by your refusal to answer here some very practical questions that I have raised in reposnse to the comments you have made here .
     
    I do know however that kosher Australia is more than happy to answer serious and genuine questions addressed to them in a dignified, respectful and honest manner .  I take full personal  responsibility for anything that I have written here, but I must admit that I am not an expert in the field of kashrut but I  have had a number of enlightening and in-depth conversations with one of the Rabbis of Kosher Australia on many of the subjects that I have raised here.  I was treated with the utmost courtesy and it was frankly delightful to know that we have suchrational,  erudite and experienced kashrut authorities in our midst.   I suggest that if you are genuinely concerned in seeking answers about Kosher Australia’s certification, and not simply trying to stir the communal pot as so many others on this site obviously are, then you too should   try contacting them directly as I did.   I was told that they will not   (actually quite justifiably in my opinion) conduct discussion 0n a blogg site like this due to the uncontrolled nature and anonymity of the comments that will inevitably be posted by those who do not necessarily have the best interest of the variousa local kashrut quthorities in mind – as indeed evidenced by the vitriol and destructive crticism directed at you and the other Kashrut authoritiesd  already posted on this site.  I was also givenn an undertaking to continue to make any such genuine and relevant questions and answers to them available on their FAQs page on their website – particularly on the new up-graded site they are launching soon.

  • meir rabi says:

    Observer, 

    You sound so much like a rabbi I know of.

    Gutt Shabbos

  • Observer says:

    Rabb Rabi,

    You wrote <<<<You sound so much like a rabbi I know of. >>>>

    If you only know OF that rabbi – how do you know what he sounds like?

    I any event, I am highly flattered that you think that I sound like a rabbi.

    :-)

    Despite the flattery I still await the answers to the questions I asked you.

    Shabbat Shalom to you too…

  • Nathanvert says:

    I see that ajnwatch has joined the KV kashrut fray
    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/04/ajn-report-on-kosher-veyosher.html

  • Observer's observer says:

    Wow! Nice observation, Rabbi Rabi. Rabbi Observer is a dead giveaway.

  • Jen says:

    Observer, I am amazed at your encyclopaedic knowledge of kashrut matters and halacha. Maybe you could get yourself hired at KA?

  • Maven says:

    Meir Rabi, you sound like a used car ssman I know

  • Maven says:

    I meant used car salesman

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to Observer, and Maven, nice to hear your predictable voice.

    Observer, you do sound more and more like a rabbi I know of.

    I urged you a little earlier to make more effort to be a careful observer, and I do so urge you again, as it appears that you have paid scant heed to what I posted and certainly have not addressed the matters I put for consideration.

    Observer; you are an anonymous spokesman for a Kosher organization. You quote un-named rabbis of that organization and say, “I take full personal responsibility for anything that I have written here”. You are serious, are you not?

    Full?
    Personal?
    Responsibility?
    Can a headless person say such things and not be taken in jest?

    Does this make any sense? Those faceless rabbis do not take responsibility for their statements, but you do? Are you not shirking responsibility? Are you not faceless? In Hebrew the face is the Panim, which also means the inside or content or substance. Is it not a fact that you and they are without honour, content or substance?

    I wonder if you take full personal responsibility for your posting, in response to the query made by myself and others as to why a kashrus organization would not make clear statements on its own website about its standards for Kosher cheese. You say, “in all fairness I do not see Adass, Chabad, the OU the OK the Badatz or really anyone else explaining the justification for any leniencies or stringencies or other basis for their certifications either”?

    It is very difficult to believe that you made any attempt to validate your claim. A quick web search (try, “ou cheese kosher gevinat” in the search box) turned up the following by Rabbi Sheldon Blech, “Kosher in the Dairy Case”
    I quote,
    “This rule is referred to as gevinat akum. In order for cheese to he considered kosher – gevinat yisrael – it must use only kosher ingredients and be made by a religious Jew, the act of making cheese being defined as adding the coagulant, the rennet.”

    “The only cheese products excluded from this requirement are those referred to in halachah as “soft cheeses.” The cheeses with which we have been dealing are known as “hard cheeses,” or “rennet-set cheeses” by the cheese industry. These include Muenster, Mozzarella, Swiss, Brie and Cheddar.”

    “There is another entire class of cheeses which are known as ‘acid-set cheeses’. Milk can be curdled in a number of ways, such as the addition of a strong acid or strong bacterial fermentation, and do not require the use of rennet. These cheeses include cream, cottage, and neufchatel cheese.”

    And I am sure this will interest you:  –  “The OU follows the rabbinic ruling that these products are merely fermented milk, and not true cheeses at all. As such, they are not subject to the rules of gevinat akum, and can be produced without the constant presence of a mashgiach, as long as all ingredients are kosher.” End of quote.

    By the way, this OU policy, is contrary to the Pesak of Reb Moshe. (I suppose Observer is right at least in that the OU does not seem to point out this particular fact.)

    You refer to the Teshuvah of Reb Moshe YD 2 48; this too you have misunderstood. My offer still stands: I will be pleased to speak to you directly and explain both this and the other Teshuvah referred to in this blog.

    I assure you that you will find that I meet your criteria of being, “more than happy to answer serious and genuine questions addressed to me in a dignified, respectful and honest manner”. If you can speak with them you can speak with me. I will even permit you to quote me and it need not be as an un-named faceless rabbi.

    I assure you that you will find that I can provide you with, “enlightening and in-depth conversations … on many of the subjects raised here.”

    I assure you that you will be, “treated with the utmost courtesy” and you will discover and be delighted, “to know that we have such rational, erudite and experienced kashrut authorities in our midst”.

    I have had conversations with many rabbonim engaged in Kashrus, including HaRav Yisroel Belsky, one of the OU’s two major consultants in matters of Halacha, and Rabbi Zusia Blech, from whose book you quote, (in fact there is some correspondence I can show you, if you care to take up my offer and chat to me directly) and you can be assured of being shown the same courtesy and kindness I received from them.

    I am sure you can appreciate your own strongly stated position, not to discuss some aspects of Kashrus or Halacha “on a blog site like this due to the uncontrolled nature and anonymity of the comments”. Indeed, the anonymity of comments, even such as your own; emanating from a shrouded, faceless identity.

    Have a Gutt Voch

    Oh and BTW, it’s probably better to protest your innocence without repeating the slur that some may have attributed to you, unless of course … you perhaps delight in such vicarious excitements.

  • moshe says:

    Observer, why are you wasting your time arguing with R’ Meir Rabi. You obviously sound like a sensible person and you probably have a job and a life. Arguing with Meir Rabi is like banging ones head against a brick wall ( as many in Melbourne have already come to realize). 

  • moshe says:

    Nathanvert, no one is interested in that pathetic site

  • insider says:

    To all those speculating on who observer is – I know for a fact that he’s not from melbourne. I say no more.

  • rifkah says:

    I know for a fact that Observer is Chris, the goyishe secretary at Kosher Aust
     

  • Observer says:

    Moshe –

    You are probably right. 

    I originally entered “the fray” in a genuine attempt to improve my knowledge of this new hechsher and the innovative contoversial ideas championed by its Rabbi in what I believed was a respectful and serious manner.   Instead of clear answers I got long irrelevant comments on everything other than the questions I have asked. The latest being fanciful  speculation as to who I and other posters are – as if that makes a difference to the points being discussed.  

    I admitted that in my fairly detailed reseaerch on matters raised here I sought advice from a Rabbi at Kosher Asutralia and accordingly then responsibly modified my comments by saying that I am not a spokesman for KA and do not wish to convey the impression that anything I say is a direct quote from that Rabbi or KA.    I think what I was saying was quite clear and I  fail to undertand “Meir Rabi’s”  lenghty critique of my comments in that regard.  I now say “Meir Rabi” because given everyone’s speculation on the identities of who has posted on this site I too am now  wondering whether the posts by “Meir Rabi” have actually been posted by Rabbi Rabi….

    In any event all the “red herrings” culminating  now in the identity speculation of posters to this site have now convinced me that there will be once again not be any relevant answers to the real questions and, as you sayMoshe, it is indeed probably bittul zman to continue commenting.  I leave you all to your speculations and irrelevant comments.  I think I’ve clearly made my points that there are questions to be answered that are not being answered.  We can all draw our own conclusions aboiut that fact – and am now out of here….  Shalom to all.

  • Glen Eira says:

    Rivka. That’s quite funny. This Chris must be quite a Talmid chacham

  • Balaclava says:

    insider.: Re Rabbi Observer not being from Melbourne   On his posts Observer writes a) “Over Yom Tov I saw a letter sent to Rabbanim HERE in Melb”  b)”I was at the lecture of R Blugrond in KBH”  Rabbi Observer seems to have a convenient habit of beind in Melbourne at the right time. Or maybe he lives in Geelong and comes in to Mmelb for davening shopping etc. and fotr Yom Tov and for… 

  • Observer's observer says:

    No need to be Einstein to see that he is no layman, once you go through Observer’s posts. Both his Kashrus knowledge and Sh”A. Plus his style can also easIly be observed.  There is one other Rabbi in Sydney, who would have all this knowledge. However,, he would be the last person to defend Kosher Aust, let alone extoll their virtues. His style of writing is also completely different to Observer. 

  • Ben says:

    I just noticed that in one of his posts, Observer mentions that Solomons-under Sydney Ka- are still using Australian flour for their Matzos!  Why are all the critics of KVY e.g. Observer not demanding to know where that flour comes from. Seems to be one rule for R Rabi and another for anyone else.   

  • Rifkah says:

    Ben Don’t start up with Sydney KA or you’ll end up in a Din Torah before you know it

  • Bubbi Kraus says:

    Where can I get hold of some of this red herring?. I need it for the shop.

  • Joe says:

    mOSHE THANKS FOR MAKING ME CHECK OUT AJNWATCH BLOG
    spme fascinating stuff there about non-kashryt matters. did you see the Emden connection of the iceland volcano and Gehenom?

    But go back to this january posts and see another kashrut debate this time between the sydney KA and adass re fogel catering a wedding in sydney
    some very interesting comments, some coming from the jewish news, re monopoly kashrut orgs.

    seems that kosher veyosher would do far beter and with less heartache if they established themselves in sydney where there’s a demand for another rabbi.

  • Albury says:

    Yeah, right Joe! You obviously missed the volcano eruption when Eshel did that catering in Sydney. Can you imagine what type of eruption we could have if someone attempted to compete with Sydney KA. It may even surpass the count on the richter scale that it reached with KA Melb. 

  • Kevin Rudd says:

    Ahh! Joe, Albury, more red herrings(away from blogging anonymous Rabbi, Sydney matzos). I can already see Bubby licking his lips.

  • Eliyahoo William Dwek says:

    When ‘dayanim’, ‘rabbis’ and false ‘mekubalim’ use the Torah for their own power and commercial profit, this behaviour is abhorrent.

    No other ‘rabbi’ will ever act against another ‘rabbi’ – even when he knows his colleague is clearly desecrating the Torah. Each rabbi is only worried about losing his own position.
    Therefore, the ‘rabbi’, ‘dayyan’ or false ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) will never effect justice. And he will never truly stand for the Torah or the Honour of Hashem. His pocket will always prevail.
    The Torah must never be used for commercial gain and profit. Amm israel can only be lead by those who have the necessary love and respect of Hashem and the Torah.

  • Eliyahoo William Dwek says:

    Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael. 
    If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be heading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.
     Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.
     We are commanded in the Shema to:
     ‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’ 
     ‘VEAHAVTA  et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL  LEVAVECHA  uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)
     Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.
     The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions. 
     Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.
     Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
    “Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

    “Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

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