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Rabbi Rabi reflects on the so-called soft matzah controversy

May 10, 2010 – 4:56 pm411 Comments

In the absense of halacha, what is the nature of rabbinic authority?

By Rabbi Meir Rabi

For background on soft matzah see this and this.

I wonder what constitutes a “controversy” or a “controversial pesak”?
Is it the tumult raised by parties who are not impartial?
By those who may have something to gain or lose?
By those who have a loud voice?
By those have better connections?

Within our framework, a “controversial pesak” is a halachic ruling, a pesak that appears to contravene what is accepted as the norm. Take for example soft matzah. Many were surprised to discover that matzah could be soft. In their minds, if it is not hard it is not matzah. Does that make it a “controversial pesak”?

Many were under the impression that matzah has been hard and thin for many centuries, even millennia. I use the past tense, “were under the impression” because I believe that as a consequence of the soft matzah tumult, many have now discovered things about matzah that they never knew or questioned. They now know that soft matzah is authentic matzah, that hard thin matzah is no more than 250 years old, and that there is no foundation in halachah to suggest that matzah should be hard. On the contrary, every aspect of halachah indicates that matzah is and should be soft.

Does the original mistaken assumption, that matzah is hard, make the introduction of soft matzah controversial? Perhaps it does in a societal sense; yes, the community was surprised (and delighted) by this “innovation”. However, in a halachic framework, there is no way at all that it can be considered controversial. Which halachah was tampered with? Which halachic opinion was taken up that until now had been the “other” opinion or custom?

In this context, using the word “controversial” is just cosmetic, an attempt to dress up soft matzah as something that should be dismissed and rejected. It speaks of a posture that refuses to discuss the halachah, the backbone of our Jewish identity. It points towards those who have no halachic argument to support their opposition and are seeking alternative methods to push an insupportable opinion. It indicates that some people have gotten their nose out of joint.

I will propose an example that is closer to the truth than what we would like to believe. Let us imagine that a question has been asked of a great, highly respected halachic authority. The query proposes a halachically sound idea, an idea that has absolutely no flaw or opposition from the perspective of halachah. The query has no political agenda or consequence.

The answer received is: this is halachically sound but it is not what G-d wants us to do.

How do we understand and live with this response? We may either accept with absolute confidence that this is a great sage’s ruling, it is almost sacred and not to be questioned; or we may feel that this is a ruling that perhaps applies to those who are ardent followers of this rabbi but is in no way binding or even a consideration for others, since it offers absolutely no halachic foundation or persuasion.

A halachic matter that is subject to a dispute amongst the halachic authorities (I refer here to the great poskim of the previous century and further back) which has been resolved in favour of one side which has consequently become the established practice, is generally deemed a binding halachic practice. If the opposite opinion is now promoted by a particular rabbi or beis din; that is a controversial pesak. The suggestion that today Ashkenazim need no longer maintain the custom of not eating kitniyot on Pesach is a controversial ruling.

If one rabbi or one group, follow a path that rejects innovations that diverge from the practices they have followed, and they feel a responsibility to voice their opposition in order to discourage others from adopting this “innovation”, does that make the “innovation” controversial? Certainly not. Again we are discussing a situation that in no way compromises halachic standards. On the contrary, it actually provides a halachically superior product and service, which is more mehudar from many important perspectives.

This is, of course, the situation regarding soft matzah. Plenty of loud insistent statements but absolutely no halachic substance.

Again, I do not oppose those who have a perspective that binds them to a particular political or hashkafic, i.e. philosophical perspective. However, I am concerned when hashkafic, philosophical perspectives are presented as halachic positions.

Not only is this disingenuous, but it substantiates the suspicions that in order to garner more clout, and provide the community what is considered, from a narrow perspective, to be the “correct” philosophical slant, dogmatic and misleading statements may be made.

In these circumstances it is difficult to persuade the public that the people and bodies issuing these statements are driven by pure and honourable intentions. Suspicions that self-serving considerations taint the hearts of those driving these public organisations linger and gain credibility.

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411 Comments »

  • Ari says:

    The following is intended to address my opinion as to the system of halacha.  Those who do not feel bound by halacha and the halachic system in its entirety may find it difficult to relate to some of what I say, particularly the acceptance of authority regardless of the basis for a particular decision.  But such is the fate of much of committed Orthodoxy today.

    There are many Jewish practices that can be shown to be without true foundation in halacha.  Wearing a kippa, praying Kabbalat shabbat are just a couple of example that spring to mind.  So too, there are many actions that members of the Halachic Community do not partake in, not so much, because one cannot find a source in halacha to justify partaking in them but because the overall spirit of Shas and poskim leads away from them.  For instance, riding a bus on shabbat, where one can theoretically evade the halachic issues, is still not broadly institutionalised since it is not in the spirit of Shabbat.  (For a more recent example see R’ Schachter’s comments on the ordination of women).  To be sure in any major halachic decision meta-halachic issues are involved including the perceived spirit of the sources.  And of course on such issues Torah leaders may differ since they all look at the societal, halachic and Jewish necessities differently.  Some may believe that in cases of extreme need something should be permitted and others may feel that regardless that particular thing should be forbidden since it may lead to other abuses of halacha.  Anyone even remotely familiar with classical rabbinic sources can attest to the fact that even halachically neutral acts are forbidden by the Rabbis for they may lead to other acts which are halachically forbidden(The ability to make true enactments today is limited but the spirit is a part of halachic discourse).  To be sure, great Torah leaders should respect the decision of other great leaders since particular communities may have differing needs or simply differing but legitimate opinions.  
    R’ Rabi may  want to open a synagogue that does not say the majority of Kabbalat shabbat, something which may not be halachically problematic.   He may receive approbations from various authorities that it is fine since he wishes to attract the non-Observant and he may recieve a psak that such a thing is forbidden since such a change is too drastic.  Regardless, he could not do so on his own without undermining the system of halacha. 
    In the case of soft-Matzah, the overarching communal kashrut body felt it necessary to forbid soft Matzah, whether for halachic reasons or meta-halachic reasoning and the Halachic Community is bound to cede to their authority in the spirit of the old Kehilla.  I may be ignorant to the exact facts but as long as R’ Rabi cannot produce a direct psak produced by a notable Torah leader stating that in the case of the Melbourne Jewish community soft matzah should be permissable having taken into account the authority of the Melbourne rabbinate there is little basis for allowing a change in Jewish practice.  For, the halachic system outlined above is more important. 

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I don’t know about other people, but my concerns were not that the matza is soft, but that you were sourcing the flour from an Australian mill that presumably uses water to soften the outside coat of the grains; that you were cooking the matzot in a non-traditional manner; and that you were not being frank when asked about these things. No offense, but you did ask.

    Furthermore, I know most of the people who import matzot (Melbourne is still a small community) and I don’t believe any of them were posting here. Your allegation that the controversy was a “tumult raised by parties who are not impartial” or “by those who have a loud voice” or “by those who have something to gain or lose” is simply false, except insofar as *you* are not impartial; *you* have a loud voice (on this issue, at least); and *you* have something to gain or lose.

  • meir rabi says:

    Ari and Joe, Shalom and I thank you for your thoughts.

    The very first observation that ought to be made in this discussion, is that I have identified in all my discussions about soft Matza, three major Halachic authorities who also bear very significant community responsibilities. All three are absolutely confident in permitting all Jews to eat soft Matza and have publicly expressed their views.

    These three Rabbanim represent a very broad spectrum of Jewish life. One is a well known and respected Talmid of Reb Moshe Feinstien, another is a world recognised leading voice in the modern orthodox world and the third is a highly respected Rav of world Zionist Yeshivah orientation.

    Can one then consider the introduction of Soft Matza here in Melbourne, to be a Halachically controversial matter? That was the core matter of my posting.

    I am delighted that you have considered my thoughts and responded. You wish to expand the conversation? Certainly. But let us be clear on the matters that I have raised.

    I will ask a pointed question: do you consider it a controversy if I have followed the clearly and publicly stated proclamations of the three Rabbanim I mentioned, notwithstanding the fact that I was well aware of HaRav Wosner’s objections?

    There is much more to discuss and I will be pleased to continue the discussion, but it is important to deal with one matter at a time, gain some clarity and only then move on.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I thought I made it clear that I have no particular problem with soft matza per se. Similarly, I think most people objecting to your matza were addressing other issues, such as the ones I identified, rather than whether the matzot were hard or soft.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Joe. Well said, Joe.

    So you seem to be in agreement, that as far as the Halacha or Tradition is concerned there is nothing controversial about introducing soft Matza to Australia. Excellent.

    I want to make it clear that I am delighted that you ask your questions and I am most satisfied that this initiative has made many people sit up and think about the Matza they have for years been purchasing and eating without really giving it much thought.

    You make four points:
    A) the source of the flour being Australian suggests to you that water has been used in its processing
    B) the Matza is baked in a non traditional manner
    C) I was or am being less than frank in answering these questions
    D) I have the boot on the wrong foot. It is I who is not impartial; who has a loud voice; who stands to lose or gain.

    in response to A): I shall repeat what I have already posted on this blog and what is posted on our website, the flour is specially made for this Matza, it has no additives and has not been processed with water. PG, next year we will have soft Matza made with flour, Shemura from its harvest.

    I will add parenthetically, that this Matza is as best I can determine the most Mehudar Matza available in the world today. I make this claim with five important considerations in mind.
    1) Matza dough must not be left idle for even one moment. The 18 minutes we are familiar with is BeDiEved, meaning if it has been idle then we will let it pass provided it is within 18 minutes.
    Compare that to the best practice alternative Matza where the idle time easily accumulates to well over a minute.

    2) The Laffa Style Soft Matza is made far more rapidly than any other Matza I am aware of. Speed is critical to prevent ANY opportunity for the dough to rise. From the time the dough of our Matza begins to be rolled (and until rolling it is being kneaded) until baking ends, requires far less than one minute.

    3) According to Halacha, thin dough is at less risk of becoming Chametz when compared to an identical thick dough. Our Matza is less than 1mm thick and of all Matza, spends about five seconds, the least time of all Matza, as a thick dough.

    4) The conveyor belt running through the oven is constantly cleaned and Kashered. This is vital since the dough is at its most vulnerable to become Chamets when warmed. Dough stuck to the sticks or conveyor belt must be considered Chamets. The Chazon Ish did not permit the re-use of such sticks since cleaning will not help as they are considered to have absorbed the Chamets. In our case the metal conveyor belt is constantly being cleaned and Kashered on its return journey.

    5) The dough is made with considerably more water and is therefore far less vulnerable to the risks of not being thoroughly kneaded, a concern expressed by almost all Acharonim when noting the hardness of the modern day Matza dough

    In response to B) There is no such thing as a non-traditional manner for baking Matza. A variety of methods for baking Matza are discussed in the ShO. The only concern is that the heat should be already active such that the Matza can begin baking immediately it is placed in the device, rather than requiring a delay whilst the device warms to the correct temperature.

    In response to C) My answers were and are direct and germane. If you consider that anything I wrote either on this blog or on the website, is less than frank, please let me know what it is that gives you that impression.

    D) I am certainly not impartial but I have presented my case and explained my reasons, my Halachic reasons, for my actions. I stand by what I say and I have yet to see a single criticism of Halachic substance that suggests that any aspect of Laffa Style Soft Matza is questionable from the Halachic perspective.

    Does anyone in their right mind think that meir rabi, who does not have access to the web and email power of the great congregational organisations, nor their newsletters and publications networks; who does not have the weight and momentum of many decades of Rabbinic establishment behind him; could possibly have any voice at all and most certainly not a loud voice and be heard over the cacophony of the establishment’s protests?

    Joe, if you heard meir rabi’s voice as a loud voice, it is only because you perceived it to be a loud voice. It is only because you heard the truth and propriety of meir rabi’s arguments which penetrated the barrage of protests by virtue of its integrity and even you were left wondering why such vigorous protestations were being made against something that is so obviously a legitimate proposition.

    As far as gaining or losing is concerned, I am not the financial promoter or equity holder in this venture. As far as my reputation and honour are concerned, indeed I do stand condemned. That is the inescapable nature of the human landscape. Every time I open a Gemara or present a Sevara or attempt to explain a Rashi or Tosafos, I face that challenge. Please pray for me.

  • Disappointed says:

    Rabbi Rabi,
    I am becoming less and less impressed with your position as time goes on.

    The community is open minded – The clear issue is the way you avoid presenting REAL and EMPIRICAL data with convoluted statements that are meaningless to the wider community, people want data proving your claims. It seem you are selling your brilliance in investigating the Halachah rather than practical FACTS, and for this you continually ask people to simply TRUST in you.

    Serious concerns have been raised with regards to the flour and all you have to say is:
    I assure you that we are the MOST Mehadrin.
    Unfortunately, you are fighting an up hill battle in this community as you are out of step with the alternate kashrus authorities- ALL OF THEM. In addition, you have not been able to secure the backing of any world reknown kashrus bodies to back you e.g OU/ BADATZ/ KAJ/ OK, but rather 3 distinct Rabbonim who don’t seem to lead any of the above or other. kashrus body at a commercial level.

    Put an end to this stupidity and organise an independant audit of your practical processes – not your halachic genius. The bottom line is that you are the ‘new kid on the block’ – if you want people to take you seriously then you need to subject yourself to additional scrutiny to sway the people. As it stands, your current attitude is harming your public personna and credibility.

    It should be said that some of your initiatives SEEM to be clever and to the benefit of the community. HOWEVER, as you are flying in the face of ALL other established hashgochas it is incumbent on you to prove your stance. At the end of the day, you are a ‘One Man Band’ which doesn’t lend itself to inspiring confidence in a community that has been taught the complexities of ensuring kashrus standards in todays industrial world.

    I look forward to seeing REAL information – not just flippant remarks

  • Chaim says:

    couldn’t agree more with the remarks above.. Rabi seems to keep coming with ridiculous accusations and trying to make controversy and noise with not substance to back him up..
     
    it is time to get on with your life and stop causing divisiveness and invented “controversy”. People that actually care do not trust you or your hechsher.
     

  • Shulgoer says:

    Joe in Australia wrote I know most of the people who import matzot and I don’t believe any of them were posting here. Your allegation that the controversy was a “tumult raised by parties who are not impartial” or “by those who have a loud voice” or “by those who have something to gain or lose” is simply false,
    =
    Joe don’t be so naive, the rabbis who are already involved in the kashrus industry are VERY afraid of more competition. Legally they cannot stop newcomers, but they can badmouth and besmirch them. (Remember the hullaballoo in January when a Melb caterer under Adass, was asked to make a wedding in Sydney?)

    BTW any truth to the repeated rumors that a new kashrus supervisor is to launch in Sydney imminently?

  • Bartenura says:

    Chaim says: 
    it is time to get on with your life and stop causing divisiveness and invented “controversy”. People that actually care do not trust you or your hechsher.<<

    Really? You couldv’e fooled David Kraus. His shop sold out all the soft matza and could ‘ve sold at least twice as much again.

    Check out Lord of Frie in Chadstone and you’ll see many tables with people who belong to most of Melb’s shuls – incl – Mizrachi, Chabad, caulfield etc

    It is obvious that RMR is offering a service to quite a large population

  • Barry says:

    I am surprised at the writers aho leep asking Rabbi Rabi the same questions againa and again – even though he seems to have answered more than once. Why not ask the  RCV rabbis who criticised him (and we know who they are – after all the vast majority of its membership have hardly got a clue about kashrut matters) what it is that bothered them about this soft matza. No one has said that there is any reason to say that it is not perfectly kosher for Pesach. Because of course it is.

    Their obvious problem is that some rabbis who have their own interests at heart cannot bear the thought of another hashgacha – zehooo!!!

    But these same rabbis befor ethey were hired by KA were running the same type of private kashrut org as is today Rabbi Rabbi. The RCV had no problems then, did they??

    Blatant hypocrisy and I am surprised that their RCV collegues didn’t catch on

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Disappointed.

    I will address the matter of substance included in your posting.
    You say that the Rabbonim that publicly broadcast their rulings, that anyone may eat soft matza on Pesach are, “3 Rabbonim who don’t seem to lead any of the above [Kosher organisations] or other kashrus body at a commercial level.”

    So in other words you have a problem with any Rav other than a Rav who heads a “commercial level” Kashrut organisation, making any comments about Kashrut.

    You can’t be serious, can you?

    Perhaps, had you taken the time and patience to actually read and consider what I have said many times both here and on our website, you would have noticed that one of these rabbanim is in fact a world famous Posek and is employed by the OU, yes the largest Kosher certifier in the USA.

    I wonder why you did not notice that? Are you disappointed in yourself, Disappointed?

    But let us set that aside. Let’s just imagine that HaRav H Shechter is not a Posek for the OU. Who in their right mind would even suggest, unless it is behind the curtain of anonymity, that three Rabbanim who represent a very broad spectrum of Jewish life, one, a well known and respected Talmid of Reb Moshe Feinstien, another a world recognised leading voice in the modern orthodox world and the third a highly respected Rav of world Zionist Yeshivah orientation, they being HaRav Bluth, HaRav H Shechter of the Yeshivah University and HaRav Aviner; have no business and are not qualified to offer a Halachic opinion about matters of Kashrut?

    Such statements are evidence of an imbalanced mind. I don’t mean foolish, I mean imbalanced on this particular issue. We may speculate why “Disappointed” is so impaired, but it makes little difference. “Disappointed” represents a shrinking handful, a fringe group, who are trying to vainly shoot down the truth of Halacha with their own imaginary gun.

    Besides, this is a distraction. I was discussing the nature of the use of the word, “controversy”. How can introducing soft Matza, that is clearly and publicly supported by at least three such world respected Halachic authorities, be considered a controversial matter.

    I asked this question earlier and I am still waiting for Ari to respond.

  • Disappointed says:

    Rabbi Rabi

    You have proven my point

    1) You decided to only address a small component of my comments with an entire diatribe whilst skirting over ALL the REAL issues – the readers are NOT inept, they can see straight through your rants trying to defend your flimsy arguments

    2) Why is it that you did NOT get endorsed by OU. If Rabbi Shechter believes so strongly in your product, why not get an OFFICIAL endorsement from OU, on an OU letterhead with his signature on the bottom alongside the management team at OU. Why the clandestine, ‘by the by’ approval from a specific indiviual?

    3) No -one is suggesting that the Three Rabbis are not qualified, but at the same token it should be noted that no Kashrut authority(organisation) from any part of the world has come out supporting you, just three indiviudals.

    4) Personal insults are a sign of desperation. Referring to a  writer as ‘imbalanced’ or ‘impaired’ screams of someone at a loss in their ability to deal with someone who doesn’t agree with his assertions

  • Davidka says:

    Why are the RCV Rabbis silent when a shule is in court. (Sefardi Synagogue) ?

    The letter from Rabbi Wosner in Bnei Brak was obtained from his secretary who happens to be a cousin of Rabbi Katz of the ADASS.

    ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHO YOU KNOW!

  • Ken says:

    Why are RCV silent when a member of theirs allows women to dance with the sefer torah on Simchat Torah? Do they think that Rabbi Wosner would approve?

  • meir rabi says:

    I will now address Ari’s other considerations, assuming that his silence indicates that he concedes that there is no way that introducing soft Matza to Melbourne could be controversial sinceat least three well known and respected Rabbanim have clearly and publicly stated that all Jews may eat soft Matza.

    It appears, that you have pretty much identified the dividing line between our perspectives, in your opening comment, “acceptance of (community) authority regardless of the basis for its decision. But such is the fate of much of committed Orthodoxy today.”

    So, in your opinion, the individual has minimised rights within the community, and minimised interaction with Gd through Halacha. Of course you would likely say that the “fate” of committed Orthodoxy in “accepting authority regardless of its basis”, is not a minimised but a maximised interaction with Gd.

    You return to this theme and clarify it in your concluding remarks, “the overarching communal kashrut body felt it necessary to forbid soft Matzah, whether for halachic reasons or meta-halachic reasoning and the Halachic Community is bound to cede to their authority in the spirit of the old Kehilla.”

    You seem to be suggesting that the Kehilla or Kehillot, i.e. the entire Jewish Halachic community, is “bound to cede to their authority” either through the power of Halacha or through the power of Tradition, which I think you refer to as “the spirit of the old Kehilla”.

    And finally, you suggest that these decisions need not be founded upon coherent, substantial Halachic reasoning or Halachic Tradition.

    I am sure that these matters have been debated in the past and will continue to be debated in the future. We can also be sure that “there is nothing new under the sun” and that this issue is addressed in the Torah itself.

    Indeed, this matter is discussed in Halacha. I think that you would have to agree that even where there are “meta” Halachic considerations, the Halachic considerations must be the primary focus of discussion.

    So let us pursue a Halachic question – if a Rabbi does not agree with the ruling of a Beis Din, with the ruling of the Great Sanhedrin, what is he supposed to do? They rule a certain cut of meat is Kosher and he rules it is not Kosher.

    He has brought his arguments to the Beis Din and they remain unpersuaded, and he too remains firmly of his opinion.

    Now this rabbi finds himself at a banquet with friends and this meat is being served? What is he supposed to do? I mean what does the Halacha direct him to do?

  • Ari says:

    When I wrote of the “fate” of much of committed Orthodoxy I meant their fate in not being understood by the rest of the post-modern world.  Much of the Orthodox world view is fundamentally at odds with the ideology driving modern society.  One of the major differences is in how one understands individual choice.  It is my belief that Orthodoxy(Traditional Judaism) understands that choice of what is correct is not given to the individual.  The individual is bound by certain standards of behaviour that are established by tradition and halacha.  That halacha is a fluid process that in the past was established by the Sanhedrin and until the enlightenment was decided by various communal authorities(albeit with less room for change).  A full analysis of the philosophy of Halacha has been undertaken by others and for a relatively good article see Michael Rozensweig in Tradition 26:3.  However, regardless of how one views Halachic pluralism and other issues, one central tennet, until the modern times of deconstructed communal authority, was the ability for communities to set their own particular boundaries and form their own Halacha, as it were, depending on cirumstance.  Indeed, there was never really such a concept as a Jew that didn’t abide by norms, yet remain a part of the community.  Indeed the tools of Cherem, Nidui and others were utilised in order to ensure the following of communal norms and Halacha.  Today, since such tools have been taken from the communal halachic authorities there is no uniform practice and no ability to ensure communal standards.  Indeed today most of world Jewry, remain such without adhering to halacha.  Yet, in my view it is still incumbent on the Halachic community to adhere to the ideal of communal authority or rabbinic authority.  That is what I mentioned in my earlier post.  Ideally, communal authorities need to make such decisions regarding changing established practice and the halachic community is bound to follow.  Yet, a Rav may introduce a change to established halachic practice without such authority provided that he has the backing of one of the outstanding leaders of Torah Jewry behind him(A kind of virtual halachic community) ADDRESSING THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE SPECIFICALLY AS IT RELATES TO THE MELBOURNE JEWISH COMMUNITY and not in general.  As far as I am aware, both R’ Hershel Schacter and R’ Aviner are contactable and if R’ Rabi wishes to take on the Rabbinical Council he can contact one of them directly and get a direct Psak in this situation.  It is my firm view that the Halacha is decided by major Poskim and not by minor Rabbis and that until a major posek is consulted on this particular issue by R’ Rabi the position of the communal authority must be heeded. 
    A question for you R’ Rabi.  If you were a great Rav that had a disagreement regarding the date of Yom Kippur with the leading authorities would you travel  to meet him on the day you believe to be Yom Kippur? What does the halacha demand?
     

  • Ari says:

    One other request.  Maybe in your response to me you could quote the laws of Zaken Mamre and the various midrashei halacha and Rashi on the verse in Devarim 17:11.

  • meir rabi says:

    Ari, Shalom to you.

    You have cogently expressed your view in a mostly honourable and constructive manner. I am pleased to continue the conversation.

    I see that I was correct in my earlier message to you, Ari, that you and I have pretty much identified the dividing line between our perspectives. You believe that, “acceptance of (community) authority regardless of the basis for its decision (is the critical consideration for the maintenance of Traditional Jewish life). But such is the fate of much of committed Orthodoxy today.”; where “fate” means, “not being understood by the rest of the post-modern world since much of the Orthodox world view is fundamentally at odds with the ideology driving modern society; one of the major differences being, how one understands individual choice.”

    I must assume that you mean that I and like-minded people, who appear to be promoting the freedom, nay, the responsibility and obligation, to make Halachic decisions and not just blindly follow, do not understand that we are fundamentally at odds with the Orthodox World.

    But I did make an error in presuming that you agree that introducing soft Matza to Australia is not a controversial matter. You firmly consider that in spite of at least three eminent Rabbanim endorsing any Jew being permitted to eat soft Matza, introducing it to Australia is indeed a controversial matter.

    Since this is not just a discussion about what we believe but about WHY we believe I must beg that you disclose the Halachic foundations for your opinions. You have alluded to these in your reference to Zaken Mamre, the rebellious sage; the verse of Devarim 17:11 and the Mishnah that describes the public submission of one Torah Sage to another.

    They are of course relevant but hardly suffice to offer, without further elaboration, a comprehensive nor even a cursory Halachic foundation for your beliefs. I use the word “beliefs” because you have outlined a Halachic community system but not provided any Halachic framework or background. Your reference to Michael Rozensweig in Tradition 26:3, is helpful but as you must know, that is only one comment in a long line of exchanges in a lengthy and seriously debated issue.

    So in order for this discussion to proceed in a respectful and useful fashion, I will request that you answer my question before I address all of the points you raise. So let us pursue the Halachic question I proposed in my previous note – if a Rabbi does not agree with the ruling of a Beis Din, with the ruling of the Great Sanhedrin, what is he supposed to do? They rule a certain cut of meat is Kosher and he rules it is not Kosher.

    He has brought his arguments to the Beis Din and they remain un-persuaded, and he too remains firmly of his opinion.

    Now this rabbi finds himself at a banquet with friends and this meat is being served? What is he supposed to do? I mean what does the Halacha direct him to do?

    Answering this question will bring us close to understanding your error and rejecting your assertion, which lies at the very foundation of your mistaken theology or philosophy that, “choice of what is correct is not given to the individual”.

  • Ben says:

    JOe and others on thhe previous “soft matza” forum now only have one problem with this laffa matza. that the flour is milled in Australian flour mills which use watetR. So as I have noted previously, Kosher Ausstralia used to do exactly the same. Even if KA claim that they have made teshuve, they should be the last people giving mussar to others following their example of using such flour.                                                                  More importantly, it seems that KA Sydney are still using such flour in the Matzos under their hechsher!  So why are Kosher Aust not complaining about them?? Why is there one law for Rabbi Rabi and none for any others??                                                                                     just proves that this crusade against Rabbi Rabi is nothing but self serving turf protectionism. Absolutely nothing to do with Kashrus.                                                  Also, one of the Sniders owners told me that the change fronm Australian flour to Israeli had nothing to do with KA or Kashrus. It was purely a business decision. If not that they would probably still be using the Australian flour under Kosher Australia. 

  • Hyam Levy says:

    talking of kashrus turf protection, it seems there’s been a big breech in Sydney with Adass there reviving its hashgocho.

    >>>
    GUEST POST FROM KOSHERMAN:
    Here’s a scoop for Ajnwatch readers!

    Sydney now officially has a second Kashruth authority. Rabbi Shalom Silberberg and the Sydney Adass community have revived the Adass Kashruth organization which was created at the same time of the Kehilla’s founding and operated until the days of Rabbi Nesanel Kostelitz.
    My sources tell me that a number of functions in Sydney have already been booked with Melbourne caterers who will be working under Rabbi Silberberg’s supervision.  SNIPPED<<
    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/05/new-kashruth-authority-in-sydney.html

    So Melb’s KA must contend with Rabbi Rabi and Sydney’s with Rabbi Silberberg.
    This can only bode well for kosher consumers

  • Ari says:

    In order to give a complete account of the philosophy of Halacha would require a much much longer analysis of the full corpus of all of our sources.  The brief summary below is hardly comprehensive. Underlying my entire analysis is the assumption, hardly necessary to prove, that halachic deciding was always handed over to the leading rabbis and that each person should take for himself a Rav in order to follow his psak.
    The stages in the various halachic authorities may be divided in to four.  The first stage is the stage when the Sanhedrin sat in the temple in Jerusalem.  At such a point all decisions were decided by the Sanhedrin and they decided halacha and all necessary enactments.  During that time all questions were relayed to them and their decision held by a majority vote.  Anyone who did not act in accordance with them would be liable to all of the relevant punishments in Jewish Law as decided by the various Btei Din.  At that time the laws of a Rebellious elder were in full force.  That is, someone who was capable of being a member of the Sanhedrin, who held a view that was different to the majority view and instructed people to act in accordance with him was liable to be put to death(the laws are much more itricate but that is them in a nutshell).  This is not to say that he was required to recant but that he should nonetheless be put to death.  The Mishna in Eduyot 5:6 proves the point that a great Rav should not change his view if he believes it to be true yet nonetheless he is punished and excommunicated for the power of the Sanhedrin and its authority needed to be defended.(Interestingly he was not considered a rebelious elder and there are commentators who give various reasons as to why).  Similarly in the famous story regarding the oven of Ahknai R’ Eliezer was excommunicated and he did not change his view.  On this point I must conceed:  A great sage who is sure of his opinion and cannot be persuaded should not change his view.  However, the sage still needs to be excommunicated.  

    In the second stage much later all decision making power was contained in Babylonia under the Gaonim.  Their psak held for all of the Jewish people.  Now since the templ did not exist neither did the laws of Zaken Mamre(rebelious elder) yet nonetheless the community was such that the Gaonim could place cherems on people in order to force them to obey communal legislation and general Torah Law.

    In the third stage, after the dispersion of the Babylonian diaspora, power was instituted in each community under what is known as Communal Enactments.  In each community there was the ability given(or rather existed as a given) to ensure that individuals obeyed the communal enactments and the various standard halachot(Cherem, Nidui, Imprisonment, etc).  In each community the Rav ruled for that community on issues of Torah law and where the communal enactments infringed on Torah Law.  
    (For more on communal enactments and their status as law see Menachem Elon, Mishpat Ivri p660-)(Communal enactments regulated much more than simply halachic and Torah laws).

    In the post enlightment period we have moved to a completely foreign situation whereby people are not bound to adhere to halachic authority and communities do not make their own enactments.  In such a situation the ability to enforce psak is almost non-existent.  However, I do believe, that all Jews ideally are still bound  to communal psak or alternately to the psak of recognised halachic decisors.   The Orthodox should not be the ones to through off the yoke of communal or major halachic authority.  
    The reason is clear.  It is only the great torah leaders who can judge matters in accordance with techinical and axiomatic principles of Judaism.  Only they can ensure that psak contains, not only, the correct technical decision but also the correct meta-halachic decision based on the spirit of Shas and poskim.  The alternative is the complete break down of halacha and a world where everyone runs riot.  A world where Conservative and Reform psak is recognised as equal and a world far removed from the values of Torah. 
    The Halacha recognises the integrity of divergent views and halachic pluralism – however only so far as the major leaders of Torah Jewry are making the decisions.  That is the way it was when the Sanhedrin stood in the Temple and that has been the guiding principle of normative Judaism throughout the exile and should continue to be even though the old structures have been dismantled.  Even though pluralism is valued in halacha the need for halachic authority is valued more.  In our case, it is noteworthy that R’ Rabi still maintains his position – however, the voice of the communcal rabbinic authority outweighs his – and that is how it should be.  I have still yet to view the psak of R’ Schechter or R’ Aviner as it relates specifically to the Melbourne Jewish Community(and one cannot claim that R’ Schechter is greater than the RCV since they have by their side R’ Wosner -and yes they can also decide when to invoke the oft quoted declaration of the Hatam Sofer, when in the best interest of the community).
    R’ Rabi’s decision was controversial because it challenged communal halachic authority and I may posit that if we lived in a pre-enlightenment there would have been consequences.
    His only defense, as I have stated before could be that he has a DIRECT psak from a well known posek that his procedures were halachic and acceptable in the Melbourne Jewish community.

    (I understand that my position may be slightly confusing since on the one hand I support communal authority but on the other hand I support the psak of a known halachic decisor.  However, as has been said by many others – communal authority may not apply when there is someone who is greater in Torah knowledge )
        

  • Lexus says:

    As evidenced by the shortage of laffa Matza and also all those taking advantage of the Lord of Fries now going Kosher, there is no doubt that Rabbi Rabi has filled a void and his Kashrus org is here to stay.                                                                                             As for the question if he can be relied on,  it is no difference to asking the question about Rabbi Gutnick. There are those that rely on his Kashrus, while others do not.      In most  places around the world, there are hashgachos of  different varying standards. No Kashrus authority has ever stopped another one from operating. It is up to the individual to decide who he wants to rely on.                                           

  • rachsd says:

    Hi Ari,

    A few problems with your argument:

    (1) The Melbourne Jewish community is not a single halakhic community, with one tradition, but rather contains many halakhic communities and people of different backgrounds. It is obvious that Jews living in Melbourne with Yemeni backgrounds would not require special permission pertaining to Melbourne Jews in order to continue a tradition of eating soft matzah, and it is not clear why other Jews living in Melbourne should need a special psak that pertains specifically to Melbourne either. I am not aware of any precedent where Jews in Melbourne were considered to be different and to require particular halakhic rulings.

    (2) The RCV as a communal rabbinic authority is not a traditional organisation but rather a product of contemporary beauracracy – it’s not the Bet Din, which is a traditional structure.

    (3) It seems that your argument should also apply to BaDaTZ kashrut in Israel, which effectively undermines Israeli rabbinate by declaring their hechsher not good enough, but I assume that you wouldn’t apply your argument in that way. (Personally I don’t see it in this way but the situation certainly seems analogous using the framework that you are suggesting).

  • Ari says:

    (1)  I agree with this point.  Today, there are essentially virtual communities that follow the psak of their particular Posek.  However, each psak is given in accordance with the particular community concerned.
    (2)  I agree in part.  The RCV is a roof body created by modern conditions and is not necessary a communal halachic body.  However, it is made up of all of the Rabbanim of Victoria and so is effectively a body representing Rabbinic Psak for the Melbourne community.  As I pointed out, a specific ruling from a recognised Posek would not be considered controversial in my eyes, nor undermining the system of halacha I have outlined.(R’ Hirsch tried to use the argument that the Rav of a kehilla decides for the kehilla when R’ Bamberg ruled against secession and he was rebuffed by R’ Bamberg who stated that that rule does not apply when confronted with the Psak of a greater posek)

    (3)  I fully agree.  The Badatz hechsherim undermine the Israeli Rabbinate and this is not a positive situation.  Kashruth should be achievable to allow for normal functioning of society and for Jews to be able to eat at each other’s houses(see the Ritva at the beginning of Gitin).  However, as stated above, it may be that the Eda Chareidit could be seen as a seperate halachic community represented by their own poskim.  In our situation I cannot confidently say that R’ Rabi is a leader of world Jewry.  Though R’ Schechter and R’ Aviner are, I have yet to hear of a direct psak in the case of the Melbourne community.  They are alive and well, BH, perhaps R’ Rabi could ask them directly – Until that happens we are in my opinion bound by the current psak.  R’ Rabi either needs the Rabbinical Community in Victoria or a virtual posek who ascents to his change in practice and his procedures for manufacturing Matzot.  Until then his psak is contorversial in my opinion.

  • Ari says:

    One point I did not properly respond to.
    In terms of specific psak for each community.  If one assumes, as I do, that there are issues that need to be considered by a posek outside of the specific halacha being decided then necessarily one must assume that the Psak needs to be community specific.  We are not talking about a clear halacha that holds in almost every community.  We are talking about a change in practice that began as a result of concerns of Achronim.  That being the case, one needs to consider whether such a change is within the spirit of the halacha and whether there are any hazards to issuing such a Psak.  This is all community specific.  There are countless halachot in the Shulchan Aruch and in the writings of the Achronim that speak about, “in our community we act thus…”.  This is true for regular halachot, how much more so for a psak that is a change in current practice(even if within the bounds of techinical halacha). As I mentioned earlier, the entire corpus of Jewish legal literature, not only in the times of the Sanhedrin, is filled with decisions that limit actions that by themselves are halachically neutral for concern that such actions may create circumstances which may encourage practices that are Halachically problematic.    

  • Cohen Levy says:

    Ari writes that the RCV is made up of all of the Rabbanim of Victoria.

    That is very  incorrect.

    And while they include a few talmidei chachamim, many of RCV members are very low in talmudic knowledge – they cannot learn a daf gemara on their own!

    Quite a few somehow became rabbis after being Hebrew schoolteachers.  Admittedly their limited Torah knowledge is enough for their congregations (and the Artscroll translations ensure that they can if necessarygive a shiur in gemara and chumash rashi).

    OTOH quite a few of Melbourne’s rabbis –  those who have to answer the town’s most serious shaalos – have never been members of RCV. Some I can think of – rabbi Donnebaum, Rabbi Y Kohn, Rabbi Beck, Rabbi Heimlich, Rabbi Katz, Rabbi Meir Rabi, Rabbi Wurzburger and the other rabbis at the beth hatalmud plus plus.

    And lets face it, the  serious rabanim in the RCV are Rabbi Telsner and Rabbi Feitel Lewin. But you’ll never see their names on any announcements. I doubt that they think more of their collegues in the RCV than I do

  • Ari says:

    Perhaps you are correct – nonetheless my basic philosophy regarding halachic rulings remains the same.  If the RCV cannot be considered a major organ for psak then so be it – Regardless a major posek needs to be consulted.  Having said that, it is my understanding from other posts that indeed it was R’ Beck who urged for the RCV to post a warning regarding the product whether Harav Beck is a member of the RCV or not.
    Since I reside overseas, I again may be mistaken, but none of the major Melbourne poskim you mentioned  came out with a psak supporting R’ Rabi’s procedures for soft – matza.  According to the paradigm I have outlined above, such a ruling would also suffice and should be enough, in my opinion, for the Psak to be considered non-controversial.
     
    Just a final word:  In general it is not fitting for Jews to besmirch the honour of Rabbis, regardless of their breadth of knowledge.  Rabbis who work tirelessly for Klal Yisrael and for upholding Torah values in the world.  Similarly, I hope my posts have not been taken to be an attack on the dignity of R’ Rabi or his knowledge – rather a disagreement regarding halachic process and specifically a disagreement regarding how specific the rulings by Gedolim need to be. Our disagreement is in the spirit of the arguments of Hillel and Shammai that are said to be sustained because they were for the sake of heaven. (I do not claim to even approximate to either of those great sages, and it is blatantly obvioius that R’ Rabi comes much, much closer than I do – rather I claim our arguments were in their spirit).  On the eve of Shavuot, may we all rejoice in the knowledge that all of the disagreements amongst the Tanaaim and Amoraim and later generations stemmed from one Torah, one shephard and the Ribono Shel Olam who is called One.  Chag Sameach! 

  • meir rabi says:

    Ari, Shalom to you

    You have said little to address the issues we are actually engaged in.

    Besides, why should your opinions be valued when you a) bring no Halachic support nor any support from our traditions, and b) what you do bring is misrepresented. You are either comprehensively incompetent or wilfully deceptive in your reference to the Mishnah of Eduyot.

    Why do you make no attempt to answer my concluding question? The Halacha question that I suggested would “bring us close to understanding and rejecting your assertion, which lies at the very foundation of your mistaken philosophy that, “choice of what is correct is not given to the individual.””

    You say, Ari, that it is “hardly necessary to prove, that halachic deciding was always handed over to the leading rabbis”.

    But it is indeed very necessary to prove this, since there is powerful and overwhelming Halachic substance that indicates otherwise. If you would address the question I have repeatedly asked of you, you would see how true this is.

    I am fairly sure you know the answer and your refusal to answer on this forum indicates a reluctance to engage and admit the Halacha and recognise its ramifications.

    The “Meta Halacha” you promote is utterly elastic and fantastic, as in fantasy. Must we pledge allegiance to policy and relinquish our obligation to learn Torah and decide Halacha? This is contrary to Gd’s will. Allegiance must be pledged to Gd, not to “His party”. If you would only answer the question I asked of you, you would see this for yourself. Halacha was never determined through prophecy. And you suggest it should be determined at the whim of community rabbanim who can invoke any principle they choose in order to coerce what they deem to be “in the best interests of the community”?

    Regarding the Mishna in Eduyot 5:6. You omitted that the same Mishnah records that R Yehudah insists that no censure was imposed.

    Can one bring a Halachic proof from a Mishnah when this is not recorded as Halacha in the Poskim such as RaMBaM and is disputed in the Mishnah itself?

    You say that you “concede that a great sage who is sure of his opinion and cannot be persuaded should not change his view. However, the sage still needs to be excommunicated.” This makes no sense. Even a Cheder child can see this makes no sense. How can anyone be punished for following the Halacha?

    The most severe criticism of your reference to the Mishnah of Eduyot though, is that you have either misread the Mishnah or are trying to mislead us. The sage was not censured for disagreeing with the rulings of other sages. He was censured for other reasons. You are either comprehensively incompetent or wilfully deceptive.

    You speak almost exclusively, both in this and your previous posting about your “beliefs”. But we are not dealing with beliefs, we are trying to determine the Halacha.

    If you are confident that the Torah and its Halachic system is robust, if you are confident that Gd has created a competent system of Halacha and Halachic processes, then you would not be intimidated by Conservative and Reform platforms and attitudes. Nor by the introduction of Soft Matza.

    You employ “meta-Halchic” considerations to delegitimise matters that are Halachically correct and you are very much mistaken.

  • Ari says:

    You are correct regarding my competence(as I hinted at in an earlier post).  I am unaware of a specific answer to the question you asked and so relied on my meek knowledge of sources and thought I had indeed answered your question.  It was my understanding that we were engaged in the realm of Aggada and philosophy and that is how I answered your question.  I did not quote the Mishna in eduyot as halachic proof of my opinion – rather as proof of the existence of a value of halachic authority over individual decision making.  This is also the implication of the end of R’ Eliezer(even though the Gemarra is ambiguous at the end).  I urge you to enlighten us as to the halacha and to counter my reference to Zaken Mamre(not as a halachic source but in its implications) the pasuk in Devarim(not only as a halachic source but in its implication), Aggadaic references as well as the history I mentioned.
    Unless I am mistaken, the picture you paint, is one of every Jew deciding halacha based on his or her understanding of the sources(You say, Ari, that it is “hardly necessary to prove, that halachic deciding was always handed over to the leading rabbis”.But it is indeed very necessary to prove this, since there is powerful and overwhelming Halachic substance that indicates otherwise. )
    It is not that I am afraid of Conservative or Reform psika, rather they are examples of psak lacking traditional Torah values if not technical halacha – I am afraid of anyone deciding based on his  or her reading of the Shulchan Aruch.
    I am not undermining the need to investigate and learn and try to understand and even come to a logical opinion not in line with the majority.  But at the end of the day I am of the opinion that only competent authorities can decide the halacha including taking into account the technical details, other underlying Torah values and factors which may breach other technical halacha or halachic values later on down the line.   

    I do not use meta-halachic values to delegitimise technical halacha.  I believe, based on the announcement of the RCV that there are also practical concerns.

  • Ari says:

    R’ Rabi,

    In your reply to me please specify your precise point of disagreement with me as I am not sure I have understood your position properly.
    Is it that you agree with the basic paradigm I have outlined but that in this case you feel that the psak of R’ Schechter and others is enough in this case?  Or is it that you feel that the psak of R’ Schechter is not necessary at all?  If it is not necessary, is this because you feel any Rabbi is qualified for all halachic questions?  Or only for questions of this nature?  Or perhaps, do you feel that, though, there are Rabbis who are unable, you yourself do not fall into that category?
    Do you feel that there are questions which should be referred to leading Rabbis at all?  If so, why? 

    On another note, do you feel that there are meta-halachic(axiomatic) concerns in psak at all?  If so, is this only in certain cases?  If so, what kind of cases?
    Do you feel that Jewish philosophy is governed only be halachic precedent and not by aggada?

    I ask these at this point, not as a debate strategy but rather to understand.  Answers to these questions may lead towards a better understanding of your case and philosophy in general.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Ari,

    Your competence is not the issue. It is your posture. You make statements that are self assured and show no hint of being in doubt. However, when challenged, you distance yourself as not really being competent to make such sweeping statements of Halachic import and you defend yourself as having alluded to your lacking competence. You have created, behind the uncourageous camouflage of anonymity, the impression that you are sufficiently competent to comment on these issues.

    If you are seeking clarification and enlightenment, then that should be clear and not left to picking your words apart. I give one of so many examples – you say, “I am unaware of a specific answer to the question you asked.” What is a specific answer and what is an unspecific answer? And why did you not admit you do not know the answer in the first place?

    Here’s another; you say, “It was my understanding that we were engaged in the realm of Aggada and philosophy and that is how I answered your question.”

    You chose to engage in such a discussion, I can not see where any of my comments alluded to any such thing.

    You say, “I did not quote the Mishna in eduyot as halachic proof of my opinion – rather as proof of the existence of a value of halachic authority over individual decision making.”

    Firstly, “existence of a value of halachic authority over individual decision making” is a Halachic matter.

    Secondly, you said before that you had no Halachic opinion, that you are not really competent to discuss these matters and here you are still clinging to your proof that there exists Halachic authority over i.e. which eclipses, individual decision making.

    Have you checked that Mishnah in Eduyot? Even a glance at the Mishayot MeVuARet will help. If you would have apologised for your error and expressed gratitude for my having enlightened you, that would have gone a long way to give you more credibility.

    Please tell us more about the Gemara’s “implication of the end of R’ Eliezer (even though the Gemarra is ambiguous at the end)”.

    As to the question and its answer: Let’s say the sage believes he should eat the meat that BD has ruled is Kosher even though he knows that BD is wrong. He believes that Gd instructs him, as a matter of honouring BD and supporting their authority, to eat the meat that they have ruled is Kosher.

    He has made a mistake. There is a heap more to discuss about this astounding Halacha but we must first clear other obstructions out of the way.

    Tell us what is on your mind with reference to Zaken Mamre, I will PG either explain or retract.

    I said that every individual Jew has the responsibility and duty to decide Halacha. You have not really grasped the meaning of that sentence. Read it again.

    Why are you “afraid of anyone deciding based on his or her reading of the Shulchan Aruch”? As long as they can read and are genuine, what is there to be afraid of?

    Did we not already agree that we are not discussing beliefs? Why do you continue to say things such as, “I am of the opinion that only competent authorities can decide the halacha including taking into account the technical details, other underlying Torah values and factors which may breach other technical halacha or halachic values later on down the line.”

    You are saying that we can not know Halacha by looking in our Shulchan Aruch. That is a Halchic statement and requires Halchic proof.

    Here is another belief of yours, “I believe, based on the announcement of the RCV that there are also practical concerns.”

    Please enlighten us. What are those concerns? You must be a prophet or a fly on the wall because until now the RCV has not articulated such concerns.

    You say you do not understand the specifics of our disagreement. I suggest that you call me for an appointment. We can discuss as much as you feel necessary and I assure you that I will protect your anonymity.

    I am waiting to see just one Halacha authority, even if it just one, who has a Halachic objection to Soft Matza.

    When there are matters that are subject to a Halachic dispute I think it is important to consult other Rabbanim.

    Your other questions are for a different discussion, which I am happy to have. I just do not wish to create confusion.
    Shabbat Shalom

    May Peace reign through uncluttered minds and uncompromised hearts.

  • Ari says:

    R’ Rabi,
      You have not responded to almost any of my arguments,  sources or questions with a serious response, you have only brought one source which you did not quote directly and still have not, you have used only rhetoric in place of honest discussion and you have engaged in name calling.  Perhaps that works for the general uneducated audience but the educated one surely knows better.  In an argument L’shem Shamayim the above has no place and I have not engaged at all in those things.  In an argument Lshem Shamayim if one feels that the party has misread a source he does not put it down to gross incompetence or deceipt but treats the person with trust and dignity.  Since the argument is no longer L’shem Shamayim I will not continue it with you now or in the future. 
    In terms of your erroneous claims regarding my reading of the Mishna – perhaps if you had thought about  the Mishna  you would have understood my point  and indeed anyone else who actually opened up the Mishna along with the classical sources would understand it clear as day.

    Shavua Tov

  • meir rabi says:

    Shavua Tov to you Ari.

    I will respond to what is relevant of your latest post.

    The Mishnah of Eduyot. As I mentioned the Mishnayot MeVuEret (I believe this is available also in English) explains that the Sage was censured, if at all, for having reflected with disrespect upon some of the Sages he was arguing with. Nothing to do with his disagreement, which he was duty bound to maintain as part of his and our service to Gd.

    This is also stated by R’ Ovadiah of Bartenura, “He was censured: since he disparaged the honour of (two Sages who he names)”

    This is also stated by the Tiferet Yisrael, “since he intended to disparage them”

    This is also stated by the Tosfos Yom Tov and RaMBaM.

    You suggest I have missed a “classic source” who explains the Mishna differently, please enlighten us all. If you have another interpretation of the Mishnah or if I have missed your point please correct us all.

    The source for the Halacha I mentioned, and as I said there is far more to learn from that topic, is the Mishna, Gemara of Horiyos, and RaMBaM Shegogos chapter 13 I think.

    My invitation remains, to you and anyone else who wishes to pursue this further: You can call me to arrange a meeting to chat about this – I will never know if it is you Ari because even if someone says they are you, how would I know if they speak the truth?

    Your sources? The ones I did not address? Do you mean Zaken Mamre and Rashi on Chumash? Have a look at the Torah Temima over there and also the Sedei Chemed. But I imagine you would have already seen all that if you read the articles you mentioned earlier in the Halacha journal, Tradition.

    You seem to have changed from your previous guise, where you presented yourself as one who admits his lack of knowledge, where you painted yourself as an uninformed and unbiased (anonymous) poster seeking truth and enlightenment. As you say, there are a couple of things you did not engage in, but it would have been better if you had.

    It is just after the Shavuos; the Torah was given in the wilderness to every single Yid, this say Chazal, illustrates that it is free and accessible to all Jews, not just for the rabbis to learn and explain. That is our duty and our destiny; do not run away from it Ari.

  • Tamar says:

    I was just wandering how Lord of the Fries has a Hechsher if it is open on Shabbat and has one owner who is Jewish?
    I’d also like to add that the Ramo specifically states that Ashkenazim should not eat soft matza…
    Could you please address my concerns Rabbi Rabi?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Tamar,

    Thank you for your query.

    Here is a paste from the Kosher VeYosher website that addresses your enquiry: http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=312
    Frequently Asked Questions.
    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    1) How does “Lord of the Fries” provide Kosher bread buns?

    Lord of the Fries, has a dedicated bakery contracted to provide their bread buns. It’s Kosher! has inspected (and continues to regularly inspect) and provides the bakery with a Kosher certificate.

    This bakery produces only Kosher foods and has no non-Kosher foods or ingredients on premises.

    There is no need to separate Challah as the bakery is not owned by a Jew and the buns are sold to Lord of the Fries after they are baked.

    Lord of the Fries has conformed to Halachic requirements regarding its Jewish partners not benefitting from any profit gained from Shabbos Melacha, business and transactions.

    Buns baked on Shabbos and Yom Tov for Lord of the Fries, are done so under the same Halachic arrangements.

    The bakery’s ovens have been modified to ensure that the bread is baked with Jewish participation, to satisfy the preference of using Pas Yisrael.

    Re you observation about Rema saying we do not use soft Matza, I must admit I know of no such Rema.

    Are you perhaps referring to the Rema of ShO OCh 460:4? I have referred to this Rema in many of my pages on the website and publications.

    That Rema actually supports Soft Matza since he is speaking of Matza that is at least 10 to 12 mm thick (BaEr HeiTev), which undoubtedly must be soft otherwise it would be utterly inedible and un-chewable if baked hard and crisp. Rema’s use of the word “Rekikin” which in our daily modern Hebrew means crisp thin wafers, clearly is used with a different meaning and in contrast to the Matza that the Mechaber is speaking of which is Kosher provided it is only slightly less than ONE TEFACH thick, about 120mm.

    You may also this page of interest: http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=306
    The Lord of the Fries provides strictly Kosher,
    fast serving, meat free experience.

    · “it’s Kosher!” and Kosher VeYosher has investigated and guided the suppliers, processors and processes, and the systems employed to operate the franchises, of Lord of the Fries, to ensure that unimpeachable Kosher security is paramount for all Buns, Burgers, Chips, Sauces and Nuggets.
    · Lord of the Fries conforms to Halachic requirements regarding its Jewish partners not benefitting from any profit gained from Shabbos Melacha, business and transactions.
    · Some sauces are dairy. We have ensured that all sauces are entirely isolated from one another and the non-dairy sauces are entirely non-dairy, Pareve.
    · We ensure that the bread is Pat Yisrael, the cheese is Gevinat Yisrael and the cooked foods are Bishul Yisrael.
    · We maintain vigilant oversight on all these, ensuring that Kosher consumers are assured of great food and unquestionable Kashrut.
    All shops have a TeUdah, a letter of Kosher compliance.

    Bishul Yisrael
    refers to the special decree of our Sages, that cooking being performed with participation of the Kosher authority, “its Kosher!”

    Gevinat Yisrael
    refers to the special decree of our Sages, requiring that cheese be manufactured by the Kosher authority, “its Kosher!”

    Pas Yisrael
    refers to the special decree of our Sages, that bread be baked with participation of the Kosher authority, “its Kosher!”

    The Lord of the Fries shops provide services on Shabbat and Chagim, just as most if not all Kosher production factories operate on these days. Although the food is 100% Kosher on all days of the year, other than Pesach, Passover; Jewish Law forbids making any business transactions on either Shabbat or the Chagim.

    LOTF is centrally run like many, perhaps even all franchises.
    For maintaining Kashrus this is ideal. We have absolute unfettered access to the suppliers’ production facilities where all the components of the LOTF menu are produced. In this facility all foods and ingredients are Kosher.

    It also means we have absolute control over every single component in all the shops as everything is monitored and is interlinked. For so many burgers there must be so many rolls and for so many chips there must be so many potatoes. For so many servings of particular sauces there must be so many litres of that sauce.

    It is impossible to modify any ingredient or component without leaving tracks of imbalances that will certainly be exposed at the regular business and Kosher audits. I have a student who worked in a Pizza Hut franchise where the owner decided to save money and purchase some pineapple pieces from the local supermarket. Within two weeks an auditor turned up and enquired about the imbalance of the pineapple for the number of those type pizzas sold. All transactions are on the register and all are computed and calculated to the most exacting degree.

    Even if a shop runs short of a particular component, they will not, they can not bring in a satisfactory substitute. The protocols of their business operations do not permit this. When the shop apologises for being out of a particular item, it is music to my Kosher ears.

    This is the basic outline that governs the Kashrus protocols for all factories and food processors.

    I would also recommend you have a look at this information about fruit juices and drinks:
    http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=310
    With regard to juices, including those available at Soho Sushi Carlisle St and Lord of the Fries.
    From the London Beis Din WebSite, May 2010

    All soft drinks are permitted, unless they contain grape juice or one or more of the E-numbers listed below, which may be derived from animal sources.

    “Fruit Extract” may include grape.

    Smoothies often contain grape juice.
    Also those that do not contain grape juice may be at risk due to shared use of equipment. [I maintain that this last warning is misplaced: Smoothies from juice bars are made fresh and without heat. No sharp tasting ingredients are used. There is adequate cleaning between use of blenders to ensure there is no contamination. There is no suspicion of risk due to shared equipment.]

    The E numbers are.

    120

    441

    481

    542

    482

    422

    470

    483

    570

    471

    572

    432

    472 a to f

    491

    433

    473

    492

    434

    474

    493

    435

    475

    494

    436

    476

    495

    477

  • meir rabi says:

    Sorry about those E numbers presenting like a long list, they are to be found in columns on the website and should be clearly displayed in both Soho and LOTF

  • Tamar says:

    Thanks for your answer.
    I have a few more questions for you please.
    How does ‘Its Kosher!’ maintain transparency if you are paid directly from the companies you certify?
    With other Kosher organisations the certifying Rabbi decides the Kashrut and does not handle the money, does this happen with your Kosher organisation?
     
     

  • Mashgiach says:

    There are some very respectable Kashrus orgs in the U.S. who are paid directly by the companies. Eg Volover, Nirbator.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Sorry, I forgot to add that Volover and Nirbator are one Rabbi owned and operated Hechsherim, similar operation to KVY

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Tamar,

    I thank you for your excellent question. You are concerned about the same matters that concerned the greatest of our contemporary Poskim. HaRav Moshe Feinstein discusses this very matter in the very first of his Teshuvos in his last volume YD.

    He makes two significant points.
    Firstly, the need to be independent and free to act in total freedom according to ones conscience is vital in the field of Kashrus. Amongst the most critical aspect of this is financial independence. He then says that any monies that accrue to the Kosher authority, directly or indirectly, as a consequence of their activities, no matter what they are used for, will mean that the authority has lost that advantage and is compromised. This makes sense. There is no point in the federal minister divesting himself of his conflicted share portfolio by passing it on to his nearest and dearest.

    Well, that’s not good news. What are we supposed to do? Does there exist in the world today such a Kashrus authority?

    Reb Moshe then makes a most startling pronouncement: in such cases where we don’t have the financial independence he describes, it is better to rely on a single Rov’s Hashgacha rather than that of a large national authority or local group of Rabbanim.

    The Rabbis of the Talmud said that a pot that is tended by a group of partners never gets stone cold but neither does it ever get to boil. The reason is that when no one individual is in charge, the buck stops nowhere. When there is opportunity to point towards someone else as being responsible; the pot never gets to boil.

    Reb Moshe says, in a large Kashrus organization there is no one who feels the heat of criticism or failure. The juggernaut continues and all the members of the team, after making the commitments and promises to never allow XXX to happen again, continue in the same old patterns and habits.

    This was not a speculative comment made by Reb Moshe. He knew this from his experiences and contacts with practically all the Rabbanim involved in Kashrus.

    Furthermore, Reb Moshe adds, the single Rov is relentlessly pursued by the Rabbanim and BaAlei Batim and this Rov knows that one slip up will be the end of him.

    I would like to add that I have heard it said in the name of HaRav Soloveitchick of Boston and Yeshivah University, that a single Rov should never provide Hashgacha for Kashrus.

    Firstly, I have been unable to substantiate this.

    Secondly, the Rav as a single Rav in Boston gave Hashgacha for meat. He noted with bitter irony that he had utilized every Halachic device to increase his non-Glatt Kosher yield but could not get anywhere near the yield the other (group?) Hashgachos were achieving for Glatt Kosher. That’s on the Yeshivah University site podcast by one of the Rav’s Talmidim.

  • Black Wolf says:

    Tamar, while you ask well (and RMG Rabi has also replied well), you could have  asked, how did Rabbi Gutnick and Rabbi Barber operate before they were lured by Mizrachi to what is today called KA?

    Of course they ran their own little businesses where they operated exactly as Rabbi Rabi does today.  And the situation was that if you trusted those rabbis and thought they were reliable, you bought from those established that they hechshered – and if not – you didn’t. You have every right not to accept certain hechsher – and as we well know this  happens a lot in Melbourne regarding butcher shops.

    And  just because a kashrut org is not ‘privately owned’ doesn’t mean that there are no financial interests. You too may have heard of allegations of financial queries in the Sydney version of KA.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom All,

    I must suggest that in order to promote a more focused, structured, comprehensive and responsible means of answering Halacha questions that relate to the activities of Kosher VeYosher and it’s Kosher!, I will be requesting questions be directed to me on rabbiATkosherveyosher.com.au.

    These questions will (with permission) be posted and answered on the website. The wishes of those who wish to preserve their anonymity will be honoured.
    Shalom to all

    Rabbi MGR

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Dear R’ Rabi

    I guess the only concerns I would have about the soft matza and your kashrus are the following:

    1) Do you have smicha? Did you do shimush with a posek and if so with who? My limited understanding is that in order to pasken correctly you need to have done shimush (ie an apprenticeship). Otherwise its like a doctor who tries to treat a patient from reading an article/text book.

    2) In the question you posed to Ari “if a Rabbi does not agree with the ruling of a Beis Din, with the ruling of the Great Sanhedrin, what is he supposed to do? They rule a certain cut of meat is Kosher and he rules it is not Kosher.

    He has brought his arguments to the Beis Din and they remain un-persuaded, and he too remains firmly of his opinion.

    Now this rabbi finds himself at a banquet with friends and this meat is being served? What is he supposed to do? I mean what does the Halacha direct him to do?” What does the halacha direct him to do? If it directs him to eat it (which would sound strange as in the least one would assume that he could be stringent to fulfill all opinions) is he also allowed to rule for other people that they should eat it or for the rest of the public does he need to rule like the sanhedrin ruled? This would probably be similar to the situation re the soft matzos.

    3) I think it would be sensible that if you are relying on heterim of Rabbi Schachter or other rabbis that you travel to them and actually ask them to endorse your product. It seems a big responsibility to put on your shoulders to give people matzo that Rav Wosner and Rav Landau have claimed may be chometz? I don’t understand how you feel you are capable of taking on that responsibility without pursuing it further and actually going to visit one of the big poskim to get them to endorse your approach.

  • Chad says:

    Chaverim, your point 2) is ridiculous. Kosher Australia are not the Senhadrin. They are also not the only Bes Din in town. As such, another Rabbi has the right to pasken differently for those that want to rely on him. Kosher Australia are a business, who want no new competition. Like it or not, the new competition is here to stay.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Hi Chad,

    I never said that Kosher Australia is the Sanhedrin. I am happy to have more competition in the kashrus sector and I think if R’ Rabi’s hechsher is good then great for Melbourne Jewry. I was referring to the R’ Rabi’s question to Ari about the meat and the Sanhedrin (which I reproduced in my post). I was just wondering whether even if the halacha directs the sole Rabbi to act in accordance with his own psak whether the halacha also directs him to rule like his psak for other people. Not sure if I am making myself clear – let me know. Did you agree with my other two points?

  • Chad says:

    Chaverim, I can’t see how what Rabbi Rabi wrote to Ari is relevant here. In that case there is one Bes Din which the lone Rabbi is probably a member of and all the community follow this BD. Here we have a few Batei Din and everyone can follow the one they feel comfortable with. If one wants to rely on Rabbi Gutnick then that is their perogative. The same goes for those relying on Rabbi Rabi. This is the way it works in most other places overseas. Re your question 1) I don’t know, but you could ask Rabbi Rabi directly on his website, although there are others around here who started certifying without shimush. And concerning 3) if you look back to some of the posts in this thread, you will see that there are complaints against another hashgacha here that certain world reknown orgs do not agree with what they classify as Kosher. The local org has never asked them to endorse these products.

  • Chad says:

    ….and, anyway it was Ari who started the discussion about a lone Rabbi disagreeing with the Bes Din(re Yom Kippur). Again, such a case has absolutely no relevance in this day and age, for the reasons I wrote above.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom again to the Galus blog and to all participants here.

    Chaveirim, I am puzzled by your request for information about my Semicha and Shimush. What is it that you wish to establish? What doubts do you presently have that impinge on your ability to determine if you are or are not happy with my approach and my Kashrus? If I would have Shimush with HaRav Wosner, would it make any difference? Are you suggesting that every Posek with Semicha and Shimush is a reliable authority?

    There will always be those who question what I say. I suggest it is because I have said it rather than for what is actually said. For example, they say that cochineal is not Kosher. They do not offer any qualification. When I write a Halachic article, a theoretical Halachic article explaining that it is Kosher, they condemn me. When I point out that the well known Posek HaDor, HaRav Wosner, famous in Melbourne for being utilised as an opponent to the innovation of soft Matza, also rules that cochineal is Kosher, there is not any acknowledgement of this fact. The wheels of their PR machine continue to turn, the automated condemnation devices are still plugged in, the boring senseless messages continue their warbling and the Jews of Australia (and some other parts of the world) laugh harder and feel greater shame.

    The question about the Beis Din and the Sage who disagrees, was posed in order to promote some thought and particularly stimulate thinking and awareness of aspects of Halacha that we often do not consider. Furthermore, I believe there are Halachic conclusions here that are most surprising to us, that run quite contrary to our expectations. This says to me at least, that we have created in our minds and through the premises that abound in our community, certain misleading images and frameworks about what Halacha should be. And I am delighted to surprise people with the “shocking” Halachic rulings. I hope to awaken people to the beauty, mystery and depth of Halacha and Jewish life. There is much more to being Jewish than simply following instructions and “playing it safe”. Particularly when playing it safe leads to some terrible outcomes both in Halacha and in life.

    Ari, to whom I addressed the question, was I felt, misleading the blog with his comments that appeared to be designed to display he was an expert in Halacha. He asked questions and made statements of fact that were superficially sophisticated but were in fact foolish, being based, if we are to be charitable, on misunderstandings of pretty basic texts.

    Regarding the question itself: I believe that many expect that it is quite appropriate that all the guests eat since after all, the Sanhedrin has ruled that it IS Kosher and as a matter of respect, the Sanhedrin must be abided.

    Where the majority of the Sanhedrin has agreed that the meat is Kosher it is not correct to suggest that we be Machmir to meet the opinion of a single dissenting opinion.

    This dissenting Sage must not rule against the Sanhedrin, otherwise he becomes a Zaken Mamre – a rebellious elder – who is to be put to death.

    In this regard there is absolutely no parallel to soft Matza. Soft Matza is Kosher. No one can dispute that. If all the rabbis of Melbourne, wearing all the hats they do for various councils and organisations, were to stand at their pulpits and declare with all solemnity, that Soft Matza is Chamets, it would be like spitting in the wind. Halacha is determined by our Torah, not by deep commanding voices in august houses of worship. Not one Rov, not one informed person, ever suggested anything remotely like the preposterous claim made on this blog – that soft Matza is Chometz.

    The only people who are shouldering great risk and worse are those who are not mindful of the admonitions of our Torah as elucidated by the Chofetz Chayim.

    How does it make any sense, to suggest that I travel to Rabbi X to gain his approval for something that he has already said is Kosher? I and every other rabbi would spend all our lives travelling back and forth to Israel and the USA. And when we get there, we will be accused of wasting his precious time by asking questions he has already answered.

    I am not Paskening differently to anyone or anything outside regular orthodox, Frum, Mehadrin Halacha standards. If there is anything you wish to enquire about please have a look at my website and feel free to ask me for more info.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Hi Rabbi Rabi,

    Thanks for your answer. I wsih you a lot of success in your endevours to show the beauty of halacha and torah and that it is certainly dynamic and not the monopoly of a certain person or group of people (no matter what type of hat (if at all) they wear. My question about shimush is based on the understanding that halacha is not something you can learn from seforim and needs to be passed down from Rov to talmid etc…..creating a chain. Like any law, you just can’t capture every nuance and every contingency in words or rules. I would assume that shimush is critical to become a “posek”. I don’t mean to attack your credentials or anyone elses and I am sure you are doing great things for Melbourne Jewry but to become “a doctor without an internship” to me seems dangerous in a halachic sense. Do you think that shimush is important? And if so, did you merit doing shimush by anyone? I am certainly not suggesting that any Rov who does is shimush is reliable but the converse, ie a Rov that did not do shimush I am curious whether he is indeed authorised to rule on matters such as soft matza (ie the fact that there are reliable authorities who condemn the soft matza at least seems to indicate that there are two sides to this coin).
    In terms of my question re the sole Rabbi, I misunderstood the question or the intent but thank you for answering it.

    Again in terms of travelling to a renowned posek to ask the question, I do not think this needs to be done on every question. But certainly regarding a question that provokes so much controversy – I think it would be worthwhile.

    In any event, I appreciate your openness to discussions. I am always hesitant of Rabbis that are a closed book and refuse to engage in discussions about their rulings.

    I don’t know the background to the

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Chaveirim

    Please tell me more about what you know about the requirements for Shimush.

    I do not consider your enquiries an attack and even if I did it does not make your enquiry less legitimate.

    Please provide a list of those who questions the Halachic acceptance of soft Matza. I do not know of any.

    Who is a “reliable authority”? What qualities help them achieve that status?

    My main article on this particular blog attempted to unravel what in fact is a controversial Pesak.
    I wonder what constitutes a “controversy” or a “controversial pesak”?
    Is it the tumult raised by parties who are not impartial?
    By those who may have something to gain or lose?
    By those who have a loud voice?
    By those have better political or communal connections?
    Within our framework, a “controversial pesak” is a halachic ruling, a pesak that appears to contravene what is accepted as the norm. Take for example soft matzah. Many were surprised to discover that matzah could be soft. In their minds, if it is not hard it is not matzah. Does that make it a “controversial pesak”?
    See it for more info. There is nothing at all controversial about using soft Matza for Pesach

    Re openness to discussion: One of the Rabbanim with whom I spent much time insisted that a Posek who is not prepared to discuss the rulings he offers is not a Posek.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Shimush in my mind means sitting in with a Rov while he paskens shailos (like an internship – for example for a year) and that this would involve discussions with the Rov why he paskened that way etc. Do you think this kind of shimush is important? If so, did you merit to do it with anyone?

    By controversial psak, I don’t mean something in a halachic or lomdishe sense as being controversial. It seems like you do not think that your matzos are controversial whereas others do. I just mean that since the matzos raised a lot of controversy and suspicion, I do not see why you would not simply travel to a renowned posek to show him your method and request that he endorse it. I think if you could procure such endorsement for the matzos, a lot of the scepticism about your kashrus would be removed.

    In any event, provided that you are indeed a competent mashgiash/kashrut authority, I hope you continue to expand. A couple of quick questions:

    Does Lord of the Fries use vegetables (like lettuce?) – if so who checks the vegetables for insects?

    Also, how about trying to get some vitamins certified in Melbourne? As far as I understand, there are no kosher vitamins produced in Melbourne

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Chaveirim,

    I thank you for your blessing. I am happy to consider any new products or services for Kosher, I will PG have a look at vitamins.

    Lord o t Fries does not use leafy vegetables. You ask V pertinent questions. Contact me on a private line because there are a couple of questions I am sure you would be interested to ask me about Kashrus.

    Re Shimush: Can one obtain Shimush over the phone? Via correspondence? Through consulting a variety of Poskim and discussing with them various Halachic rulings of the Teshuvos?

    If a Rov tells a Talmid that he need no longer ask those questions and that the Talmid is ready to Pasken himself, would you consider that adequate?

    Is there any indication in the Gemara that Shimush existed then or is necessary? What is the significance and value of Semicha without Shimush? Do any Halachic authorities require Shimush?

    What is the status of a Talmid who disagrees with the Posek with whom he is serving? Is this a failed Shimush? What happens if one receives conflicting Shimush, this Rov is not at all supportive of a particular programme, lets say home baked Matza for example, and another Posek thinks it is a great idea; what then? (I have actually sat with Poskim in Jrslm who were approached by the same two brothers who had a plan for just such a scheme. One Posek was V enthusiastic and offered all sorts of suggestions and asked heaps of Qs; the other Posek simply asked, “Is that how one makes Matza?” in Yiddish of course.)

    And related to this: if I will find not a single Rov or Posek in favour of a Halacha that is in ShO quite clearly permitted; does that mean I should not proceed? Would it make any difference if I do or do not have Shimush?

    If one suggests that a Posek with Shimush would never proceed in such circumstances, does that perhaps mean that Shimush is not always such a good thing?

    I believe, Chaveirm, that you have hit the nail on the head when saying, “you just can’t capture every nuance and every contingency in words or rules”.

    We spend years analyzing Talmud and Rishonim and Acharonim, poring over their words and the syntax and style in which they are written. This is one of the reasons Poskim must maintain a daily learning regimen. I learn in the Adass Kollel 6 days a week from 8am until 1pm. I consider this one of the most important components of my skills and critical to maintain the desire and motivation to remain sharp and precisely committed to the enormous responsibility of providing Kashrus services. It was one of the chief reasons that Rabbi Rudzki insisted that I succeed him in his Kashrus service.

    Re Soft Matza: Forgive me for asking again but would you please provide a list of those who question the Halachic acceptance of soft Matza. I do not know of any.

    Who is a “reliable authority”? What qualities help them achieve that status?

    If by controversial you do not refer to, “something in a halachic or a lomdishe sense” but only “that since the matzos raised a lot of controversy and suspicion” it would be beneficial to “travel to a renowned posek to show him your method and request that he endorse it”; I must say that I hardly feel it appropriate that Poskim be used as sales personnel. It is not only demeaning to the Rabbanim so abused, but it denigrates the Halachic process.

    It urges the consumers to become more dumb, less engaged; more submissive, less independent; more isolated from our Torah and Halacha sources and less able to be true servants of HaShem. I feel quite strongly about this.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    R’ Rabi,

    Thanks for answering. I must admit it is comforting to know that you learn in the Adass Kollel. I am wary of Rabbonim that are separated from the tzibbur. I don’t think it is important which tzibbur they are apart of but Rabbonim need other Rabbonim/Talmidei Chachomim to bounce their ideas off to ensure that together, with pilpul chaveirim they reach the emes (and I understand that emes does not mean one answer but rather one of the emesdik answers that can be derived from the Torah). In any event, the matza question per se is not really relevant until next pesach. But I would suggest that next year you take along Dayan Heimlich to see how you make the matzos to see if he sees any problems with them. To have another talmid chochom watch the way you make the matzos will be beneficial because he may be able to point out something that you hadn’t noticed originally or conversely, you might be able to point out something they didn’t think of originally.

    In any event, I am grateful for your openness and responses. I hope you continue to challenge the community in good ways leshem shomayim so we can progress, so that yiddishkeit can progress and that we scan uccessfully build a place for Hashem to reside amongst us.

    In terms of kashrus, besides the other points I mentioned in my previous post (like vitamins) you may also want to see if you can get shakahari to go kosher. They are a vegetarian restaurant(not sure if they use leafy vegetables or not) but I understand that some yidden do eat there already, so if its possible to have a hechsher, may save those people from eating in a place that currently has no hechsher.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    In terms of shimush, I am not really sure I understand the concept. It seems to be used in two distinct senses in the Gemara. One is aiding, assisting, feeding (taking care of the physical needs)of a talmid chochom. The other is actually understanding the Talmid Chochom’s reasoning for decisions, the reasoning behind the halacha, the way the talmid chochom thinks about issues and his actual thought process. I understand this second limb as basically recognising the “thought patterns” of the talmid chochom so that that “pattern” can be applied to questions/circumstances that were never addressed specifically by the original talmid chochom. But again I really am not very learned so I don’t claim to understand the meaning of it. The way I always imagine it is in terms of learning hilchos niddah. I doubt by reading all the seforim in the world, without actually sitting with a Rov as he rules on eidim etc one would be able to say that he can pasken such shailos. It just doesn’t seem to me to be practical. Books can be “chaveirim” as in kne lecha chaver, but I think they have their limit and cannot be the “aseh lecha rov”. But again, that is my “gut feeling”. I have not pored over gemara, rishonim achronim etc so I don’t really have the knowledge to say anything more than mere gut feelins/laymen impressions.

    Similarly, the topic of when you should ask a Rov seems to be a complicated and intricate question. There seems to be many approaches, ranging from you should ask everything to you should only ask when you are in sincerely in doubt.

  • Funny how Galus Australis neglects to inform their readers about this:

    [Eds: RCV Statement posted by S.Silcove has been removed. Galus Australis deliberately did not publish this statement from the RCV, because we received advice that the statement is defamatory]

  • Nat says:

    Both the OU and Kof k have denied-in writing- discussing anything about KVY with anyone at The RCV, so the latter have lost all credibility in this matter.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to you Shoshana

    Let us not only pray for peace but act as best we can to promote peace. I am sure that you are purely motivated and desire to see the king moshiach, perhaps with even more anticipation than many. Consequently you should be comfortable chatting with me directly and trying to see another perspective to this position taken by the RCV.

    I have invited you in the past to chat with me via email but you were rather clear in your rejection of such an initiative. I do hope you will reconsider.

    BTW did you seek their permission to post these statements of theirs? Are you sure they are pleased you have done so?

    Anyway, my response to these statements of the RCV is posted here: http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=316. It is only 250 words with some links to documentation. Have a look at it Shoshana and please get back to me on my direct email. And I invite anyone else with an interest to do the same.

    I apologise for not posting the actual page here but those important links in the page to documentation which will not be active on the post.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Chaveirim

    I thank you for your encouragement.
    I am not even permitted to take photos of the matza machinery, however I have consulted with internationally well recognized Rabbanim and discussed all aspects of the process.

    Re Shimush: why is Shimush “greater than” its learning? Is it possible that serving the physical needs of a TCh will help gain an understanding of the factors that have shaped the thinking of this Rov? and his decision making? And that this will give the Talmid better opportunity to alter the Pesak from what he has learned from his Master?

    The Rema, I think, says outright that some things can not be put into writing. You mention colours for Tumah and there is also knowing Tereifos. As for discerning thought patterns, perhaps that can be achieved and possibly even with better results, by closely studying the works of our great Poskim and Rabbanim?

    Do these thought patterns change with time? With the surrounding culture we live in? etc.

    Re soft Matza: Why would one ask a Sheilah if there is no doubt? Again I state that there is not the slightest Halachic doubt about the soft Matza which may make one consider it to be anything but perfectly Kosher.

    You say there are, “many approaches, ranging from you should ask everything to you should only ask when you are sincerely in doubt” I would suggest that these opinions must be shown to be in the Halacha. I am not comfortable endorsing approaches for life that are predicated just upon a perception that has little or no Halachic foundation. And I am not referring to something that was or is done in a certain manner by a Master, that alone does not make it substantially Halachic.

  • frosh says:

    Hi Shoshanna,

    What Nat has said about the OU and Kof k would appear to be true. I have now had this verified from a couple of independent sources who have checked with these organisations themselves.

    Thus it is highly likely that the RCV is lying, and at least someone in that organisation is intentionally spreading loshan hora.

    Given that you have inadvertantly also spread this loshan hora, perhaps you would like to do some t’shuvah and issue a public apology on this forum.

  • Meir Rabi, You asked me a stupid question, which is did I ask permission to post the Rabbonim’s proclamation against you. The Rabbonim sent this out as a public proclamation for everyone to know about, so why would I need to ask permission to post it?

    And what purpose would it serve to talk with you Meir Rabi? Soeakily you can try to manipulate me sneakily without public scrutiny? You’re the one who goes on blogs and says everything out in the open, but is it only that way when you feel it serves you?

    Anthony Frosh-As for spreading loshon hora, since when is a Rabbinic proclamation loshon hora? You are the one who now needs to ask mechilla by accusing the Rabbonim of spreading loshon hora, you are the one who needs to do teshuva for besmirching our Rabbonim.

  • By the way, what Nat said is a lie, the OU and Kof K did not deny it in writing. You need to prove otherwise.

  • [ Eds: defamatory comment removed]

    see latest statement by Rabbonim here:

    RABBINICAL COUNCIL OF VICTORIA
    STATEMENT TO THE COMMUNITY

    In response to queries received by the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) in relation to its recent statement regarding the private Kashrus business known as Kosher VeYosher (otherwise known as “It’s Kosher”), the RCV states as follows:

    The RCV has never requested from any local or international Kashrus authority to directly comment on or about any other Kashrus authority or business, nor has it claimed to. This practice opposes the standing policy of all reputable Kashrus agencies.

    In consultation with senior officials from three International Kashrus agencies, and without any reference to or naming of any particular rabbi or organisation, a detailed list of Halachic rulings and practices was submitted, requesting responses as to whether or not these rulings and practices met the accepted standards of those agencies. In each case, the agencies confirmed that such practices would not meet their standards. Based on these findings, and following careful consideration, the RCV issued its statement.

    These findings were made available to member rabbis of the RCV prior to the issuing its statement, and once again, the RCV urges Kosher consumers and members of the public to discuss any concerns they may have with their congregational rabbi.”

    Rabbi Yaakov Glasman
    President
    Rabbinical Council of Victori

  • Wilensky says:

    Shoshana, any reasonable person reading the original letter issued by the RCV would understand it to mean that the OU, Kof k and LBD have come out against KV.

    This of course is a deliberate lie or them trying to give such an impression.

    In any case, this is not the behaviour of decent people who would consider this to be a fraudulent practise. And definitely not expected from such a august body that represent our holy rabbis.

    Here is the letter as published – and let every reader judge for himself.

    From: Ari Morris [mailto:executive@rcv.org.au]
    Sent: Monday, 12 July 2010 11:37 AM
    To:
    Subject: RCV Statement re “Kosher VeYosher”

    In recent months, numerous Halachic concerns regarding a privately run Kashrut business known as “Kosher Veyosher” were brought to the attention of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV). These concerns were carefully considered during a series of meetings and consultations.

    A significant number of senior RCV members have over a period of time shared their concerns directly with Kosher Veyosher’s Rabbinic Administrator; these senior rabbis have all advised the RCV that they were entirely unsatisfied with the responses that were offered.

    Based on further consultation with senior representatives of three mainstream International Kashrut authorities, namely the Orthodox Union (OU), Chof K and the London Beth Din, as well as local and national Kashrut experts, the RCV decided that a statement on the matter (see enclosed) must be made. This decision was not taken lightly.

    The RCV strongly encourages individuals to take up any queries or concerns with their local congregational rabbi and/or Kashrut expert and is hopeful that kosher consumers will take heed to only rely upon their local communal kashrut authorities.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ari Morris
    Executive Director
    Rabbinical Council of Victoria Inc.

  • yechi hamalka says:

    Silcove is (just like the RCV) not being open and honest with us here.

    Why?
    Because she has failed to mention her serious conflict of interest in this matter. Most here would not know that her husband Chaim Silcove has been on the payroll of (Mizrachi Kashrut and now) Kosher Australia for a couple of decades.

    How come Shoshana forgets to mention this?

    A google of Chaim Silcove’s name brings up this:

    Mr Chaim Silcove – Operations Manager
    Mr Silcove is responsible for all operational issues, primarily the scheduling of mashgichim and financials. He can be reached at silcovec@kosher.org.au.
    http://www.kosher.org.au/senior_staff.htm

    >The Big Group has a full kosher licence and understanding of the overall requirements of kosher catering. The Big Group is renowned for delivering outstanding kosher events. Operating under the supervision of Melbourne Kashrut and Chaim Silcove, <<
    http://www.thebiggroup.com.au/catering/private/

    So Shoshana, a bit more honesty and a less abuse of a talmid chacham like Rabbi Rabi.

  • yechi hamalka says:

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    By the way, what Nat said is a lie, the OU and Kof K did not deny it in writing. You need to prove otherwise.

    Sadly Shoshana it is your pants – or skirt – that is on fire.

    Here are the letters from OU and Kof K:

    From Elefant, Moshe
    To “meirabi@gmail.com”

    Date Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Dear Rabbi Rabi:

    In response to your e-mail, dated July 11, 2010.
    Please be advised that, to the best of my knowledge, no one from the OU administration has made any statements regarding Kosher certification agencies in Australia.

    In general, it is OU policy not to make public statements about other Kashrus agencies.
    If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Sincerely yours,
    Rabbi Moshe Elefant
    Executive Rabbinic Coordinator/COO
    ===============

    From Harvey Senter Ceo@kof-k.org
    To “rabbi@kosherveyosher.com.au”
    Date Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    Subject Your Assistance pls

    Dear Rabbi Rabi, Shli”ta

    Please be advised that my staff has confired that they have no knowledge of any communications or discussions with the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (Australia) concerning Kosher VeYosher.

    It is the KOF-K’s long standing policy not to issue opinions on the reliability of other Kashrus agencies or certifying Rabbis.

    I suggest that you contact The Rabbinical Council directly to clarify the validity and the origin of the statement.

    Sincerely,
    KOF-K KOSHER SUPERVISION

    H.Z. Senter
    Rabbi Dr. H. Z. Senter Executive Administrator
    201 The Plaza/Teaneck, NJ 07666
    (201) 837-0500 Ext.108 Direct Fax:(201) 917-1365

    e-mail:ceo@kof-k.org
    website: http://www.kof-k.org

    Thus, Shoshana, had you taken the bother of checking Rabbi Rabi’s website, you too would have seen these letters and maybe not have spread lies and lashan hara in the 9 days – when according to the Lubavitcher Rebbe (amongst others) we should be working on ahavat chinam as opposed to sinat chinam. (Though of course you may claim that it is not “chinam” seeing that your Chaim makes a living from the KA which abhors any competition. But that too is a very wrong attitude and gives you not hetter to abuse and shame a prominent yalmid chacham and teacher to many in this town)

    Maybe with the month of Ellul approaching you would consider to do tshuva for this and publicly apologise and request Rabbi Rabi’s forgiveness. I know him not to be a hard man and am sure it will be granted.

  • And because my husband works for the organisation I am privy to alot of inside information, so having an educated opinion, is all I can be accused of. I am not at liberty to discuss what I know, but if you knew what I knew you would be utterly shocked at just how unreliable Meir Rabi is!

    and about abuse, how about a little less abuse of the Rav Hamachsir of Kashrus and our Rabbonim! I hold them as talmidim chachamim for sure, that other guy Rabi is not one in my book and I am entitled to my opinion. And that does not constitute a conflict of interest.

    i never hid my husband’s position, in fact, everyone knows it, I make it know all the time because I am proud of Chaim and the organisation!

  • yechi hamelek, that letter does not prove anything. I surmise what had occurred is the following: The RCV approached OU, KOF K and discussed some specific methods of kashrus used by Kosher v’Yosher in particular, without mentioning the name of the organisation Kosher V’Yosher. In other words, RCV asked OU and KOF K if they agree with a particular kashrus practice or method that Kosher v’Yosher uses, and did not tell them they were describing a method or practices used by and organisation named Kosher v Yosher. RCV got answers from OU and KOF K stating that they do not abide by those particular methods or practices without knowing those are the methods and practices used by Kosher v’Yosher. Later on, Meir Rabi writes to OU and KOF K asking them if RCV ever asked or dicussed with OU or KO F anything about Kosher V’Yosher. Of course, the OU and KOF K answer in the negative, that they have never been approached by RVC regarding Kosher V’Yosher because they weren’t, because as far as OU and KOF K knew, Kosher V’Yosher as an organisation was never mentioned by RCV as a named company–only its particular practices and methods were. So it is Meir Rabi who is being highly deceitful here by distributing a letter that implies that no such discussion concerning his organisational practices occurred, when in reality they indeed did occur. Meir Rabi is being extremely sneaky and crafty here. Once again Meir Rabi, LIAR! LIAR!

  • Standing up for high standards of kashrus is not sinas chinam, and whoever says so is really got mixed up hahskafas, it is a mitzvah to keep our fellow Yidden from being led astray by deceitful Rabbis and G-d forbid eating forbidden foods.

  • Repent! Jewess.. says:

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    And because my husband works for the organisation I am privy to alot of inside information

    Shoshana – that is called a conflict of interest and you should butt out. You are not doing your husband or the KA any favours by ignoring such a cardinal principle.

    As someone who was once employed by KA, I can assure you that [ Eds: this comment has been removed as it may be defamatory]. So whatever pillow talk you may have had would be of very little consequence.

    Your repeated abuses of RMGR does not make your case any stronger. It just shows publicly that you are bitter and twisted.

    And, by the way, what has Reb Meir done to you that you have such a horrible hatred of him? Did he once take a parking spot off you or cut you off while driving? Pray, tell us.

  • How small and cowardly of you, you little weak man, to attack my husband’s knowledge while remaining anonymous yourself, and hypocritical to do so while preaching about teshvua, blah, blah blah so it is you who has no credibility.

    I am not one who takes kindly to dishonesty, [Eds: defamatory comment removed]–nothing personal, never met the guy and do not hate him, just hate it when [Eds: defamatory comment removed].

    And for your information the OU etc were asked about certain standards and whether the OU would use those standards. All answered identically. Strange that. No specific organisation was mentioned and the OU did not comment on anyone but their own standard. So the entire letter of defense from the OU, Kof K presented by Meir Rabi is based on a totally deceitful and false premise. What a con man!

  • Here is a pesty thing called a verifiable fact for you:

    The Laffa matza was made at Mountain Bread – the Lebanese Christian owner admitted that he had made no change – to flour, ingredient, not even kashering, before doing a run designate as ‘matza’. Rice flour was used as lubricant.

    Hope all you guys who ate it on Pesach can do teshuvah for that.

  • Unfortunately for you, I won’t butt out! and you can’t make me!!

  • david says:

    Dear Rebetzin.

    you wrote:

    “The Laffa matza was made at Mountain Bread – the Lebanese Christian owner admitted that he had made no change – to flour, ingredient, not even kashering, before doing a run designate as ‘matza’. Rice flour was used as lubricant>

    can you explain why sould he make a change to the flour?

    how and where do you usa Rice flour as lubricant?

  • to Repent! Jewess. who wrote “…As someone who was once employed by KA, I can assure you that your husband knows very little about halacha and kashrut – as that is not part of his job there. So whatever pillow talk you may have had would be of very little consequence..”””

    It is low and despicable, and totally against every teaching of Torah to disparage a person’s spouse, especially to do so in a public manner, as this is terrible loshon hora, and especially to do so anonymously, like the cowardly, weak,petty weasel you are. You need to do teshuva now! Apologising to me and Chaim would be the first step

    In conclusion, there is a following that [ Eds: defamatory comment removed], more than likely are looking for a Rabbi to give them permission to eat the things they want to eat, so they gravitate to someone like Rabi who is lenient. This group defends him vigorously because in doing so they get to eat what they want. If Rabi weren’t around, they would find other one like him, so they can go on their merry way excusing themselves for not looking into the facts of kashrus and spitting in the eye of the Rabbonim. All I have to day them is Hashem should open your eyes and in the meantime, Labriyut!

    Then there is another group that is sincere in keeping kosher and is ready to make sacrifices to do so but, have been bamboozled by the likes of Rabi. To those people I say that our Rabbonim are some of the most knowlegable and respected in the world, and you can trust them, they have huge yiras shamayim and we all need to give them the respect they deserve and obey their instructions without allowing the yetzer hora to interfere.

  • david says:

    tamar

    you wrote:

    How does ‘Its Kosher!’ maintain transparency if you are paid directly from the companies you certify?
    With other Kosher organisations the certifying Rabbi decides the Kashrut and does not handle the money, does this happen with your Kosher organisation?

    here is what rabbi moshe feinshtein wrote:

    שו”ת אגרות משה יורה דעה ח”ד סימן א סעיף ח

    ח. המעלה שיש להשגחה על ידי רבים היא רק כשלועד הכשרות אין ריוח ממה שמכשיר.

    ואני זוכר איך שהרה”ג ראזענבערג ז”ל שעמד בראש ועד הכשרות דהסתדרות הרבנים, שהוא החמיר מאד בעניני ההשגחות על עניני כשרות, והיה אומר שעיקר המעלה שהמשגיח נוטל שכרו מועד הכשרות ולא מהבעלים, שלכן א”צ להחניף את הבעלים שרוצים רק שיתירו להם הכל, כי ועד הכשרות משלם שכירותם והם הבעלים עליו, ולא בעלי בתי החרושת והחנויות שצריכין השגחה. שלכן עושה המשגיח מלאכתו באמונה דאין לו שום צורך להחניף לבעלים. והועד הכשרות הוא אלו שנמנו מהרבנים דועד הכשרות, שאין לועד הכשרות שום שכר יותר כשיכשירו משיאסרו. ואם עתה נשתנה שועד הכשרות יש להם ריוח מזה שמכשירין, ובכסף זה יכולים לשלם להממונים שכרם, הרי אין שום מעלה בועד כשרות ציבורי יותר מזה שמשגיחים רבנים יחידים בעצמן. ואולי גרוע, שאין האחריות מורגשת כל כך על רבים, כמו שהיא מורגשת על יחיד שכל האחריות עליו, שאיכא יראה עליו ביותר כשימצא שיצא איזה מכשול וטעות, והרבה רבנים ובע”ב בודקין אחריו, יותר מרבים שאין בודקין אחריהן. וגם צודק מה שהזכרת בשמי שהעולם חושבין שהשגחה בא ע”י שמשגיחים על פעולת עשיית האוכלין, ולא רק שפוסקים ומכריעים שכשר בלי השגחה.

  • Empress of Russia says:

    Shoshana, Shoshana, calm down. Really – just because a few readers here have responded to your nasty and untrue posts in Silcove-like language, is no reason to completely lose the plot.

    But it is amazing to see the old battleaxe Silcove – the bane of the Yeshiva board some years ago – again going off at full blast! I thought that the years would have calmed you down somewhat. Was I wrong!!!

    Like others I do not believe that all your garbage and abuse against the rabbi is purely leshem shamayim, because you care so much about Kashrut standards. Pull the other leg Shoshana. When were you last involved with Kashrut efforts of Melb Chabad? I can’t recall at all.

    Like in the old days when you had the Yeshiva in your sights, you brawl with no tact or diplomacy. Go straight for the throat and bXXXXr the consequences. Not nice, Shoshana.
    Especially for a ‘radio personality’.

    Derech Eretz kadma leTorah! If you don’t behave like a mentch – don’t expect to be treated like one. I remember what we went through with you some years ago – and I indeed feel sorry now for Rabbi Rabi. Hopefully he will ignore your insults and slander and not reply. To know who and what he is dealing with, the rabbi should get in touch with members of the Yeshiva board.

    And one other point. There isn’t the slightest doubt that should your husband be – for whatever reason – sacked by KA tomorrow, you will be singing from a different hymn sheet.
    (And, that, is probably a good reason why he will never be fired. The KA does not want Ms SS sledging them all over the blogosphere revealing all the nasty little secrets accumulated over the years.)
    But SHOULD it happen – wow! We will we see a different Shoshana singing a different nigun altogether.

  • frosh says:

    Shoshanna,

    Are you so lacking in introspection that you can come on this site and slander R’ Meir Rabi by name, and then complain that someone has slandered your husband?

    You should be apologising to R’ Meir Rabi.

    Your comments about him are being referred to our legal advisors. Parts of your comments may now need to be removed. I have a responsibility to warn you that you may be personally liable for damages, and you should consider this before writing more defamatory comments.

  • david says:

    what he is saying is very simple:

    Once an organization is being paid for issuing a kashrut certificate, there is no difference between a communal organization and a private person.

    they both in it for the money.

  • david says:

    shoshnah

    rabbi glasman wrote in his statment:

    “… a detailed list of Halachic rulings and practices was submitted, requesting responses as to whether or not these rulings and practices met the accepted standards of those agencies. In each case, the agencies confirmed that such practices would not meet their standards”.

    are you able to get for us the practices, names of the high official,and rullings, or you want us to believe that it was as he said.

  • You guys are like kashrus police or communnist censors. Can’t criticse Meir Rabi cause you threaten lawyers. How pathetic!

    interesting how pathetic cowardly weasles sit anonymously behind keyboards throwing ‘insults’ to a woman who has the courage to do what they would be scared to do–sign her name

    Me, little Shoshanna Silcove, the bane of the yeshiva board? Thanks for the compliment!

  • Anthony,

    And if you’re so worried about libel, then why are you running an unmoderated blog?

  • frosh says:

    Hi Shoshana,

    There are two types of moderation available to web-based forums: pre- and post- comment moderation. We do not do use pre-comment moderation because this detracts from the flow of discussion. This does not mean that Galus Australis encourages defamatory comments. Luckily most of the people who comment on this site respect this. Please see our moderation policy for further details.

  • hahahahahaha, Frosh you are such a joke. You are so biased, full of various axes to grind and agendas to push, while trying to fool everyone that you are objective, fair, reasonable, civil etc. You’re too transparent.

    My bias is clear as I have been intimately involved with KA for over a decade. Over the course of this journey I have seen much and learned alot about kashrus. While KA is far from perfect, everyone who works there is a yiras shamyaim and is dedicated and totally given over to the mitzvah of kashrus for all the right reasons. I have the highest respect and regard for everyone there, from the office workers, to the Rabbonim, to everyone. And this is because they earned my respect and regard which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact Chaim works there. They are a tireless bunch of people, they are honest, they care about the right things. So when I see a fake or a phoney stomp on the kovod of the Rabbis and spread half truths and bold faced lies, I feel I have a duty speak out and prevent as many of my fellow Yidden as possible from being led astray by opportunism and ignorance.

  • And to Empress of Russia, another anonymous coward, I surmise you are probably one of Yeshiva executive members. So, you don’t like my style, eh? Oh well, can’t please everyone, but obviously you are threatened by me, even afraid of me. I think it is the truth that scares you. I am flattered by your remarks. I guess I am a force to be reckoned with.

  • Empress of Russia, just one more thing, if you are defending Meir Rabbi, and if as I surmise from your comment you are a member of the Yeshiva board or exec, then thank G-d we took our son out of your school, because your defense of Rabi shows your weak hashafas and this is reflected in Yeshiva Centre. By the way, you guys are not at all liked or popular or thought of as competent or honest either–Power to Menachem Vorsheimer and the people!

  • anon says:

    From the second RCV letter, I have learnt the following

    1) It seems that the Rabbonim of the RCV including Rabbi Sprung and Dayan Telsner have shown great humility by turning to International Kashrut heavy weights for guidance before publishing anything regarding various potentially suspect kashrut practises an not realying on their own knowledge to make a decision

    2) It seems that the wider community of couch Rabbis all seem to know far better than the OU / Kof-K / KLBD.

    There is plenty wrong in the Jewish community, plenty wrong in the religious Jewish community and plenty areas that our leaders have dropped the ball.

    Finally we have Rabbis representing the religious needs of our community using a measured approach to ensure that our kids are eating the highest standards of kosher food in alignment with OU/ Kof-K / KLBD and all we can do is beat them up

  • anonymous coward says:

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    …I have been intimately involved with KA for over a decade. ….everyone who works there is a yiras shamyaim and is dedicated and totally given over to the mitzvah of kashrus for all the right reasons. I have the highest respect … to the Rabbonim, …. They are a tireless bunch of people, they are honest, they care about the right things.
    ====================

    I have been going through the various kashrut threads on this site and came upon the following comment:

    by Uncle Yankel says:
    April 2, 2010 at 12:24 am

    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.
    http://galusaustralis.com/2010/03/2865/soft-matzah-rabbi-rabi-responds-to-rabbinical-council-criticism/

    This casts a fair bit of doubt about your understanding of those
    “yiras shamyaim …dedicated and totally given over to the mitzvah of kashrus for all the right reasons” and “they are honest, they care about the right things”

    Also from that same commentator:

    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?

    I have searched everywhere but haven’t seen a reply to either of these points.

    Now that we have the KA’s publicity officer (Paid or voluntary – makes no difference) here with us, can we have a reply to this?

    And pleeeze! no abuse please. Thanks Shosh.

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    So when I see a fake or a phoney stomp on the kovod of the Rabbis and spread half truths and bold faced lies, I feel I have a duty speak out and prevent as many of my fellow Yidden as possible from being led astray by opportunism and ignorance.

    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.

  • anonymous coward says:

    Sorry for the glitch
    please ignore everthing after

    And pleeeze! no abuse please. Thanks Shosh.
    Something seems to have doubled up

  • moshe says:

    It is pathetic to see the Rcv being mobilized for a jihad against rabbi Meir Rabi, that his only sin is that he is trying to set up a competing hashgacha in Melbourne competing with kosher australia, which is not a communal organization, but a private body that belongs to the mizrachi organization, when they said nothing during the beth din saga, or the mond case?

    How many members of the rcv know the laws of kashrut? when did they have a minyan of shomrei shabbat in their shull?

    They thought that rabbi rabi is a soft target, and were surprised to find him tough as nails, and that he knows Halacha better than all of them together, now rabbi Glasman is coming up with a new story, that they submitted questions to officials in kashrut organizations and were told it is below their standard, even if I will believe him that he (they) did what he said, does their answer mean, that it isn’t kosher?

    Since when do the standards of the kashrut organizations, make a product to be kosher?

    99 percent of al kashrut organizations in the world are private, and are of different standards, and there is no reason why Melbourne should be any different.

  • Anonymous coward repeats rechilis from blog comments from another anonymous coward regarding certain Rabbis, and expects these Rabbis to answer this slander made against them? Why would any respectable Rabbi worth their salt entertain replying to rechillis on a blog made by anonymous cowardly posters? No respectable Rabbi would answer any comments on a blog. Is this anonymous coward stupid or drunk? For sure anonymous coward has selfish ulterior motives in spreading misinformation and dredging up old canards against an internationally respected Rav–which shows that anonymous coward not only has no courage, but also has no mentchlikite, diplomacy, nor basic kovod of Rabbonim, and is therefore sorely lacking in Torah learning and yiras shamayim and probably eats pig.

  • Meir Stern says:

    It is well known that there are products certified and approved by Kosher Australia that would not meet the standards of the OU, Chof K and LBD. Well below.

  • ham or pork? says:

    “probably eats pig”

    [Eds: Comment removed]. They say the Rebbe is Moshiach. And when Moshiach is here, pig becomes Kosher.

  • stupid or drunk says:

    Shoshana, This is part of what Anonymous Coward wrote:

    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?

    Which part of this question is “slander ..rechillis and selfish ulterior motives in spreading misinformation” ?

    Please explain. And why is it so hard to get an answer to this question: WHAT FLOUR WAS USED BY SNIDERS MATZOS WHEN IT WAS UNDER KA SUPERVSION?

    Try to reply without being obnoxious.

  • pig eater says:

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    Anonymous coward repeats rechilis from blog comments from another anonymous coward regarding certain Rabbis, and expects these Rabbis to answer this slander made against them? …..spreading misinformation and dredging up old canards against an internationally respected Rav–which shows that anonymous coward not only has no courage, but also has no mentchlikite, diplomacy, nor basic kovod of Rabbonim, and is therefore sorely lacking in Torah learning and yiras shamayim and probably eats pig.
    ============

    Rabbi Zaichyk has never made a secret of the following story:

    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.

    Rabbi Zaichyk visits us frequesntly and has repeated the story.

    It certainly doesn’t show great “mentchlikite, diplomacy, nor basic kovod of Rabbonim, and is therefore sorely lacking in Torah learning and yiras shamayim”

    Shosh dear, you’ve taken on a pretty big job defending the indefensible. (I hope the pay is good.)

  • Meir Stern, ham or pok?, stupd or drunk? and pig eater?

    Seems you are all the same anonymous commenter making several comments under different anonymous names. All the comments made by above are rechillis, loshon hora, innuendo, and lies. The purpose for these comments is not to get answers to honest questions, or to enhance or strengthen kashrus in our community but to discredit the established kosher authority Kosher Australia. The motivation could be monetary gain or just plain vindictiveness.

  • Anthony Frosh,
    Your bias is so obvious, while you erase innocuous comments I make, you allow this:

    “ham or pork? says:
    July 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm
    “probably eats pig”

    Must be a Lubavitcher. They say the Rebbe is Moshiach. And when Moshiach is here, pig becomes Kosher.”

    You are not interested in seeking truth, Anthony, all you are interested in is using this blog as a diatribe against the groups, individuals, and ideas of the frum establishment you resent and wish to rebel against. You allow rechillis and loshon hora against esteemed Rabbonim to get aired freely, while you attempt to censor me and threaten legal action against me me for airing my views against Meir Rabi. You are using this blog as a platform to get even or right some perceived wrongs or injustices by the kosher establishment. You will never allow a fair and balanced view. This blog is not a forum for education but, rather for propaganda. It is not a forum for a free exchange of views but, only of the views that its narrow minded blog owner.

    Thanks to this exchange your have shown your true colours as not being someone who is not motivated by the impulse to be at all constructive.

  • sweet little me says:

    Innocuous??

  • frosh says:

    Shoshanna,

    You really aren’t too bright, are you?

    I have not threatened you. Let me explain the situation to you in more simple terms.

    When you write defamatory comments on this website, both you an I are potentially liable for damages. I thus have a duty to remove these defamatory comments.

  • Anthony, now not only have you threatened me but, you are also the one being insulting and defamatory. Keep insutling people. on exposing yourself.

    This site is like a haven for a sort of hippie-like rebellion against the frum establishment with the pretense of being open minded and sophisticated.

    And Anthony has set up his site up as a strong advocate for Meir Rabi and a forum to bash Kosher Australia and the Rabbonim.

    Anonymous cowards, go ahead and throw as many petty insults at me as you want. Sticks and stones…..

  • correction–Anthony, keep on exposing yourself.

    We have a fantastic reputable kosher orgnisation with learned and fine Rabbonim who have yiras shamayim and knowledge and all you want to do is tear it down. I know, you claim you want ‘competition’,whatever that means, but all that is just a cover up of the yetzer hora wanting to tear down kedusha. Pitiful. But the people who build Yiddishkeit will never be daunted by those who attempt to tear it down, NEVER. They will continue to build and do good while others stayed mired in negativity, and stay enslaved to their base desries to indulge thier yetser hora(eating and drinking forbidden foods). Thank G-d many people can see through the attempt to wrap this destructive motivation in the garments of piety, fairness, and sophistication. I pray that Hashem give these detroyers the strength to fight the yetzer hora’s impulse that motivates you to try and disrupt and destroy what is good and holy.

  • Shoshanna,

    1. I don’t see anyone trying to “tear down” KA. No-one has suggested that any of their practices are substandard.

    2. It would have been reasonable for you to “declare your interest” (as being married to an employee of KA) early on in the piece. People can draw their own conclusions as to whether it taints your views on the topic; at least that way they are fully informed.

    (as noted in a previous piece on this site, I am related by marriage to Meir Rabi)

  • “1. I don’t see anyone trying to “tear down” KA. No-one has suggested that any of their practices are substandard”

    Then either you haven’t read the comments or you don’t see the nose on your punim.

    “2. It would have been reasonable for you to “declare your interest” (as being married to an employee of KA) early on in the piece. People can draw their own conclusions as to whether it taints your views on the topic; at least that way they are fully informed.”

    So now you all know, big deal, it doesn’t take away from the arguments made. This fact can be seen two ways. Either it gives me more credibility cause it means I have some first hand inside info, or then peopole decide I am biased, which of course I am and never claimed not to be. The difference is that I am honest about my bias, while the site adminstrator and others are not. All these anonynous cowards probably have some real conflict of interests too but, we don’t know about it because they do not have the integrity to sign their names.

  • pig eater says:

    OK Ms Silcove, seeing you have the inside knowledge, please, please please tell us what flour was being used for the baking of Pesach matzos by Snider-Carmel which was under the “yiras shamayim,richilis-free” supervision of your husbands employer – KA.

    Please – no abuse, no attacks no nothing. Just tell us about the flour. Which company and mill did it come from?

    This shouldn’t be too hard to find out. After all you claim to know EVERYTHING about the baking of RM Rabi’s matzo – which had zero to do with KA. So this should be easy for you. Ask Chaim to check the files at KA. Toda lemafre’a.

    And if you don’t answer us, then we have every right to assume and believe (as has been claimed by many rabbonim and industry experts for years) that the KA approved matzo had serious questions about it.

    But here’s your opportunity to clear this up – once and for all.

  • And if you do not tell us who you are pig eater, then I have every right NOT to bother answering your questions because I do not know what your connections may be and therefore your motivations. Go ask the Rabbonim yourself, if you are so concerned about kashrus, then tell us who you are and what you have been doing for the community’s kashrus and why you CARE so much, unless of course you are merely a DESTROYER to try and lower the esteem of our Rabbonim with innuendo, lies, loshon hora and rechillis, a hater who has nothing constructive to offer except for attacks and insults against talmidei chochomim, and your insipid cowardly comments– if you are so holy, if you are fighting the good fight, if you are so true and and on the side of right fighting for halacha against ignorance, then why can’t you even have the common decency tell us your name? What are you hiding from? Is it because the minute we know who you are then you lose, we will then know that you are not only not credible, but a FAKE, PHONY, and a FRAUD who only wants to create a stir and strife. Maybe you are jealous? Maybe you have a vendetta? Maybe you have something to gain financially by trying to hurt KA? But we will not know if any of this is so unless you come out, come out, from wherever you are hiding you little wimp. Is that abusive? If so, then maybe you need to grow some thicker skin. Apparantly, what you and your ilk want to do, is to try to keep the lowest standards of kashrus as possible.

    It is a pity you are not really interested in kashrus at all, just in playing games.

  • Hey pig eater, I decided to let you in on something, just to show you how ignorant you are, KA hasn’t made matzah for many years!hahahahahaha you fool

  • sweet little me says:

    Innocuous???

  • Shoshanna,

    I was referring to “current practice”. What any kashrut organization (whether KA, Meir Rabi, or anyone) did years ago is not particularly relevant nor worth arguing over.

  • I was answering pig eater who asked specific questions regarding the flour used by KA for matzah, just letting him know, and pointing out how utterly uniformed pig eater is cause KA hasn’t done matzah for years. Pig Eater has no idea what in the world he/she is talking about!

  • ta says:

    May not be relevant, but they should be the last to give mussar to those who are currently using this practice

  • Shoshanna, ta, …

    Most of this thread in the last couple of days has been political point-scoring, and personal attacks. To people who want to keep kosher *today*, it’s hardly relevant.

  • Pig Eater and his ilk apparently believe that KA is an evil corrupt organisation. Yet, they believe, it seems they believe that Meir Rabi is a holy tzadik. What is wrong with this picture? Somehow I cannot believe that these people are sincere, they are more motivated by animosity towards KA rather than by a desire to promote high kashrus standards. They demonize KA which has a board and certified reputable Rabbonim who are internationally recognised, and they glorify a sole lone interloper like Rabi. Very strange indeed.

    Being that kashrus is intrinsic to the keeping the highest levels of holiness of our neshoma, it would seem to me that sincere Yidden would want to do everything possible to have the highest levels. Pig eater has chosen an apt moniker because that is exactly what he is promoting.Am I being abusive? Well, if the shoe fits, and he chose that name for himself, so he is trying to tell us something.

    Have an easy fast. Ad Mosai!

    The Repenting Jewess.

  • pig eater says:

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    Hey pig eater, I decided to let you in on something, just to show you how ignorant you are, KA hasn’t made matzah for many years!hahahahahaha you fool
    >>

    hahahahahahahahahahaha yourself.

    Sniders has only been importing its matzos for the past 2-3 years. But most of us on this thread are older than that and we well recall how it was the KA with exactly the same staff (maybe not Wajsbord) were putting their stamp and taking a fee – for that matza to be certified as Kosher lePesach.

    As I expected – and begged you not to do – all you can reply with is childish abuse. And no answer to the question. Why?
    We can all guess the answer. If you had something positive to say – you would have done so eons ago. No answer- is also an asnwer!

    And what’s the difference who I am? The question remains the same. Were hundreds of Melbourne Jewish families eating 100% Kosher matzo on Pesach for the many years that KA approved Sniders – or not?

    The reason I won’t reveal my name to you is because I do not wish to be abused and attacked by an individual like you who constantly goes for personal attacks. What do I need that for.

    So just answer the questions and give us less of your hahahahahahahahahahaha

  • po says:

    Will you please stop blogging to her. Poor Chaim is waiting for his meal.

  • Jason says:

    [Ed: Comment removed. Jason, if you are going to make accusations of this nature, you need to use your full (real) name and provide a legitimate email address]

  • Jason says:

    OK.

    Please may I rephrase my question.

    Is it unreasonable to expect “Rabbi Rabi” to demonstrate that he is in fact a rabbi and that he truly has recognizable and acceptable certification.

    Whilst I am not stating he is using the title “Rabbi” when not entitled to, would it not be in his best interest to demonstrate once and for all, that he is indeed a Rabbi, that his title has been officially sanctioned by an acceptable authority?

    To the moderator:

    I refer you to http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=179525 where similar questions have been and are being asked of Obama to prove that he is indeed an American citizen.

    If they can post questions of this nature, and have been doing so for many months, is there any particular reason why you are protecting the good “rabbi” from providing his credentials? If he can’t/won’t then by all means, let him post all of his ideas about Kashrut, but then he (and you)should refrain from using the time honoured title of Rabbi.

  • Jason asks a reasonable question. If *anyone* uses a title, people have the right to challenge them to prove they have the right to use it.

    It’s particularly important for the title of Rabbi, because what goes with that title is the power of psak din – to make a halachik ruling with due authority. Someone can be spiritual leader of a shul and even marry people without the formal qualification of Rabbi (even though they might use the title). But they can’t issue a psak din regarding a fork that fell into the wrong pot without the title.

  • I agree with Jason having the complete right to ask the question. If Meir Rabi has Rabbinical credentials and can prove it, then it should be absolutely no problem at all for him to furnish them. If he hesitates to do so then it may indicate he does not have them. The Obama birth certificate situation is a great analogy, Jason!

  • hehehehehe says:

    Shoshana, for those who share your flawed and warped views, i.e., “Jason”, you don’t demand identification.
    Even after the moderator requested that he justify his disgusting comments and reveal himself – he didn’t do it.
    Why? Who is he afraid of?

    But do we see you assailing him as an ‘anonymous coward’? Of course not.
    How hypocritical and two-faced of you!

    Also not a word of denunciation for “Jason” about rechilis and lashan hara. Very hypocritical and deserving of strongest condemnation.

    Meanwhile concentrate less on Pig Eater’s moniker (lifted from one of your unlovely posts – and cleverly used by the writer) and answer his question about the flour.
    We are all awaiting your polished response breathlessly.

  • Pig eater, as all can see, is not sincerely asking questions because he honestly cares but kosher matzo, or anything else kosher. Pig eater asks questions with the goal of catching KA doing wrong, like the guy who asks, “When did you stop beating your wife?” Pig eater will never be satisfied with any answer because all he is interested in, as everyone sees, is in besmirching KA, and venting his hatred against that organisation. Perhaps Pig eater is an ex-disgruntled employee of KA, or an employee of competing kashrus mob, or just a petty jealous person who hates anyone with more authority than him. There could be a myriad of reasons he hates the kosher establishment so much, it seems we will never know, but hate it he obviously does, so much so that he is determined to try to convince as many as possible that Kosher Australia is corrupt and incompetent or both. Why bring up an irrelevant slanderous third hand story that supposedly happened many years ago, if not for the purpose of lowering the esteem and prestige of Kosher Australia? What would be the purpose of that since it has nothing at all to do with anyone being at risk of eating non-kosher now? Yet, pig eater is completely unconcerned with the legitimate reservations regarding Meir Rabi, he is completely unconcerned with the warning made by our Rabbonim. The Rabbonim are men endowed with respect, position and halachik knowledge and authority, none of which the likes of pig eater respects or recognises. What kind of a Jew completely disregards and discounts the warning made by a Rabbonic body like pig eater does? Certainly not a frum Jew with any yiras shamayim would. Pig eater, why don’t you keep enjoying your Lord of the Fries along with your pig, I heard they are open today and offering a Tisha A’B’av menu just for you.

  • Ben Akiva says:

    Delving into the semichas of our rabbis – even members of the RCV – is a very dangerous route. Even of those who have that ‘piece of paper’, (and I am not convinced that all members have this) you find those that could not answer correctly to a simple shaala – not only in hilchot treifot and basar bechalav – but how to handle a forgotten yaaleh veyavo at the various tefilot.
    I haven’t seen Rabbi Rabi’s semicha (nor any other rabbi’s for that matter), but I do know that he is an outstanding talmid chacham who has been studying Torah and halacha his whole life and continues to spend most his days and nights in front of a sefer or giving shiurei Torah to talmidim. His knowledge in all facets of Torah is amazing and am therefore quite shocked at the disgraceful language used by Ms Silcove.

    While she rants and raves ad nauseum about ‘rechillis and loshon hora” (and BTW, it’s ‘rechilus”) when anyone opposes her views, Silcove shows us she is no slouch herself spewing her hatred (why?), ‘rechillis and loshon hora” at a respected and beloved talmid chacham who gives away hours and days teaching Torah to both beginners and veterans.

    Chazal warn הזהרו בגחלתן. Be VERY careful about attacking such a person.

  • [Eds: Defamatory comment removed]

  • [Eds: Defamatory comment removed]

  • My head is fuzzy from the fast, CLARIFICATION_:
    Rabbi Telsner specifically said in shule this past Shabbos that Rabi never answered any of the questions that Rabbi Telsner asked him about kashrus issues, that Rabi’s organization cannot be trusted, that one should never trust a lone person who claims to have a reliable hechsher. Rabbi Telsner said all this to packed shule.

  • I don’t hate Meir Rabi, I feel sorry for him. I do hate deceit and dishonesty though.

  • ashreinu says:

    • Shoshanna Silcove says:
    Pig eater, as all can see, is not sincerely asking questions because he honestly cares but kosher matzo, or anything else kosher.
    ============

    But you Shoshana are posting all this nastiness and malice because you DO honestly care about Kosher.
    On behalf of all Kosher consumers in Australia we thank you for your efforts in strengthening Kashrut. What would we do without you? In fact what DID we do before you appeared on the scene?

    SS: Pig eater asks questions with the goal of catching KA doing wrong,
    ===

    Says you. But the many followers of this blog understand his tough questioning to have 2 objectives.
    1) Did KA err in approving the wrong flour for the matzot? And if so, shouldn’t they at least issue an apology to Kosher consumers all over Australia who may have been nichshal in a serious matter?
    2) Those rabbis who understand Kashrut at the RCV are the SAME people in charge of the KA. Thus their condemnation of the KV soft matza because of flour issues – reeks of double-standards and dare I say hypocrisy.
    The Torah says Vihiyitem nekiyim meHashem umiYisrael.

    I have no idea who “Pig-eater” or the other weird names here are, but when someone asks a legitimate question, to which a response is easily available (all you have to do is ask Chaim), you have no right to abuse and assail the questioner in the arrogant and spiteful style that you favor.

    SS:. Perhaps Pig eater is an ex-disgruntled employee of KA,
    ===

    Maybe. Who cares?
    What he is insinuating is serious stuff and should be cleared up once and for all. Even if KA is forced to admit a serious error in their operations, they would be far more respected than by their hiding under your skirt. Modeh ve’ozev yerucham.

  • chabadnik says:

    Shoshanna Silcove says:
    My head is fuzzy from the fast, CLARIFICATION_:
    Rabbi Telsner specifically said in shule this past Shabbos that

    Your head must be REAL fuzzy! Since have you accepted anything that Rabbi Telsner or indeed our other abbis have told you?

  • I know all the people at KA well enough to say they are a good bunch of people who really care about doing the right thing. They all work extremely hard, long hours, and are totally dedicated to kashrus, and they all go way beyond the letter of the law. The Rabbis are all very competent and respect. Rabbi Mordecai Gutnick is extremely well respected worldwide in the field of kashrus.

    Anyone who has any sincere queries regarding kashrus will undoubtedly get thorough complete answers from the folks at KA. There is no reason to blog these “questions’ other than to stir a machlokes against KA. Anyone who truly desires real answers will get them, but not by blogging.

    This blog has become a platform to bash KA and spread propaganda for Meir Rabi.

  • I hold by many Chabad Rabbis, so that snarky comment was not true.I do not hold by FAKE PHONY FRAUDS, Chabad or not, and will call them out when I see them.
    I admire Rabbi Telsner for taking stand on this issue.

  • Those ‘defamatory comments removed” were not defaming at all! I really find Anthony Frosh to be totally biased. Why don’t you just call this Meir Rabi’s blog? Or the anti-Orthodox establishment blog, that is what it in essence is. I fail to perceive any honest inquiry from pig eater, bnei akiva, chabadnik or ashreinu and I strongly surmise they are all the same person.

  • moshe says:

    and I admire Rabbi Telsner for taking a stand on the issues of the dancing clowns and the moshiach sign.

    he is my real hero.

  • Jason says:

    Dear Hehehehehehe or whatever..

    I don’t believe the earlier my earlier comment merited being removed but as that’s what happened all that was needed was a rephrase, which I did.

    I don’t have a need to identify myself just as you don’t. However as I have been reading all the marvelous exposes of Meir and having read other blogs on the Golus site, relating to an earlier initiating post made by David Werdiger, I notice a constant dodging of direct questions by Meir.

    As he is the one who is giving hechsheirim which many readers believe is being done willy-nilly, what on earth does my identity have to do with an expectation of Meir disclosing a very pertinent point?

    He is not the only person who sits and learns, has shiurim etc. Many others do the same here in Melbourne. For example, Lior Broh is a learned person yet would not have the gall to pasken or give hechsheirim and you know why? Because he is not accredited to do so. Often he will give an insight into halacha but will never ever pasken no matter how learned he is.

    Therefore, I feel it’s incumbent on Meir to show us that he is not only learned, but that he has the authorization to do what he does. He’s unfortunately beginning to look like that Vietnam marcher who wore all the medals yet was recently outed as having never served in Vietnam.

    I have no doubt “Meir’s Army” is out here in full force asking why do we need to see his credentials as he is such a good chap, almost a Tzadik nistar, sits and learns day and night, performs mitzvot incessantly. But what does that have to do with having smicha.

    Either Meirv has one or he hasn’t.

    Either it’s a lowly rated smicha from a lowly rated source or it’s top grade.

    So why all the dithering?

    Would you go to a recommended dentist with suspicions that he/she may not have accreditation? Would you go an an unaccredited surgeon?

    Just look at the daily papers where patients are suing plastic surgeons who have been highly recommended, yet when push comes to shove, have never received accreditation from the society.

    I have no doubt Meir is learned but I would like to see his accreditation because without it, he simply does not have a license to pasken.

    Meir together with his loyal camp’s continued dithering simply exasperates the problem and certainly does nothing for his credibility.

    Introducing red herrings as to who I am, is just that. A red herring.

    Show us the smicha, Meir which will at least establish if you have the right in the first instance, to pasken.

    Whether your psak is then acceptable on not, at this point in time is secondary.

  • another chabadnik says:

    Shoshana, you aren’t happy with this blog? Now you now attack Anthony. Why? Hasn’t it given you enough opportunities to slander Rabi?
    Ad mosai? How much more bitter, twisted, acidic and warped comments will we have to put up with sinat chinam of your poisoned quill?

    What’s wrong with you? Is this what studying chasidus has done for you? Isn’t the aim of chasidus – especially the Chabad version – to refine and improve the nefesh habehamis and advance the ben adam lechavero aspect? Definitely not seen in your Rottweiler-style attacks and abuse on people you don’t like.

    Are you studying the right seforim? Obviously not. Maybe it’s time to change them. (I have no doubt that the rebbe would be mortified and humiliated at your behaviour.)

    Finally, if the day should ever come that your Chaim gets the red card from KA, we shall remind you of all the wonderful things you wrote of them – “a good bunch of people who really care about doing the right thing. They all work extremely hard, long hours, and are totally dedicated to kashrus, and they all go way beyond the letter of the law. The Rabbis are all very competent and respect”

  • frosh says:

    Ms Silcove,

    Apart from the moral responsibility to not allow this website to become a vehicle for spreading loshen hora and sinat chinam (and especially not on Tisha b’Av!), we have civil legal responsibilities.

    By allowing your defamatory comments to remain on our website, we could be deemed financially liable, as well as you. Not only are we protecting ourselves, but we are perhaps inadvertantly protecting you.

    You’re welcome.

  • Mason says:

    Jason, you have a good point.
    So let’s make a deal.
    RMR shows his semicha and KA reveals the source of its Pesach flour.

  • to Another Chabadnik, My opinion about this blog being biased propaganda is not a personal attack against Anthony, but you on the other hand, you are obviously making personal attacks against me, all the while you preach to me about Chassidus and being refined etc.–how hypocritical of you indeed! Let’s see if Anthony will make your hateful irrelevant comments as ‘defamatory” and remove them. I think not.

    As I said before, if Meir Rabi id truly a rabbi he can provide his credentials easily.

    If anyone has sincere kashrus queries for KA, instead of blogging about them here and spreading slander, simply ask KA. They are available any time to answer any honest sincere queries anyone has.
    Anyone who instead chooses to make anonymous slanderous attacks against KA here is not a person sincerely looking for answers but looking to bash.

  • Jason says:

    Mason,

    That’s an inane request and you know it.

    Another red herring?

    But interestingly you make it sound as if you speak for Meir?

    Let’s make a deal? Can you deliver?

    Can I deliver?

    Pure shtus!

    Let Meir deliver, unconditionally!

  • Re-reading the comment I strongly surmise that anonymous coward, chabadnik, pig eater, ashreinu, and another chabadnik are all the same person posting anonymously under different names.

  • Having thought about the comments, I do not believe that ‘chabadnik’ or ‘another chabadnik’ (same person) is actually in reality a chabadnik at all. Chabadniks don’t talk or think like he does. This person is posing as a chabadnik.

  • Anyway, blogging here has been a sometimes interesting diversion. It will accomplish nothing because the people bashing KA are not honest brokers. Meir Rabi has been exposed.

  • meir rabi says:

    I apologise for not being on line today and unable to respond. It will take me some time to read all the posts here and draft a response. Please be patient.

    In the meantime may I propose you look at this following Halachic article which is of interest not only in itself but for the reverberations of the changes in Halacha in response to cultural changes throughout the ages. Just think of the permission to wash ones hands upon arising in the morning, a custom not mentioned in the Gemara, I think, nor in the RaMBaM.

    If I am mistaken please let me know the sources.

    This article does not necessarily reflect the position taken by Kosher VeYosher nor other rabbinic authorities. It is presented as information for stimulation and pleasure, to promote enquiry and fulfilment of our obligation to study and pursue Torah day and night.

    “Tasting” and Brushing Teeth on a TaAnit

    The Gemara (Berachot 14a) pursues the definition of what is deemed to be “eating” or “drinking” on a TaAnit?

    Does keeping a fast mean an undertaking to abstain from eating and drinking or an undertaking not to derive food enjoyment?

    One may derive enjoyment from food provided no food is eaten. Similarly, food may be tasted without making a Beracha. Thus one who is fasting may taste food provided it is not eaten. R. Ammi and R. Assi used to taste as much as a Revi’is.
    The Rishonim debate whether this discussion refers to a private voluntary fast that an individual accepts upon himself or even a public fast day. Tosafos (14a s.v. oh dilma) derive from the Gemara that the passage refers to a private, voluntary fast.

    Furthermore, they discuss whether a “private fast” includes public fasts that are for example decreed in response to communal issues, a severe drought for example or only to personal fasts.

    On the other hand, the Rosh (TaAnis 1:15, in the name of R. Yehuda of Barcelona) rules that tasting is permitted on all fast days, with the possible exception of Tisha BeAv and Yom Kippur. On these days it is prohibited for a different reason that is unique to these two fast days: it may violate the prohibition of “washing for pleasure”. See Ritva, (Ta’anit 12a); Korban Nesanel, ibid.; Rivash, 287 and BiUr HaGra, 567.

    The Shu”A (567:1) rules that one who is fasting may taste a Revi’is [although this usually indicates a liquid measure, the MBerurah includes solid foods] on all fasts except for Tisha BeAv and Yom Kippur. The MBerurah adds that one may even intend to derive pleasure from that tasting. Strangely, the Sh”A finds it necessary to include the following, “as long as he expels it from his mouth”, as though there may be consideration to permit swallowing when not intending to eat.

    The Sh”A also discusses what appears to be an evaluation of the risk that uploading a Revi’is may lead to swallowing a small amount and therefore suggests an opinion that a full Revi’is should not be uploaded in one mouthful. (See MBerurah 9)

    All this leads us to contemplate that brushing ones teeth or using mouthwash or other breath freshening strategies, should be permitted and perhaps even on Tisha BeAv. Firstly, these are not foods. Secondly, they are used in measures of less than a Revi’is. Thirdly, even if some is swallowed, it is not tasty. Fourth, one is permitted to wash to remove dirt or any unpleasant matter, be it for oneself or for others; it is no different if one’s hands or mouth are in such a condition. See MBerurah 11, who indeed permits rinsing ones mouth with water, a regular food, to relieve TsaAr. There is a broad range to the meaning of this word, TsaaR, in this context. It may mean where one is suffering an injury or syndrome that causes pain unless rinsed, or it may suggest mild discomfort or unpleasantness.

    Regarding permission to wash in order to maintain cleanliness and this being a parallel to cleaning one’s mouth; this same argument is advanced to permit washing one’s hands in the morning or before Tefilla. The RuAch RaAh that envelopes the hands is deemed to be unpleasant and as unclean as dirty muddy hands.

    The Minchas Yitzchak (4:109) permits cleaning one’s month with toothpaste, when necessary; this appears to be the case these days.

    The Rema concludes the Siman by permitting, other than on Yom Kippur, to chew and spit, on cinnamon sticks or other spices and sweet sticks in order to moisten ones throat. However, he appears to contradict himself (MBerurah 13) from the beginning of the Siman, where he rules not to taste anything on any public fast day.

    I precede my next words with the following observations of R. Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef, Moadim, 534) that any attempt to resolve this problem is a “sakanat derakhim,” a dangerous road.

    In contemplating a theoretical construct it would appear that the most obvious resolution is that the Rema differentiates between food and spices. His opinion would thus be – One may not taste foods on any fast day; it is preferred that one not even rinse ones mouth with (tasteless) water; however one may suck or chew on spices. The Minchas Yitzchok further suggests that even if the taste of spices etc. is swallowed, it is not the normal manner of eating and compares it to the pleasure of an aroma.

    The MBerurah, quoting BiUr HaGra and MAvraham, however, understands that this Rema is at odds with the earlier Rema and is quoting a varying opinion. However, it is worthwhile to note that the Rema, in his commentary to the Tur, the Darchei Moshe (567:2), mentions that the Maharil would rinse his mouth and lean forward to ensure that no water reach his throat. Apparently, tasting which is prohibited does not include washing one’s mouth. The Eliyahu Rabba (567:5) concurs.

  • meir rabi says:

    and another reflection – is the awareness that other people I am shaking hands with, for example, are repulsed by me not having washed my hands after doing various things, a realistic consideration to deem them “soiled” and permitting me to wash them?

  • meir rabi says:

    It also strikes me that it reflects upon the Halchic considerations of keeping ones mouth clean even perhaps when the ancient custom directs us not to.

  • This blog’s name should be changed to Meir Rabi’s Blog. Anonymous Coward, Chabadnik, Pig Eater, Another Chabadnik, Asheinu, and Bnei Akiva (probably all the same guy with multiple personality disorder) nothing wrong with that suggestion, don’t get all hot and bothered about me being ‘nasty’ again, just pointing out that this is really his blog, or so it seems. After all, he even posts his pilpulim here! Didn’t know we had such a lamdisha readership that will actually sit and ‘learn’ all that! I am truly impressed! I guess Meir Rabi is finding an audience here, and that’s fair enough, after all, I have my own blog and like to write too.Just goes to show you how sympathetic to him this blog and its readership is that he feels so chummy with you all, comfortable enough to just check in with all his talmidim, haymishe and friendly and all that. In fact, I think this blog should maybe be called Meir Rabi’s Chassidim. Has a nice ring to it, donthca think?.

  • You know, after reading Meir Rabi’s pilpul just now, I think I may have been wrong. I think he is probably one of the greatest Torah minds of our generation, maybe of the past one hundred years! Yes, as much as I am loathe to admit it, I was wrong. In fact, I do not know how in the world we ever kept Tisa B’Av at all before he told us what to do, or kosher, for that matter. I think we should start calling him the Melbournedike Rav and his Chassidim can be called the Rabi Melbournish Chassidim. Has a nice ring to it, dontcha think? And let’s make him a coronation, crown him rebbe at Lord of the Frie People!

  • Sweet little me says:

    Innocuous????

  • A. says:

    No, bitchy…

  • oooooh, I am sooo hurt, I am going to cry myself to sleep tonight.

  • anonymous says:

    Shoshan, admit it. You understand R” Meir Rabi’s ‘pilpul’ as much as you understand what Chabad chasidus is all about.

    Stick to what you are good at – abuse.

  • “Shoshan, admit it. You understand R” Meir Rabi’s ‘pilpul’ as much as you understand what Chabad chasidus is all about.

    Stick to what you are good at – abuse.”

    oooohhh, nasty, bitchy too! Now I am really upset! My keyboard is flooded with tears. Anthony, whaaaaaaah!

  • anon says:

    Don’t be such a baby Silcove.
    Grow up or shut up.

  • These anonymous posters, for the most part, are not sincere or interested in the issues.

  • Jason says:

    Shoshana,

    I’m attempting to get an important message across and I know you mean well, but you are becoming a distraction to the topic on hand resulting in this thread becoming an irrelevant sideshow.

    Enough, please!

    Time for you to remain silent.

  • sorry Jason, but I think we are wasting our time, while some posters and readers here are interested, none of these really obnoxious posters are really interested in kashrus with an EMES, they only want to bash KA and the Rabbonim abd there is a cult following here of Meir Rabi. Even if you can prove that not only does he lack Rabbinic ordination but, is in fact holding a Divinity degree (not statng that as fact just saying for argument’s sake), they will still follow him like lemmings off a cliff cause they just want to eat what they want to eat. Most of these people do not like the Rabbonim cause they cramp their style. Try, and I hope you succeed but, I doubt you will get any honest discussion going.

  • Jason says:

    Shoshana,

    I hear you, now once again, please, please give me (us) a break.

    And do not assist me in respect to my post below.

    You are becoming more of a hindrance than an asset. If I had your email address, I’d tell you that directly.

    Your silence will be sufficient acknowledgment that you have read and understood my request.

    I thank you in advance.

    To all the other readers:

    This will be my last post on the Meir Rabi refusal to disclose his rabbinic ordination details.

    Until we see the certificate and recognition it’s authenticity, I believe it is utterly inappropriate to accept his “psak” on any halachic topic irrelevant of how good he is, how right he may be, what a model citizen he is etc etc.

    All non disclosure excuses are just that, excuses.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to all here on the Galus Blog and thank you for your patience.

    I appreciate the great interest and passion displayed in the discussion, and am particularly pleased that such great interest has been generated in matters of and relating to Kashrus. This is surely pleasing in the eyes of HaShem.
    I will try to order my observations in response to the large number of postings, to be as orderly and structured as possible.

    Shoshana: I asked two questions; did you seek the RCV’s permission to post their statements? Are you sure they are pleased you have done so? You are very sure that they agree but I am not so sure. I recommend for the sake of form and clarity that you contact them, confirm your certainty and inform us on this blog of their response.
    I again urge readers here to visit my response to the RCV here: http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=316. It is only 250 words with some links to documentation (which will not become active on this blog posting).

    I again invite you, Shoshana, to engage in some discussion with me in whatever format you prefer. I truly believe that it can be a most positive opportunity and I give my solemn word not to distort your words or our exchange in any manner that you feel will unfairly manipulate our discussion.

    If I have improperly or disrespectfully said anything to diminish the honour of any rabbis, please let me know what it is, because I am determined not to engage in any activity that may have such consequences and will desist and apologise for any such action.

    I must nevertheless, by Torah Law, defend myself (Gemara Berachos). Since Rabbi Telsner’s pronouncements were specifically mentioned on this blog, I must inform (and have added this to the relevant page on our website) that I have sent the following SMS message to Rabbi Telsner on 18 July 2010 at 1pm. – Shalom Rabbi Telsner. I believe that it is rumoured that you invited me to meet to discuss kashrus issues but I refused the offer. May I respectfully ask you to clarify details of when this occurred and where. Gutt Shabbos

    Re Lashon Hara: the laws should be studied and I hope with HaShem’s help to begin and be able to continue a separate blog dedicated to this important topic. At this time it is important to know that the Chafetz Chayim mentions more than once in his seminal work, Chafetz Chayim – “Who Wants to Live?” that even great people can fall into this trap and even when motivated by the most honourable intentions. The Torah considers this so important that it illustrates this by publicly naming and shaming Miryam the sister of Moshe Rabbenu, the Tzaddekes in whose merit we witnessed and enjoyed the life sustaining 40 year miracle of water being provided for the millions of Jews and their beasts. She said things in private to Aharon, the peace loving self sacrificing brother of Moshe Rabbenu, which they both considered to be constructive. Yet they were both mistaken and were both punished.
    I pray and beg that we all exercise greater caution in what we say and the way we say it.

    Re Semicha: I had a fairly lengthy discussion here regarding Shimush, which means the opportunity to serve with a Posek – a Halachic authority who decides actual cases of Halacha. Much of my observations there apply here as well. Many who wish to serve as Dayanim will have sought such experience, but not all. It is not, as far as I know, a Halachic requirement nor even an accepted norm.

    The pursuit or publication of Semicha is a distraction, it does not and will not assuage the ire of those who are promoting a tempest, it does not and will not lend more weight to a Halachic ruling that I quote from HaRav M Feinstein, regarding serving meat and milk; or HaRav Wosner regarding cochineal; or HaRav Elyashi regarding lactose. In fact the demand ought to be, “Who has given Semicha to these rabbanim?” “How could they issue their controversial Piskey Halacha?”.

    The answer to those questions is: they based their rulings on the Gemara and on the Poskim and presented their arguments for the perusal and criticism of the learned public. In fact Reb Moshe explains to a questioner who was apologising for repeatedly challenging him about his ruling permitting the same dishwasher to be used for milk and meat, that no apology is required since it his duty to explain the Halacha as he understands it and it is the duty of the questioner to be satisfied with the answers, not to just blindly accept the ruling because he, Reb Moshe, says this is the ruling. There is an essay in the introduction of Reb Moshe’s Teshuvos that elaborates this issue.

    The Halacha and our traditions look with disfavour upon those who use their Torah as a publicity device, as a sales device and even in circumstances where it could be used to prevent serious financial or even physical harm.

    Re the RCV: Let us consider the statements made by the RCV. This may surprise some readers but in fact, the RCV statement declares that the foods and services certified by Kosher VeYosher and its Kosher! are Kosher. However, they do not satisfy what some international Kosher agencies consider to be acceptable standards. Does this mean standards deemed acceptable by these agencies? I wonder if these three international Kosher agencies accept one another’s standards as being acceptable. In fact we all know that they certainly do not accept one another’s standards. Take the LBD (one of the selected 3) policy on fruit juices and drinks for example, which I posted here earlier. They accept all drinks provided they do not contain components of grape or other suspect stuff. This is not accepted by the OU nor the Kof-K, nor by a local Kosher agency but it appears to be accepted by the Sydney Kosher agency.

    Do we know what the standards of these agencies are? Here is one: according to one agency, in order to have Pas Yisrael the oven must be heated by a Jew and remain heated to the temperature of 80C. No one else agrees to this unprecedented decree. To the best of my knowledge this decree has no foundation in Halacha. If Pas Yisrael can be achieved by merely blowing on an already well lit and thoroughly heated oven, what is the foundation for such a radically controversial and stringent decree?

    Turning to matters at hand; I still await a response to my plea: anyone with the slightest foundation that a Halachic issue applies to soft Matza, please inform me ASAP. This can be done anonymously on this blog.

    Re the responses by the international K agencies: I pasted the RCV statements without modification and asked them for a confirmation or denial. In the case that they confirmed I requested to know the nature and substance of those enquiries. It can all be seen here – http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=314
    Make your own assessment of their responses but I believe that I have accurately and honestly conveyed the information and the query. I made no other contact with these agencies.

    More importantly these agencies or these rabbanim, have had no contact with me. I can not imagine a fair assessment being made unless both parties have an opportunity to present their case. But even more elementary is the capacity to accurately convey the facts. I can not understand how the RCV discussed facts. How would they know what is and is not done by KVY and “its Kosher!”?

    I also fail to understand why all this discussion must remain speculative when the RCV might simply respond to our respectful request to provide the information upon which it founds its statements.

    May I also ask Shoshana, how is it that Chaim Silcove, who works for the local Kashrus agency knows of these matters that were investigated by the RCV? Are these two organisations aligned with one another?

    I have elected to use this blog because it makes it abundantly clear that I am not running the moderation of comments. I am indeed most grateful to those running this blog to permit us to use it in this manner.

  • Jason says:

    Meir,

    As I thought.

    You won’t come clean on the smicha issue, you attempt to explain it away as if one isn’t necessary.

    You unfortunately slither around the issue and cannot bring yourself to utter the words….NO, I DON’T HAVE SMICHA. NO, I DON’T HAVE SHIMUSH.

    Then why call yourself Rabbi? And why allow others to refer to you as Rabbi? You are not entitled to use that term, not must you remain silent when someone refers to you as rabbi. That is pure g’neivat da’at! Pretending to be something you are not.

    This is devious conduct and from my perspective I wouldn’t trust you if you told me me it was raining. I’d go outside and look for myself.

    You have no right to pasken. I can also quote the talmud and m’
    forshim, yet I do not give a psak. Do you not have an ounce of humility? You remind me of the episode in the Talmud where a tana could give 100 reasons why a sheretz was not treif, but despite his clever reasonings, the psak was that tghe sheretz indeed was treif.

    I really have nothing more to say to you other than I think you are nichsahal your delusional faithful followers who would rather think with their stomachs than with their heads.

    And pray tell, how come such a clever fellow like you never got a smicha? Below your dignity to posses one.

    Just keep an eye out for Yerovom ben Nevot.

    Remember him?

  • Why Meir, are you so worried if RCV gave me permission to post their statement or not? Why should this worry you? It should be of no concern of yours. What is your motivation in asking me this? It doesn’t strike me as a pure motivation but rather, an attempt once again to gains something for yourself somehow, but how? I can assume how but won’t dare say. You aren’t fooling everyone with your machinations and your less than above-baord attempts to further your own career and feather your own nest.

    Why are you twisting my words?Why are you putting words in Chaim’s mouth? Nowhere in any of my postings did I say anything at all in the name of my husband except to say that he, like all other employees, are hard working and dedicated. He is completely and utterly publicly silent on this subject and has stated not a word regarding you Meir Rabi, or the RCV statement. You see Meir, Chaim is an extremely quiet and discreet person, too busy doing his own job day in and day out to concern himself with things that are not really interesting to him.

    I, on the other hand, am not an employee of KA, and am an independent person, and not a mere appendage of him, and can state my own opinions as such. Are you suggesting that I am his parrot? How sexist of you!

  • Mere appendage says:

    jason, what about checking out the smichas and shimush of all members of the RCV? I personally know of at least 2 who were appointed to shuls and only then got themselves quickie semicha here. I also know of others who still don’t have it (not that their parishioners feel any requirement for it.)

    And dare I say, even a certain rabbi involved in Aust kashrut is reputed not to possess semicha. Call yourself rabbi long enough and you’re a rabbi.

    A throrough semicha-hunt here in Oz would be pretty embarrasing.

    I understand that the main Chabad yeshiva in CH, following the request of the late rebbe, gives every chatan semicha prior to his wedding. That is why we in Melb and elsewhere, one finds truckies, doctors, lawyers, insuramce and stock brokers and of course many, many hebrew teachers sporting the ‘rabbi’ tag.

    From my experience with most of them it means very little.

  • Jason says:

    Mere Apendage,

    Having attended an inauguration of students obtaining rabbanut, it was pointed out to me that they are issued the lowest level of rabbinic title and are instructed that they may not pasken until certain milestones have been achieved. I don’t know what those milestones are, but I would imagine the situation may be along the lines of medical students who graduate after 6 years but then are required to do internship and some level of specialty for another 3 years before they are able to practice on their own and are given full accreditation to issue any/all prescriptions.

    I do not believe any person without a smicha, should pasken particularly on matters of kashrut. My belief is not restricted to Meir, but to ANY person who does not have a rabbinic degree. I am fully aware that the title rabbi is used too freely these days, and very often because people give lovely shiurum or do charity work etc.

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call them, “Reb”?

    Having said that, irrespective of what anyone else may do, Meir has no authority to pass himself off as if he were a fully fledged rabbi, holding all the approbations allowing him to do what he does. He was ordered by the London Beth Din to remove all references to them from his website and even that was done in a mischievous way in that he left a personal approbation from a current London Beth Din member who knew him from their student days in the kollel, which did not attest to his hashgocha competence and qualification, rather gave personal reference along the lines of what a nice and learned chap Meir was. Again, Meir being too clever?

    As for any other rabbi who uses the title and passes themselves off as a genuine fully fledged rabbi, they too should be named. You simply say you know of some. Great, then name them just as Meir has been and let them respond.Incidentally, are their any sitting members on the RCV who are not congregational rabbis? If so, I’d like to know. They too should be named.

    My last point is, that once ANY rabbi is asked point blank, “do you have smicha” and “have you done shimush” and “who issued you certification”, that person should answer the question totally honestly and declare the truth regarding his certification, once asked.

    Any and every rabbi, no matter congregational or otherwise!

    Any untruthfulness in nothing short of being a weasel.

    In respect to Meir, his “Holier than Thou” attitude is simply mind boggling even if he is holier than thou.

    Peace upon thee my blogging brothers (and sister)!

    Whoopie, I’ve said the magic words, now I too can issue kashrut certifications as I too am now “holier than thou”!

  • Mere appendage,

    The Rebbe issued a directive many years ago that bochurim “should arrange their studies so that they attain smicha before getting married”.

    There are many possible reasons for this. It might be that the Rebbe considered smicha a minimum standard of education for all Chabad men. This implies about 4-5 years of post high-school, full time Jewish study.

    My own view on this is that because smicha confers the power of psak din, Chabadniks who find themselves on shlichus in a remote place would find this very useful in dealing with practical halachic questions that arose.

    Of course if goes without saying that this power of psak should not be abused, and that no Rabbi should use it without being confident in their underlying knowledge of the subject matter.

    Just like there is a vast range of University degrees available, there is a range of smichot. Some programs are regarded far better than others. What they all have in common is the piece of paper, and the implied power of psak din. What the individual Rabbi does afterwards in terms of maintaining their knowledge, or being a “practicing” Rabbi, is up to them.

    Here is a good analogy: how many people in business or politics happen to have law degrees? While the piece of paper entitles them to officially give legal advice to a client, most would not because they haven’t had the equivalent of shimush, nor have they maintained their knowledge.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom All,

    I will try to find the Gemara I referred to earlier relating to impropriety in using one’s Torah credentials and experience, even to prevent financial or physical harm; and post it here today.

    I will however post Dayan Abraham’s, my colleague’s generous public comments, published on and stamped with the London BDin’s letterhead and seal, for your perusal and assessment.

    Meir Rabi “has acquired mastery over a vast array of Torah topics, and is particularly competent in applying practical Halacha.

    I have absolutely no doubt in trusting his judgement and rulings, and am certain that whoever has the opportunity to be associated with him will be extremely fortunate, gaining from him in both Torah matters and sound advice.

    I make this declaration and sign it for the honour of the Torah.”

    the full and original letter can be viewed on the KVY website

  • frosh says:

    To Jason

    Can you not see the irony of someone demanding answers and telling people to “name names”, whilst at the same time refusing to use their own name?

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Jason,

    I don’t think your comments are particularly respectful or accurate. Pursuit of knowledge and truth should be done conforming to the halachos of derech eretz and kovod habriyos. Not with a view to mock or discredit for the sake of discrediting. As far as I know the Chofetz Chaim didn’t have smicha and we all know the power of his psak for all eternity. Questions should be posed for an answer and may in some cases lead to a different understanding of the issue altogether. In any event I don’t think Rabbi Rabi is opposed to people challenging him or his kashrus but I think it needs to be done in a respectful manner. Once it is not done in this manner I think Rabbi Rabi has the right to (and should) ignore those comments and that blogger. I think people should only ask questions when they are truly interested in hearing an answer for a constructive purpose. I am sure Rabbi Rabi will listen to all comments, suggestions etc that are posed in a derech eretzdik manner. That way if you sincerely have concerns or questions, through a discussion or possible suggestions, one side may see the other sides point of view or each party may gain a different understanding. That is the only way such discussions can be constructive and productive and actually lead to outcomes that are beneficial for all melbourne jewry and make the standards of our kashrus authorities higher, more reliable and more accountable.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    My comments were not just for Jason but any person posting comments that does it in a disrespectful manner.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    And just a clarification re the Chofetz Chaim’s smicha….my understanding is that he didn’t get smicha until aged 70 or so and he only did it then for a specific reason unrelated to people relying on his psakim.

  • Jason says:

    Chaverim et al,

    Why do you insist on referring to Meir as rabbi when he says that not only he is not ordained but one does not need to be ordained in order to make a psak, provided they quote a reliable source (as if that source can be quoted not withstanding the intricacies we have today in Kashrut which is not covered in those sources, however in todays day and age requires a profound knowledge of chemistry, machinery and applicable halacha, all intricately intertwined)

    And now you are comparing Meir to the Chafetz Chaim?

    Not in a thousand years man, not in a thousand years!

    And I’m the one making a mockery?

    Please man, this is a serious site.

    The Comedy Club is up the road!

    Please!

  • Jason says:

    Dear Frosh,

    No need for me to state my name for the following reason:

    I don’t claim to be a rabbi or a pseudo rabbi.

    I don’t pasken, nor do I give out hechsherirm.

    I am not a member of any rabbinate.

    I don’t belong to any rabbinical council.

    I don’t pretend to be anything other than a concerned blogger.

    I have made no allegations about other rabbis and their rabbinical qualifications, and as they don’t post, there is no need for me to challenge them.

    One of the reasons why a blog works is that people are able to challenge what they believe is to be flawed. If everyone were required to post their full name, blogs would die, including this one Frosh. And who would be the loser? More often than not, the truth.

    Now, if you Frosh and the other moderators make it a condition that ALL bloggers must post the real names and email addresses, and that condition is enforced, should I wish to post, I too will abide by the rules which is not to say I’m currently not.

    In the meantime, your job is to moderate and make sure that posts follow acceptabe guidelines.

    I might add that an earlier poster, Mere Appendage made allegations about other rabbis not having smicha. Would he have posted that if he were not anonymous?

    Would have Meirs chassidim been prepared to publicly out themselves by disclosing their identities?

    We have an extremely serious issue on hand and blogging may be the only way to deal with it.

    One more point. What would you do, if my real name turned out to be Jason?

    Ever considered that?

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Jason,

    If I was Rabbi Rabi, I would actually ignore you. I don’t think you are after truth or have any concerns about the kashrus standards etc. Someone careful about kashrus understands that what goes into someone’s mouth can pollute someone’s neshama but understands that no less can what comes out of ones mouth and that includes the manner in which it comes out. If you were concerned for all of Melbourne Jewry you would be doing more than venting on a blog (for example why not try to arrange a meeting between Rabbi Rabi and the RCV so they can openly discuss all the issues that each side is concerned about). My personal opinion (which may be totally irrelevant) is that for Rabbi Rabi’s kashrus organisation it may be useful to bring in another Rov from Melbourne (or recognised Rov from overseas) to work together with Rabbi Rabi so that the Kashrus can receive more acceptability from all parties. I think competition is very healthy in the kashrus industry provided that it doesn’t in the end divide the community (for example where people don’t start eating at their friend’s house because he uses this hechsher etc). In my opinion, the easiest and best way out of this by Rabbi Rabi to bring in another respectable Rov to work in his kashrus business. But Jason I think you should be careful with the way you express yourself. Whether or not Rabbi Rabi has smicha or not etc, he is a fellow Jew and should be treated with the respect he deserves.

  • Jason says:

    Chaveirim et al,

    Look at the link which just landed in my inbox.

    This one goes back to November 2007

    http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bx44ZK0ljHYmMTY4MzEzZmQtMDU1OS00MmNkLTk4ZjItMGQ2NDMwOWRmNjRj&hl=en

    I have more recent comments specifying what the London Beth Din takes on board before issuing hechsheirim, but then being ignorant pommies they wouldn’t be aware of, nor have similar access to the sources which Meir quotes and supposedly relies upon. After all, we Ozzies thrash them at cricket don’t we?

    For example see following comments from a current sitting member of the London Beth Din in response to a local query. Nore, they don’t refer to Meir as rabbi, rather R’ . I wonder why?

    1) The LBD does not issue a licence for any eatery restaurant café or takeaway unless the licensee is a Shomer Shabbos.

    2) The LBD doesn’t issue a licence to any premises if there is anything other than kosher food present at any time. Chas Veshalom.

    3) Levels of hashgacha – for strictly kosher premises – vary depending on milky or meaty, the permanent presence of frum, beis din approved, members of staff, amount of bedika-requiring fruit and vegetables used etc.

    4) A manufacturing site having hashgacha only relates to any appropriately sealed goods being produced from that site. Kemuvan it has no bearing on the status of any establishment which may sell those goods. If a particular item is kosher and sealed with commensurate chasimos then it is kosher irrespective of other products being sold in the supermarket etc. If it is removed from its sealed wrapper then the hechsher is obviously not valid.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Jason,

    Again I am only saying that your concerns should be phrased with the correct amount of derech eretz that should be accorded to a fellow Jew. I think you should try to arrange a meeting between the RCV and Rabbi Rabi so all parties can discuss their concerns. Shame to introduce dissent and divisiveness in the Melbourne Jewish community when a resolution should be fairly easy and straightforward and can be resolved with some dialogue between the parties that is respectful, informed and can bring clarity to the anything that is obscure, not understood or unacceptable. It may be even useful before more slandering occurs to bring in some overseas impartial dayanim who are respected and accepted to hear the concerns and give each party a right to present their views and processes etc so that chas veshalom Melbourne Jewry is not divided through kashrus. Kashrus, torah and mitzvos are vehicles to unite Jews, not divide them.

  • Jason says:

    Chaveirim et al,

    Your misplaced piousness at this late hour as people are probably eating questionable food, is unbelievable.

    Let’s assume for a moment your idea was adopted. To organise what you suggest could take weeks, perhaps even months.

    If one is meant to err on the side of caution, there would be an immediate requirement by Meir to stop forthwith all his hechsheirim. That will never happen. People who think with their stomachs will keep on feeding their dislocated brains and those who think with their righly located brains will stop and ponder whether halachically they have been on a Bondi tram to nowhere. Time is of the essence and I believe Meir’s time has either run out or is about to.

    We are talking about innocent people being nichshal, but it appears you and others fail to see that aspect of reality.

    Kashrut is not a joke, it’s a high priority item.

    Meir is fully cognisant that his methodology is highly controversial, but what the heck, he’s out there to give Melbourne a greater variety, at a cheaper price, so everything in his mind is hunky-dory.

    Well it’s not.

    Every red-line in the sand has been breached.

    He’s not going to suspend his activities until a pow-wow is arranged. He knows the inevitable result of such a pow-wow with any world authority, and there is no way he is going to commit hara-kiri.

    Fact of life!

  • Mere appendage says:

    David Werdiger
    The Rebbe issued a directive many years ago that bochurim “should arrange their studies so that they attain smicha before getting married”.
    My own view on this is that because smicha confers the power of psak din, Chabadniks who find themselves on shlichus in a remote place would find this very useful in dealing with practical halachic questions that arose.

    Of course the rebbe would have had these thoughts in mind.
    A smart knowledgable Jew once told me that had he realised that ‘semicha graduate’ shluchim need simple day-to-day halachic knowledge, rather than the Yoreh Deah laws re the the intestines of chickens (shaalos will rarely arise for a Chabad shaliach in the boondocks – unless he is a shochet himself), the rebbe would have instructed them to be tested on (at least) the entire Kitzur Shulchan Aruch which would be of far greater benefit.

    Meanwhile, except for a few of our outstanding rabbis here – those still into studying, many have long forgotten even those YD halachot.

    Aderaba David, check it out yourself.

  • frosh says:

    Jason,

    Why don’t you just let people make up their own minds?

    No one is telling you and Ms Silcove to eat food from a hechsher that you don’t like. So why don’t you just leave the other 99% of us alone?

    Could the answer be that this is not really about kashrut but about squashing competition?

    Unless you use your real full name, people are just going to assume you are one of the individuals who have a conflict of interest.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    If you believe the hechsher should be stopped immediately, write to an authority that may help. Try Dayan Abrahams. He is the one that gave the original approval that is posted on Rabbi Rabi’s site – so contact him and ask him to voice an opinion. Otherwise stop your slandering and do something productive like arranging a meeting (even if does take weeks). You may be surprised that there are ways to accomplish things in a respectful manner.

  • Jason says:

    Chaveirim,

    Have you looked at the link I posted?

    Who do you think signed off on that Beth Din announcement.

    I have a copy of the accompanying letter.

    And it’s not too complimentary.

    Whoah there….penny finally drop?

    The very same rabbi you mentioned!

    No prizes for you, 99

    BOOM BOOM!

  • meir rabi says:

    I have already seen this and my response is the same now as it was earlier.

    Shalom to you

    I stand by the letter from Dayan Y Abraham. It is true and authentic. Read the substance of the letter.

    The letter you sent is unsigned as you can see and also not sealed with a stamp. Compare that to the letter I have on my website. I suggest the letter you have sent me is a forgery. See further for a compelling reason to conclude that the letter is indeed a forgery.

    Besides it in fact only testifies to the authenticity of Dayan Abraham’s letter endorsing me.

    As you can also see from my website, pasted below, there is no suggestion that my Hashgocha is endorsed or a satellite of the LBD, it is purely a personal letter of endorsement.

    So as you indicate at the start of your letter, “if the contents of these attachments are true”, rest assured they are not true.

    But I should ask and you should also ask an important question; does the LBD have the right at all, if they do so wish, to demand I remove Dayan Abraham’s letter, in fact their letter, as it is after all on their letterhead and sealed with their stamp?

    If they think they do have such a right, then I suggest with respect, that they write me a letter, explain their concerns and their request and show why within the Halalacha it is required that I abide their request.

    It is outright Lashon Hara to circulate such a message if it is true, but far worse, Motzi Shem Ra, if it is not true. Since it is impossible to contemplate that the LBD would transgress any of these serious prohibitions, I am compelled and you too should be compelled, to conclude that the letter is a forgery.

    Sincerely
    Rabbi MGR

    The following was declared on the Sivan 19 5767, June 15 2006
    click here to view original

    London Beth Din
    Court of the Chief Rabbi
    Adler House 735 High Road, North Finchley, London N12 OUS, England

    I hereby make this public declaration:

    I wish to express my approval and support for my dearest friend, the brilliant Rabbi, Reb Meir Gershon Rabi Shelita.

    For more than 20 years we learned together and in the same Beis HaMedrash, I know him exceedingly well. He is an outstanding Torah scholar who possesses many exceptional qualities. For decades he has applied himself with astonishing diligence and has acquired mastery over a vast array of Torah topics, and is particularly competent in applying practical Halacha.

    I have absolutely no doubt in trusting his judgement and rulings, and am certain that whoever has the opportunity to be associated with him will be extremely fortunate, gaining from him in both Torah matters and sound advice.
    I make this declaration and sign it for the honour of the Torah,

    (Rabbi) Yehonassan Abraham
    Member of the Beth Din Tzedek, London

    Kosher VeYosher is not affiliated with the London Beth Din; Rabbi Abraham’s letter is an endorsement for Rabbi Meir G Rabi.

  • Jason says:

    Frosh,

    Unless you use your real full name, people are just going to assume you are one of the individuals who have a conflict of interest.

    Huh?

    Trust me, I’m not in the kashrut game and I have no aspirations of getting into it.

    I could use that line about anyone here for or against Meir.

    I have no conflict interest but then, why should you believe me? After all I am anonymous, right?

  • frosh says:

    A completely anonymous person asks us to trust their word :-)

    The word of a completely anonymous person is worth less than nothing!

    At least Ms Silcove has the decency to defame people using her real name.

    Either use your real name or desist from Motzi Shem Ra.

  • Jason says:

    Meir,

    Here is an open challenge to you.

    I will lodge a copy of the email sent by Rabbi Abrahams, with the attached Beth Din letter, plus his further emails dated May of this year and other emails cc’d to fellow members of the London Beth Din, including his comments about his inter-reaction with you, with a mutually agreed upon independent solicitor.

    If the emails and/or Beth Din letters are forgeries I will publicly declare myself and apologise, however if the emails are in fact his, (which they are) you will be required to publicly apologise for inferring the emails and LBD letters are forgeries, then abandon forthwith all your hechsheirim, and give your word, nay, a signed declaration that you will never again enter the realm of Kashrut authorization here in Melbourne and that you take upon yourself the penitence of the numerous people who were nichshal because of you.

    As I said, your time has come or is about to.

  • frosh says:

    An anonymous person cannot be held to a promise – to state otherwise is moronic.

  • Jason says:

    Frosh,

    I will have to disclose my identity when I front up to the solicitor.

    Both Meir and I will have to front up….was that so hard to work out?

    But as a special favour to you, I’ll invite you to witness Meir’s apology and ultimate relinquishment of Kashrut certification.

    Howzatt?

  • meir rabi says:

    If you wish Jason you can send the documentation you have to me via an anonymous email address or post it regular mail. I have no idea what you are referring to and dont understand why I have not received any correspondence from Dayan Yonasan Abraham or the LBD.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    All i hope is that all sides of this blog are acting leshem shomayim. I hope there is a resolution that is beneficial for everyone and for all of Melbourne Jewry.

  • Jason says:

    Meir,

    Now, who should I believe? The emails (with all the email headings) staring me in the face, or you.

    I suppose you don’t recall Rabbi Binstock either (May/June 2007)?

    Two overseas prominent rabbis, both claiming to have had exchanges with you, both expressing their disappointment, yet you can’t recall receiving anything from anyone either verbally or in writing?

    I say once again, that what I have are not forgeries.

    I may consider passing the information on to a well known Melbourne identity, who would be able to peruse and investigate what I have and declare that they are indeed genuine, that the emails too, are genuine in that they are from the people whose names appear in the email headings which include Rabbi Y Abrahams of the London Beth Din.

    If the person I have in mind bears out what I say, I have no doubt he will be believed.

    I also remind you that truth is the penultimate test in a defamation action.

    Huston, we have a problem!

  • Calling out a Rabbi for lying is not defaming.

    Frosh, How about all the innuendos made on this site against the Rabbonim and Rabbi Mordecai Gutnick and KA? Is that ‘defaming”? Your standards on this blog are skewed and biased completely to promote your propaganda. Typical left winger tactics: demonize and isolate the opposition, make innuendos and half truths over and over again until believed, pretend to take the higher moral ground of fairness while censoring those with different views.

    Go ahead, make me the whipping post,if you want, but it doesn’t further Meir Rabi’s case in the least.

  • frosh says:

    Ms S.S,

    There’s a Fraudian term for what you just wrote about me.

    It’s called “projection.”

    By the way, making sever accusations without a shread of evidence is at best lashon hora. I suggest you desist.

    Finally, I love that you pejoratively lable me a left winger. It balances it out nicely with the other people who pejoratively lable me a right winger.

  • meir rabi says:

    If you wish Jason, you can send the documentation you have to me via an anonymous email address or post it regular mail. I have no idea what you are referring to and dont understand why I have not received any correspondence from Dayan Yonasan Abraham or the LBD.

    And I do not recall ever chatting, corresponding or knowing Rabbi Binstock.

  • GalusAustralis says:

    Shoshana,

    If you believe that a particular comment on this website may be defamatory, please bring it to the attention of the editorial team using the email: editorial AT galusaustralis.com

    It is worth noting, that in removing the RCV statment (the first one) because it is potentially defamatory which you posted earlier, we are in the company of such organisations as COSV who removed it from their website for the same reason.

    Cheers,
    Rachel

  • dovid says:

    Mere appendage wrote:

    “The Rebbe issued a directive many years ago that bochurim “should arrange their studies “so that they attain smicha before getting married
    My own view on this is that because smicha confers the power of psak din, Chabadniks who find themselves on shlichus in a remote place would find this very useful in dealing with practical halachic questions that arose”.

    Your wiew is plain stupid, as the rebbe himself wrote that the reason for that is, that in in every home there are sheeilot and not allways there is a rov on hand.

    “הנהגת בית הרב היא, שלפני הנשואין לומדים ע״מ לקבל סמיכה
    להוראה. ולמרות שהיא הגהגת בית הרב, הרי שכמדובר כבר כמ״פ כל
    המנהגים שנתפרסמו שייכים לכל אחד**

    הטעם להנהגה האמורה בפשטות היא, מכיון שבבית מתרחשות
    לעתים שאלות שונות, ולא תמיד ניתן לגשת אל הרב לשאלו, לפיכך יש
    לדאוג שבבית יהי׳ רב.

    במילא, הן הבחורים והן האברכים שכבר נישאו, יוציאו ״סמיכה״.
    באמת הי׳ צ״ל, שמקודם ידעו ללמוד היטב. כ׳׳ק מו״ח אדמו״ר

    התתתן בגיל שבע עשרה. וידע או כבר ללמוד היטב, ומי שהסמיכו
    להוראה הקשה עליו מאד בשאלותיו, אלא שבסופו של דבר נתן לו את
    הסמיכה — הוא הרוית זאת ביושר, ולא הי׳ זה ״נהמא דכיסופא״.
    — אבל לכל הפחות יש ללמוד את השו״ע עם הבאר היטב,
    ולאחר מכן שייך וט״ז, ואח׳׳כ קטעים מהטור ובית יוסף וכוי.
    לא נוגע כ״כ הניירות, מה שנוגע הוא שאכן ידעו את הדינים —
    יור״ד, חלק מאהע״ז, או״ח ובפרט ה׳ שבת.

    אצל הבחורים דורשים שאכן יוציאו סמיכה, ושהמסמיכים יהיו
    ״מחמירים״, בכדי שידעו שהנבחנים אכן למדו הדינים כדבעי.

    source: שערי הלכה ומנהג יו”ד – חו”מ עמוד קלד

    you also wrote:

    “Of course the rebbe would have had these thoughts in mind”.

    you didn’t know what he said, but you know what he had in mind!

    where were you hidding until now?

  • Rachel,

    I appreciate you giving me that email to report being smeared, but why did you wait so long? Haven’t you been paying attention?

    The RCV statement is not potentially defamatory, don’t tell me bubba misahs. It was emailed to hundreds in the widespread community. It is a Rabbinic statement, that is of course what Rabbinic bodies do, they do not defame. And since it was emailed to hundreds of people, putting it on this blog would not have made much of a difference because it was already out there for all to see.

    If Rabbonim are going to be threatened with defamation for taking a halachik position, then what do we have Rabbonim for? To be puppets or mice? To cower in the corner because maybe someone will moser, (dub them into the goyim) on them and send a lawyer to their door? I hope to G-d it never comes to this, because if it does we will have no halachik leadership whatsoever.

    You know what Torah says about any Jew, especially a Rabbi who threatens to moser on his fellow Jew? If you don’t, I suggest you ask your local halachik authority just how serious such a sin is in the eyes of Hashem.

    Why have COSV suddenly gotten nervous? Have they been threatened and if so with what and by whom?

  • Someone is lying, either Meir Rabi or the RCV, both cannot be telling the truth.

  • dovid says:

    shoshana

    rabonim are not immune. see the mond case.

    where did you get your law degree?

    from nigeria?

  • Don’t need a law degree, mesira is an aveira, and the threat of mesira is an aveira, a biggie. Why should the RCV feel threatened? Who would possibly threaten them? Frum people who are really frum, Rabbis who are really Rabbis wouldn’t dream of even hinting about it. I wonder. hhhmmmmmmmm

  • meir rabi says:

    Here is an article from my site. http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=280

    I post articles like this simply because the Kosher consumers only hear misleading messages from the other Kashrus orgs. They hear foe example that Carmine is not Kosher. But here we see the most eminent of Rabbis saying the opposite. May Torah bring light to the hearts and minds of those who dwell in darkness. Even a tiny bit of light can dispel much darkness.

    Articles on my website do not necessarily reflect the position taken by Kosher VeYosher nor other rabbinic authorities. They are presented as information for stimulation and pleasure, to promote enquiry and fulfilment of our obligation to study and pursue Torah day and night.

    TeShuVos Shevet HaLevi 8:184

    This Responsa of Rabbi Wosner discusses Food Colouring Derived from the Cochineal Beetle. This is often listed on a food’s ingredient panel as “cochineal extract”, “carmine”, “crimson lake”, “natural red 4″, “C.I. 75470″, “E120″, or “natural colouring”

    I have your booklet of Halachic discourses but I fail to understand why you seek my counsel in your holy work since you have well researched the subject matter from all its perspectives and all your observations and perspectives are precious and correct. Nevertheless I will write briefly regarding food colouring produced from non-K bugs.

    The principles of this discussion have been raised long ago and are to be found in the responsa of TifEres TzviYD 73; PisChey Teshuvah YD end of 87; ShoEl UmeiShiv 3:1:39 and MinChas YitzChok 3:96:2.

    Although there may be a concern that a non-K product which becomes Kosher through desiccation, may regain its non-K status if rehydrated, as we find in the Peri MeGaDim and other commentators, YD end 87, regarding the Gid HaNasheh; nevertheless this in not a problem.

    Firstly, you have verified that in fact it does not become rehydrated and secondly, since the product in its earlier manufacture is processed to a point where it is no longer a food (not RaUy LeAchilat KeLev) it gains a new identity which is irreversible. This is an ancient matter comprehensively established by the NoDa BiYeHuDa YD 26; PeRi MeGaDim 87 and my own modest contribution in SheVet HaLevi 1:152.

    Your argument, based on the ShO YD end of 104, proposing that such non-K foods still require Bittul – nullification within 60 times their volume, is also not applicable. In this case the original non-K product is not really a food since we consider it disgusting and it is in fact Battel – nullified/neutralised, because of this consideration, if they are less than half of the mixture even when in their “fresh” state.

    In fact you have already alluded to this argument in your own discussions regarding differences between ZeVuVim and NeMaLim on the one hand and ToLaIm on the other, which is debated in YD 84 by the Shach and Taz. The Shach S”K 30, is very stringent regarding ToLaIm but finds it necessary to differentiate between ToLaIm found in fruit, which he argues are not disgusting unlike ToLaIm found on flowers and leaves that are disgusting. Nevertheless, I am not at all clear how one can draw such distinctions between identical types of ToLaIm.

    Additionally, this substance is used as no more than a colouring of the food (and not flavour) about which the Talmud says that it is of no consequence, Bava Kama 101; YD 102. The Chasam Sofer nevertheless tends towards being strict if the prohibition is of Biblical nature but not if it is of Rabbinic origin.

    Furthermore, you have pointed out that even if it is to deemed as non-K it is nevertheless Battel – nullified/neutralised due to it being an insignificant proportion of the entire food.

    In view of all this your conclusion that foods containing are Kosher is absolutely clear.

    I would nevertheless add that although there is no Halachic prohibition, where possible and not inconvenient it is worthwhile to try to avoid such ingredients. I have a small suspicion that such foods are considered disruptive to ones spirit (Timtum) as we find in the Rema of YD 81:7 and I say this in spite of being aware that the cases are not entirely identical.

  • Mr Frypan says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi

    In one of your previous postings, you included letters from the OU and Chof K, denying any contact with the Rabbis of the RCV involving you or your Kashrus org.

    There seems to be some misunderstanding here. Could it be that they meant the Rabbis of the RACV, inadvertantly leaving out the “a”? Or maybe it was the Rabbits of the RSPCA, which is more likely, as the RACV don’t have Rabbis(on their board), whereas the RSPCA definitely have rabbits.

    My advice to you is that you should ask them to clarify the matter for you.

    Sincerely

    R W Frypan Esq.

  • cannot forget says:

    Nice to see that there is no debate about mesireh being an aveireh.
    Someone should notify all those lovely people who have in the past mossered [or threatened to moser (some level of aveireh)] the yeshiva college and Centre.

  • dovid,

    In the first part of your comment, you are actually quoting from me, not from Mere appendage. Thanks for the clarification regarding the Rebbe’s reasons for this directive (despite your nasty tone).

    Most frum people would say that a simple home kitchen kashrus question could be resolved satisfactorily by anyone who genuinely knew the halacha, without the need to go to an ordained Rabbi. Is the Rebbe saying that this is insufficient? This says a lot about the power of formal psak din.

  • dovid segal says:

    Shoshana

    there is no qustion that mesira is an aveira, but is it also an aveira when this is the only way to protect yourself?

    what do you think he should have done: (1) suffer, (2) complain to the rov in his shull, (3) call them to the a din torah in front of the rabbonim that ruled in the case of rebetzin laufer? (4)call them to the a din torah in front of the rabbonim that were silent in the case of coalfield Hebrew congregation?

    Or maybe to speak to them in a language that they understand.

    As to your question who would possibly threaten them?

    The question that should be asked, is not who would but who should, and the answer in my opinion should be: any person.

    Rabbis who are really Rabbis, wouldn’t even dream of signing on a psak halocho, in a issue that they have no idea.

    How many members of the Rcv, have even a basic idea in food production? Or know more than the third siman in shulchan aruch orach chaim?

    until I am proven wrong, my opinion will be that the Rcv isn’t more than a guild of pulpit rabbis and not kehila leaders, and they any power to enforce their opinion-not in their “own” shull, where they were hired to do a specific job and there where their authority starts and ends, they may psken from whatever they want, but they have no g-d given rights tights to defame any person.

    I’m sure that among them, are rabbis who think that they were born to rule, but that doesn’t give them the rights to do so.

  • anon says:

    Mr Frypan,

    I find your comment above purile.
    This is unfortunately a SERIOUS issue – Jewish people may be eating from a hechsher that is questionable to say the least.

    If you bothered to read before you wrote, you would know that the RCV DID contact all 3 organisations as published in their second letter on this mater.

    The RCV admit that they are NOT world class experts in kashrus (as Meir Rabi does) and they sought guidence from 3 of the worlds most respected and knowledgable kashrus bodies. They raised several issues that have been brought to them by the Melbourne community.

    As much as Meir Rabi would like us to know that these groups also disagree on various kashrus issues (which is true- but totally irrelevant in this case) -> specific to the issues raised by the Melbourne community, it would seem that all 3 kashrus bodies are in sync and Meir is out of step

    On behalf of the Meblourne community and with the knowledge that they gained from these 3 kashrus bodies – RCV put out their warning

    You do NOT need a PHD to understand this -> however you do need a great gemora brain to take a couple paragraphs of wording a tear it to shreds and then rebuild the wording to suite your own purposes…

  • anon says:

    Mr Segal,

    Thank you for proving my point

    It would seem that the RCV went down the right path in this case. They realise they aren’t the worlds most knowledgable in kashrus and deferred their decision based on the responsa of 3 of the worlds most respected kashrus bodies

    On the other hand, we have Meir Rabi who is quite content to present himself as someone with kashrus knowledge and experience on par with these organisations.

    One thing that I don’t know and would like someone to explain- if possible. In the MK book, they list all the hechsharim that are reputable to thm. This includes both KA in Sydney and Adass in Melbourne. I would like to know which of the worlds kashrus bodies is willing to list Meir Rabi amongst all the others in their kashrus guides etc…

  • frosh says:

    Anon,

    Other than the irrepressible Ms Silcove (whose husband is an employee of KA), why have we not seen anyone willing to come on record here and represent the RCV?

    Why hide behind anonymity if what you say is true and can be backed up with evidence?

    The RCV’s story about checking with OU / Kof-K / KLBD has already been proven to be BS.

  • Jason says:

    Frosh,

    The RCV’s story about checking with OU / Kof-K / KLBD has already been proven to be BS.

    The RCV never stated that they made the query directly or that the inquiry mentioned a specific person/company.

    Tell me Frosh, how did you get to become a moderator?

    Was it you love of laffa matzos or the stir fries made by an eatery which operates on Shabbat and, correct me if I am wrong also has a Jewish partner involved as well, which obviously adds to the penultimate requisites for an issuance of a kashrut certificate despite its shabbat activities?

    Dear Meir,

    You wrote

    You don’t understand why you have not received any correspondence from Dayan Yonasan Abraham or the LBD?

    For the record Meir, please confirm you have not received any correspondence from Rabbi Abrahams in regard to your hechsheirim certification? Have you not had had ANY form of communication with him where you were instructed to remove references to both him and the LBD, which you did not obey until pressured to do so?

    Why then did Dayan Binstock write (2007)that Dayan Abrahams told him the following “I had very strong words with Meir Rabi four weeks ago insisting that he remove every mention and reference to myself, the Beis Din or any other connection immediately. I impressed upon him how betrayed I felt, how dishonest and even fraudulent his misuse and misrepresentation of my letter had been and that were it not to be removed I would have no choice but to publicise his dishonesty”.

    I have a full copy of the email Meir, so please none of your “I know nothing” shtik.

    Further more Meir, I have another copy of the email where the same Dayan Abrahams signs off as follows “For the avoidance of doubt let me state the following: The London Beth Din never has and never would endorse the private Kashrus services run by by an individual, overseas. The Beis din never has recognised Meir Rabi’s kashrus services in any way whatsoever. I was asked in an individual capacity to provide a reference letter to possibly help Meir Rabi’s employment prospects. Meir Rabi is fully aware of all this. His conduct in this matter is, regretfully, neither Kosher nor Yosher.

  • frosh says:

    “Tell me Frosh, how did you get to become a moderator?”

    Jason, you are not very good at research, are you?

    If you can’t solve this question, what value can we place on your other “research” that you espouse?

  • dovid segal says:

    anon
    anon

    I am not sure that the first announcement of the rcv, was on behalf of the rabbonim and not a one man job, from a person within this organization who didn’t have enough courage to sign his name on it.

    there is no proof that They realize that they aren’t the worlds most knowledgeable in Kashmirs or that their decision was based on the response of 3 of the worlds most respected Kashmirs bodies.

    it reminds me rabbi turtzki from london that wrote in a Teshuva in his book “Yoshiv moshe” where he talks about the question, if canned fish is considered “ole al Shulchan melochim”. he writes: “i rang buckingham palace to ask the queen’s chef if the queen eats canned tune, and i was told that she eats only fresh fish”.

  • Jason says:

    So then Frosh, tell us what component of my previous post you disagree with or you think is inaccurate?

    Oh, I know. You really don’t like laffa matza? Sorry I suggested you did.

    As for my other research, one doesn’t have to be too smart to be able to read an email,but the fact remains, despite the absurd lengths you go to in order to protect an individual who has made life easier for your stomach, the emails are there, headers and all, which I shall be passing on to an independent reputable person to establish whether indeed they are forgeries or not.

    Then what Frosh?

  • anon says:

    Frosh,

    Please confirm that you have spoken with either Rabbi Glasman or Ari Morris of the RCV

    Their contact details are:

    info@rcv.org.au
    http://www.rcv.org.au/

    I think that the average reader would tend to agree that it is truly beneath the diginity of any formal organisation or anyone associated directly with a formal organisation to muck rake on a blog…

    don’t you?

    Once you have spoken directly with the RCV, can you please provide us with your findings

  • dovid segal says:

    “…from Dayan Yonasan Abraham or the LBD?>

    is he rabbi Yonasan Abraham from the nond case?

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Seems to be the best solution would be to have one central kashrut organisation that is recognised by all – especially for a small community like Melbourne.

    Although I do not agree with the tone of Jason’s postings, I do not think that Rabbi Rabi’s comments about LBD having to show a halachic basis why he is required to remove the endorsement is an appropriate response. If Dayan Abraham has requested that Rabbi Rabi remove the endorsement and provided it only for a specific purpose which he feels is not being served by it being posted on Rabbi Rabi’s kashrut, I think simple decency would be to remove it. Furthermore, it is probably misleading and deceptive to retain it on the site. I think Rabbi Rabi should seek an endorsement letter from a recognised Rov who is comfortable providing it and having it posted on the site.

  • Jason says:

    Anon,

    Spot on, and that’s why Meir has been taunting and goading the RCV as he knows they will not post on this or any other blog.

    David,

    Ask Rabi. He seemed not be concerned with Dayan Abrahams when it suited him. Try keeping your red herrings for the sloppy kidushim you attend.

  • Jason says:

    Chaveirim,

    I concur with your post but with one important caveat. If one cannot or will not do what reasonable person consider to be the decent thing to do, despite being ask numerous times, the character of the person comes into serious question.

    A hechsher certifier, not only has to be knowledgeable, but more importantly, the character is paramount. So too by way of example, a shochet.

    Sadly, you and the other readers have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Some of you are beginning to realize there may be an iceberg ahead, but other?

    They wouldn’t know the Titanic if it had the name plastered all over it.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    I agree with you Jason about the decency issue. However, it is probably disappointing that if the LBD believe Rabbi Rabi is misleading people or not qualified to certify kashrus that they have not made more public announcements etc. Similarly, you would expect that the Adass, Kollel Beis Hatalmud, Lubavitch and Mizrachi organisations should also come out strongly and united in such a proclamation. Doesn’t it say that Rabbanim should be fearless in their pursuit of truth and to save people from being nichshal? I am not sure if the lay person can expect to be in the know but the Rabbonim should be and should investigate the matter until they can make any such proclamation. It’s the same issue with abuse, things are always hushed up and everyone (including the Rabbonim) refuse to take a clear stand on the issue under the fairly easy excuse of loshon hora. But again I think these things are for the Rabbonim to have the courage to investigate and do something about it.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom All,

    Firstly, I made a mistake regarding my note to Rabbi Telsner, . – Shalom Rabbi Telsner. I believe that it is rumoured that you invited me to meet to discuss kashrus issues but I refused the offer. May I respectfully ask you to clarify details of when this occurred and where. Gutt Shabbos.

    I posted the same message to him twice, the second message as I reported earlier and an identical message 2 days earlier July 16, 2010, at 11.22am
    These messages have remained unanswered.

    Why should it be necessary to explain things more than once? I will cut and paste responses already lodged on this blog. I will be happy to add more clarification if necessary. Have a Gutt Shabbos everyone.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    If you wish Jason, you can send the documentation you have to me via an anonymous email address or post it regular mail. I have no idea what you are referring to and dont understand why I have not received any correspondence from Dayan Yonasan Abraham or the LBD.

    And I do not recall ever chatting, corresponding or knowing Rabbi Binstock.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    If you wish Jason you can send the documentation you have to me via an anonymous email address or post it regular mail. I have no idea what you are referring to and dont understand why I have not received any correspondence from Dayan Yonasan Abraham or the LBD.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I have already seen this and my response is the same now as it was earlier.

    Shalom to you

    I stand by the letter from Dayan Y Abraham. It is true and authentic. Read the substance of the letter.

    The letter you sent is unsigned as you can see and also not sealed with a stamp. Compare that to the letter I have on my website. I suggest the letter you have sent me is a forgery. See further for a compelling reason to conclude that the letter is indeed a forgery.

    Besides it in fact only testifies to the authenticity of Dayan Abraham’s letter endorsing me.

    As you can also see from my website, pasted below, there is no suggestion that my Hashgocha is endorsed or a satellite of the LBD, it is purely a personal letter of endorsement.

    So as you indicate at the start of your letter, “if the contents of these attachments are true”, rest assured they are not true.

    But I should ask and you should also ask an important question; does the LBD have the right at all, if they do so wish, to demand I remove Dayan Abraham’s letter, in fact their letter, as it is after all on their letterhead and sealed with their stamp?

    If they think they do have such a right, then I suggest with respect, that they write me a letter, explain their concerns and their request and show why within the Halalacha it is required that I abide their request.

    It is outright Lashon Hara to circulate such a message if it is true, but far worse, Motzi Shem Ra, if it is not true. Since it is impossible to contemplate that the LBD would transgress any of these serious prohibitions, I am compelled and you too should be compelled, to conclude that the letter is a forgery.

    Sincerely
    Rabbi MGR

    http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=176
    The following was declared on the Sivan 19 5767, June 15 2006
    click here to view original – http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/assets/files/London%20Beth%20Din.pdf

    London Beth Din
    Court of the Chief Rabbi
    Adler House 735 High Road, North Finchley, London N12 OUS, England

    I hereby make this public declaration:

    I wish to express my approval and support for my dearest friend, the brilliant Rabbi, Reb Meir Gershon Rabi Shelita.

    For more than 20 years we learned together and in the same Beis HaMedrash, I know him exceedingly well. He is an outstanding Torah scholar who possesses many exceptional qualities. For decades he has applied himself with astonishing diligence and has acquired mastery over a vast array of Torah topics, and is particularly competent in applying practical Halacha.

    I have absolutely no doubt in trusting his judgement and rulings, and am certain that whoever has the opportunity to be associated with him will be extremely fortunate, gaining from him in both Torah matters and sound advice.

    I make this declaration and sign it for the honour of the Torah,

    (Rabbi) Yehonassan Abraham
    Member of the Beth Din Tzedek, London

    Kosher VeYosher is not affiliated with the London Beth Din; Rabbi Abraham’s letter is an endorsement for Rabbi Meir G Rabi.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    If the second letter that Jason is authentic, in my opinion you should not be posting the endorsement on your site. If Dayan Abraham has requested that you remove it (and not with a one line disclaimer stating that they are not endorsing your kashrus) I think the correct thing to do would be to remove it. Go and seek an endorsement from a Rov that is happy for you to post it on the internet site (surely that couldn’t be so difficult to procure). Why do something that Dayan Abraham has requested you not to do? And if you insist on keeping the endorsement there, then I think it only fair that you post the other letter that he sent you requesting that you remove it. I dont think lomdus or hiding behind halacha will make your actions glatt kosher. However, in respect to Rabbi Telsners comments, I think you have every right to demand that he discuss the issues with you.

  • frosh says:

    Jason,

    Will the “independent reputable person” also be anonymous? :-)

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom friends.

    Dayan Abraham’s letter is addressed to the public, he drafted that letter and declared that it is for all who wish to know and he wishes it to be publicly known.

    It is not a private correspondence that I have aired in public.

    I have not concealed nor have I seen any correspondence that even suggests that Dayan Abraham’s letter is not to be displayed.

    Shalom to all peace pursuing purists and may HKBH grant us clarity and strength to see truth and pursue it with confidence and vigor.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    Do you agree that if Dayan Abraham requested that you remove the letter that you should and would?

  • meir rabi says:

    The RCV has been respectfully approached but have not responded in a meaningful manner.
    I post below a complete and comprehensive copy of our exchange.
    please see http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=316 for a brief outline of these events.

    Rabbi Meir G Rabi, it’s Kosher!
    to
    executive@rcv.org.au
    date
    Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 8:45 PM
    subject
    Your Immediate Attention Required
    An open letter to the honourable members of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria,

    Shalom Rabbosay,
    I refer to an unsigned statement dated July 7, 2010, found on page 3 of the attached newsletter, purporting to be from the RCV.

    May I firstly request verification that this letter is authentic. As of this time, there is no corroboration of this message on the RCV website.

    If this letter is not authentic, you must take immediate appropriate action.
    If it is authentic, it appears that you have serious reservations concerning the Kashrus services I direct.

    I should be pleased, as you already know from previous messages I have emailed to your President, to assist you in resolving your concerns. As I have no idea what your concerns are, and no idea how you have come to have any concerns, I request that you provide me with a comprehensive and complete list of such matters.

    It would be best that such concerns and their details be made available to the public, as is this letter, however, if the RCV finds this disagreeable, I guarantee that confidence will be assured.

    I will endeavour to address all such matters in a timely manner.
    Bekavod,
    Rabbi Meir G. Rabi

    and the response

    On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM, wrote:
    Hi Rabbi Rabi,

    Thank you kindly for your email to the RCV dated 12 July.

    Please be advised that your email will be discussed at our next Executive meeting.

    Kind regards,

    Rabbi Yaakov Glasman.

    From: “Rabbi Meir G Rabi, it’s Kosher!”
    Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 18:43:35 +1000
    To:
    Subject: Re: Correspondence
    Shalom Rabbi Glasman,
    When is the next meeting you speak of?

    On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 6:50 PM, wrote:
    Hi Rabbi Rabi,

    I do not understand why this information is relevant.

    Rest assured that your email will be responded to immediately following our meeting.

    We’ll be in touch then.

    Kol Tuv,

    Yaakov.

    From: Rabbi Meir G Rabi, it’s Kosher!
    Date: Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 6:57 PM
    Subject: Re: Correspondence
    To: rabbiglasman@gmail.com

    Rabbi Glasman, Shalom to you.
    We are concerned with a matter of great urgency, this matter should be dealt with at the very earliest opportunity.
    Rabbi MGR

    from Rabbi Glasman
    to “Rabbi Meir G Rabi, it’s Kosher!”
    date Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 8:07 PM
    Re: Correspondence

    Sorry, forgot to mention in answer to your question that the statement is authentic. It was signed by the Rabbinical Council of Victoria which includes all its members.

    Yaakov.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I agree that they should be talking to you directly and explaining their concerns and giving you a chance to respond. But again, if the letter from LBD or Dayan Abraham is authentic requesting you to remove the endorsement, would you?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Chaveirim Kol Yisrael,

    If Dayan Abrahams would request that his letter, the LBD letter, be removed, I would give it a great deal of serious thought.

    The decision would very much depend on
    why Yonassan would make such a request and
    what is the purpose of such a request and
    what are the consequences of fulfilling such a request.

    When all Yisrael are Chaveirim these matters are pursued and settled in a different atmosphere and with constructive and positive outcomes for Beney Yisrael.

    We must not only pray for such times but must act today and act now to cultivate our language, actions and thoughts towards such noble ends.

    Gutt Shabbos
    meir

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    I agree with you 100%. I think matters can be resolved amicably and in a spirit that is beneficial for all if the laws of derech eretz are adhered to and the truth of Toras Moshe are pursued with a view to increase ahavas yisroel and kvod shomayim. I hope that you consider my posts respectful because that is certainly my intention.

    Gut Shabbos

  • wwwww says:

    anon :in the MK book, they list all the hechsharim that are reputable to thm. This includes both KA in Sydney and Adass in Melbourne.

    Rubbish. The do not include Adass hechsherim.
    Show me Zavdiel or haymishe or Unfanger etc etc etc

  • meir rabi says:

    I certainly do consider your tone respectful for common human dignity and a model for others to emulate.

    But I will add that I have endeavoured to respond to all valid questions and observations, even when couched in aggressive and disrespectful language.

  • wwwww says:

    Jason says:
    Why then did Dayan Binstock write (2007)that Dayan Abrahams told him the following “I had very strong words with Meir Rabi four weeks ago insisting
    I have a full copy of the email Meir,

    Further more Meir, I have another copy of the email where the same Dayan Abrahams signs off as follows “For the avoidance of doubt let me state the following: The London Beth Din never has and never
    ))))))))))))
    So Jason. how come you have copies of all these rabbinical correspondences? Are you in fact not “Jason” but Rabbi K. a member of the RCV who, unlike RM Rabi, doesn’t have the guts or menchlichkeit to sign his name? Are you the shmoyger who has been sent (togther with SS) to push the RCV case and to hurt RMRabi?

    And then we get this:

    anon says:
    I think that the average reader would tend to agree that it is truly beneath the diginity of any formal organisation or anyone associated directly with a formal organisation to muck rake on a blog…don’t you?

    So that is why a couple of self-interested rabbis from the RCV are doing the dirty under false names.
    Makes sense. Only holiness and kedusha.

  • finkelstein says:

    Can anyone explain how the RCV makes bombastic statements – which aim to destroy the reputation of a non-member rabi, without the minimal decency of inviting him to a meeting and discussing the problem first?

    Is this the way for rabbis to behave?

  • Jason says:

    [Eds: Defamatory comment removed]

  • anon says:

    wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww,

    Calm down and think before you type.

    1) Adass is mentioned on page 15 of the 2010 kosher list in the section “Other Kosher Certification Agencies”

    How juvenille your comment. Why do you feel it necessary for Mizrachi to then advertise Adass clientele?

    2) I would suggest that there are several people who have spent their time talking directly to the source (Dayan Abraham is a good starting point)

    Here is one for all of you. Let’s stop this nonsense. I suggest each and everyone of the people on this blog to contact the Dayan directly to hear what he has to say personally and then report back to this blog your findings.

    This will cut back a lot of the traffic here but perhaps claritty will be the winner

    Meir is always stating that he is striving for the light and truth and the wisdom and the courage and the happiness and the commitment and the learning and the understanding and the acceptance and the Lord……

    Let’s get the info straight from the horses mouth (so to speak)

  • want to check says:

    Anon, what is Dayan Abraham’s ph no
    and email?

  • anon says:

    Want to Check,

    I just did a google search

    Start here, see how you go:

    The London Beth Din
    305 Ballards Lane
    North Finchley
    London
    N12 8GB
    Tel: 020 8343 6270
    Fax: 020 8343 6257
    Email: info@bethdin.org.uk

    I also did a whitepages search – Not sure if it’s the Dayan, but worth a shot:
    Y Abraham – 020 8616 4532
    Flat 18 Garden House,The Grange, East Finchley, London, N2 8EG

  • Yes, there is a major conspiracy, you guys who have postulated as such are correct. I am coming clean! I am an agent of the RCV who in collusion with the KA paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars to blog here in their defense. I decided to tell all.
    This is how it all went down– in a smoke filled room in the seedier part of downtown Melbourne, I was called to a meeting with Rabbi G., And Rabbi B., and Rabbi O., and Rabbi W., and Rabbi T. It was 3AM, a Tuesday, no, no, it was a Wednesday, sorry, I forgot. Anyway the conversation went something like this:
    “Boychiks, we have to protect the multi billion dollar Melbourne kashrus game from getting into the wrong hands,” said Rabbi G. (or was it Rabbi C.? I can’t remember)
    “Yeah, Baby Face Shmurkelstein is ready,” mumbled Rabbi T.
    “No, we don’t need him yet. First things first. We have to make sure we secure our turf,” interrupted Rabbi O, ‘otherwise we’ll all be looking for jobs in Yeshiva College.”
    “Oh no! Not that!” they all cried in unison.
    Rabbi B. stood up and cleared his throat. “We gotta make sure we are the Kosher Kingpins in this town, see here boychiks, we gotta knock out that Meir Rabi, run him outta town, you see boys.”
    “Yea, if it weren’t for him we would be rakin’ in 10 billion instead of only 5!” Rabbi W. said with a wince.
    “Here’s the plan. SS, you have a poison pen and
    your loyal to our gang,” Rabbi B. said turning to me.
    ‘But will she crumble if the heat comes on us?” asked Rabbi C.
    ‘No, I wont’,” I replied,’ Gimme a chance! I can do this job, Rabbis, really I can! I’ll show ya what I’m made of!”
    ‘Alrighty, this is what we’ll do. We’ll pass through the massive misinformation campaign through you.” Rabbi W. said.
    ‘Yeah, your mission, should you decide to accept it is to blog on Galus Australis everything we tell you to write.” said Rabbi T.

    So that is the whole truth guys, that is how I came to this.
    My conscious is bothering me. Please understand, it was all that money, it was so tempting! I couldn’t say no. I just couldn’t. (putting head in hands with slumped shoulders).

  • Netzor Leshoncha says:

    Dovid Segal – Your vitriolic attack on the Rabbis of Melbourne is unwarranted. Derech eretz kadma l”Torah.

  • Nothing purile if i agree.. says:

    SS’s last comment makes Mr Frypan’s look serious and important.

  • finkelstein says:

    Shoshana, stick to nasty vitriol. Comedy doesn’t become you.
    (And I join the earlier commenters here in awaiting the day that you will give the KA the full Silcove treatment.)

  • meir rabi says:

    Please CC me in any emails to and from Rabbi Abrahams, Please use the following email address, meirgershonrabi@gmail.com

    Shavua Tov, A Gutt Voch

  • Had more than a suspicion says:

    In one of the previous posts from Jason re protocols of London Beth Din, rule No. 1) was that a restaurant, cafe, eatery cannot have a hechsher unless the licensee is Shomer Shabbos.

    It seems that Kosher Australia are well below par, as they do not have an issue if the owner is not religious or not. I have a friend who often worked/s as mashgiach for KA. He told me about all the wars he had with not frum licensees, who were not only not religious, but some also anti.

  • Interesting to note that the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Singapore around the corner from the Shul has a hechsher which notes that it opens on Shabbat under a shtar mechira. I understand that the owners of CB&TL are Jewish (although it is not known as a Jewish business, and I don’t know who owns that particular franchise).

  • Ari says:

    In an earlier series of posts R’ Rabi asked a particular question regarding a sage ruling differently than the Sanhedrin and how he should ask
    He wrote:

    As to the question and its answer: Let’s say the sage believes he should eat the meat that BD has ruled is Kosher even though he knows that BD is wrong. He believes that Gd instructs him, as a matter of honouring BD and supporting their authority, to eat the meat that they have ruled is Kosher.
    He has made a mistake. There is a heap more to discuss about this astounding Halacha but we must first clear other obstructions out of the way.

    In a later discussion with Chavrim Kol Yisrael he wrote(this time in line with the commentators mentioning the mishna in Horayot):

    Regarding the question itself: I believe that many expect that it is quite appropriate that all the guests eat since after all, the Sanhedrin has ruled that it IS Kosher and as a matter of respect, the Sanhedrin must be abided.
    Where the majority of the Sanhedrin has agreed that the meat is Kosher it is not correct to suggest that we be Machmir to meet the opinion of a single dissenting opinion.
    This dissenting Sage must not rule against the Sanhedrin, otherwise he becomes a Zaken Mamre – a rebellious elder – who is to be put to death.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood something as R’ Rabi maintains I did regarding the mishna in Eduyot(something which I still contest)
    (The commentators discussing the mishna in horayot rule that the sage need bring a korban if he did not bring his arguments before the court yet disagreed with them and acted as they did but that if he brought his arguments and they disagreed he cannot act against them)

  • dovid segal, do you really believe the Rabbis are ignorant in halacha and that you are more learned then they are? If so, I suggest you need to humble thyself greatly. If not, I apologize for the suggestion.

  • dovid segal says:

    David

    shavuah tov

    “Smicha” today, isn’t what it it was it was 500 years ago, and even than there were differences from one place to another, see the article in this link:

    http://www.zumodrive.com/share/6uJIMTlhYT

    the same applies to what is demanded from to a rov that gives “Hecsheirim” in our days, gone are the days when to give a Smicha you had to know what is the din If you find a needle in …”, or to know “Vayoel moishe” b’al peh, wear white socks tucked in “harem pants”, and a six foot shtreimel,
    in our days food manufacturing is a science, like any other science, it involves knowkadge in chemicals and modern technology, how many rabbonim that give hechserim, who write next to their name: av beth din dkak … will pass a grade five chemistry test?

    see here harav rubin’s article:

    http://www.zumodrive.com/share/6uKMYmMyNm

    in my opinion question to ask meir rabbi (and others who give hechsherim is not whether they have smicha, but what is their knowledge in food manufuctering.
    ———-

    shoshanah

    yes, I do. They are perfect for their kehilot, but it dosen’t permit them to defame another person.

  • Jason says:

    Meir,

    May I please have your assistance?

    An ASIC search of a business name ““It’s Kosher”” referred to on your website discloses the following

    http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bx44ZK0ljHYmODg3YjlhZjYtMmYxMS00ZTAxLThkZGQtNmM3YzJlMjllOTVl&hl=en&authkey=CO3e7I8O

    [Eds: Please note that a link to a Google Document cannot be accessed by the public as they do not have the password. Therefore this link is of no value]

    The extract reveals it too is in the Kosher Certifying arena.

    Are you associated with that business seeing you use the logo regularly?

    If so, may I know in which way you are associated, that is if you are associated?

    1. Are you a partner in any way, form or fashion?
    2. Do you do any contract work for “It’s Kosher”?
    3. If you do not, are you aware who does?
    4. Does “It’s Kosher” approach manufacturers on the basis that they will market their products on the proviso the goods are certified Kosher, and that you are then contracted to do the certifying?
    5. On the assumption that you are indeed the kashrut certifier in the above circumstance, do you share in the profits of “It’s Kosher” or are paid for your time and hashgocho work only?

    The owner of the business name “It’s Kosher” is not known in the community for kosher services or being knowledgeable in the Kashrut Certifying business. Is the person acting as a proxy for her husband?

    As no one including yourself complained when Mrs Silcove’s husband was dragged into this thread, I would readily assume what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    A Google search reveals some very interesting aspects should one care to follow through.

    As I have posted only what is in the public domain, and have asked reasonable questions, it will be interesting to see if this post is regarded as defamatory and moderated off the thread.

    I believe your honest and frank response is in the public interest.

  • dovid segal says:

    Netzor Leshoncha

    it wasn’t an attack on the Rabbis of Melbourne,but on those that who were silent when their name was used to defame a person that is not a member of their organizatin, to protect the intrests of fellow members.

  • Mashgiach says:

    David Segal. There have been instances where chemists who have a chemist degree etc. that have mucked up very badly due to giving wrong info to the Rabbi, due to following their technical knowledge instead of halacha(when i meet u next, i will give you examples). As, of course there have been very learned Rabbis, who have got it wrong due to lack of technical backup or knowledge. It needs a very fine balance and many many checks and balances.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Looks like Melbounrne Jewry might actually make some progress through this blog. All the kashrus organisations should be consistently checked and audited. Is relying on a kashrus organisation less important than buying shares in a public company. Kashrus is our olam haba. I think we should institute independent Rabbinic auditing of kashrus organisations. We bring in an international independent expert on kashrus twice a year and he audits and checks the standards and practices of each of the kashrus organisations in Melbourne and provides a report to the community. Lets stop bickering and actually do something to improve the standards of kashrus and remove any reasons for divisiveness. If I was an promiment member of the community that is what I would be pushing for. It seems that we can’t and shouldn’t rely on Rabbonim to provide opinions about other organisations kashrus as they have a vested interest in their own kashrus. To make the playing field even, lets bring in some independent kashrus auditors that come on a regular basis and provides reports to the community about their findings – the reliability of the kashrus, the standard etc. Let be as concerned with our ruchnias as we are with our gashmius. The more concerned and interested the community becomes and the more checks and balances the organisations are required to go through, the more chance Melbourne Jewry is of having the best standards of kashrus. And assumedly, that is the end goal we all want. Let me know if I what I am suggesting is realistic! I want to find a solution to our concerns about the Melbourne kashrus standards (and just for the record, I have equal concerns about all the kashrus organisations in Melbourne). In other words, I am sugesting that we try to find a solution to our concerns about Kashrus and not just start attacking people or organisations. Let bring in a third party (a recognised kashurs expert) to check our Kashrus organisations on a yearly basis so that we can ensure that all the organisations in Melbourne are required to keep certain standards and that they maintain those standards and that the community is advised of the results of these audits.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Chaverim, you are so right. There are those honest kashrus orgs who ask other professionals to check their facilities, so that any errors can be fixed. On the other hand there are orgs that are alwa than us.ys “perfect”. They have their own standards to suit themselves, “just trust us, no one knows better than us”

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Mashgiach

    I wish I was promiment enough in the community to institute my suggestion. I think in all areas of yiddishkeit (where relevant), things should be transparent to the extent possible and that we put in place independent verifications. This extends to other areas that Rabbonim are involved in as well – which in my opnion they also need to have a “check” system. For example, when a Rov is advising a female (whether it is on shalom bayis issues or whatever it may be), I think someone else should also be in the room with them (whether it is a member of the females family, her husband, or the Rabbi’s wife who is providing the advice etc). This will ensure that the Rabbi remains “tahor” when is trying to give advice and that his questions are all kosher and solely for the purpose of assisting the female seeking advice. Similarly, it is a good way to ensure that the Rov is not falsely accused for abuse etc. I think it comes down simply to the statement of our Rabbis that if only our yiras shomayim was as great as our yirah for people. Chazal knew that most people are concerned about what other people will think about them. I think any honest person will agree that most people will be more careful when they act if other people are around than when they are alone. A “check” system is good for all of us – whether in our private lives or in the lives of our public representatives and Rabbonim and our kashrus organisations. And I think that whereever possible, such checks should be put into place. In any event, I am merely throwing up ideas so that we can all think of better ways to ensure that our community has higher standards across the board, across ruchnius, across gashmius and across middos. Lets try and think constructively of ways to make this place a better place, and not just regress to name calling or discrediting etc. Lets try and do something positive so that the outcomes we all want can be achieved.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Mashgiach,

    Also in terms of the reports that I would like to see produced by the independent kashrus auditor is a brief explanation of the different leniencies relied on by the different organisations and the the different stringencies the organisatios abide by. That way, we as members of the community can make an informed decision on what kashrus organisation we feel comfortable relying on etc. In my opinion, if we do want competition in the kashrus sector, this will atleast keep the competition healthy so that organisations will be keen on keeping the standards to the highest possible standards.

  • Melech says:

    Meir,

    May I please have your assistance?

    An ASIC search of a business name ““It’s Kosher”” referred to on your website discloses the following

    http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bx44ZK0ljHYmODg3YjlhZjYtMmYxMS00ZTAxLThkZGQtNmM3YzJlMjllOTVl&hl=en&authkey=CO3e7I8O

    [Eds: Please note that a link to a Google Document cannot be accessed by the public as they do not have the password. Therefore this link is of no value]

    The extract reveals it too is in the Kosher Certifying arena.

    Are you associated with that business seeing you use the logo regularly?

    If so, may I know in which way you are associated, that is if you are associated?

    1. Are you a partner in any way, form or fashion?
    2. Do you do any contract work for “It’s Kosher”?
    3. If you do not, are you aware who does?
    4. Does “It’s Kosher” approach manufacturers on the basis that they will market their products on the proviso the goods are certified Kosher, and that you are then contracted to do the certifying?
    5. On the assumption that you are indeed the kashrut certifier in the above circumstance, do you share in the profits of “It’s Kosher” or are paid for your time and hashgocho work only?

    The owner of the business name “It’s Kosher” is not known in the community for kosher services or being knowledgeable in the Kashrut Certifying business. Is the person acting as a proxy for her husband?

    As no one including yourself complained when Mrs Silcove’s husband was dragged into this thread, I would readily assume what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    A Google search reveals some very interesting aspects should one care to follow through.

    As I have posted only what is in the public domain, and have asked reasonable questions, it will be interesting to see if this post is regarded as defamatory and moderated off the thread.

    I believe your honest and frank response is in the public interest.

  • Beentheredonethat says:

    Interesting post Melech. Conflict of interest?

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Melech,

    Rather than searching google etc, don’t you think it would be better if ALL the kashrus organisations were audited by an independent third party and reports produced and circulated to the community?

  • Melech says:

    Yes Chaveirim, I agree with you totally. But right now the community is facing a clear and present danger. I cannot see your idea taking place within 12 months even if every green button was pressed today.I am very uncomfortable with what I have been reading here. Something does not smell right.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Don’t worry about the 12 months issue. If you are prominent enough to get the auditing issue up and running, I guarantee that you as soon as the announcement is made that auditing is the process the community is going to use to maintain the standards of the kashrus agencies, each organisation will make immediate investigations into and if necessary improvement in their kashrus standards. Each organisation will know that in 12 months, an independent auditor will be around and will immediately feel the pressure and immediately start a review of their own standards. In my opinion, that is the best way to accomplish all of our concerns that kashrus standards are maintained at a level which we all are comfortable with. I don’t quite understand your question nor do I think it is particularly relevant. We have already established that each kashrus organisation has conflicts of interest and is biased towards its own kashrus and approach. All in favour of auditing please make it known on this site. And anyone promiment enough that things its a good idea, please do something about it.

  • dovid segal says:

    mashgiach

    I know There have been instances that were covered up, can anyone tell me why is’t there any recalls on produts that have kashrut cerificats, but there are recalls by companies, that invest milions of dollars on quality tests.

    is it that rabbonim have siata t’shmaya?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Melech,

    On the Kosher VeYosher website main page, http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php, you will see the following:

    THE PREMIER SITE FOR STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT KOSHER
    INCORPORATING OUR NEW PERSONA,then follows the it’s Kosher! logo stating that it is certified by Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi

    I do no other work than advise and certify various products and services as Kosher. I am remunerated for time and consultancy.

    I do not understand all the matters you refer to in your post.

  • dovid segal says:

    Chaverim kol yisroel:

    what are “kashrut standards”, and who will decide whatb the standardards will be?

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Dovid,

    I don’t think the kashrus standards will be decided per se but rather the community will be informed as to what kulos and chumros each organisation is using. I don’t think this should be that difficult. Its true that halacha is multifaceted but I don’t think it would be too difficult to give a minimum standard as well as disclosure of the different kulos relied on by the organisations as well as the chumras they conform too. It will provide more transparency for the community well as checks and balances for the organisations. But definitely happy to hear other suggestions?

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    For example, the audtior could compare each organisation to one of the most widely accepted kashrus standards in the world today and show a comparison etc (for example comparing it to the badatz eidah charedis from Israel). I am not learned enough to know all the details but I am sure there is a way to arrange a “standard” against which the organisations are compared to and the comparisons reported to the community. Again, I think competition is good for kashrus but you don’t want to have a situation where divisiveness is introduced by one person saying they don’t eat this hechsher and hence can’t eat at X’s house who does eat that hechsher especially when knowledge of what the hechsher actually means is very limited. I’m for more disclosure to the commmunity so that the competition is healthy, is understood by the community and does not chas veshalom lead to divisiveness.

  • dovid segal says:

    Chaverim kol yisroel

    australia is not israel, and chumrot will change from factory to factory, and inb the same factory from one produt to another.

    wake up and connect yourself to the real world.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Dovid,

    Not sure exactly what you mean. Is there no possible way you can have kashrus organisations audited and reports produced for the community?

    Do you have any suggestions how to resolve the dispute between the various kashrus organisations? Look forward to hearing them.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    It seems that there must be some universal standards that a kashrus organisation needs to adhere to to be accepted in the orthodox world. If there isn’t, how come some kashrus organisations are considered more acceptable than others (for example in Israel, US and South Africa) there are some kashrus organisations that are considered more reliable than others and are accepted by nearly everyone. Why couldn’t we have an independent auditor report if the kashrus is the same as the kashrus as the BD kashrus in South Africa for example or some other ‘reliable’ hechsher that seems to be acceptable to all communities. I am not learned enough to know the details or how one kashrus organisation becomes more acceptable than another but surely there is a way of giving some independent measure. If there isn’t obviously my idea is not very useful in that it isn’t practical.

  • dovid segal says:

    Chaverim kol yisroel

    there is no universal standards that a kashrus organisation needs to adhere to to be accepted in the orthodox world.

    If there isn’t, how come some kashrus organisations are considered more acceptable than others ?

    very simple, you promote yourself as the most machmir. see the fight that was lately between harav lande and harav rubin.

  • dovid segal says:

    Chaverim kol yisroel

    there is no universal standards that a kashrus organisation needs to adhere to to be accepted in the orthodox world.

    If there isn’t, how come some kashrus organisations are considered more acceptable than others ?

    very simple, you promote yourself as the most machmir. see the fight that was lately between harav lando and harav rubin.

  • Chinuch says:

    How about everyone take upon themselves an extra hour or two per week studying our complex laws of Kashrut enabling us to make more considered judgements in all these matters.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Who is Rav Landau and Rav Rubin and what was their dispute?

  • Mashgiach says:

    Chaverim, forget about it, it won’t happen here. Not for many years, anyway. Most laymen here do not understand Kashrus, so they believe what they are fed. I once heard a tape from one of the heads of Kashrus at the Bdatz, who said that when people start criticising an org for not being good enough, that is what lifts the level of kashrus. The great majority here don’t know and do not really care, as long as they are told “we know best, just believe us”.

    That is the difference between here and Israel. There people keep tabs on what’s going on and demand a high level. Of course there are lower level ones for those who do not care much.

  • meir rabi says:

    Re HaRav Landau and HaRav Rubin, http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=324, where I have highlighted certain parts. Also there is a link to another site and a video of the talk HaRav Landau gave.

    I post this article for the purpose of helping understand some of the major forces in the realm of Kashrus.
    HaGaon HaRav Landau Shlita Speaks Out on Kashrus & Strauss
    26 Shvat 5770
    February 10, 2010

    There have been many rumors and much gossip surrounding the recent changeover witnessed in Strauss Dairies regarding the company’s mehadrin line, from Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau Shlita, the Chief Rabbi (Gavaad) of Bnei Brak to the supervision of Rabbi Avraham Rubin Shlita.

    On Tuesday night, marking the yahrzeit of his father Rabbi Yaakov Landau zt”l, Rav Landau hosted a seuda in his shul in Bnei Brak, using the opportunity to deliver a 26-minute address in which he addressed kashrus in general, schita, and Strauss’ decision to move to another hechsher, which is described as “following the advice of Achitofel” who although one of King David’s counselors, encouraged Absalom, King David’s son, to rebel against his father. When his treacherous advice was not followed, he hanged himself (II Kings 14-17).

    Following is a synopsis, some of the major points mentioned by Rav Landau, and here is a link to the Chabad Online video with R’ Landau’s 26 minute address..
    The Rav addressed the rumors surrounding the recent change of kashrus at Strauss Dairy, removing his mehadrin hechsher which is now replaced by Rabbi Rubin Shlita.
    The Rav dispelled allegations of ‘hasagat gvul’ (infringing on one’s livelihood), that his parnasa was compromised, explaining the only ‘gashmiyus’ (tangible physical) benefit for him was a twice annually delivery of a modest amount of dairy products to his kollel, and a bit to his home. He stressed the parnasa (livelihood) issue was not at all at the heart of the matter, but the issue is indeed one of “hasagat gvul of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the deterioration of kashrus”.

    Regarding shchita, Rav Landau spoke of a slaughter house in Poland inspected by a mashgiach of his. Upon the mashgiach’s arrival, a goy who works there, who is apparently ‘in the know’, told the mashgiach the factory will not accept 9% but if you agree that you take the 9% and let the rabbis who works here now take the rest [as glatt] then it will work. (He was referring to the fact that the factory would not accept his strict standard, averaging only 9% of all cattle slaughtered being designated as glatt).

    The goy had just one request of the mashgiach Rav Landau explained, “make the visit short and leave the slaughter house because for as long as you are here, none of the animals are labeled glatt”.

    The mashgiach responded “but I am not a rabbi. I am just a mashgiach and I do not watch what they are checking”, to which the goy responded, “But for as long as you are here, that is the result of the schita (slaughtering). That night the goy spoke with the mashgiach, informing him “after you left, things returned to the norm, 60% glatt”.

    Rav Landau spoke of one rabbi who traveled four hours just to meet with him. He “just wanted to pour his heart out to explain the events taking place”, relating the incident to highlight his pain regarding the overall deterioration in kashrus.

    The Rav recently returned from South America, stating the state of kashrus is alarming, citing that the amount of beef slaughtered and declared glatt is simply not a reality, telling of the disturbing realities surrounding the low level of schita taking place.

    Regarding Strauss, he dispelled rumors that under his supervision there were questionable cows used, cattle that had undergone an abdominal surgical procedure, or rumors of unsupervised milking, explaining that under his hechsher, there is truly milk that is under supervision from the very onset of the milking process, a reality that rarely exists elsewhere.

    The Rav used his vast experience to explain to the tzibur that in many cases, the [Jewish] owner of a dairy farm in Israel is not present and Thai workers are milking the cows, without the Jew ever making an appearance. If something is wrong, the worker will phone the Jews, or at times, take care of the problem.

    Nevertheless, he stressed this does not result in ‘chalav akum’ (non-Jew) but ‘chalav that is owned by a Jew and milked by an akum’. Under the Rav’s hashgacha, the Jews must be present, at the very beginning of the milking [as cited in Shulchan Aruch], to inspect the pails are empty and that milking has not begun in the absence of a Jew. The mashgiach comes and goes to ensure the Jewish boss maintains a presence.

    The Rav took care to explain that for him, it is not a personal matter, and he is pleased that he was privileged to provide a high standard of kashrus to the public, “which has now changed”.
    Addressing the matter of cattle that have undergone abdominal surgery and the halachic implications, he stated such cattle are quite commonly found and one must be aware to avoid transgressions. The matter began in the United States when they learned about the surgical procedures, spreading to here, Eretz Yisrael. Rav Landau described the procedure in some detail, stating one cannot trust the word of the veterinarian regarding matters of kashrus, and we cannot see for ourselves. Even the veterinarian works by palpation, not be direct sight and therefore, he too is not absolutely certain [if the abdominal cavity was compromised regarding halachic concerns]. “I never saw a case in which the vet stated I failed. I did not do it correctly”, stated the Rav, dismissing the reliability of a vet’s statements regarding halachic matters pertaining to the surgical procedure.

    At present, under his hechsher, the rav has Baruch Hashem managed to remove all such questionable cows from the milking herd. Of this he states one can be certain.
    “I know that they say everything will continue as it was, but for this, we need someone naïve enough to believe this”.
    Regarding the current level, the rabbi confirmed that his mashgichim are still on the job, because if they leave, they will not receive their pitzu’im (severance pay). “I cannot say you are my mashgichim so leave, and lose your payment” he added, explaining why they remain at Strauss, at least for now.

    “They began to manufacture chocolate milk in Kibbutz Yutvata, not where we worked in Netivot. Cheese is being manufactured in the north, in a new place other than ours, with difference mashgichim, but of course, nothing has changed”.

    “You have transgressed the gvul of HaKadosh Baruch Hu by stating you are maintaining the same level. They report they added cameras. There is a limit just how much fun we may poke at HaKadosh Baruch Hu”.

    The Rav explains the concept of chalav yisrael, and the history of using cameras in kashrus, stating “they did not work [to monitor] milking on shabbos and they did not work for shmitah”.

    The Rav then explains the company’s plans (Strauss) to expand its mehadrin line and the vast preparations that he and his rabbonim undertook to establish a new facility in the north. After everything was set up, “they requested a meeting during which they told me they do not wish to continue with me. I cannot tell you what to do” I told them.

    “Four months after the cheese was marketed they asked for another meeting” the Rav explained, addressing some other decisions regarding marketing, seeking to manufacture the same dairy product in different places with different hechsherim.

    The Rav stated this is too confusing for the tzibur and he refused. Ultimately, the company decided to move ahead in Kibbutz Yutvata with the product the Rav did not approve. He then told them that he understands by Pessach Strauss is changing over the hechsher and rather than eliminate his supervision one item at a time, it would be preferable to stop it all at once and thereby limit confusion among the tzibur.

    Rav Landau made a point of stressing that Strauss is a reputable reliable company, not a firm seeking to dupe the public. The strategy adopted by Strauss based on advisors to ‘unite the brand names’ (mutagim) portrayed an image to some that the company was seeking to pull the wool over the consumers’ eyes.

    Interestingly, R’ Landau did state that the new containers bearing the “other hechsher” [R’ Rubin Shlita], were printed and held on standby two months earlier. As such, the day he stopped all the wrappers with his name were destroyed and Strauss was up and running with the new hechsher.

    He used the popular Strauss Milky chocolate pudding as one example to address those who accuse him of following chumrot (stringencies), but he maintains, he is simply following Shulchan Aruch, Jewish Law. The Rav explained why he does not certify it for Pessach because a stabilizer used in the product is a byproduct of isopropyl alcohol.

    “A noted rabbi in America approved it, but he erred in the halacha”. He maintained since it is inedible the product is null and therefore does not render the product, in this case ‘Milky’ pudding unsuitable for Pessach.

    Rav Landau however explains that he understands the stabilizer in this case is a solidifier as well, giving body and texture to the product, and therefore is also a ‘ma’amid’ under the halacha, and it is not nullified. Therefore he stated, he would not certify the product under his mehadrin line for Pessach. He adds he does not know what the case will be this year.

    This he explains is just one example of his standard, and how things are changing, during the year and for certain on Pessach, and how the industry is not providing kashrus as the consumer believes, a consumer paying a significant amount of money to obtain high-level kosher.

  • meir rabi says:

    Ari Shalom, good to hear from you again.

    I suggest you write an article regarding the aspects of Zaken Mamre and Beis Din’s power of promulgating Halacha and the obligations of the community to follow BD. Lodge it with the Galus, send it to editorial AT galusaustralis.com to be presented as a separate topic and we can continue our discussion without distractions.

    meir

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    What do you think of having an independent third party investigate and provide a report to the community on the Kashrus organisations in Melbourne on say a yearly basis? Do you think that is possible? Do you think it is a good idea?

  • As things stand says:

    Chaverim, I realise your last question was not to me, but I have to agree with what mashgiach said. I also want to add, that those kashrut authorities that do not tolerate criticism will not agree to an independent audit. There is also the issue of who pays for the travel and other expenses of bringing an expert out here from Israel etc. There would be a lot more than just the cost of return travel. He would need to be accompdated for quite a while, travelling all over capital cities and country areas, and maybe NZ. I can’t see anyone willing to pay, even if by some miracle all agreed to do it. Here we are a drop in the ocean compared to the Kosher markets in Israel and the U.S., so there is also a lot less money available for these type of projects.

  • CKY,

    Your idea is a good one, but Dovid Segal points out some of the impracticalities. The problem here is that while many people know how to keep kosher, very few understand the intricacies of kosher supervision at a manufacturing level. With the introduction of the laffa matzah, everyone has suddenly become an expert, and are debating issues of kashrut that would normally be way outside their scope. Communicating the results of a kashrut audit to a community of lay people may open a Pandora’s Box of issues for people to debate things they don’t understand.

  • Melech says:

    Message to the Editor

    [Eds: Please note that a link to a Google Document cannot be accessed by the public as they do not have the password. Therefore this link is of no value]

    I think you are incorrect about not being able to open a Google docs without a password. It opened for me! [Eds: Yes, the problem with the previous links were that they weren’t public and did require passwords!]

    http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bx44ZK0ljHYmODg3YjlhZjYtMmYxMS00ZTAxLThkZGQtNmM3YzJlMjllOTVl&hl=en&authkey=CO3e7I8O

    If you have a look at Google docs it depending on how it’s been created, it can be publicly shared as long as one has the link.

    Check this out!

    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_docs_makes_sharing_simple.php

    Each document created Google Docs can now be given a privacy rating on a tiered system. Documents users want to keep to themselves should be kept “Private,” while others they wish to share can either be set to “Anyone with the link” or “Public on the web.”

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    As things stand and David,

    I appreciate your comments. But I still think there must be a way to ensure that certain standards of kashrus are maintained even if new kashrus organisations are introduced into Melbourne. The last thing we need in Melbourne is to have competition in the kashrus market that leads to people not eating at someone elses house or simcha because of it. I am sure that people who understand kashrus can think of a way where at least minimal kashrus standards are agreed upon that all kashrus organisations in Melbourne will adhere to. For example, I am sure the OU could draft guidelines for kashrus standards which for example could be the minimum that any kashrut organisation in Melbounre has to adhere to. Three renowned poskin could be chosen and agreed upon so that any departure from those guidelines or new shailos are approved in writing by one of those poskim. I know it sounds complicated but there must be a way to prevent the situation where people will not eat at other peoples houses or simchas because of the hechsher and where kashrus causes arguments rather than shalom. Seems we have all lost the plot a bit if this is what we are coming to. I would suggest the kashrus organisations think of a way to benefit Melbourne Jewry by agreeing on certain mininun standards or some other way so that there can be competition but not destruction.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel, why are you so ‘sure’ that this can happen, as you wrote above? You are either very naive to realities of the kashrus world or a dreamer. Your fantasy will never come to be, not here in Melbourne or anywhere, never has and never will until Moshiach comes, may it be speedily on our days.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Shoshana,

    All I am trying to do is something constructive. The way I see it there are two ways to deal with the issue. Be discredit, attack and be destructive or try to find a solution that is constructive. If my idea is not workable, and it may very well not be, I look forward to hearing your constructive suggestions and everyone elses. Surely a room full of Jews can think creatively and outside the box enough to find a solution.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    And although I am probably naive to the realities of the kashrus world, I must admit it is a bit worrying if you say it can’t happen, especially in Melbourne where there are only two or three kashrus organisations. It certainly makes me nervous to rely on hechsherim that have no transparency, are not answerable to the commnity and have no minimum objective agreed standards that there performance can be measured against. If someone told you to take a certain medication produced by a company under these completely subjective, non transparent conditions, would you feel comfortable taking it?

  • A blog will not a a forum that can do that

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    If a blog is not the forum to resolve issues and provide constructive solutions, then I don’t see the purpose of the blog. If it is just a forum for loshon horo, then I must admit I have lost all interest in this blog.

  • Melech says:

    Ed,

    I think you are incorrect about not being able to open a Google docs without a password. It opened for me! [Eds: Yes, the problem with the previous links were that they weren’t public and did require passwords!]

    Dear Ed

    Something doesn’t quite add up

    Same link as previous neither of which required a password.

    Here Ed, check for yourself, they both open without a password.

    Post No: 1
    July 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bx44ZK0ljHYmODg3YjlhZjYtMmYxMS00ZTAxLThkZGQtNmM3YzJlMjllOTVl&hl=en&authkey=CO3e7I8O

    Post No: 2
    July 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bx44ZK0ljHYmODg3YjlhZjYtMmYxMS00ZTAxLThkZGQtNmM3YzJlMjllOTVl&hl=en&authkey=CO3e7I8O

  • Nat says:

    Melech, it does not open for me. It asks for username and password. Ed is correct

  • Nat says:

    and i tried 2 minutes ago and was blocked

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    opens for me..

  • Beentheredonethat says:

    Opens for me as well.

  • For me a blog can be for airing views, informing, or inspiring people but, it is not really condusive to making community or organisational policies.

  • dovid segal says:

    a list of over 300 private kashrut organization in the world:

    http://www.torahindex.com/he/Inst/default.aspx?index=2

    ———————–

    chaverim

    here is a blog in hebrew that that give an idea why your invention is not more than a dream

    http://www.hydepark.co.il/topic.asp?whichpage=1&topic_id=1246584&forum_id=1364

  • dovid segal says:

    kashrut organizaions in Australia here:

    http://www.torahindex.com/he/Inst/default.aspx?index=2&subcat=87&menuindex=4

    meir rabbi is listed there.

  • meir rabi says:

    I propose that the best way to promote Kashrus in particular, and Yiddishkeit in general, is through education.

    This certainly begins with education in school and in Yeshivah and Seminaries, but it also includes providing a more open and engaging discussion by the various K orgs regarding their concerns and their approaches to satisfying Halachic requirements or stringencies.

    An honest education does not have an agenda. It does not seek pre-determined outcomes and adjust its curriculum accordingly. For example, when a discussion is had regarding a food colouring known as cochineal, which is essentially a dehydrated pulverised insect, the differing opinions of world renown orthodox rabbonim should be explained in full detail. Yes indeed, there are very highly respected Rabbonim who deem it to be Kosher. Not knowing this adversely affects our minds and thinking. We become blinkered and cockeyed.

    But unfortunately, this is not mentioned on many Kosher websites or by Kosher orgs. Too often a sweeping blanket statement is made announcing that cochineal is not Kosher and that anyone who might think otherwise is not an orthodox rabbi or a very ignorant rabbi or not a rabbi at all.

    The counter argument pleads that people are too stupid to understand such discussions and become confused and misled.

    I say, that governing the community by keeping it ignorant is an unsound and ultimately destructive policy. Our general culture and our Jewish community boasts very well educated and sophisticated people. Our religious beliefs and practices need not be and in fact are unsustainable if supported on a foundation of ignorance and blind guidance that can be provided only by its rabbis and its leadership. This unhealthy perpsective suggests and coaxes us to think that all aspects of Divine worship and commitment must be determined by others, not those worshiping Gd.

    We must trust HaShem but when it comes to serving HKBH we must be active participants and thinking participants. Trust in this arena is the opposite of this productive engagement. It is the submission of ones thinking, the very gift that Gd has given us and requests that we use to cultivate our relationship with HKBH. This is the very first request of Gd. It is the very backbone of learning Gemara and Halacha, where every page is chocked with discussion and vigorous debate. It is why the ENTIRE Jewish people stood at Mt Sinai to receive the Torah, not just a select few who were to become responsible for directing the masses what and how they should be acting. Gd warns Moshe Rabbenu, “do not just teach them the law that they know it by rote learning. etc. ”

    I have in my own small way on my website, attempted to provide this broader view of Judaism and Halacha, and Kashrut in particular: http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php.

    So discuss, learn and teach but most importantly explore.

    meir

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi,

    I agree with you that education is an important step but I still believe the kashrus industry needs to be regulated somehow. All industries are regulated to some extent and I think this industry should be no different. Should a reform “rabbi” be allowed to open a business and start certifying things as “kosher” in his or her view? There must be some objective standard that can be used to define what is “kosher” and what is outside the parameters of kosher. By the way, I sent you an email, did you receive it?

  • meir rabi says:

    I do not believe I have received your email, was there a subject? and what date?
    Pls resend to rabbi@itskosher.com.au

    I will PG respond later to your comment

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    I resent the email. But the email does not require a response here. It is not relevant to the blog.

    In terms of some kind of standard, I do not think you are the only person that needs to propose some kind of solution to this problem. The RCV or whoever runs the other kashrus organisations should also be proposing some solutions. They should not be able to have a monopoly on an industry especially when it is non transparent and not accountable to anyone. But I think there should be some standards that regulate the Melbourne kosher industry so we don’t end up allowing non kosher food to be labelled as kosher.

  • rachsd says:

    Chaverim kol yisroel,

    Out of curiosity, even if R Rabi received your email, how would he know it was from you if you comment here anonymously.

    In another thread, someone made what I think is a very good suggestion (and a realistic one) about kashrut regulation. This is it:

    Seraphya Berrin says:
    May 27, 2010 at 10:07 pm (Edit)

    On the topic of laws in the US, the NJ seems to be a good option
    from a comment on a post on Jcarrot

    Stephen Mendelsohn Says:
    August 6th, 2008 at 3:55 pm
    BS”D
    I believe neighboring New Jersey has a kosher law that can withstand constitutional muster. It merely requires kosher restaurants and groceries to post a sign listing their certifiying agency, frequency of inspection, and has a short checklist for consumers to check for specific kosher standards, without entangling into denominational differences as to what exactly is kosher.
    BTW, New Jersey also has a similar law regarding halal food. The idea here is consumer protection is a legitimate state function; religious favoritism is not.

  • Anonymous says:

    “frequency of inspection, and has a short checklist for consumers to check for specific kosher standards”.

    it is suitable for restaurants, but what about products?

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Rachsd and anonymous,

    Sounds like some good ideas. Can any other people comment whether the ideas suggested would actually give some indication as to the kashrus standards? I honestly think the kashrus standards in Melbourne need to be against objective standards that people can decide on who they are willing to rely.

  • rachsd says:

    Anonymous,

    I think you are right that in the form proposed it applies better to restaurants than products, but I also think it could be adapted for products relatively easily. If each hechsher had to register on an online directory and provide the relevant details there then anyone who was interested could check.

  • Ben says:

    Re putting out a sign. A notice like that would only reveal a small part of the Kashrus level of that restaurant. To really get some idea, you would need a multi page report. There are many things needed to be known, for example what ingredients are being used, what hechsher they have, level of checking veges, do they use hard to check ones etc etc.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    In my opinion there should be some additional standards. For example the rabbonim who are the mashgichim should have to provide the source of their training and where they got smicha from and the date the smicha was provided. In addition they should have to comply with continuing training and exams each year which we could organise to be provided by the Badatz or some other well recognised organisation. If they do not satisfactorily do and pass the yearly training courses and exams then there kashrus should be cancelled. Its about time that the kashrus organisations need to have as much responsiility and answerability as any professional working does.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Mashgichim generally do not have, nor require, semicha. He reports everything to the Rabbi, who applies the halacha. Further training and exams are of not much use. It’s all about experience. The more experienced he is, the better mashgiach he is, if he is reliable, honest and does the job as it is supposed to be done. The The kashrus orgs know exactly which of their employees are “on the job”.

    Some orgs employ mashgichim who have no idea e.g. just out of uni and looking for work until they find a job.

  • Anonymous says:

    “but I also think it could be adapted for products relatively easily”.

    most of the factories are not jewish owned, and i don’t they will agree to it.

    they agreed to have an hechsher, as they were told that they will sell more, but if they will gain only a small market or pay much more for the hechsher, it will make it for them worthless

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Well I would suggest there are courses run for mashgichim and that the mashgiach needs to pass it before he can become a mashgiach. In terms of semicha, so the Rov who is paskening the shailos should be listed with their smicha and they should also have to do supervised continuous training (ie a refresher course each year) to be allowed to act in that capacity. Something is too unregulated about this industry that is potetially feeding us poisonous products

  • Mashgiach says:

    You’re obviously new to all this. The top mashgichim are usually those that started on a job that just needed someone to be there, but they showed interest and built their way up. An example: To become a primary school teacher, one needs to pass certain exams. The ones that fail, cannot get a job as a teacher. Generally,the higher the pass, the easier it is to get a job and a better job. The reality is that one can get 100 % pass with all honors and be hopeless at teaching. Whereas one who just passed or even failed can turn out to be brilliant at teaching small kids(never be teaching those subjects which were failed).Study has nothing much to do with being a good teacher. It is not exactly similar, but the only way to check a mashgiach is hands on.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Mashgiach,

    You might be right in individual cases. But an industry works better as a whole when it is regulated. It is true that you may find individuals who are brilliant rabbonim or mashgiachim who never did any training, but you will also find plenty that are not. Regulating an industry is not perfect, but it is the best system that we know. And therefore, individual cases (like the example you quote) don’t really provide much of an approach when you are talking about an industry (ie more than one individual). There is no way to check each mashgiach hands on (especially when there is no independent regulatory authority). But the best we could do would be do have them pass tests and keep up to date with continuous training on a yearly basis. This applies to the Rabbonim as well. They should be retested on their knowledge that they once learned to ensure they are still across the complexities of the halachic questions and situations that may arise.

  • Watcher says:

    On a completely different topic, how many here have heard about the possibilty of being registered as a general postal voter and then automatically being sent postal ballot papers before every state and federal election?

    For us shomrei shabbat this is a great idea.
    I just read about it on the ajnwatch blog where it gives details and links on how to go about it.

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2010/07/postal-voting-ajn-watch-tip-plus-our.html

  • Mashgiach says:

    Chavrim, your ideas are not practical for a variety of reasons. Firstly, who does all this training and testing.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    I don’t think it would be so difficult. We could have a representative of the Badatz in Israel come out for a week every year and everyone who is involved in kashrus including the mashgichim would be required to do compulsory training. I do not believe tests for the Rabbonim would be hard to arrange on a yearly basis. They would for example ask 100 questions from the laws of kashrus to ensure that they are still on top of the issues.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Chaverim, In today’s contemporary hashgachos in factories and other establishments there are many type of ma
    chinery, millions of different ingredients. Each plant is generally different than the other. Everything has different halachic challenges, where the Rabbi needs to decide at the time. To go through all that, the examiner needs to ask thousands of questions just to cover some possibilities. And this is not counting all the other possibilities that could come up in todays sofisticated manufacturing.

    Also, there are differing standards of Kashrus. One examiner may be too strict for one org and vice versa.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Whereas by the government’s manufacturing standards, there is either a minimum standard for a variety of industries. Or exacting standards for a specific type of manufacturing. Even the latter just cares about hygiene, organic etc. No where near the scrutiny of Kashrus, where every ingredient and ever nut and bolt is scrutinised

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Mashgiach,

    Every profession in the world involves thousands of complexities, iterations, variations etc. The test would be random sample of questions to ensure that the Rov hamachshir is up to date on the halachos and is continuing is revision of those halachos. It would also highlight areas that he would need to pay more particular attention to. Similarly, the mashgiach would get a weeks course of training per year. Of course it wont cover everything, but each year will be a different focus etc. Something is better than nothing. You’d be surprised how a little training makes a big difference in people’s standards and knowledge. I don’t think an “all or nothing” approach is correct here and it is not used in any regulated industry.

  • Mashgiach says:

    I am not sure what type of Rabbis you frequent, but if you feel that your’s is not constantly reviewing the halachos, then I suggest you look for a new Rabbi. All the serious ones I know are always learning including halachos. They are also constantly getting shaalos and giving shiurim, so they are always learning. Any serious Rav, who receives proper smicha and then paskens for all the kehillo, should not need to be tested again. A Rabbi who you feel needs to be constantly retested can’t be relied on in the first instance. The issue here is not the Rabbis learning. It is re any leniencies being used, which are not accepted overseas by the mainstream hashgachos. For this there would not be agreement who to call out.

    Re training the mashgichim. Some work in restaurants, others in a variety of different factories, others in dairies etc. Etc. This trainer would need to spend a long time here training each individual mashgiach on their specialty.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Mashgiach,

    I don’t agree with you about any of your points. The point of testing is to ensure that the Rov is reviewing the relevant halachos related to kashrus and if he is, then he shouldn’t be afraid of taking the test. So no loss in giving the test. In terms of the mashgiach, sounds a bit strange when you say the mashgiach doesn’t really need smicha or other qualifications on the one hand but it would take a long time to train him. Something doesn’t quite work out. In my mind, it would be simple that if one year all mashgichim for example had to do a course on insects in vegetables and fruits, in the next year of something else which is fairly generic. Again, I know you can’t cover every issue but when you have continuous training, all aspects of the Mashgiach’s work will improve because he will stay alert etc. I think your approach is over reliant on the individual Rov and mashgiach. Remember chazal told us that if only a persons yiras shomayim was as great as his yira of people. Checks, accountabilities, tests, continuous training etc are ways of keeping people on their toes even when the yetzer hora might cause them to become distracted. And remember, in Melbourne we are not talking about the gdolei yisroel who know shas and poskim at their finger tips.

  • Mashgiach says:

    Chaverim, Sorry, but I find your ideas quite strange. I think at least one other poster said something similar. For thousands of years no one-Nach, Talmud, Shulchan Aruch, Rishoinim, Acharonim ever said that a Rabbi needs to be constantly tested. And then along comes Mr(or Mrs or Dr) Chaverim Kol Yisroel and says it needs to be done. Any serious Rabbi gets tested plenty by his job. People aren’t stupid

    And I never said a mashgiach doesn’t need training. But someone coming for a week or 2 wouldn’t have even of a fraction of the time to train all the mashgichim in town. Believe me, I have seen it. They come here and when they leave, hardly anything was done. He would need to live here for months. The Rabbi and the org should be constantly training them.

    Your idea is not practical and as someone already posted previously “it aint gonna happen”.

    I mean all the above in the nicest possible way, but it needed to be said.

  • Tamar says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I write to you with concern regarding the oil used at Lord of the Flies. The oil there does not have a hechsher, and is from a plant which processes tallow. How can you paskin this as kosher?

  • meir rabi says:

    Thank you for your enquiry Tamar,

    I refer you to the FAQ of the Mizrachi Kosher website, I paste:

    Q. Is it true that the “approved” standard vegetable oils listed in the Kosher Food Bulletin are produced in plants that also produce (treif) tallow?
    A. Yes. In keeping with the standards of reliable Kosher agencies around the world all oils certified as Kosher are produced in plants or on equipment dedicated to vegetable oil production only. However, oils produced in equipment shared with tallow are in some plants produced in a manner that still allows them to receive “approval” as Kosher.

    Q. How can oil produced on the same machinery as tallow even be approved as Kosher?
    A. Many factories produce Kosher and non-Kosher items in the same machinery. This even applies to Mehadrin standard products such as Chalav Yisrael milk produced in dairies that usually produce ordinary unsupervised milk. Of course, in such cases it is necessary to “kosherise” the equipment before the production of the Kosher product. Mehadrin/certifed products will usually have a religious supervisor present to ensure that the kosherisation and subsequent production are carried out at the proper standards.
    However, it is possible that sometimes a product produced on shared equipment can be granted “approval”, even without a formal kosherisation process, if the cleaning protocol carried out in the plant is equivalent to a Halachically acceptable kosherisation.
    Kosher Australia does not give blanket approval to all vegetable oils. Some oil production plants inAustralia have been found to have a cleaning protocol of caustic washes combined with boiling oil flushes that can be considered an acceptable kosherisation to allow the oil to be “approved” as kosher. It is only these specific oils that are listed by Kosher Australia in the “approved” category.

    Q. Do other reputable kosher agencies allow such leniencies?
    A. To the best of our knowledge, no reputable agency (including Kosher Australia) will certify oils produced in machinery shared with tallow due to the difficulty of ensuring a high and fully acceptable standard of kosherisation of the equipment.
    Some agencies, particularly those serving the smaller communities where properly certified oil is in short supply, have historically allowed the approval of oils produced on shared equipment if the particular cleaning protocol was deemed sufficient for an approval rating.
    The latest London Beth Din Kosher Food Guide (page 66) lists ALL vegetable oils as being acceptable without exception, without distinguishing between those produced in dedicated or shared plants. Rabbi Yoseph Glicksberg of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate department while on a recent visit to Australia confirmed advice already received some time ago by us that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate allows the use, in their certified products, of oils imported from Europe that are produced in shared plants after a vegetable oil flush identical to the flush performed in Australian shared plants. In Australia, virtually all authorities (including the ones accepted as being of exclusive Mehadrin standard) have, in the past, approved and even certified oils produced in shared equipment after similar cleaning and oil flushing. It is only in the past few years we have been fortunate in being able to limit actual certification to the growing number of plants that are dedicating their plants or equipment to vegetable oil production only. To enable adequate, easily accessable supply of Kosher oils, Kosher Australia still lists a number of approved oils produced in shared equipment – but only those oils where it has been carefully ensured that the equipment is properly cleaned with regular caustic cleans and adequate flushes of boiling oil.

  • glatt kosher says:

    I am amazed to learn that KA approves such oils. A rabbi from the OU was here a few years ago and he clearly stated that this would be considered treif. IIRC he spoke at Beth hatalmud and there are probably recordings of that speech available.

    Maybe Dovid Segal could help check this out?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom glatt Kosher.

    Excellent, I was expecting this response.

    KA is not the only one. LBD also do as reported on the KA website (I think).
    Also (as reported on the KA website) Rabbi Yoseph Glicksberg of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, confirmed that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate certifies as Kosher oils produced in shared plants after a vegetable oil flush.

    However, KVY does not rely on this leniency of Koshering with oil, but on the stricter standard of using boiling water.

    KVY inspects and approves oil production in Victoria that is fully automated and driven by a computer programme. This ensures that there is no room for human error or corner cutting.

    This also permits KVY to inspect, at any time, the complete and comprehensive production records.

    Kosher production is assured through the following monitored procedures.
    1. Prior to Koshering all machinery is cleaned. This a full standard cleaning regimen.
    2. Machinery is Koshered after it has been shut down for at least 24 hours.
    3. Machinery is Koshered with boiling water.
    4. All Kosher production is completed prior to beginning non-K production.

  • zalman says:

    If so, there seems to be far less (or even no) issues re KVY oils than there are with KA approved oils.

    Or have I missed something here?

  • Tamar says:

    So does the oil have your hechsher?
    Furthermore, why has Kosher Australia not certified it as Kosher if there is nothing wrong with it?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Tamar,

    I can not say what commercial or Halachic considerations prompt Mizrachi Kosher to approve or certify various products or not.

    I have explained the Koshering procedures used by KVY to produce Kosher oil. May I add that the oil used by Lord o t Fries is certified Kosher.

    And to Zalman – KVY uses boiling water for Kashering which is superior to those who use heated oil for Kashering. If I understand the Mizrachi Kosher website correctly, they rely on heated oil for Kashering.

    CORRECTION
    I must inform the readers here of a strident protest against the information I pasted earlier from the Mizrachi Kosher website that suggests that the London Beth Din approves or certifies oils produced on equipment that also processes non-Kosher animal fats. “The latest London Beth Din Kosher Food Guide (page 66) lists ALL vegetable oils as being acceptable without exception, without distinguishing between those produced in dedicated or shared plants”

    My research has discovered this very strong denial, made 6 years ago.

    26 Jan. ’04 Dear Reb XXXXX

    I am writing to confirm to you that in order to be 100% sure that what I said was correct I have done as you requested and verified with the relevant people and found that it is exactly as I said to you over the phone yesterday: The London Beth Din does not certify or even approve any vegetable oil which is refined and deodorised in the same refinery as tallow (Chelev).

    This means that we do not approve oils that are processed on the same refinery and using the same steam system even if they are not actually processed on the same equipment. On the rare occasion that we do certify oils or emulsifiers etc. that are processed in facilities that have processed in the past tallow or other Trief fats we insist on Koshering the entire facility Kedass ve’Kedin and we also drain and change the entire boiler water to ensure there is no risk of ‘cross-contamination’ from the previous non-kosher productions.

    Once again I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention and giving me the opportunity to state our position clearly and to refute any rumours circulating accusing us of such a practice.

    Wishing you Kol Tuv, I remain sincerely yours,
    Rabbi Akiva Padwa
    Senior Rabbinical Coordinator London Beth Din Kashrut Division

  • Gersh says:

    So on what do KA rely upon?

  • kalman says:

    I have recently heard that a number of KA supervised establishments
    eg Noga, Shemesh etc which are operated by non-Shomrei mitzvot do not have a mashgiach temidi. Could this be correct? What is to stop the owners using non kosher products?

  • Shmerel says:

    I just called Shemesh and they told me they are open but there is no mashgiach there at present.

  • kalmang says:

    is there another kalmang?

  • Shmerel says:

    That must be why they “promise the highest standard in Kosher certification”

  • kalman says:

    So why are KA establishments any different to Lord of Fries?

  • Shmerel, (and others, unless you are all the same guy) if you were truly sincere you would pick up the phone and call Yankel Wajsbort at KA and ask him about Shemesh before posting half truths and innuendos here and jumping to conclusions. I asked KA and no one has rung him or anyone else at KA asking to validate or explain any of the criticisms of KA that posters wrote on this blog over the past few weeks. This tells me that there are some blog posters here who are insincere, do not really care about the truth or promotion of good kashrus and, only want to bash their target-the one they perceive as the Tall Poppy which is KA.

  • Or you could email Yankel, his contact details are well known and he is easily accessible, but none of you KA critics and bashers have done so. You are a bunch of phoneys,

  • Kalman, if you really wanted to sincerely know the answer to your question instead of smearing KA you would contact them and ask, but you haven’t, and I know you haven’t because I spoke to them, so you are not interested in an answer, you are only interested in slandering KA. And no, nobody put me up to writing this here.

  • But to answer your smear, one of the obvious major differences between Lord of the Fries and Shemesh is that while both are owned by Yidden, only one is not doing business on Shabbos, and that is Shemesh, which is under KA. Lord of the Fries, under Meir Rabi, is owned by Yidden and opened on Shabbos, and I believe that is blatantly against the SA, is it not?

    I am not expecting to influence any of the KA bashers and machlokes makers who post here but, I do hope that others reading all this will realise that there are a bunch of lies being spread and not to pay them any heed.

  • And Kalman, you are assuming that Shemesh needs a mashgiach on premises all the time. Does Glick’s have one full time? What other establishments? Are you doing a survey? Do you know the halacha? If you rang Rabbi Gutnick and asked you may learn something and would get a full explanation before mouthing off on this blog in ignorance.

  • kalman says:
    August 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm
    I have recently heard that a number of KA supervised establishments
    eg Noga, Shemesh etc which are operated by non-Shomrei mitzvot do not have a mashgiach temidi. Could this be correct? What is to stop the owners using non kosher products

    Blatant lies! Nogga are owned by shomer Shabbos people, why are you slandering the owners of that establishment? Do you want to hurt their parnossa? For what reason? What is wrong with you? Why are you so full of sinas chinam? Go away, you are doing harm, go do teshuva for besmirching good and wonderful Yidden who work hard and have a good business, and just had a horrific family tragedy. Shame on you!

  • Shmerel says:

    The difference between Gilck’s and Shemesh is that the owners of the former are Shomer Shabbos. And I have had enough of KA’s spin when checking with them on other issues. I may be an annonymous coward, rabbit, weasel or whatever and ss can rave and rant because of her negios, but many people know that what I say here is true.

  • Shemerel, is that your entire defense and your excuse after you spread all those half truths and slander? You are pathetic.

  • meir rabi says:

    Regarding Lord o t Fries

    The following info is all on the website on the LOTF page, and will be soon PG on an expanded FAQ page

    There are some Jewish partners in Lord o t Fries but they have executed a legally binding Halchically sound contract that ensures there is no desecration of Shabbos or the Chagim.

    Regarding the oil, I posted a clarification from the LBD – they do not approve any oil under any circumstances if the plant processes animal oil. The Mizrachi Kashrut is relying, from what I understand from their website, on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. They will certify such oil and they will do so without a boiling water flush, just a hot oil flush.

    However, I believe Rabbi Sprung declared from the pulpit that he does not accept that level of Kashrut.

  • pizza says:

    pardon me shoshana, but with all your repetitive raging and ranting I must have missed something. Did you say that Shemesh is shomer shababt?and if not does it or does it not have a full time mashigiach? if not, what is to stop the owner from using cheaper non-kosher products?
    Shouldn’t you and/or KA be concerned about this? rather than carrying on about lord of fries?

  • pizza, maybe you ought to brush up on your reading comprehension because I never wrote any of what you claim I wrote. But I won’t annoy you by repeating myself, just go back and re-read it until you comprehend it.

  • meri rabi says:

    Due to various comments here regarding some Kosher food providers, that suggest less than ideal circumstances for providing proper Kosher service, I will paste the following from our website.

    The Lord of the Fries provides strictly Kosher, fast serving, meat free experience.

    • “it’s Kosher!” and Kosher VeYosher has investigated and guided the suppliers, processors and processes, and the systems employed to operate the franchises, of Lord of the Fries, to ensure that unimpeachable Kosher security is paramount for all Buns, Burgers, Chips, Sausages, Sauces and Nuggets.

    • Lord of the Fries conforms to Halachic requirements regarding its Jewish partners not benefitting from any profit gained from Shabbos Melacha, business and transactions.

    • Some sauces are dairy, Chalav HaKompanies, i.e. acceptable according to HaRav Moshe Feinstein. We have ensured that all sauces are entirely isolated from one another and the non-dairy sauces are entirely non-dairy, Pareve.

    • Kosher certified oil is used exclusively and Kosher certified lettuce (i.e. that has been checked for insects) is now being used. We ensure that the bread is Pat Yisrael, the cheese is Gevinat Yisrael (according to the stricter opinion of the Shach) and the cooked foods are Bishul Yisrael.

    • We maintain vigilant oversight on all these, ensuring that Kosher consumers are assured of great food and unquestionable Kashrut.
    All shops have a TeUdah, a letter of Kosher compliance.

    Bishul Yisrael
    refers to the special decree of our Sages, that cooking of various foods be performed with Jewish participation.

    Gevinat Yisrael
    refers to the special decree of our Sages, requiring that cheese be manufactured by a Jew.

    Pas Yisrael
    refers to the special decree of our Sages, that bread be baked with participation of a Jew.

    Lord of the Fries, has a dedicated bakery contracted to provide their bread buns. It’s Kosher! has inspected (and continues to regularly inspect) and provides the bakery with a Kosher certificate.

    This bakery produces only Kosher foods and has no non-Kosher foods or ingredients on premises.

    There is no need to separate Challah as the bakery is not owned by a Jew and the buns are sold to Lord of the Fries after they are baked.

    Lord of the Fries conforms to Halachic requirements regarding its Jewish partners not benefitting from any profit gained from Shabbos Melacha, business and transactions.

    Buns baked on Shabbos and Yom Tov for Lord of the Fries, are done so under the same Halachic arrangements.

    The bakery’s ovens have been modified to ensure that the bread is baked with Jewish participation, to satisfy the preference of using Pas Yisrael.

    The Lord of the Fries shops provide services on Shabbat and Chagim, just as most if not all Kosher production factories operate on these days. Although the food is 100% Kosher on all days of the year, other than Pesach, Passover; Jewish Law forbids making any business transactions on either Shabbat or the Chagim.

    LOTF is centrally run like many, perhaps even all franchises.
    For maintaining Kashrus this is ideal. We have absolute unfettered access to the suppliers’ production facilities where all the components of the LOTF menu are produced. In this facility all foods and ingredients are Kosher.

    It also means we have absolute control over every single component in all the shops as everything is monitored and is interlinked. For so many burgers there must be so many rolls and for so many chips there must be so many potatoes. For so many servings of particular sauces there must be so many litres of that sauce.

    It is impossible to modify any ingredient or component without leaving tracks of imbalances that will certainly be exposed at the regular business and Kosher audits. I have a student who worked in a Pizza Hut franchise where the owner decided to save money and purchase some pineapple pieces from the local supermarket. Within two weeks an auditor turned up and enquired about the imbalance of the pineapple for the number of those type pizzas sold. All transactions are on the register and all are computed and calculated to the most exacting degree.

    Even if a shop runs short of a particular component, they will not, they can not bring in a satisfactory substitute. The protocols of their business operations do not permit this. When the shop apologises for being out of a particular item, it is music to our Kosher ears.

    This is the basic outline that governs the Kashrus protocols for all factories and food processors.

  • meir rabi says:

    And for similar reasons I will post from our website regarding Soho Kosher Sushi.

    Soho Sushi, provides sealed Kosher Sushi packs every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday bearing the Kosher VeYosher seal of integrity.

    These packs are prepared under full supervision from start of prep until packs are sealed.
    כשר למהדרין. בישול ישראל, בדיקת תולעים, בדיקת דם בבצים

    KOSHER VEYOSHER HEAT SEALS ALL KOSHER PACKS WITH TAMPER DISCLOSING SEALS.

    To avoid disappointment, place your order by phone, 8598 9280.

    All Miso is Kosher and does not require a Kosher seal.
    Ensure Miso is served in a disposable cup.

    Soho Kosher Sushi uses:
    1) only premium quality Wasabi and salad comprehensively verified to be כשר.
    2) only the purest quality soy sauce produced on dedicated equipment assured to be free of any non-Kosher contaminants.
    3) only the purest premium quality ginger pickled in Kosher acetic vinegar.
    4) sesame seeds assured to be produced and packed on machinery exclusively used for Kosher products.
    5) Yaki Nori the regular non-flavoured nori, and is
    a) produced on dedicated production lines assured to be free of any non-Kosher contaminants,
    b) thoroughly washed and checked by sophisticated machinery,
    c) further checked by expert supervisors.
    6) Rice for Soho Kosher Sushi is properly prepared according to the dictates of בישול ישראל

  • pizza says:

    Ms Silcove, I’ll ask you slowly.
    Does KA approve establishments where the proprietor is not shomer mitzvot – WITHOUT having a full time mashgiach?

    A yes or no reply will be OK.

    (Seeing how you speak so often to Mr Weisbord, it should not be difficult for you to get us an answer.)

  • If you really want to know you would ask him yourself. He has a phone, an email and his address in in the book. But that is not your goal, your goal is to vent and stir.

  • pizza says:

    No, no, no. As you are doing such a fantastic job being voluntary apologist for the KA, why not help clear this up. Why are you suddenly so shy?

    And how many times did you call rabbi Rabi to check out if all the lashan hara and rechilus that you spread about him was true or false? Strange how you have different standards for yourself and for others.

    Anyway, it seems quite clear from your non-answer that KA does approve shops run by non shomer shabbos.

  • Kesher says:

    So Ms Silcove called KA to check on the rabbits, weasels, cowards, just to find out if they had actually been in touch with KA. It would have been noble for her to also find out KA’s amasla re no mashgiach at Shemesh and report their excuses here. But no, she just asked about the weasels, rabbits and cowards, but nothing constructive in Kashrus. That wouldn’t be venting and stirring, would it?? Or could it be that she wasn’t satisfied with there excuse and didn’t tell us??

  • gillard says:

    Leave Shosh alone. She is trying her best under most difficult conditions.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shoshana, Shalom to you.

    I believe you run a radio programme on the new Melbourne Jewish radio slot. May I suggest that we have an open discussion regarding some of these issues on your show.

    Have a Gutt Shabbos

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Friends,

    Here is another issue that I would like to clarify – what and where is the SECOND ruling from a world renown Halachic and Kashrut Authority, opposing our Laffa Style Soft Matza?

    The RCV published: “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 [my Laffa Style Soft Matza] for consumption on Pesach.”

    The RCV’s description of HaRav Wosner’s letter as a “ruling” is a crude misinterpretation. See the letter yourselves and make your own assessment.

    I am aware of one such “ruling”, a letter from HaRav Wosner. It is not a “ruling” [he refused to issue a ruling although pressured to do so] but merely questions the acceptability of Laffa Style Soft Matza. And even this is due only to his opposition to innovations in our traditions. See here, http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=294.

    His letter is actually an endorsement of LS Soft 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.

  • Menachem says:

    There are in fact 2 more world reknown Halachic and Kashrut authorities who rule against the soft Matzah. They are Kosher Australia and the RCV.

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Nice!

    His letter is actually an endorsement of LS Soft Matza, as it expresses no Halachic concern whatsoever other than the perceived break with Tradition.

    So, his silence has now morphed into “an endorsement”.

    Yes, good exploitation of “shtikeh ke’hoidoho”.

    It would be an interesting experiment to bring Rav Wosner out here and see if he would eat your Lord of the Fries whatever. No doubt watching your unsupervised Pakistanis checking the lettuces for insects would shock him into silence which once again you would claim as an endorsement?

    As Maxwell Smart used say….“Good one 99″

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Hi Rabbi Rabi,

    I don’t think you can say that Rabbi Wosner’s letter “merely questions the acceptability of Laffa Style Soft Matza. And even this is due only to his opposition to innovations in our traditions.” From the letter that is translated on your site, it clearly states “Aside from the grave concerns about the Kashrus of this Matza…..”. I agree there is no definitive ruling that it is chometz, but Rabbi Wosner certainly raises some concerns that aren’t merely because of innovation. I do agree that he seems to outright forbid it because of innovation concerns, but Rabbi Wosner certainly also “questions” the kashrus of it and has grave concerns that it may be chometz. Given those grave concerns, I reiterate a point I made before – I suggest that before next pesach you travel to the Rabbonim that you are relying on (Rabbi Aviner or Rabbi Schachter or Rabbi Bluth) explain to them your method of making them and asking them to endorse the process and the kashrus of the matzas. Its not good for a man to be alone…

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Well put Chaveirim.

    At the same time, the good gentleman could obtain a smicha from those same rabbis?

    Kill two birds with the one stone?

    Would anyone go to a doctor who did not have a degree, no matter how good the “doctor” allegedly was/is?

    See, when one goes to a registered doctor, there is a comeback if the doctor screws up.

    So too, when a rabbi screws up, one could put forward a good defense in 120 years, that is, if an opinion was sought and given by a recognized rabbi or rabbinical authority.

    So how about it Meir, give it a go. Only upside, no downside?

    And even if the learned rabbis don’t give you their Lafa endorsement, at least you will return home with a prized semicha.

  • Mashgiach says:

    What does “grave concerns” mean?

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Mashgiach,

    Not exactly sure what you are troubled by? Assumedly it means that although Rabbi Wosner did not see the matzos being prepared or was not explained exactly how they were prepared, the fact that the laffas are soft raises serious halachic concerns that the laffa matza is not kosher for pesach. Did you understand the meaning of those words differently?

  • frosh says:

    Been there, done that,

    It sounds like you believe Rav Wosner to be a racist.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom Rabbosay,

    In discussing Halacha there often is intense disagreement. However that is all related to interpretation of Gemara and Poskim.

    Certainly Poskim also have personal preferences and some like the taste of Halva whilst others may detest it. Some enjoy seeing individuals baking their own Matza for Pesach at home whilst others feel it is a ridiculous and a v dangerous idea.

    I do not suggest that HaRav Wosner would eat LSSM however after being informed, I must assume and am supported in this assumption by well founded rumors, of every possible detail outlining my inadequacies and inadequacies of LSSM, he could find nothing more damning to write other than what you can see for yourselves; I must indeed consider this a victory for LSSM. Should I not consider this an endorsement of LSSM?

    Chaveirim, there is no more Halachic concern for Soft Matza than there is for Hard Crisp Matza. And as I have always maintained, LSSM are as best I can determine, the most Mehudar Matzos available in the world today. See http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=297

    And BeenTDThat, As for checking lettuce for insects, I was unaware that lettuce obtained from a reputable K org relies on “unsupervised Pakistanis to check for insects”. But whilst you ponder the sort of concerns HaRav Wosner may have with Kashrus here in Melb I wonder what your reflections may be of HaRav Wosner’s thoughts regarding the previously mentioned non-religious proprietors who are providing Kosher services and foods without full time Hashgacha.

    Have a Gutt Shabbos

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Frosh,

    If you are referring to my comment that the people doing the checking of the lettuce are “Pakistani” and are inferring that may be the ONLY disqualifying feature, then you need to take a Bex and lie down for a while.

    I used the term Pakistani because when I walked oped past a store the other day, that’s what the employees looked like to me. Now if they looked liked bogan Australians I would written ….No doubt watching your unsupervised bogan Australians checking the lettuces for insects would shock him into silence which once again you would claim as an endorsement?……the point being that I wouldn’t rely on any non-Jewish UNSUPERVISED person checking the lettuce for insects.

    Here, read my lips …… U N S U P E R V I S E D….. is the code word Frosh.

    A point you deliberately missed, Frosh?

    But then, did you?

    So, if my not relying on a non-Jewish unsupervised employee makes me a racist, (in your eyes) I guess I’m a racist.

    Happy now?

  • Straight Talk says:

    To Frosh

    Your inference is both silly and childish.

    Clearly, one can see what Been There is getting at.

    No hint of racism there.

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Meir

    1. Rabbi Wosner may indeed have many questions to ask others about their methodology, but I fail to see how that makes your hechsher any more kosher or less questionable because he does or did not?

    2. Are you suggesting that two wrongs make a right or are you stating that there is nothing wrong at all with having non supervised/non Jews checking for kashrut specification in your “best practice” eateries?

    3. By the way are you able or willing to provide any correspondence you may have had the the venerable gentlemen you refer to where you disclose in absolutely clear language that you do NOT have smicha?

  • mashgiach says:

    Hi Chaverim. Initially I interpreted “serious concerns” the same as you. My question was how others on this forum came to a different conclusion, as can be seen on their posts.

    Although what you write that Rav Wosner’s concern was that the Matzos are soft, may be completely wrong. It is quite likely that those who asked him about this Matzoh, told him that it was made with flour from a regular Australian bakery, and that is truly serious concerns. He already adressed the softness as being a break in tradition.

  • frosh says:

    BTDT,

    I didn’t call you a racist – I said it sounded like you were calling Rav Wosner a racist.

    May I ask what trick you used to ascertain that these individuals were Pakistani, as opposed to some other nationality from the sub-continent or elsewhere?

    I have heard reports of a so called frum Jew who goes to LOTF and Soho Sushi and shouts absue at the staff.

    Is that person you?

    Furthermore, do you think this is the way a frum person should conduct themselves?

    Also, why do you feel the need to create separate identities and post under these, in an effort to pretend there is some kind of consensus to your opinions?

    Finally, why are you afraid to post under your real name?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom BTDThat

    I was not concerned about HaRav Wosner but about your musings. I ask you to reflect upon them so that your energies may be more honourably directed and successfully implemented towards promoting and achieving great things for our community.

    I do not understand your second point. Did you not see my earlier response to you?

    Your Point 3 – in my few years of experience of speaking with various rabbonim, both directly and over the telephone, I have not once been asked if I have a piece of paper to show if I do or do not have a qualification, and thereby determine my status. Such information is irrelevant. I prefer not to use the title rabbi, but when I do it is entirely legitimate.

    Invariably when I ask a question or begin a discussion with rabbonim, there is an instant recognition that a serious question is being pursued and it is invariably dealt with in a serious fashion.

    Kashrut and Halacha depend upon confidence and honour and transparency. I endeavour to provide a service which will earn people’s respect and confidence. I am open to all suggestions and as you can see I answer all relevant queries with respect, including those that are anonymous.

    If I have made a mistake I will apologise and admit my error.

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Frosh says

    I didn’t call you a racist – I said it sounded like you were calling Rav Wosner a racis.

    We know exactly what you meant/inferred.

    May I ask what trick you used to ascertain that these individuals were Pakistani, as opposed to some other nationality from the sub-continent or elsewhere?

    Looks like the Bex didn’t work.

    They looked like Pakistani to me and if they were not, then tough luck. The inference was that they were not Jewish. I assume you know what that means, no? So why the focus on “Pakistani”? Is that the best you can do?

    I have heard reports of a so called frum Jew who goes to LOTF and Soho Sushi and shouts absue at the staff.

    On this point we are in agreement. I personally have not heard of this, but if anyone does do that, they are simply disgusting. And for the record, disgusting performances are not monopolized by non observant Jews. Every group has it’s crackpots, including yours.

    Is that person you?

    And you are a moderator? Child that you are!

    Furthermore, do you think this is the way a frum person should conduct themselves?

    No one should behave like that, particularly frum people. But then how does anyone know if someone is frum? By appearances? Must have the same skills I do, to identify Pakistanis.

    Take 2 more Bex, but this time, lie down!

  • frosh says:

    You forgot to answer these:

    Also, why do you feel the need to create separate identities and post under these, in an effort to pretend there is some kind of consensus to your opinions?

    Finally, why are you afraid to post under your real name?

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi,

    I think its a total misinterpretation of Rav Wosner’s letter to assume it is endorsing the laffa matza in any sense of the word. I assume what Rav Wosner means is that the soft matzos raise grave halachic concerns is meant to be taken literally and not misread as an endorsement. This is what I saw on another blog:

    טור אורח חיים תס

    אין עושין סריקין המצויירין פירוש שמציירין בפת כמין חיה ועוף אבל כל מה שעושין אותו במסרק כדי שלא יתפח מותר ומ”מ טוב שלא לשהות עליו לעשותו כמין ציור וכתב רב אלפס שלא אסרו אלא בעלי בתים שאינן בקיאין בציורין ויבאו לשהות עליהם אבל נחתומין מותרין

    One should not make [the matzoth] with comb-scratched pictures, i.e., with pictures on the bread, such as of mammals or birds. However, whatever-one-does-with-a-comb-in-order-to-prevent-the-dough-from-expanding is permissible. Nevertheless, it is best not to take the unnecessary time to make [the comb-marks] into a picture.* However, Rav Alfas [i.e., the Rif] wrote that the Sages forbade only home-bakers [from drawing pictures], for they are not experts in making such pictures, and therefore will waste too much time making them; but professional bakers are permitted….

    *[Presumably, this is because when one does not want the dough to leaven, every moment counts.]

    R. Joseph Caro comments, in the Beth Yosef:

    כתוב בהגהות מיימון פרק ה’ (הט”ו דפ’ קושטא) [כ”כ בכל בו (שם ט ע”ג)] אומר ריצב”א דקיי”ל כרבי יוסי דאמר (לז.) עושין סריקין כמין רקיקין פירוש עושין סריקין מצויירין כמין רקיקין דאז אין לחוש לחימוץ בשהיית ציורין וע”ז סמכינן לצייר מצות שלנו מפני שאנו עושין אותם כמין רקיקין דילגאד”ה בלעז עכ”ל סמ”ק (סי’ רכב עמ’ רל בהגהות אות י”א)

    The Haggahoth Maimon [late 13th-century Ashkenaz] writes in 5:15:

    The Ritzb”a [R. Isaac ben Abraham, brother of R. Samson of Sens] that we rule like R. Yosé, who said (in Pesahim 37a): “One may make combed-[matzoth] if they are like crackers.” That means that one may [even] make comby pictures if they are like crackers, because then we do not have to worry that the time-wasting involved in drawing pictures will cause the dough to leaven. We rely on this when we draw pictures on our matzoth, because we make them like crackers, “dilgada” in Romance-speak.
    All this is a quote from the Sema”q.

    The Rem”a comments, in the Darkhe Moshe:

    דרכי משה אורח חיים סימן תס סעיף-קטן ג

    ובאבודרהם (עמ’ ריז) כתב בשם הראב”ד דצריך לעשות המצות רקיקין ולא עבים וגדולים דלא הוי לחם עוני. ומהר”י וייל (סי’ קצג) כתב טעם אחר משום דאינו ממהר להחמיץ כמו אם היה עב וגס

    But in the Abudarham (p. 217), he writes in the name of the Ra’avad [12th-century Provence] that one must make the matzoth as crackers, not as thick or large, because the latter would not be “bread of poverty”. And Mahar”i Weill (§193) writes a different reason, namely that [crackers] do not rush to become leavened as quickly as thick, fat [bread] does.

    And the Rem”a writes in the Shulhan ‘Arukh:

    ויש לעשות המצות רקיקין, ולא פת עבה כשאר לחם כי אין הרקיקין ממהרין להחמיץ

    And one should make the matzoth crackers, and not thick loaves like other, because crackers do not become leavened as quickly.

    Now, I still think that the Rem”a is giving advice, and not declaring an outright prohibition against making thick matza (let alone eating thick matza which has been made by Sephardim). Still, though, what he says is different from what Rav Schachter said in his name.

    The Mishna Berura, by the way, comments the following:

    רקיקן — היינו אף דמבואר בס”ה דפחות מטפח מותר לעשות מ”מ נכון יותר לכתחלה לעשות רקיקין דקין

    “Crackers” — i.e., even though it is clear from paragraph 5 that it is permitted to make matza up to just less than one tefah (handbreadth) in thickness, nevertheless it is best, ideally, to make thin crackers.

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Meir

    I know many people who ask serious questions and are given the greatest of courtesy and taken seriously despite not having rabbinical ordination. One such person by way of example,is Lior Broh. He at least says he does not have smicha…doesn’t mince words.

    However as you have this ongoing habit of referring us to your website for us to read what suits you, perhaps you could scan and post your Smicha so that once and for all we can see if indeed you are a rabbi, or simply a scholarly person who is given that title by those who assume he is a rabbi.

    Wouldn’t that end the controversy once and for all? Too simple perhaps?

    I personally know of many orthodox philanthropist who consistently receive gratuitous letters prefaced by Rabbi, simply because they have made substantial donations.

    Are they rabbis because the address on the letter says so?

    Next, you failed to address my point 2. Please do so clearly and be precise and to the point.

    Here it is again.
    2. Are you suggesting that two wrongs make a right or are you stating that there is nothing wrong at all with having non supervised/non Jews checking for kashrut specification in your “best practice” eateries?

  • frosh says:

    The irony of someone who will not even provide us their name demanding others provide them proof of ‘degrees’ unrelated to the argument.

    BDTD, unless you are going to be sincere enough to disclose your identity, I can’t see why anyone would provide you with anything.

  • Chaveirim kol yisroel says:

    Frosh,

    Not sure if your comment is relevant. BDTD isn’t purporting to authorise food as kosher or act in the capacity of a Rabbi.

  • Been There, Done That! says:

    Frosh

    No need for me to divulge my identity.

    1.I don’t provide hechsheirim

    2.I don’t have any Jews eating anything or not eating anything because of me.

    3.Unlike you, I’m not an apologist. I question people, I question attitudes and I take into account people past track record and in this case, controversies that seem to hound him so doggedly.

    Clearly, you are out there to protect Meir and give him safe harbor of sorts. Remember, he voluntarily put himself in the public eye. If it’s too hot in the kitchen, he should get out and as you are the mashgiach on this site, perhaps he should take you with him.

    Can you imagine if Neil Mitchell, John Faine,Steve Price or Derryn Hinch asked everyone for their identity? Would their shows last? It’s exactly because of the anonymity that truthfulness in the end comes out.

    I’ve noticed you tend to become personal when things get a little hot for your guru. You snidely ask if I am the frum guy who goes around screaming at the stores you mentioned. Not that you have seen it or heard it yourself, so one may question the veracity of your allegations, but you have the chutzpah to ask if I am that person.

    Outrageous!

    If you wish to quash dissent on this blog, speak to your superiors and close this blog down, but don’t come up with your childish and boorish questions and innuendos. It doesn’t help Meir’s cause.

    Why do you need my identity prior to Meir disclosing his credentials? If you were a genuine friend of his you would be encouraging him to divulge once and for all if he does have the credentials that he purports to. If he can’t or won’t do that, we are entitled to question everything he says and does, anonymously or otherwise.

    If you can’t see that, then obviously you are so far in cahoots with him, that you have lost all sense of even handedness and objectivity and should either remove yourself from your post as moderator or be removed.

  • frosh says:

    CKY,

    How would anyone know what BTDT is or is not purporting to do, as they do not disclose their name?

    For all anyone knows, BTDT is Rabbi Glasman or the head of KA.

    If people want to be taken seriously in a discussion of such matters as this, I suggest they summon the basic decency to disclose their identity.

  • frosh says:

    BTDT,

    How do I know you don’t provide hechsherim?

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Because I said so Frosh!

    And if I was Rabbi Glassman or any other real rabbi I wouldn’t lower myself to come onto this blog!

    Only a pretend rabbi would.

    That settle it?

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to you Chaveirim,

    Thank you for your post and Halachic perspectives.

    The Tur simply is urging that Matza should be made without any delay. It was common to make pictures on their bread, so he urges that this not be done for Matza. Remember their Matza was pretty much the same as their bread.
    He permits expert bakers to make pictures. They are fast.

    Take note that the word REKIKIN refers here to flat cakes that are like a pizza base. It does not refer to hard crisp wafers. It is modern Hebrew usage that describes REKIKIN as crisp wafers.

    The Rema in his Darchey Moshe observes that thick loaves although being Matza are not to be used for the Mitzvah of Matza on the first two nights of Pesach since they are not Poor Man’s Bread. He also adds another consideration – that thin dough does not become Chamets as easily as thick dough. [This is actually said by Rashi on the Gem Pesachim, as I have noted on my website.]

    We conclude with the ShO and the MBerurah that Matza should be made as REKIKIN.

    What are REKIKIN?
    They are flat pizza style bases about 12 mm thick. Who says so?

    The BaEr Heitev says so 460:8. The BaEr Heitev is also found in the Sefer MBerurah. He lived into the early 1800’s. So even into the early 1800’s we have clear evidence that the norm was to eat soft Matza.

    I assure you that a Matza baked 12mm thick as a crisp bread would be inedible. It would require a cold chisel and mallet to break and a long soaking before you could begin to eat it. He is most decidedly referring to a SOFT pizza base about 12mm thick. Don’t you agree?

    All this is already on my website plus much more information as well.

    BTW have you wondered about the sequence and placement of the Rema’s comment? Because just FOLLOWING his comment about making Matza as REKIKIN the Mechaber says that Matza should not be to thick. Strange, no?

    Gutt Shabbos

  • frosh says:

    Your reasoning is exquisite :-)

    There is no need to lower yourself (or any of your other identities) to come on this site anymore.

    I’m quite sure we’ll all get along fine without your immense contribution.

  • meir rabi says:

    BTDThat, Shalom,

    As I said earlier,
    meir rabi says:
    August 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    And BeenTDThat, As for checking lettuce for insects, I was unaware that lettuce obtained from a reputable K org relies on “unsupervised Pakistanis to check for insects”. But whilst you ponder the sort of concerns HaRav Wosner may have with Kashrus here in Melb I wonder what your reflections may be of HaRav Wosner’s thoughts regarding the previously mentioned non-religious proprietors who are providing Kosher services and foods without full time Hashgacha.

    Have a Gutt Shabbos

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Frosh

    As I aint a rabbi, I’ll stay till I’m booted off.

    Sour grapes, me thinks?

    Be a good boy, now…you hear?

  • frosh says:

    Actually, you have stayed even after you have been booted off.

    How ironic that you try to insult me by calling me a boy when you are not even ‘manly’ enough to use your own name.

  • Been there, done that! says:

    Yep Meir.

    Dodged all the bullets like always.

    I’ll be looking at your website to see your smicha and your response to my question 2.

    Like I suspected.

    Cheerio Frosh….and happy booting! LOL LOL

    Still think I’m Rabbi Glassman?

    Crikey, would he or any rabbi be wasting their time 45 minutes prior to Shabbat.

    And dont forget to work on Meir. Tell him he has a chance to show me up.

    Show us the Smicha!

  • meir rabi says:

    I am still waiting for a response from someone re
    meir rabi says:
    August 6, 2010 at 9:36 am
    Shalom Friends,

    Here is another issue that I would like to clarify – what and where is the SECOND ruling from a world renown Halachic and Kashrut Authority, opposing our Laffa Style Soft Matza?

    The RCV published: “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 [my Laffa Style Soft Matza] for consumption on Pesach.”

    The RCV’s description of HaRav Wosner’s letter as a “ruling” is a crude misinterpretation. See the letter yourselves and make your own assessment.

    I am aware of one such “ruling”, a letter from HaRav Wosner. It is not a “ruling” [he refused to issue a ruling although pressured to do so] but merely questions the acceptability of Laffa Style Soft Matza. And even this is due only to his opposition to innovations in our traditions. See here, http://kosherveyosher.com.au/modx/index.php?id=294.

    His letter is actually an endorsement of LS Soft 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.

  • Been There, Done That! says:

    Frosh

    I note that you are one of the editors who does not disclose their full identity.

    Frosh (Anthony) is a social-psychologist and research-methodologist with an interest in how people perceive the media. He is currently working in consumer research, although he harbours a desire to return to his former career as a Jewish action hero.

    Kettle calling the pot black?

    Yes, you were saying?

  • frosh says:

    Even in YOUR OWN comment above, it can be seen that I have disclosed my full identity (short of posting a scan of my birth certificate and ketubah).

    Is it possible that you can be this obtuse?

    Good shabbos to all.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Been There, Done That!

    Google it and the first interpretation comes up as:
    “To have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency”.

    Obviously this doesn’t apply to you as you are still here!

    It is always the anonymous posters that claim that the editor is also anonymous or trying to hide his identity. Who are you trying to kid.
    However there seems no shortage of them.

  • Been there, Done that says:

    Sam & Anthony

    Happy to concede that I incorrectly assumed Frosh was just a nickname. Should make it clearer in the Editors page, and leave out the brackets!

    That doesn’t alter the fact that Frosh tries to make matters personal by introducing red herring when the going gets tough for his guru.

    Does it really matter who I am when I ask why Meir simply is incapable of answering a yes or no to a question an 8 year old could competently deliver?

    Does Meir have a Smicha? Tick YES Tick NO

    If yes please paste on website. Tick YES Tick NO

    If he is incapable of soing that or will only do so screaming blue murder as he is dragged over yhe line, one has to question the motives.

    He has no trouble delivering lengthy epistles to all and sundry.

    He has no problem pasting whatever suits him, on his website so why dodge this request?

    You don’t like the message so you shoot the messenger?

    So Anthony, please stop pretending to be Batman coming to Robins assistance despite you harbouring a desire to return to your former career as a Jewish action hero. Yeah, right…action hero??

    It’s just out of place as are your obfuscating comments which are designed to take the heat off Meir.

    Show us the Smicha, Meir……. prove you are a fair dinkum guy!

  • Kel says:

    5.49 pm. Sam must hold a very late Rabenu Taam Zman

  • Kel says:

    Or doesn’t live in Melbourne

  • Me says:

    What you mean about what? I didn’t see anything there on the topic of this thread

  • AustIsr says:

    See below for the recent revelations by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick shlita of the Kashrut Authority about the safek chametz status of soft matzah that KVY produced. Surely this shows that the rabbonim who have many years of experience in supervising kashrus in our technological and global day and age are the ones to be relied upon, rather than individual rabbonim.

    These individuals might not – despite their being talmidei chachomim – be sufficiently up to date with the latest developments in mass food production, etc. (I mean no disrespect to Rabbi Rabi shlita by these comments.)

    Notification issued by the Kashrut Authority (NSW) on 10 February 2011 (direct quote):

    Kosher Certification of Bondi Pie Shop Not Acceptable

    It has come to the attention of the Kashrut Authority that a pie shop in Bondi has now come under the supervision of Kosher V’Yosher based in Melbourne. It is our duty to inform kosher consumers that in our professional opinion the Kosher V’Yosher kosher certification cannot be relied upon. A similar declaration has been made by the Rabbinical Council of Victoria in July 2010.

    This in no way is a reflection on the quality of the establishment or its food. It is however a statement in relation to kosher certification.

    The appearance of Kosher V’Yosher in NSW has prompted us to make an announcement at this time. The KA makes this statement from first hand knowledge of the kashrut practices of Kosher V’Yosher .

    A notable example: Last year a product was certified by Kosher V’Yosher as being Matzah and Kosher for Passover. The KA is aware of problems in both the ingredients and the manufacturing process, which would render the product unfit for Pesach use and according to the Shulchan Aruch safek, if not actual Chametz. This conclusion, which was based on information received from the manufacturer and visiting the plant, unfortunately became known only after Pesach. The company is now certified by the KA but its product is not suitable for Pesach.

    Kosher V’Yosher has addressed various challenges on their website. Our conclusion and professional opinion, after having reviewed the explanations and positions taken by Kosher V’Yosher, and based upon our own first hand knowledge, is that their certification cannot be relied upon.

    The kashrut of commercial premises is a highly refined area. The KA and other leading Kashrut authorities within Australia are in regular contact with other reputable kashrut authorities around the world, exchanging information about food technology and production technique to ensure appropriate standards of Kashrut for the consumer. We hope that kosher consumers will understand the seriousness and gravity of this warning.

    The Kashrut Authority

    The Kashrut Authority is under the auspices of the Sydney Beth Din and the Yeshiva Rabbinate

  • frosh says:

    AustIsr,

    Why is it that even when merely pasting a letter written by soemone else, you feel the need to be anonymous?

    I fear that people will make all sort of assumptions about your identity, and these could best be avoided if you acted a bit closer to a mensch and used your real name.

  • AustIsr says:

    Frosh, why davka are you attacking me, when the vast majority of comments on GalusAustralis are from pseudonyms?

    Also, why don’t you tell us who the hell you are?!

  • frosh says:

    AustIsr,

    Firstly, my identity is fully disclosed. See the Contributors page.

    Secondly, if people use pseudonyms for giving opinions on distant or non-personal issues, that is ok. Also, pseudonyms sometimes need to be used for genuine whistle-blowing.

    However, in the case of the kashrut dispute, a dispute that has been deliberately manufactured, we have seen several ‘contributions’ in the comments section from ‘men in shadows’ intent on destroying the credibility and parnoseh of a said indvidial, without the courage to put a name behind their loshon hora and motizi shem ra.

    If people are launching an attack on an individual, then they ought to use their real name!

    Incidentally, all your recent contribution demonstrates is that the establishment KA in Sydney is as determined to protect its territory as its Melbourne counterpart.

    In fact, this weekend, several Sydney people have been telling me anecdotes trying to convince me that the Sydney KA is worse than the Melbourne KA. I tried to counter their arguments as best I could, based on anecdotes from Melbourne :-)

  • AustIsr says:

    Frosh – criticisms of the KA and KOz aside, if the KA states that the soft matzah was chametz, they must have had a basis for doing so. It is now up to Rabbi Rabi to counter this claim or to retire from the kashrus business. Your quibbles about my identity are seemingly an attempt by you to undermine the message by shooting the messenger.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Austlsr,

    Perhaps your identity is irrelevant. Although it does pose the question of “what is Austlsr’s motive for being that messenger? and why is their anonymity important?”.

    Interestingly, an individual who works at KA commented to me the other day that your postings and similar anonymous postings which seek to spread these little “bulletins” of KVY, do Kosher Australia no favours as it makes KA appear bitter, underhanded and threatened.

    You’ll notice Rabbi Rabi posts no defamatory remarks about KA.

  • AustIsr says:

    Malki – the latest warning is from the Kashrut Authority (NSW), not Kosher Australia. KA in my post = Kashrut Authority.

    Unlike the RCV warning, the KA warning explicitly states that the soft matza were chametz. It’s not a case of trying to drive KVY out of business, but of stating a halachic opinion by rabbonim who have decades of experience in commercial kashrus… We owe them an immense debt of gratitude for warning us about eating what could well be treif (the pies).

    Read my post from a few days ago before posting your own messages, instead of getting your facts wrong.

  • Malki Rose says:

    I am aware that you were, on this occasion, referring to the NSW Kashrut Authority.
    Their “warning” is laughable and quasi-intelligent individuals who care to understand the halachic concerns and bases of kashrut, especially relating to Soft matza, expect a fair amount more information than “we are also rabbi’s and we’ve looked at Rabbi Rabi’s kashrut and we think it sucks, so don’t touch anything with KVY on it”.

    I, on the other hand, WAS referring to Kosher Australia.

    Allow me to clarify more careful.

    The individual from Kosher Australia who I spoke with found your anonymous eagerness to disseminate this “bulletin” from NSW Kashrut Authority to be of poor form.

    They also felt that individuals such as yourself who choose to add to the Australian Kashrut debate in this way do little to aid the cause of existing bodies and especially Kosher Australia as several hundred comments have been posted on this site and several others which specifically set out to glorify Kosher Australia and slander Rabbi Rabi in the one post or series of posts.

    Thus far very few from Sydney have joined the debate to do similarly for the NSW Kashrut Authority. Luckily for them, they have Austlsr the Incredible, which means in a matter of posts the NSW can begin to look almost as bitter, threatened and underhanded as KA has been made to appear by individuals such as yourself.

    My remark about your being an overly-eager “messenger”, bearing tidbits of lashon hara thinly veiled as “helpful soul saving” still stands.

    So once again,
    Perhaps your identity is irrelevant. Although it does pose the question of “what is Austlsr’s motive for being a messenger? and why is their anonymity so important?”.

    and once again,
    You’ll notice that Rabbi Rabi has yet to issue defamatory statements regarding KA,
    either of them.

  • AustIsr says:

    Malki – so if a rabbi says food is treif or chametz, that shouldn’t be publicised? Should we simply allow the masses to eat what is forbidden in order not to upset one particular rabbi?! And now you’re criticising me for daring to promote – verbatim – what the KA has said?! Obviously you’d rather people eat what is forbidden in order not to offend Rabbi Rabi!

  • frosh says:

    AustIsr,

    Let’s suspend reality for the moment, and assume that what you are doing is a mitzvah.

    If your behaviour is so mitzvadik, why the need to be anonymous?

  • MeAgain says:

    Too clever by half, Frosh.

    Assuming AustIsr does use his real name, you would still have his ISP address which means that should he wish to post on other topics which may not be so “mitzvadik” you, as a moderator would be quite aware of his identity. So clever Frosh, so clever aren’t you?

    Tell us, just how far are you prepared to go, to reject halachik authorities condemnation/warnings that your Guru may be leading you (and by extension, those gullible enough to take your words verbatim)up the garden path, even though Guru Rabi thinks he is not? Ever hear of “erring on the side of caution?”

  • Malki Rose says:

    Au contraire,
    Kosher consumers are no longer gullible.
    This is why “edicts” issued by ANY kosher authority which are just “their word” are insufficient for the thinking Jew.
    A halachic bases needs to be provided,
    People who ARE serious about Kashrut won’t take such edicts without sound halachic reasoning and will not just blindly follow commanded “we know because we know” pronouncements.

    Sorry, Judaism is not a blindly followed cult. We are a thinking intelligent people.
    Or at least some of us are.

  • frosh says:

    MeAgain (just yet another pseudonym for probably a singular person),

    I think it’s a shame that some people’s willingness to stoop to any method to protect their monopoly (of both authority and finance) is driving people away from halacha and Judaism in general.

  • MeAgain says:

    I see Frosh,

    Therefore the best way to keep them in the fold is to lighten up, develop/find creative short cuts no matter how controversial, with the proviso that these deviations must be presented by a seemingly learned person who is either unable or unwilling to demonstrate his rabbinical qualification, rather survives on his little minions (not to be confused with his ex minyans) giving him support, as payback for providing them with questionable shortcuts?

    Please Frosh, you’ve got to be joking!!

    Isn’t that the way Reform Judaiism started?

    Keep ‘em in at all costs?

  • Sam says:

    AustIsr (MeAgain)

    You have got to be joking. Most of the readers are not the slightest bit interested in your brand of Judaism. People will eat what they want and feel comfortable with, even bread on Pesach if that’s what they choose to do. WHO are YOU to tell them not to?

  • MeAgain says:

    Sam:

    1. I’m not AustIsr although I do agree with him.

    2. Who is telling anyone what they can or can’t do. Eat pig for all I care, but don’t pretend it’s not pig. I and others simply have the right to tell you and anyone else who may be listening that ….it’s a pig! Now if you want to delude yourself because it suits you, go for it. No skin off my nose. Now, was that so hard to understand?

  • AustIsr says:

    Sam – I echo MeAgain’s clarification that I am not (s)he and (s)he is not me.

    I have decided to retire from this debate, stimulating as it may be. I am obviously dealing with people who are strident in their support for KvY, and who won’t recognise that there are other learned rabbonim for whom KvY’s standards are not all that they should be.

    I feel no need to continue debating with such people, though I feel content that I have achieved my initial aim: To publicise the KA’s warning that KvY cannot be relied upon by G-d-fearing Jews who wish to fulfil their kashrus obligations.

  • watcher says:

    AustIsr says:
    See below for the recent revelations by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick shlita of the Kashrut Authority about the safek chametz status of soft matzah that KVY produced. …………………..

    A notable example: Last year a product was certified by Kosher V’Yosher as being Matzah and Kosher for Passover. The KA is aware of problems in both the ingredients and the manufacturing process, which would render the product unfit for Pesach use and according to the Shulchan Aruch safek, if not actual Chametz. This conclusion, which was based on information received from the manufacturer and visiting the plant, unfortunately became known only after Pesach.

    The company is now certified by the KA but its product is not suitable for Pesach.
    ======

    Strange how no one has picked up that KA ie, RM Gutnick has no shame in publicly announcing that he has ‘stolen’ the supervision gig from RM Rabi – who was previously doing the hashgacha also for all -year round.

    I wonder which beth din or court allowed him to do this?

  • DanLekafZchut says:

    Watcher – Is it just at all possible that the company approached the KA for a hechser? Maybe they decided that the KA is more recognised than KvY?

    I am sure that Rabbi M Gutnick is not in the business of pinching businesses to provide hechsherim to. Knowing how busy he is, he has enough on his hands!

    Dan l’kaf zchut!

  • watcher says:

    dan the ajbwatch has joined in on this . they seem to ask the questions better than I.

    check it out

    http://ajnwatch.blogspot.com/2011/02/nsw-ka-protecting-its-turf.html

  • watcher says:

    Over shabbos I heard that Rabbi Moshe Gutnick’s KA approves a sydney caterer who in tandem with this ‘kosher’ enterprise operates a retail treif chicken shop.

    Can any sydneysider confirm this? And if the good rabbi is reading here can he respond (under his own name or pseudonym).

  • watcher says:

    Meanwhile I have looked up the list of KA certified caterers – which appear on their website
    (I don’t know if the one I heard about is included (or even if the whole thing is true)

    Caterers
    Catering by Flavours – Meat/Dairy
    Ph: Beverley 0410 933596,

    Eat Your Heart Out
    Ph: 0413 474 894/02 9371 5773
    Email: anne.pincus@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

    Esther’s Table – Pareve/Dairy/Fleishig
    Ph: 0402 001 225

    Good Food Inc
    Ph: 0413 894 519

    Grunfeld Catering – Meat & Veg/Dairy
    Ph: 9327 6468

    Joel Prestige Catering – Pareve
    Ph: Joel 0406 027 194
    http://www.joelprestigecatering.com

    Katzimoto – Pareve Sushi
    Ph: 0414 894 519

    L’amour Catering – Dairy/Pareve/Meat
    Ph:0413 606 826

    Mila’s Catering – Pareve/Meat
    Ph: 0414 999 810

    Passion8Catering – Dairy/Meat/Pareve
    Ph: 9418 8922, Fax: 9418 8966
    http://www.passion8catering.com.au

    Pizza Chef’s – Dairy (Chalav Yisrael)
    Ph: 0415505059

    “Q”uality Kosher Catering & Events – Dairy/Meat/Pareve
    Ph: 0414 444 321 or 0430 188 229, Fax: 9586 4591

    S.T’s Cookie Jar – Pareve/CY Dairy.
    Kiddushim, L’Chaim, Small Functions.
    Ph: 9343 4247/0411 758497

    Sofitel Sydney Wentworth – Meat
    Ph: 9228 9108
    (This establishment does not always cater kosher but has approved facilities to do so. Check for KA certification to ensure kashrut).

    Yafa’s Kitchen – Dairy/Meat/Pareve
    Ph: 0418 387 830 | Email: yafa.goldschmidt@gmail.

  • dovid segal says:

    On Shabbat I saw on the notice board of the yeshivah shull in Melbourne the latest announcement of the RCV regarding the soft matzos, and for me it was proof to the direction the RCV and its members are going-from bad to worse.

    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2011/04/rabbi-elyashiv-forbids-soft-matzoh-or-does-he-678.html

    It is not a secret that most members of the RCV are Chabbad Chasidim, and to see them rely onlies in the name of harav Elyoshiv is a clear proof that Moshiach already came.

    We shouldn’t forget that Harav Elyoshiv who is the leader of the litvishe world is 101 years old and ill, we also know that he is not answering questions, and all his answers are “in his name”, we also know that some of the halachic rulings that were announced in his name lately were “ordered” rulings, that were clearly wrong, based information that was supplied to “him” by interested parties, by supplying information that was found later to be plain lies, or by asking him the right questions to get the right answers, such as his rulings on the sheitels from idian hair, or the prohibitions on using “Shabbat elevators”, and many more, and the heilike chabbad Rabbonim of the RCV issue a Psak that is based on information they received from a nameless person that told them, that somebody told him that he was told by harav elyoshiv that xxxx, which is a psak that is wrong in fact and in halacha, as soft matzos were always eaten by Ashkenazim (see here: ).

    There is a possibility that some members of the council didn’t know who Harav Elyoshiv is, there is also a possibility that some members didn’t know about the way “his” rulings are “produced”, or that some Chabbad members of the RCV didn’t know what the Shulchan Aruch, Magen Avraham, or the Mishna Berurav said about “thick matzos” but I would like to believe that they knew about the Halacha in Shulchan Harav, (hilcos prsach 460,10):

    “אין עושין מצה עבה טפח שכשהיא עבה כל כך יש לחוש שמא לא ישלוט חום האש בתוכה ותתחמץ בתוכה בשעת אפייתה אבל פחות מטפח אפילו משהו מותר לעשות לכתחלה מעיקר הדין לפי שחום התנור שולט בתוך עוביו כשאין בו טפח, ומכל מקום טוב לעשות המצות רקיקין דקין שאין ממהרין להחמיץ כל כך כמו העבות כשעדיין הן חוץ לתנור ואם עבר ועשה מצות עבות טפח או יותר מותרות באכילה ומכל מקום יש לעיין בתוך עוביה אם נאפית יפה ולא נתחמצה שם ואף על פי כן טוב שלא ליקח אותה למצות מצוה.”

    Even a person with a “limited” knowledge will understand that it impossible to eat hard matzos that are 4 inches thick. Are they saying that this halacha, is only in theory or that it is forbidden to eat soft matzos because somebody told them that somebody told him that rabbi Elyshiv told somebody, that the Ashkenazim never ate soft Matzot, when it is clear that this fact is not true.

    If I was given the choice between believing a person that said that the Ashkenazim never ate soft matzos and a person that said that the Ashkenazim always ate soft matzos but stopped eating them for reason that are assiciated with halacha , there is no question in my mind that my choice is to believe the person who said the later, but I am not sure what to answer if asked what did Harav Elyoshiv say when he was asked if it is permissible to eat soft matzos on pesach, as there are many possibilities: he wasn’t asked. he didn’t answer, he told one person that it is permissible and to the other that it is not, in short, there is no way to find out which of them he said.

    Two things are clear to me, that Ashkenazim always ate soft matzos, and that the RCV dug itself in a hole, and is trying to get out by digging itself deeper.

  • Marky says:

    Dovid Segal wrote “the RCV dug itself into a hole”

    Is that why you called them “the heilike(holey) Chabad Rabbonim from the RCV..?” :-)

  • AustIsr says:

    Reb Segal,

    Rav Elyashiv shlita may be over 100, but he is as lucid as ever and answers sheelos every day! The reason the RCV quoted his opinion is because the KvY website quotes him out of context as giving an approbation to KvY’s soft matza.

    Also, re-read the RCV announcement and you will see that it says that soft matzo is no longer the minhag of Ashkenazim – it does not in any way deny that the matzos eaten during and after yetzias mitzroyim were soft matzo (just as the lechem haponim in the mikdash was pita-like matzo).

    Also look at the NSW KA/Sydney Beth Din/Yeshiva Rabbinate warning issued last week…

    WARNING RE: SOFT MATZAH – PESACH 5771

    It has come to our attention that Kosher V’Yosher has purportedly supervised for Pesach soft laffa type Matzot. As we have done in the past, we wish to warn kosher consumers that in our opinion the supervision of Kosher V’Yosher cannot be relied upon and these Matzot may not be used on Pesach.

    Last year, when Kosher V’Yosher supervised these Matzot for Pesach, according to the manufacturer and our visitation of the plant, the following occurred:
    1. Ordinary flour that was not kosher for Pesach was used.
    2. The conveyor belt was sprinkled with maize starch
    3. The process heat was not sufficient for the baking of Matzah

    In other words, the matzot were not permitted to be eaten on Pesach and were likely actual Chametz. It is therefore our opinion that Kosher V’Yosher cannot be relied upon.

    Furthermore Kosher V’Yosher this year on their website have sought to use “approbations” from two renowned experts in Kashrut to bolster their position – Rav Elyashiv Shlit”a and Rav Shachter Shlit”a.

    However the words of these Rabbis have in our opinion been misused by Kosher V’Yosher. Upon hearing of the manner in which their words were being used the two Rabbis issued separately the following statements:

    Rav Elyashiv Shlita:
    אסור לתת הכשר למצות רכות לקהילות אשכנז כי זו פירצה. ביהדות אשכנז אין על זה מסורת ואף פעם לא נהגו לאפשר אכילת מצות רכות.

    Translation: It is forbidden to give a hechsher to soft matzot for Ashkenazi communities as this is a “pirtsah” a breakdown ( in standards). In Ashkenazi Jewry there is no such tradition (for making soft matzot) and at no time was it customary to enable the eating of soft matzot.

    Rav Shachter Shlit”a:

    My note written last month regarding Sfardic matzos was somehow taken as an endorsement of some specific matzah plant in Queens. Others understood that I was obviously referring to some specific matzah plant in Petach Tikvah. Let it be known that I am not familiar with either plant, and my note was not intended to endorse any specific matzah manufacturer in the NY area or in any other location. One must take care to use only such food products made under strict Rabbinic supervision and approved by one’s local Orthodox Rabbi, and especially with respect to Pesach products where the laws of kashrus are much more complicated and much more serious.

    The above statements speak for themselves and in our opinion the lack of credibility of Kosher V’Yosher. Contrary to the Kosher V’Yosher website, Rav Elyashiv clearly forbids the making of such matzot for Ashkenazim and Rav Shachter does not allow his note to be used as an endorsement.

    Kosher V’Yosher can simply not be relied upon and the soft matzot under the supervision of Kosher V’yosher must be considered forbidden for Pesach use.

    The Kashrut Authority
    The Sydney Beth Din
    The Yeshiva Rabbinate

  • dovid segal says:

    austler

    As you didn’t sign your name I don’t who you are or where were you in the last few years, or if you followed his Piskei Din since he became the gdoil shebagdoilim, but I did, and there is no question in my eyes that “something is wrong there”, either with him or with the people that speak in his name, too many of “his” Psokim were proven wrong and were based on wrong information that was provided to him by interested “meshugoim”, and he produced piskei din that even they were hurting many people, he didn’t check If the information given to him is correct.
    To start to understand why I question his “psokim”, see the following clips, and you will see the way how people get psokim from him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd5I2E6JCds&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKyib2SZOuo&feature=related

    there are only two options, either it is him, or them, and whatever is the truth is there is no value in what is told in his name.

    you are not talking to some two bob b.t., I am sure that you know that i know that for a behavior to become a “minhag” is not enough “doing it” for a while, and the fact that people didn’t eat soft matzos wasn’t because they didn’t want to eat them, but because they couldn’t buy them, and they ate hard matzos because that was all that was sold, And now that soft matzos are available the want it.

    I did and came to the conclusion that either you didn’t understand my posting or that you have little respect for the Intelligence of the readers, and asking people to believe that Rav Elyashiv Shlita said :

    אסור לתת הכשר למצות רכות לקהילות אשכנז כי זו פירצה ביהדות אשכנז אין על זה מסורת ואף פעם לא נהגו לאפשר אכילת מצות רכות.

    It is clear to me that that rabbi elyoshiv’s never said it, and it is not more than a lie, as matzo is not an “Oyf” (or even a B’heima, l’daas ha’chazon ish), and it doesn’t require masoret to be kosher, u’bifrat that it is clear that jews in ashkenaz ate soft matzos.

    if the The Sydney Kashrut Authority is questining the kasrus of those matzos is one thing, but to come up with quotationsthat from what somebody said that sharav elyosihv said that are clearly not true, is something else.

  • AustIsr says:

    I don’t doubt that R Elyashiv Shlita might be presented with skewed information, based upon which he says his psak. However, this issue re matzah does not seem to be an issue that is complicated. It’s very simple: Can soft matzah be eaten by Ashkenazim or not? Pretty straightforward, no?

    BTW… you insult the chashivus of heilige baalei tshuva to contend that you are not a “two bob” bt.

    Some kavod for the gedolei hador and other yidden would not go astray…

  • frosh says:

    AustIsr wrote:

    “It’s very simple: Can soft matzah be eaten by Ashkenazim or not? Pretty straightforward, no?”

    And yet despite this superb argument quoted above from this completely anonymous posek (or are you speaking as a physician or dietician?), I’m going to try my best to eat soft matzah.

  • dovid segal says:

    AustIsr

    As I see that you missed the point of my comment, so I will repeat it, but this time “B’rothel BItchO Haktano”, in hope that you will understand my answer.

    Even If it was clear that he was asked: “Can soft matzah be eaten by Ashkenazim or not”, and his answer was: not!, Then there isn’t a Chiyuv for a person that didn’t ask him the question as a psak, to do as he said, how much more when we don’t know if he was asked, what he was asked or by whom he was asked, and the same with his answer, are they his words, or the words of a person with a Negiah to this issue, and his story is not more than a plain lie.

    My conclusion was that it is a plain lie! As his answer (as translated) was:

    “It is forbidden to uto soft matzot for Ashkenazi communities as this is a “pirtsah” a breakdown ( in standards). In Ashkenazi Jewry there is no such tradition (for making soft matzot) and at no time was it customary to enable the eating of soft matzot”.

    His answer wasn’t yes or no, but a psak halacha (or opinion?) based on facts that are clearly not true, so why do we have to consider this answer even as a maybe, when it is clear that it is not more than a plain lie?

    Where did you see that I insulted the chashivus of heilige baalei tshuva? is being Heilig evidence on him being knowledgable or understanding?

    just think: Is there kavod to gedolim in telling lies in their name?

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