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The Cost of Kosher

March 13, 2012 – 9:19 pm322 Comments

By Rabbi Meir Rabi
Cost is a strong negative influence that most people consider when evaluating Kosher foods and Kosher services. I distinctly recall being very uncomfortably unable to answer the plaintive question; “Rabbi, why is it that a vegetarian Kosher function provided by a non-certified Kosher caterer is so much cheaper than the identical menu provided by a Kosher certified caterer?”

I did not have an answer and I don’t believe anyone has an answer to that question, because the cost difference was enormous. And they had tried a number of Kosher caterers. I saw the quotations.

However, my main point is that many people resist making a commitment to Kosher or even a partial commitment (I know that sounds weird but that is the fact, people will eat various things but never THAT stuff.) for a related reason. Their main objection is – they feel violated by a system that appears to extort and abuse them. In short they feel they are being treated like idiots. When there is no transparency regarding prices and processes and no real competition, they feel abused. These are people who are prepared to pay for quality and for service and they want to pay for Kosher, provided that it appears to be reasonable and justified.

Now for some of us, an extremely small proportion of Australia’s Jewish population, this is not a question. However, the vast majority of Australia’s Jews, our brothers and sisters, are not that way inclined. Are they opposed in principle to keeping Kosher? Sure, some of them are. But let’s consider the overwhelming proportion who wish to have burial according to our ancient traditions, who have their children circumcised, educated at Jewish institutions, their homes actively reflecting some Jewish content and connection to their heritage. Are these Jews in principle opposed to keeping Kosher? Certainly not.

Kosher has been made unnecessarily difficult, and unjustifiably expensive. We do not, and many believe that we cannot, explain and justify that the costs are fair and not extortive.

Kosher has been made to look silly and political. That’s the consequence of insisting that a kitchen must be Koshered after being used by a Kosher caterer supervised by a different Kosher organisation.

Kosher has been made to look trivial. That’s the consequence of knowing that the products on the Kosher list are not Kosher enough for the rabbi who endorses the list.

Kosher has been made to look petty. That’s the consequence of accepting as Kosher the same food in one state of Australia but not in another state.

Kosher has been made to look divisive and infantile. Like kinder kids playing in the sandbox. That’s the consequence of some of us, who suffer a narrow perspective, dismissing those outside our own little arena. This was recently expressed on this site by a poster who declared that those who keep Kosher to standards approved by some great Poskim but not to the poster’s standards, “You’ll consider yourself kosher, and even some of your friends will consider you kosher. But by the standards enshrined in our Holy Torah, you’re simply not there yet in terms of full kashrus adherence.”

Melbourne KA (KAM) and Sydney KA (KAS) both operate facebook pages. Recently there was a veritable explosion on these usually docile and pedestrian pages, the detonator being the high costs of the Melbourne Kosher book on the Melbourne FB page [whereas the Sydney list of Kosher foods is freely available on the web] and the price of Kosher chicken/meat on the Sydney FB page. These discussions have been removed, which is probably appropriate since those FB pages are not designated for such discussion [and is one of the reasons I have aired the topic here].

But I draw your attention to 3 points: A) the energy that was apparent in these exchanges, which was remarkably in tense; and B) the people expending that energy, who were exclusively committed Kosher consumers. The third point is that there were some who defended the costs of Kosher but their expressions of confidence in the Kosher system voiced in shrill pronouncements and their reflections upon the personalities of those posing the questions, failed to disguise the fact that there were no answers to the questions asked.

KAS, to the best of my knowledge, did not respond at all other than by removing the discussion from their fb page.

KAM responded after removing the discussions with the following (I have trimmed its length) “There has been a burning question raised on our Facebook page – why do we charge for the Kosher Australia Food Guide – The small charge (I think this refers to certified companies) defrays some of our costs, not all of them. The typical family can get the Kosher guide for $40 p.a. which also includes a Pesach guide that takes hundreds of hours to prepare. (The regular Kosher Food Guide involves a review of the ENTIRE LIST – not a 2 hour job.)
To properly check a company requires time & expertise – the charge being disproportionately small in comparison to the time & materials involved. Staff need to be paid to maintain the service. As users of the Kosher guide, it is fair and proper that some charge is sought. The equivalent of less than a dollar a week is not unreasonable.”

This response suggests that the book sales are profitable but that profit is required to finance the investigations of companies paying for their Kosher certification since the charges to the companies are not sufficient to cover the costs. The question though remains, why does KAS not charge for their list but KAM does charge? How does KAS make ends meet?

Mr Romy Leibler, President of COSV Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria, 1995 – 2005 and inaugural President of COSA Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Australia, says that, “Mizrachi profits from the Kosher service it provides which must raise concerns. Further, it purports to be a broad communal organisation by its new name of Kosher Australia yet it is raising as much money as possible for itself, a single community group.”

Mr John Kraus [past president of Mizrachi Kosher] assures us that there is transparency in all of Mizrachi’s financials. As he writes [on Isaac Balbin’s Pitputim blog] to Mr. Romy Leibler, “you have access to the financial accounts, these are audited. Mizrachi is transparent and is accountable to its members of which you are one.”

We should note that for every EXTRA dollar paid for Kosher chickens, $10,000 EXTRA dollars are collected EVERY WEEK from the Kosher consumers since we produce 10,000 Kosher chickens per week. But Kosher chickens cost $15 more than non-Kosher chickens. So we are not talking about $10,000 but about $150,000 per week! What do we pay for a Kosher chicken? Close to $30. A non Kosher chicken retails in Coles and Woolies for less than $7.

I invite any businessperson to clarify these projections.

Furthermore, given that Rabbis Groner and Telsner are the principals responsible for Kashrus of our chickens [their names appear on both the Biada chicken processing plant and also the Solomons Kosher butcher shop] it is disappointing that neither they nor their representatives have ever provided any input into this discussion. The entire Jewish community will be delighted to have their and the other community Rabbonim as well as the communal leaders, help us unravel this mystery.

This is not the first time such a discussion has been aired. In his blog Pitputim Isaac Balbin suggests that:

  • Melbourne Kashrut, now Kosher Australia is moving towards the standards employed by the OU, which is good.
  • Some are critical of this move.
  • Sydney appears to have embraced the lower LBD rather than OU standards
  • Rabbi Moishe D Gutnick of the Sydney KA responded,

“Kosher Australia (Melbourne based) has announced that it is phasing out its “approved” listings. The Kashrut Authority however maintains that “approved” products are 100% kosher l’chatchila and should be listed. Furthermore, it is wrong to restrict the general community to certified products.”

The Kashrut Authority (Sydney based) maintains that “approved” products are 100% kosher l’chatchila, and it is wrong to disqualify such products. If the consumer wishes to eat only ‘mehadrin’ products that is the consumer’s choice but not a Halachic necessity.

Approved products are no ‘less kosher’ than certified products, they just fall under a different halachic paradigm.

See here.

Some more comment on the Pitputim blog:

  • It would be good if there was one communal Kosher organisation, standard and symbol for Australia. Financials should be transparent and accountable. (David Werdiger)
  • Kosher VeYosher is self serving and does not provide any real benefit to the community.(Isaac Balbi)
  • At a Council of Orthodox Synagogues Victoria meeting, Mr. J Kraus representing Mizrachi, proposed that COSV take over the Kashrus work then being run, at a significant financial loss to Mizrachi. COSV was willing but Mizrachi withdrew their offer. (Isaac Balbi)
  • Dr. Kloot has stated that that Mizrachi will only cede its control of Kashrus if it will be compensated with over $1,000,000. Dr. Kloot also fears that those who offer to take over this responsibility may lower the Kosher standards. He also bemoans that the community is not the slightest bit interested in helping to pay for the Kashrus services provided by Mizrachi.
  • Isaac thinks Dr. Kloot’s comment is sad and negative.

Mr J Kraus

  • disputes Isaac’s recollection, insists that the offer demanded compensation
  • Isaac insists that no mention at the time was made re financial compensation. Suggests that the minutes be perused.

Mr J Kraus

  • as Chairman of Mizrachi Kashrus, invited all Melbourne Synagogues to become part of Kosher Australia, to contribute to operations and to have representatives on the board, but was unsuccessful.
  • maintains that the Kosher booklet is extremely difficult to use.
  • Agrees with Dr Kloot that fair compensation must be paid to Mizrachi if it relinquishes or shares its control of Kashrus as occurred when COSV became joint managers with Mizrachi for the Eruv
  • Assures us, as past Chairman of KA and Treasurer of Mizrachi, that Kashrus is not a profitable enterprise and is lucky to even now, be breaking even.

Rommy Leibler suggests that:

  • it is absurd that the same product is Kosher in NSW but not Kosher in Melbourne
  • Kashrus ought to be a communal enterprise however monetary and parochial interests prevent this. Mizrachi profits from the Kosher service it provides which must raise concerns. Further, it purports to be a broad communal organisation by its new name of Kosher Australia yet it is raising as much money as possible for itself, a single community group.
  • A simple important change would see KA reporting to COSV.
  • Kosher VeYosher panders to those desiring lower Kosher standards; it is controversial and confrontational.
  • The proposal of ECAJ and ORA that one authority determine who may and who may not provide Kosher certification, is dangerous.

David Werdiger

  • agrees with Isaac that Kashrus ought to be a communal asset, although he does not necessarily agree with the OU being the standard that we should embrace.

Finally, ANONYMOUS posters have mentioned that:

  • A single Kashrus authority leads to increased costs for Kosher products and services, proof for this is demonstrated by the costs for Kosher in Sydney.
  • KVY does some strange things but are servicing a section of the community that neither the Mizrachi nor the Adass are willing or capable of doing.

Rabbi Meir Rabi is the principal of KVY (It’s Kosher) Kashrut Agency.

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322 Comments »

  • Harry Joachim says:

    1. Rabbi Rabi has invoked a quote by me from another comment thread on this site (“You’ll consider yourself kosher, and even some of your friends will consider you kosher. But by the standards enshrined in our Holy Torah, you’re simply not there yet in terms of full kashrus adherence.”).

    This quote has been taken out of context by the good rabbi.

    I said it to back the argument that ONLY READING THE INGREDIENTS ON A PACKET is an insufficient basis upon which to determine its kashrus status.

    Why is this remotely worthy of controversy, so much so that the good rabbi has seen fit to quote it here? Surely every rabbi worth their smichah will agree that there is more to kashrus than reading the ingredients printed on a packet!??

    Well, this assumption is obviously incorrect, because Rabbi Rabi disagrees. Frankly, if he thinks that reading ingredients is all there is to it, then why, pray tell, is there a need for his Kosher veYosher/It’s Kosher agency?! We can all keep kosher by reading our Sanitarium packaging – we don’t need Rabbi Rabi to tell us that it’s kosher.

    2. “Kosher VeYosher is self serving and does not provide any real benefit to the community.” I couldn’t have said it better Isaac. Thank you Rabbi Rabi for including Isaac’s quote in your article.

    3. I am a member of the NSW KA Facebook page and the discussion about the cost of kosher WAS NOT REMOVED, as Rabbi Rabi claims. It simply does not appear at the top of the list of updates as the discussion concluded – there have been no further postings on the issue, so it has dropped of the page listing. However, it can still be found if Rabbi Rabi actually bothered to look properly.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Just checked the NSW KA Facebook page (12.07 am Wed Mar 14) and the discussion thread about the cost of kosher to which Rabbi Rabi refers is still there.

    Perhaps the NSW KA is not the big conspiratorial bogeyman that the good rabbi is making it out to be…

  • Daniel Lewis says:

    Harry, there was a further thread to the one you mentioned that was removed from the KA Facebook page regarding kosher meat and poultry. I was under the impression that it was removed because the kosher butcher in Sydney had laid false claim as to the quality of kosher meat in supermarkets and had been called on the matter by me.
    Daniel Lewis
    Continental Kosher Butchers

  • Stephen A Lewis says:

    You ask for any business person to clarify to your projections so therefore I will attempt to do so.
    There is enormous cost associated with maintaining & owning a dedicated kosher poultry plant which is used for a relatively small number of hours per week to solely produce only kosher product .To set up a similar plant could cost in the vicinity of 2-3 million $s!
    Processing of kosher chickens requires an enormous amount of additional labour compared to treif.Non kosher chickens are processed in plants where 10-20,000 per hour is not unusual generally untouched by human hands.Kosher chickens,on the other hand require shochtim, mashgiachs& lots of additional labour to painstakingly process 500-1000 per hour,whilst having the additional impost of kashering requiring more labour & another complete production line not needed with treif.
    your price comparison between kosher& treif poultry are about the same as comparing a hyudai with a rolls Royce .both are certainly cars ,however that is where the comparison ends .Different products,different standards.The consumer is paying for a product being produced to specific rabbinical standards .
    I highly doubt that your claim of Rabbis Telsner & Groners names appearing on the Biada processing plant is factual as the poultry is processed at Solomons plant & not Biadas.
    As a rabbi ,I beleive,you have a responsibility to ascertain all the facts before asserting to a possible price gouge .I am somewhat surprised that you are not aware of the obvious extra work,labour & costs associated with kosher chickens Vs treif and that you did not choose to become better informed prior to airing these views in a public forum.
    Please note I am the proprietor of continental kosher butchers & have no vested interest in Solomons or the processing of poultry and am only an on seller of Solomons poultry & have been for in excess of 35 years .

  • TheSadducee says:

    Mr S. Lewis

    Can you please clarify for me – is the additional costs associated with the processing of the chicken (i.e. slaughtering onwards) only or including the rearing of the chicken i.e. free-range vs. caged etc?

  • Stephen A Lewis says:

    Processing onwards only .Up until the rearing stage all is the same HOWEVER….The large treif companies are vertically integrated & TOTALLY control the breeding & rearing process .Small processors ,such as the kosher ,are reliant on these suppliers for the live birds at non competitive prices ,hence the concentration of poultry processors being held by 3-4 LARGE companies .Free range would further impact upon the sell price .

  • TheSadducee says:

    Thanks for the prompt reply and the information which I was unaware of.

    As you are probably aware there is a marginal debate in the Jewish community about ethical treatment of animals and its impact on whether it is a good thing to consume these animals irrespective of kosher or not.

    Thus it is very interesting to note that the overwhelming majority of poultry for the kosher market does not appear to be free range.

    Do you believe that there is any opportunity for a small-scale, specialist free-range operator to exist in the market and supplying for people who may have ethical concerns (noting that this would be a boutique market at best)?

  • Stephen A Lewis says:

    So let me get this right .I have just explained what a tiny non cost effective product kosher CHOOKS are & you further ask the viability of taking an even smaller part of this market & doing free range …Mmmmmmm.I suppose it all comes down to cost .A number of years ago I processed 150 free range birds at an increased cost .I lowered my margin to less than 5% gross & took more than 6 months to sell them DESPITE a number of people asking me to undertake this venture .Ultimately I put myself through undue angst & cost for ZERO return & little thanks .Hence ,I believe that this is not a commercially viable proposal,however I suggest getting a number of like mind individuals together with a bulk proposal (purchase offer ) & approach the 2 poultry providers ( M&M & Solomons) & discuss the proposal with them .Maybe the market has changed since I last visited this issue .
    From an ethical point of view I can unequivocally state that ALL meat sold by Continental Kosher Butchers is Free range ,Hormone Growth Promotant Free & processed at plants where top flight quality assurance systems are strictly enforced to ensure stringent humane animal welfare standards are maintained .These factors along with adherence to the laws of kashrut are your guarantee of quality matters regarding the ethical treatment of animals.
    Hope this has been of assistance.

  • Confused by Rabi Speak says:

    What a load of dribble this article is.

    Rabi has mixed two distinct issues weaving a story to play to the potential benefit of his personal Kashrut business and in most cases is not presenting the reality and spends a considerable amount of time rubbishing his competitors in the hope to create positive PR on the back of negative PR

    Sadly, I believe that this article backfires on Rabi and make him look childish at best and a muckraker at worst.

    1) Why is there no mention of the Adass hechsher – Rabi is specific as to the political point scoring that he is trying to hit. Are the prices and the position of the Adass hechsher any better or worse? Me thinks that this might be assocaited with his social reliance on the Adass community. He is obviously playing the ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ card here, with his childrens schooling at risk he prefers to work on other targets…

    2) Rabi claims that the ‘wider Jewish community’ has strayed from Kashrut on mass due to the price gouging of the Kosher market. This is utter rubbish, the actual reason is that MOST Jews are ‘cultural’ Jews, they are happy to do things culturally, behind closed doors and in ways that DOESN’T impede their ability to live with and amongst their Non-Jewish friends, collegues and family. A bris is seen in a ‘cultural light’ as is burial, Pesach seder night, saying Yizkor on Yom Kippur and holding a Bar Mitzvah over a weekend.

    Keeping kosher means that you limit yourself daily. You can’t join your work collegues at the Lunch party in an Indian restaurant, kids can’t attend their friends parties at McDonalds. Bringing non-Jews into a kosher home is a debacle from the perspective of maintaining a kosher home (in case foriegn food is brought in) and ensuring you can offer a variety of foods and a comparable selcetion of the finest wines as found in any other non-Jewish home – its a hassle and makes them stand out from their non-Jewish peers and friends.

    I.e. Keeping Kosher is an embarassment for a cultural Jew along the lines of wearing Tzitizit or a Kippa on the street

    Perhaps Rabi would have us believe that MOST Jews don’t wear a Kippa to work because the cost of a Kippa is as much as $13 or Tzitzit @ $25 for small pieces of material (surely with the strong presence of Jews in the garment industry – these too are overpriced and causing Jews to NOT invest in them). In the modren working world, Siekhs are accepted with Turbans and beards, muslims with long beards and head coverings, as are Jews with beards and head coverings. By Rabis logic, if Kippot were handed out for free we would see a significant increase in the number of men walking around the city wearing them

    Absurd!

    Furthermore – MANY of these same Jews that Rabi would have us believe are holding back from Kosher food because of price, enjoy fine dining and cuisine at Australias best restaurants and cafes and are knowledgable in the quality of local and imported wines.

    Rabi is trying to bring forward the issues of yesteryear (1950’s & 60’s) to 2012 – In those days many people gave up shabbos to work and bring home money to feed their poor families, so too they walked away from Kosher in that era as the expense was too grand for them to justify as they tried to bring themselves out of poverty and the poor class into the middle class while grappling with the validity of G-ds law after the horrors they endured.

    I2012, MOST Australian Jews sit in the middle class (across both the lower and higher end) they no longer have to work on shabbos, but have chosen to play golf or go the beach instead of going back to shul. Similarly, they no longer care for kosher – sadly it makes no difference to their lives.

    3) I feel that these attacks on both the Sydney and Melbourne Kosher bodies work against Rabi as he is playing politics by publishing this article attacking his competitors. The only thing that looks childish are the barbs that the kosher authorities throw at each other and Rabi, this article puts you squarely in the sandbox.

    4) The issue of the chickens and I suppose other kosher products shows Rabis distinct lack of knowledge of modern indutry and the issues that boutique producers/ manufacturers face daily. I would be thrilled for Rabi to explain how he intends to get the cost of chickens to $7 or there abouts. I have been to a killing plant, they have two rotating blades killing chickens by the hundred every minute – it’s insane, it runs for 16-24 hours a day in shifts, the bulk of the workers are on minimum wage – I have no idea how he believes he is able to switch around the costs for our boutique operations but would be thrilled to hear his plan of action

  • Miriam G says:

    Thank you for the post Rabbi Rabi, and for shedding some light on these issues. As someone who moved here and wasn’t raised here, I was happy to find that there was an established kashrut authority in Melbourne and that many basic products were easily accessible within the major supermarkets. However, the politics behind the main kashrut authorities baffle me and leave me extremely frustrated. The reasons why Sydney and Melbourne need to have seperate religious authorities- not just a food issue, of course- is beyond me. And I wish the rabbis in charge of KAS and KAM would consider the needs of people who struggle to make ends meet and still go and buy kosher because it’s something we want to keep. We keep a dairy home because we can’t afford kosher meat! I have noticed how many people in this community want to put everyone they meet into categories of what they keep and who they are, so it doesn’t surprise me that so many are defensive. Me, I am completely behind Rabbi Rabi’s KVY and support what he does. He’s one of the few who dares to continue the kashrut conversation and seems to have his head on straight.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Miriam G – if you are not already a member of the NSW KA’s Facebook group, I suggest you join. You will find that the KA is “daring” to “continue the kashrut conversation” actively through this forum. Kosher Australia is doing likewise through its Facebook page. Despite any quibbles one might have with the personalities behind these agencies, both agencies are sincerely trying to improve the range of kashrus products available in Australia, and should be commended for their efforts at reaching out to kosher consumers via social media.

    It is a pity that there are some who are unable to afford kosher meat, but so many aspects of life in Sydney and in Melbourne are expensive, that sometimes one simply has to prioritise. For example, I know people who are prepared to pay rent for the foreseeable future rather than buying a home in order to fund their kids’ education at the prohibitively expensive Jewish schools. Likewise, they find a large chunk of their salaries going towards shul membership fees, Jewish lifecycle expenses, and maaser. This is the sacrifice one makes as a committed Jew in the modern world. Why should kashrus be any different?

  • drew says:

    “Confused by Rabi Speak” obviously has some vested interest in one of the KAs. Rabbi Rabi will always be unpopular with them. Who likes their competitor. The KAs even hate each other!
    Those 2 organisations have much overlap and the only rational explanation is that it gives a nice parnasa to half a dozen rabbis, many who wouldn’t be doing any real work more that 10-12 hours a week.

    I have spoken to people in the know and they claim that the cost of kosher poultry is so high because there is an absolute monopoly on the production by Solomons mother-ship – the wholesale department. They have the equipment and supplies which cannot be matched by others and take full advantage of it.

    Some may remember when Eatmore was a huge non-kosher (and kosher) producer. It was sold by the Wroby and Burds for millions but they carefully kept the kosher section for themselves thus ensuring not only the monopoly but also that should a serious competitor appear, Solomons will beat any price and force them out of business.

    Why Solomons doesn’t have poultry at a better prices than the others is a puzzle.

    Can someone here tell us how kosher beef and lamb prices face up to non-kosher?

  • TheSadducee says:

    “I.e. Keeping Kosher is an embarassment for a cultural Jew along the lines of wearing Tzitizit or a Kippa on the street”

    Aside from the condescension of the post generally towards the non-observant, I would ask how the hell would you know what motivates another Jew’s observance? Your talking out of your (black) hat and expressing the typical prejudices of your group.

    What maybe embarassing for cultural Jews (whatever that is btw?) are seeing frum-bags running around in 18-19th C outfits aka costumes from central/eastern Europe despite having no direct connection to those locations, time periods or traditions in 21st C Australia and looking down on their brothers and sisters who don’t fit their standards.

  • ariel says:

    *Like* Saducee’s comment

  • Harry Joachim says:

    drew, you say – “I have spoken to people in the know and they claim that the cost of kosher poultry is so high because there is an absolute monopoly on the production by Solomons mother-ship – the wholesale department. They have the equipment and supplies which cannot be matched by others and take full advantage of it.”

    And in Sydney? Does this also explain high prices there?!

    The post above explains how kosher will always be more than treif: “The issue of the chickens and I suppose other kosher products shows Rabis distinct lack of knowledge of modern indutry and the issues that boutique producers/ manufacturers face daily. I would be thrilled for Rabi to explain how he intends to get the cost of chickens to $7 or there abouts. I have been to a killing plant, they have two rotating blades killing chickens by the hundred every minute – it’s insane, it runs for 16-24 hours a day in shifts, the bulk of the workers are on minimum wage – I have no idea how he believes he is able to switch around the costs for our boutique operations but would be thrilled to hear his plan of action”

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Isaac Balbin has commented on Rabbi Rabi’s article on his website – http://pitputim.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/kashrus-agendas/. He presents a thoroughly cogent argument about the good rabbi and his kashrus agenda and modus operandi, one that is worth reproducing in full here…

    Kashrus Agendas

    Posted on March 15, 2012

    One of my earlier posts was mentioned in my old classmate’s now ubiquitous posts on kashrus. There is a constant refrain to these posts and unless I am not accurately reading between the lines, the theme is:

    the Rabbis in Melbourne make oodles of money from Kashrus
    the organisations in Melbourne make oodles of money from Kashrus
    the standards of Kashrus in Melbourne are too extreme and designed to support a monopoly and those standards cost us money and are unnecessary anyway
    some kosher good suppliers are making a fortune from profiteering on kashrus.

    Enter the proverbial iconoclast, clad in fire-proof armour:

    I will assume standards of kashrus which are different
    I will market my standards incessantly across the internet and elsewhere
    My motive is to bring the price of Kosher food down because I believe (anecdotally) that there are people who eat Treyf because they can’t afford the price of Kosher goods (meat?) that have assumed an OU-like standard
    My finances and business dealings with partners on these matters are none of anyone’s business
    My financial books are closed
    I am answerable to nobody but Hashem
    London bridge is falling down.

    Assuming the motives are earnest and with honourable intent, the line of argument used is rather straw man like. Yes, we would like to see all Kashrus under a central body. Yes, we like to see a collegiate Rabbinate and not isolated breakaways running their own kashrus supervisions/business. Yes, we would like to see the financial aspects of Kashrus provision (where relevant) under the financial supervision of a communal lay body. Yes, we would like to see Rabbis and Chemists and Mashgichim paid properly for their professional hard work. Yes, we would like to see shysters purporting to offer a kashrus service outed.

    I assume my erstwhile colleague is serious about his concerns about the price of chickens and more, so I suggest that he invite Rabbis and owners to an independent Dayan. I’d recommend R’ Hershel Schachter.

    Vacillating on the internet is okay for musicians like me, but I’d suggest it isn’t a productive path for a Rabbi attempting to convince his colleagues through earnest debate. Some would say it’s a populist agenda like the socialists who put up “Viva La Revolution posters” near my office and all around RMIT. I don’t think they achieve much thereby.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    drew, you claim that ‘Confused by Rabi Speak’ “has some vested interest in one of the KAs.” Why?

    I too have vociferously denounced Rabbi Rabi’s supposed “kashrus” agency and the standards (or lack thereof) that he employs (see elsewhere on the Galus site). I have no vested in interested in the NSW KA or K-Oz. I am an Aussie living in EY and have no personal relationship or friendship with any of the Gutnick clan. Nor have I had any dealings with Rabbi Rabi, other than through this website.

    [Eds: Rest of comment removed, as it is defamation from an anonymous person]

  • Miriam says:

    Harry Joachim,

    What’s with you and Rabbi Rabi?

    Deep down, are you a really a secret admirer?

    He’s just a Rabbi. He’s not the Messiah!

    Jewish consumers in Australia are perfectly able to decide which Kosher Agencies they will support without you writing reams of text to uphold your positions.

    Take a L-O-N-G deep breath ———- doesn’t that feel better?

  • TheSadducee says:

    I would kindly suggest to the editors to consider removing the para commencing “However…” from Joachim which could very well be considered libellous and/or defamatory in a Australian court.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    Stephen, thank you. I asked for a businessman’s perspective and we all appreciate your assistance.

    I am not a businessman so please excuse my simple approach. Let’s say it costs 4 to 5 million dollars to build a dedicated plant for processing Kosher birds. I will use the $ projection I suggested earlier since no one has challenged it. At least 150,000 ADDITIONAL dollars [meaning above and beyond the costs of non-Kosher chickens] per week are being collected from sales of Kosher chickens [10,000 chickens a week @ more than $15 over the cost of non-Kosher chicken]. If we have 20 extra people employed for Kosher, and they are paid on average $100.00 per hour for 30 hours/wk – we pay $60,000 per week. That leaves more than $80,000 per week from the $150,000. I think any businessman would consider that a very good return for a 4 – 5 million investment; the investment would be recovered in just over one year.

    I remember being at the Kosher processing plant and vaguely recall seeing the rabbis names displayed thereabouts. Is it not true that Rabbis Groner and Telsner provide the Kosher supervision at the processing plant? If I have erred I will certainly apologise but either way I don’t think it is germane to our discussion.

    Moving now to respond to points made by other posters –

    ++ We can hardly consider that by reducing the costs of Kosher meat and chicken, that our broader community [“cultural Jews” as heartlessly described by a poster here] will embrace an exclusively Kosher menu. But I pray I can safely assume that we all admire and encourage our brothers and sisters to take any steps towards a more Kosher menu. Of this I am sure, many more will be eating Kosher if it is presented more attractively.

    ++ Is anyone surprised that the London Beth Din rely upon some great Poskim, and thereby approve various products simply by reading the ingredients printed on the packet? Perhaps it is a perspective of, What is one rabbi’s Treif is another rabbi’s …

    ++ All issues to do with soft Matza can be viewed at the relevant thread here on Galus. I am also happy to answer any questions including anonymous senders, via email

    ++ The question about money is only relevant when the service is not being provided. And there are many people asking this question, Mr. Romy Leibler for example, who is not only a successful businessman but also a very concerned community leader and activist. He declares with certainty, “Mizrachi profits from the Kosher service it provides which must raise concerns. Further, it purports to be a broad communal organisation by its new name of Kosher Australia yet it is raising as much money as possible for itself, a single community group.”

    and a final observation,
    I am told that Sydneysiders can buy Melbourne’s chickens at better prices than we can. This makes sense if you are trying to get traction in a new market, but someone must be paying for that.

    I have yet to listen to Rav D Channen’s talk, I will comment PG when I have.

    Gutt Shabbos

  • it's kosher admin says:

    FROM IT’S KOSHER! ADMINISTRATION:

    dear harry,
    you wrote, He has little experience in the kashrus field – he may well be a talmid chacham, but in the world of mass production that is simply not enough.

    a FEW of Rabbi Rabi’s site-audit visits OVER last 12 months

    sanitarium:carmel perth plant, coonanbong plant nsw, berkley vale NSW, moorooka Brisbane, Auckland royal oak NZ, christchurch NZ, laucke flour South Aust, kex’s biscuit factory dandenong VIC, aust mint oils distillation plant keilor VIC, scalzo foods west melbourne VIC, loving earth chocolates campbellfield, ezy chef laverton north VIC, mountainbread thomastown VIC, pantalica cheese VIC and Floridia cheese VIC

    to imply that rabbi rabi has no experience in the procedures of mass food production is plainly stupid! BTW he is a TALMID CHACHAM par excellence!

    please post your apology asap!

  • Confused by Rabi Speak says:

    In response to ‘TheSadducee’

    1) I am a Baal Teshuva
    2) My family & friends who I grew up with are almost all irreligious and in some cases have unfortunately married out and are now part of the Temple Beth Israel community as they are accepting of their marriages
    3) I find it amusing that ‘TheSaduccee’ sprouts bile against the Eastern European Dressed folk on Hotham St as the reason why most Jews shy away from Religion/ Kosher but is quite happy to fly the flag of Rabi who IS one of the said Eastern European Dressed folk on Hotham St. How is it that Rabi has ‘scoop’ on why the vast majority of Jews don’t keep Kosher – yet others are clueless?

    4) Interesting to note how Rabi now jumps on the bandwagon of the ‘heartless’ comment regarding the ‘Cultural Jew’ and uses this as means to tone down his bombastic claims that the reason why said Jews don’t keep Kosher is that the price is too high.

    The term ‘cultural’ Jew is not new and defines many Jews who hold seat membership like my fathers at Kew without actually practicing. These Jews are also referred to as ‘traditional’ Jews (i.e. they don’t keep the mitzvot but are not willing to become members of the Reform) or ‘Three time a Year’ Jews. I am truly sorry for using these politically incorrect terms as defined by ‘TheSaduccee’ and ‘Rabi’

    Note: Perhaps many readers here are unaware some of the new Jewish code words for being Jewish as being used among 20+ unaffiliated Jews in the US, Israel and somewhat in Melbourne & Sydney:
    1) One can ask an old friend on a train whether their partner is J+ (being of Jewish decent) as opposed to being J-. This was asked to me personally a couple months ago on a train ride in Sydney when I bumped into classmate from school
    2) It is now common in the US and Israel for Non- Religious (cultural) Jews to ask peopl on the street whether they belong to ‘the tribe’ – code for being Jewish. This is slowly becoming part of the vernacular in Australia too.

    However, back to the point at hand – I tend to agree with the thoughts Isaac Balbin. This post by Rabi has done nothing to advance his already lacking credibility in the community.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    I do not wear fur. I wear a white shirt and usually a tie, do not wear a long suit jacket and I wear a black “straw” hat. I spend a lot of time amongst those who do wear fur etc.

    Please read my article again, there are many things aside from cost, that we can change to make Kosher more attractive.

    One of the easy things to do to assist this is to speak and write with more respect and care for the character and honour of our fellow Jews, even those we disagree with.

    Lets all have a Gutt Shabbos and as we sit to eat and enjoy our Shabbos repast, lets think for a moment of those who have not yet found pleasure in the delight of Shabbos.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Confused by Rabi Speak

    Thanks for the clarifications – it is always interesting to observe the viewpoints of the “born again” types – often (but not always) insecure about having something to prove (i.e. their concern about other’s perception of their genuine commitment to their lifestyle changes and/or conversion) and this often leads to them perceiving themselves to be better than what they once were or those who haven’t made the same choices in life.

    Also, I’m not flying the flag for Rabi or anyone else – as you may have guessed, I’m not religious nor inclined to tolerate the religious who look down on the less observant or the secular who do the inverse.

    I actually personally admire those Jews who choose to keep observant and undertake ascetic practices etc for their faith – but I don’t admire those who patronise their brothers and sisters because of it.

    And I don’t think you have to dress in a certain way to have a Jewish identity (which strikes me as a particularly shallow aspect of identity incidentally).

    Btw, your terms aren’t politically incorrect nor even offensive. The context you used them in was.

    I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Jew and those who know me know it.

    I’m a little ashamed to admit I’m not a particularly good one, but when it comes to the crunch, I’d be in your corner in a bind despite our differences.

  • Coles consumer says:

    I believe the prices of meat & chicken in Coles are (as I recall from memory):
    Solomons whole chicken $13-$14 /kg
    non-kosher organic certified whole chicken $9 /kg
    non-kosher Lilydale free range whole chicken $7-$8/kg
    CKB minced beef $17/kg
    non-kosher Coles no added hormone minced beef $14/kg
    non-kosher Coles Agnus aged Scotch Filet (single portion)$39/kg
    CKB scotch filet (large piece) $38/kg

  • Coles consumer says:

    Coles regular whole chicken $5-$6/kg in the online shop

  • Reallity Check says:

    The simple answer is go vegetarian. Easy

  • Harry Joachim says:

    My previous post was edited on the basis that it could be libelous (a claim that I reject). Let me restate what I wrote in somewhat different terms so that the point comes across without any perceived defamation…

    1. I have no professional or personal connection to the KA or K-Oz or the persons involved in these agencies. My only reason for attacking KvY is because I am an concerned that Australian Jews might be led astray and eat products certified by KvY, when those products’ kashrus cannot be relied upon. For example, there are a range of Sanitarium products that KvY says are kosher and the KA and K-Oz say that they are not.

    2. The NSW KA has given clear details why KvY cannot be relied upon. It is not a matter of politics or competition. KvY does not have the requisite knowledge of mass production processes, as evidenced by the agency’s failure to ensure the status of the soft matzah they produced in 2010. The NSW KA email stated that the flour used was plain flour – not KLP – the machinery was coated with maize, and the ovens were not sufficiently hot.

    3. The poster above lists the food outlets visited by Rabbi Meir in the past 12 months. I too can visit factories, but it does not make me knowledgeable or an expert in mass production.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    Shalom to you Harry and Shavua Tov.

    There are many disagreements between various Kosher orgs. For example, KAM ruled or rules that Kellogg Nutri-Grain is NOT Kosher and Adass Paskened or Paskens that it is Kosher. KAS rules that slurpees ARE Kosher KAM rules they are NOT Kosher. etc. etc.

    The evidence you suggest is pure fantasy. The flour used for making Exodus Matza was monitored by myself from the harvest onwards. I monitored the storage and sealing of the bags and drums in which the bags were stored, the milling to make flour, and the manufacturing of the Matza. No other rabbi in fact no people other than selected manufacturing personnel were present.

    The first year we used tapioca flour, which is not possibly Chamets since it is not one of the 5 grains, and not Kitniyot.

    The Matza is baked according to the standards of Halacha, if you or anyone has any questions about the details of any of these matters I advise you visit http://www.realmatza.com/. If for some reason you are dissatisfied you and anyone else who is interested, are welcome to send me an email or call me. I will do my best to answer as quickly as possible, and I answer anonymous calls and emails.

    Harry, to be fair, you must set standards that are visible. There really is no credibility in saying “This guy is just not good enough.” First provide the criteria that you feel make a rabbi capable of being able to issue a Kosher certificate. Then we can have a meaningful discussion. I would also urge you to speak and write with greater care for the dignity of others, it will give you more credibility.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    Shalom to “Reality Check”

    Indeed, Vegetarian food places are perfect for becoming Kosher certified.

    But they may well require some modification,

    We did this with “the Lord of the Fries”. There are a couple of things that need to be addressed, such as
    making their bread Pas Yisrael, which we did for their bread supplier;
    introducing a regimen for ensuring the leafy vegetables are free of insects, which has been successfully running at the Lord with weekly inspections of the process and the finished product;
    there may be some ingredients that are not Kosher, such as cheese, which requires Jewish participation in its manufacturing
    and sometimes the coconut milk powder contains milk powder

    we also Kosher certify Funky Pies in Sydney

  • Yosef says:

    There is a basic rule of marketing that prices are usually set to, and it seems the KAS and KSM are exploiting to the full potential. its not on what it costs plus 15 or 30%, but on what price the market will bear. If we want to see prices drop, then lets create less demand for kosher meat. Worth a try, a going vegetarian for a while will improve your wellbeing as well. YY

  • Meir Rabi says:

    CLARIFICATION
    When I said, “The flour used for making Exodus Matza was monitored by myself from the harvest onwards.” I mean that I also monitor the harvesting

  • Mendy says:

    Meir,

    You asked Harry the following: First provide the criteria that you feel make a rabbi capable of being able to issue a Kosher certificate

    I would not only suggest but demand the rabbi demonstrate he himself is certified to issue certifications in relation to ANY matter.

    I there respectfully suggest that you post your Smicha which to the best of my knowledge, you have refused despite having been requested to do so on may occasions.

    Without a smicha, it matters not if you are the most learned man in Melbourne, your certifications are as welcome as is the unlicensed surgeon or lawyer.

    Bush lawyers etc carry very little weight, and unlicensed doctors cannot have their accounts presented to Medibank (and others) for refunds.

    Therefore, lets cut to the chase, let’s have less waffle……post your smicha here on GA and have this “moot” point dealt with once and for all.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Mendy

    Why don’t you post your driver’s licence details on your next post to prove who you actually are before you call for other’s, from the benefit of anonymity, to prove something to you.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    This discussion has strayed from its central question.

    At this point we are waiting for a response to – why is it not worthwhile to invest 4 – 5 million dollars for an investment that returns $80,000 every week?

    The answer seems to be – there is no such return.

    So the question becomes, if Kosher requires $80,000 per week for producing 10,000 chickens, then Kosher chickens should cost $8 more than non-Kosher chickens. But Kosher chickens cost $15 more than non-Kosher chickens.

  • Leonie says:

    When the average chicken purchase costs $15 more a week than non-kosher ones it must be remembered that the total percentage of kosher chickens and meat is a tiny fraction of the cost of living in a Jewish home environment which does include expensive housing and school costs.

    We would all be healthier if we ate more vegetables and less meat. There is a huge variation in the cost of running a home. True, kosher products are expensive but those who complain loudest have a budget for overseas trips and nail salons, whilst in reality Australia is blessed with cheap markets and an abundance of food in season available at affordable prices. Those who chose to purchase processed foods and large quantities of meat and chicken simply do not understand how to run a home. For those who cannot afford the basics the community is already paying for kosher meat, chickens, rent and other expenses and will continue to.

  • Mendy says:

    Saducee:

    That was a silly comment.

    Meir invited that question ….didn’t you see his earlier post?

    He led with his jaw, and unfortunately, you with your mouth, but it would appear, before you had a chance to take your foot out.

    However as usual, Meir dodged the question which every reader can see was as direct response to his invitation.

    Never mind.

    As to the anonymity issue, I had a good look at the charter and it doesn’t state anywhere that anonymity is banned.

    If it was, this blog would close and disappear.

    Think I’m off target?

    Get the management to close off all anonymous posts and “goodbye charlie”.

    Having said that, as long as the post is relevant which I believe mine was, and here for your benefit Meirs preamble to my response/query …First provide the criteria that you feel make a rabbi capable of being able to issue a Kosher certificate and until he can demonstrate that he is in fact a “real rabbi Rabi”, I am entitled to assume he is in fact, not one.

    And of course I would be delighted to be proven incorrect! I mean it!

    What part didn’t you understand?

    As to the refund I was referring to (which appears to have sailed right over your head), those of us who believe in a hereafter and also believe that if one receives a rabbi’s seal of approval, that in itself would exonerate the believer in the case of an inadvertent error, what refund would anyone be entitled to if in fact the so called rabbi one relied on, turned out not to be one, and had prior warning to that possibility?

    Every tried presenting a bush doctors bill to Medicare?

    Good luck!

  • Fact Checker says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi

    I apologise that I haven’t read through all the thread to see if someone has done this already. I’m not strictly a businessman as such, but I think you were really just looking for someone to verify your figures.

    You stated:

    We should note that for every EXTRA dollar paid for Kosher chickens, $10,000 EXTRA dollars are collected EVERY WEEK from the Kosher consumers since we produce 10,000 Kosher chickens per week. But Kosher chickens cost $15 more than non-Kosher chickens. So we are not talking about $10,000 but about $150,000 per week! What do we pay for a Kosher chicken? Close to $30. A non Kosher chicken retails in Coles and Woolies for less than $7.

    I’m going to accept that you are correct and that we produce 10,000 kosher chickens per week as I have nothing else to go with. Let’s also accept (I haven’t done research to prove or deny this) that a kosher chicken costs $15 more than nnon-kosher chickens.

    You claim this is $150,000 a week. You are correct, that $15 x 10,000 is $150,000. but this doesn’t mean $150,000 profit to Kashrut organisations.

    I base this on the following:

    1. We produce 10,000 chickens per week. How many of those are actually consumed/bought?
    2. You would know much better than most what goes into preparing a kosher chicken relative to a non-kosher chicken, but I can assume that there are many additional costs in terms of staffing and supervision.
    3. I would think that the general overheads of running a kosher abatoir would have to be at least as high in absolute terms as that of running a non-kosher abatoir. If I’m correct (and I’m happy to be corrected) then the cost of overheads per chicken in production would be much higher for kosher chickens than non-kosher chickens.
    4. Again, not based on fact, but based on logic there would be many economies of scale to be realised in the production, transportation, distribution, marketing and other associated costs that could be realised running a non-kosher chicken market that couldn’t be realised by a kosher chicken market which will in turn greatly add to the costs.

    I imagine this comes across as if I am trying to protect or defend the Kashrut Authorities. Let me explain. I think that if we can find a way to make keeping kosher more accessible (from a cost perspective – ignoring the debate about more or less stringent approaches to the halacha itself) then let’s see if that can happen. But, I write the above because:

    A. These conversations need to be kept in perspective and qualified to understand the full picture (especially when we are throwing around big figures like are being thrown around); and
    B. The costs are not only being inflated by the Kashrut Authorities. At the end of the day, the chickens are being sold and priced by the butchers, not the KA’s. I don’t want to comment on that whatsoever, but it needs to be recognised that not all of the additional cost is going into KA coffers.

    Best of luck to everyone who is hoping to make a positive contribution by finding ways to bring down the cost of kashrut, without necessarily comprimising standards, thereby making it more accessible to all.

  • Sam Friedman says:

    Mendy,

    Would you be ok if a kashrut certificate was granted by the Lubavitche Rebbe?

  • This discussion has largely consisted of comments from conflicted individuals (where they have chosen to declare names and affiliations) and conjecture from self-confessed non-experts. I don’t see how it makes much contribution to the issue and to the debate.

    Two key questions have been asked: what cost does kashrut add to food products, and how does the cost of kosher impact the purchase behaviour of consumers?

    These questions can actually be answered.

    The costing analysis is best done by an independent accounting/audit firm, with the agreement of vendors to provide information on a confidential basis, and that the results are reported in aggregate fashion so as not to reveal information that is commercial in confidence.

    Regarding the behavioural impact, this can be answered through proper market research, typically a survey conducted by a professional and independent research company (frosh – know anyone good?).

    Of course, no-one is going to do this for nothing, so the next question is: how to fund such a project? Perhaps it is something that the JCCV and/or Monash University could take on? The answers would certainly provide some valuable (and credible) insights.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Sam

    I wouldn’t be ok if the Lubavitcher Rebbe issued the certificate mainly because he’s dead.

    Go take your anti-Chabad trolling back under your bridge.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    Thank you for your contribution Mr Fact Checker.

    I think it safe to presume that the law of supply and demand will establish equilibrium such that the average of 10,000 chickens per week are bought, without unnecessary waste.

    Regarding personnel required for Kosher production:
    • 2 Shochtim
    • 2 assistants to the Shochtim
    • 2 supervisors
    • 4 for the salting
    • 3 rabbis
    That is 13 EXTRA people for producing Kosher.

    Let’s assume
    • we require 16 people
    • they are paid $100/hr
    • they work 30 hours/wk
    • we need $48,000/wk to pay them (16 X 100 X 30=48,000)

    • That requires a $4.80 EXTRA cost per chicken ($4.80 X 10,000=$48,000)
    • So there is still $100,000 per week ($150,000-$48,000) which we need to account for.

    • It is difficult to understand what could account for this

    I don’t know about the costs of running an abattoir but as I posted earlier to Stephen Lewis, Let’s say it costs 4 to 5 million dollars to build a dedicated plant for processing Kosher birds. I think any businessman would consider $80,000 per week, a very good return for a 4 – 5 million investment; the investment would be recovered in just over one year.

    It seems hardly likely that any of the communal organisations or any of the rabbis will take an interest in our concerns. Mr R Leibler and Mr J Kraus, both highly placed members in the communal Jewish organisations, have already expressed their opinions and have been quoted in my article.
    If Mr Leibler could make no headway, or has decided that he does not wish to pursue this, I doubt there is little we can do, or do to change Mr Leibler’s mind.
    And if Mr Kraus has told us, “that there is transparency in all of Mizrachi’s financials, and to Mr. Romy Leibler, “you have access to the financial accounts, these are audited. Mizrachi is transparent and is accountable to its members of which you are one.”” then there really should be no problem to clarify this issue.

    Community organisations such as the JCCV or ORA or ECAJ or ACOS or RCV or the Monash University or COSV, would certainly require funding to make an exhaustive examination of this serious issue, perhaps there may be some wealthy communally minded families who would be wiling to assist.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “There are many disagreements between various Kosher orgs. For example, KAM ruled or rules that Kellogg Nutri-Grain is NOT Kosher and Adass Paskened or Paskens that it is Kosher.”

    True, but this was the case several years ago. As far as I know, both KAM and Adass now list the product as kosher.

    “KAS rules that slurpees ARE Kosher KAM rules they are NOT Kosher.”

    This is to do with KAS’ policy on juices and drinks, which differs from that of KAM.

    However, I do not believe that there is any other product that KAS says is treif and KAM disagrees. Why then, do both KAS and KAM say that certain Sanitarium products are treif and you say otherwise?

    “The evidence you suggest is pure fantasy. The flour used for making Exodus Matza was monitored by myself etc”

    Thank you for finally answering this charge against you. Perhaps if you had answered the charge at the time it was made, as well as answering the other questions posed to you, people would not be so suspicious of your agency.

    For example, elsewhere on this site I have repeatedly asked you whether you believe that reading ingredients on a packet is a sufficient basis for a consumer to judge whether or not the product is kosher. You have consistently evaded answering me. Are you prepared to respond now?

    “Harry, to be fair, you must set standards that are visible. There really is no credibility in saying “This guy is just not good enough.””

    Hello? Didn’t I cite chapter and verse from the KAS about your practices? Isn’t this a visible standard to go by? When the other kashrus agencies in Australia say to avoid food supervised by KvY and It’s Kosher!, shouldn’t kosher consumers take notice?

    “I would also urge you to speak and write with greater care for the dignity of others, it will give you more credibility.”

    I remind you of your post lambasting me for daring to criticise the article on this site by Mr Bell. I said that it is simply insufficient to read ingredients as a basis for judging whether or not a product is kosher. I also criticized the outrageous comment in that article that rabbis are guilty of murder (!) for “embarrassing” Jews who judge products’ kashrus by the ingredients. I was perfectly polite, but made my points stridently. You repeatedly attacked me and mocked my dedication to promoting kashrus observance. Where is your care for MY dignity Rabbi Rabi? I wouldn’t never have debated you on this site if you hadn’t decided to attack me for my defence of kashrus in the face of Mr Bell’s article!

  • Mendy says:

    Sam Friedman:

    I am in total agreement with Sadducee in regards to your asinine comment.

    This is one time you should have used an anonymous blog-handle rather than your own name, that is if you already HAD an uncontrollable urge to say anything.

    Sadly, you confirmed what many have suspected.

    Silly boy!

  • Reallity Check says:

    Dear Meir Rabi,
    Having the cheese non-kosher is a real problem. The other problem is that Lord of the Fries is open on Shabbos, and do they have someone to light the stoves?

  • Sam Friedman says:

    Mendy,

    It looks like I’ve unintentionally got under your skin. Take a few valium and calm down.

    “Silly boy?” Whether I am silly or not is a matter of opinion. However, I can assure you, I am not a boy. You remind me of some Klansman Sheriff in Mississippi calling a middle aged African American “boy” as a two syllable word.

    My question was a legitimate one. Since you are asking for people to post their smicha online, perhaps you can post the smicha of your Rebbe? (I strongly doubt you’ll be able to do this) Actually, don’t bother. It would be equally irrelevant to the “Cost of Kosher”.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    to, Reality Check

    please see our website, http://www.kosherveyosher.com/lotfries.html

    although I dont see how this has anything to do with our topic, the cost of Kosher

  • Meir Rabi says:

    I have just confirmed that at the Empire Kosher chicken plant, 12 Shochtim, each one working with 2 assistants, process on average 70 chickens per minute.

    According to these figures 2 Shochtim each working with 2 assistants will Shecht 10,000 chickens in less than 15 hours.

    Although some of our Shochtim have boasted they are able to Shecht much faster than 5.8 per minute, nevertheless we will work with these slower more expensive figures.

    Let’s provide the Shochtim with a 10 minute break after every 50 minutes of work. That is a total of less than 34 hours work per week to Shecht 10,000 chickens.

    I doubt the Shochtim are paid $100/hr, and their assistants are certainly not paid that much, but we will take the more expensive figures for our projections.

    16 additional people required for Kosher production, all being paid $100/hr, working 30 hrs/wk = $48,000/wk

    So our calculations add $4.80 per chicken, in order to cover these very generous labour fees.

    Let’s add another $2.20 per chicken [that’s $22,000 per week from 10,000 chickens] for other additional costs.

    So a Kosher chicken might AT THE MOST cost $7 more than a non-Kosher chicken.

    What is missing from this calculation? Why do Kosher chickens cost $15 more than non-Kosher chickens?

  • Genuinely astonished says:

    I had been genuinely quite impressed with Rabbi Rabi’s claims that his soft matza was the most authentic version of historical matza and should be used on pesach accordingly. But I was astonished to read the Rabbi’s admission above about his soft matza:

    “The first year we used tapioca flour, which is not possibly Chamets since it is not one of the 5 grains, and not Kitniyot.”

    I was always taught that “matza” made from anything other than the five grains cannot be classified as matza, and certainly cannot be used for the purpose of fulfilling the mitzva of eating matza on Pesach. I did not recall seeing this disclaimer publicised about the Rabbi’s soft matzas that first year. To the contrary, it was, if I recall correctly, promoted as the most authentic matza to use on pesach.

    With the greatest of respect, this appears to be a major oversight in promoting the soft matza and if so how can we be assured that similar halachic oversights have not been perpetrated since then by the Rabbi?

  • Meir Rabi says:

    Genuinely Astonished.

    My greatest appreciation for bringing this misquote to my attention.

    I was responding to the false claim that “the machinery was coated with maize”. I should have chosen my words more carefully and said the following:

    When we made Matza the first year, there was a need to dust tapioca powder (which is certainly not Camets and not Kitniyot by anyone’s standards) on some parts of the machinery, to prevent the Matza dough sticking. We have since modified our process so that there is no need for dusting at all.

    I stand by my claim that Exodus soft Matza is the most authentic and the most Kosher Matza available. Please see http://www.realmatza.com/exodus.html

  • Mendy says:

    Sam Friedman:

    No wonder you’re introducing those red-herrings. Damage control?

    I have no idea what your beef is with the rebbe, but I happen to be of Litvish stock. So, did you wish to know who gave smicha to the Rav?

    As you now have my attention, perhaps you could expand about the recent whacky proposal brainwave your Lord of the Fries namely, attempting to introduce, and so, doing away with cattle shechita in total.

    I picked up in the past 24 hours on your guru’s latest interesting “moonwalk”…

    Ben Pakuah mean anything to you?

    I hear he’s also looking for backing (in the millions)to create herds of “Ben Pakuah” cattle.

    Go on, be a sport..fill us in on that.

    We all need a good laugh in these trying times.

    Oh, and Meir, you may get involved if you so wish.

  • Reality Check says:

    Simple Rabbi Rabi,Lord of the Fries is moderately priced

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy,

    You wouldn’t by any chance have sympathies with the ‘birther’ movement? Obama wasn’t born in the USA, Rabbi Rabi is not a rabbi and Elvis is still alive.

    All that and rabbi is a halachically irrelevant term. A rabbi is merely a smart layman, so if you have the knowledge without the piece of paper you are just as qualified.

    Fact Checker,

    Just a note for point 3, the distribution is potentially a cost saver since they are almost all coming to Caulfield not spread Australia wide. There would definitely not be kosher chickens in rural and regional centres.

  • Fact Checker says:

    Yaron

    I’m no expert in this field, but I’m guessing that mainstream chicken suppliers deliver more chickens to any area than the Kosher supplies do to Caulfield, so whilst I can’t prove otherwise, I think the overall scale of the distribution network (including a high likelihood that there is even a bigger distribution just within the Jewish areas) would mean that the distribution costs associated with the Kosher chickens would be higher per (chicken) capita than in mainstream chicken distribution channels.

    Shabbat Shalom

  • Yaron says:

    Fact Checker,

    I am not disputing your other points or even this one. I was just pointing out that the kosher chickens have only a handful of butchers in the one area, not Australia wide. Therefore they don’t have to worry about tyranny of distance. For example a normal chicken distributor would have to factor in transport to some very remote places.

  • Mendy says:

    Eds: Comment removed. Personal attacks against named people from an anonymous commenter.

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy

    Are you taking pride in your place in the birther movement? It seems like you would fit in.

    And I think there is another movement you might fit in with as they also seem to suspend reality for the sake of ideology. Neturei Karta.

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron:

    Birther shmirther….Neturei Karta?

    Time to stop whinging and blaming everyone else.

    Clearly, you were found wanting and in the best interests of the community, the Beth Din chose not to appoint you.

    Your comment about being a knowledgeable layman is all that’s required, says it all.

    In fact, there’s nothing more to be said.

    There is the agadeta in the talmud about about a tana (maybe amorah)who founds 100 reasons al pi halacha as to why a sheretz was kosher, but the rulings still went against him.

    Must be a moral there somewhere.

    I’m done on this topic, so go ahead, have the last word.

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy

    Clearly you are missing a lot here, I was merely using your own logic and throwing it back at you to present the absurdity. Clearly you have seen the absurdity in my arguments (as you were meant to), but you have failed to stretch the logic back to recognise your own lack of logic in your arguments.

    While we are on the topic – I don’t believe you are really alive. How do I know you are not a robot?
    I think everyone should be able to inspect your birth certificate to prove you are alive. Otherwise all your arguments are discredited.

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron:

    In short, what you are saying is that clearly, in your case, no Ruach Hakodesh was required by the Beis Din.

    Wishing you an enjoyable Pesach.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    Gentlemen, Rabbosay,

    we have strayed far from our main point, who is going to help us unravel this mystery of the expensive Kosher chicken?

  • Wolf says:

    Thank you Rabbi Rabi for posting this highly insightful, and well thought out article.

    I find it most interesting that KA make claims of barely breaking even, but then later appears to be trying to sell ‘KA’ for $1M? Did I understand this correctly? Why would they try to sell the institution to COSV if it’s not profitable and barely breaking even?

  • Wolf says:

    A couple of side points others may find interesting;

    a) Two weeks ago, I was speaking to someone that saw someone eating a ham and cheese sandwich in [Eds: Name of establishment removed]. This was brought to the attention of the non-Jewish waiter (no Jews were in the shop), however he simply didn’t care. Since then I have brought this to the attention of a mashgiach (that I bumped into in person)

    b) In [Eds: Name of establishment removed] I have seen drinks off the kosher list for months, and the KA mashgiach came in and missed these for literally months (he hardly spent 1 min walking in, reading the paper and walking out). It was only discovered when a temporary mashgiach replaced the full time mashgiach on a once off.

    My point: KA may be sufficient, but it’s level of audit certainly isn’t on some special high level of checking BETTER than KVY. On the contrare, KVY is run by a highly knowledgeable orthodox Rabbi, whilst KA often has 18 year old kids acting as mashgichim. Common sense prevails.

  • Daniel says:

    Cute Wolf. Very cute!

    C’mon GA mods. Wolf’s post is “flaming & Defamatory”.

  • Wolf says:

    Daniel, the anecdotal stories are 100% true, and are in no way shape or form ‘flaming or defamatory’, it simply points out that no audit procedure is perfect.
    Please read what was actually written in the future, and consider your words on what was written, thank you.

  • Meir Rabi says:

    I appreciate everyone’s contributions but I will respectfully request that moderation be employed particularly as this is a reflection of our Midah of BayShanut. Language and tone, the “posture” of our conversation, is a disclosure of our inner being. And the externals influence the internal.

    I include in this appeal various observations about shortcomings of my Hashgacha or of other rabbonim; these should be pursued in private with the relevant rabbonim; and if not resolved in an appropriate fashion, the Beis Din ought to be consulted and/or a Posek of international standing for guidance.

  • From RCA 1st April 2012 says:

    President: Rabbi Yaakov Glasman

    Executive Director: Ari Morris

    9 Nissan 5772

    1 April 2012

    RCV Statement

    In response to inquiries about the halachic acceptability or otherwise of the laffa-style soft matzos which are under the supervision of a private business known as ‘Kosher VeYosher’ (also known as ‘It’s Kosher’), the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) reaffirms its position that this product should not be consumed or owned by a Jewish person during the festival of Pesach.

    In addition to the RCV’s definitive statement dated 7 July 2010 in relation to the ‘Kosher VeYosher’ business in general, in which it affirmed – following detailed consultation with three leading international kashrus authorities – that ‘Kosher VeYosher’ had been authorizing the kashrus of products and establishments through means which do not conform to the standards adopted by international halachic and kashrus authorities, the RCV remains particularly concerned about the availability of the said laffa-style soft matzos due to the severe Biblical prohibition of owning or eating chametz on Pesach.

    Furthermore, the Kashrut Authority in New South Wales (KA) last year released a statement which confirmed that the ‘Kosher VeYosher’ certification cannot be relied upon in general. In particular, the KA statement referred to first hand information it received during its visit to the plant at which the flour for the soft matzos was produced in 2010 and to its discussions with the flour manufacturer at that plant, and noted that the soft matzos in question were likely chametz because:

    (a) ordinary flour that was not kosher for Pesach was used in its production;

    (b) the conveyor belt was sprinkled with maize starch; and

    (c) the process heat was not sufficient for the baking of matza.

    The above information only became known to the KA after Pesach of that year. The implications for those members of the community who did in fact own and/or consume this product during Pesach of that year are severe. The KA noted in its statement that ‘Kosher VeYosher’ had addressed some of the above issues on the ‘Kosher VeYosher’ website, but concluded that in its professional opinion, after having reviewed the explanations made and positions taken by ‘Kosher VeYosher’ and based upon its own first hand experience and knowledge, the ‘Kosher VeYosher’ certification cannot be relied upon at any time.

    Consequently, the RCV once again cautions the community against the ownership or consumption of this product during Pesach and advises those who may have already purchased it to include it in their chametz items sold prior to Pesach.

    The RCV wishes the entire community a kosher and joyous Pesach.

    Description: Rabbi Glasman signature
    President

    Rabbinical Council of Victoria

  • kalman gradman says:

    NOTICE

    The following members of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) are ALSO members/employees of our COMPETITORS ORGANIZATIONS as shown below. Kosher Australia, The Kashrut Authority of NSW and Agudath Chabad Committee or a CHABAD affiliate and CANNOT be relied upon to be INDEPENDENT OR UNBIASED.

    rabbi’s

    kosher australia
    mordechai gutnick (chabad)
    yaacov barber (chabad)
    yaacov sprung (mizrachi)

    the kashrut authority of NSW
    moshe gutnick (chabad)
    pincus feldman (chabad)
    yehoram ulman (chabad)
    aaron groner (chabad)

    agudath chabad committee
    chaim tzvi groner (chabad)
    zvi hirsch telsner (chabad)
    yaacov glassman (chabad)
    meir shlomo kluwgant (chabad)
    reuven cooper (chabad)
    shimon cowen (chabad)
    elozor gorelik (chabad)
    elisha greenbaum (chabad)
    mendel groner (chabad)
    zalman gutnick (chabad)
    moshe kahn (chabad)
    mordechai szmerling (chabad)
    shimshon yurkowicz (chabad)
    etc..

  • kalman gradman says:

    From it’s kosher 1st April 2012 says:
    April 1, 2012 at 9.28pm

    Rabbinic Administrator: Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi

    Executive Administrator: K Gradman

    9 Nissan 5772

    1 April 2012

    INDEPENDENT Statement

    The following members of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) are ALSO members/employees of our COMPETITORS ORGANIZATIONS as shown below. Kosher Australia, The Kashrut Authority of NSW and Agudath Chabad Committee or a CHABAD affiliate and CANNOT be relied upon to be INDEPENDENT OR UNBIASED.

    rabbi’s

    kosher australia
    mordechai gutnick (chabad)
    yaacov barber (chabad)
    yaacov sprung (mizrachi)

    the kashrut authority of NSW
    moshe gutnick (chabad)
    pincus feldman (chabad)
    yehoram ulman (chabad)
    aaron groner (chabad)

    agudath chabad committee
    chaim tzvi groner (chabad)
    zvi hirsch telsner (chabad)
    yaacov glassman (chabad)
    meir shlomo kluwgant (chabad)
    reuven cooper (chabad)
    shimon cowen (chabad)
    elozor gorelik (chabad)
    elisha greenbaum (chabad)
    mendel groner (chabad)
    zalman gutnick (chabad)
    moshe kahn (chabad)
    mordechai szmerling (chabad)
    shimshon yurkowicz (chabad)
    etc..

    Description: Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi signature

    Rabbinic Administrator

  • drew says:

    I was at a a meeting tonight where this RCV statement re soft matzos was discussed

    One older person claimed that the RCV were being hypocritical in denouncing this matza when their own members (and their Sydney colleagues) until recently gave their hechsher to Snider-Carmel and Solomons matza which had many serious kashrus defects – far, far worse than anything they criticisie the soft matza for.

    The flour used was milled via equipment that was wet (even when they tried to stop water going thru for their particular batch of flour) and one could pull actual pieces of dough from the machine.

    No rabbi or Kashrus org anywhere would’ve approved the use of this flour for Pesach. But both the Syd and Melb KAs did.

    And there was no criticism from the RCV or its Sydney counterpart. Why? Could it be because the main people in both organisations are none other that the Gutnick rabbinical brothers – who – surprise, surprise are also the heads of the KAs!!

    Rabbis, if you want respect from us, you have to get clear yourselves of even the slightest accusations of hypocrisy. As well as proving to the community that what you are doing is NOT because you simply ‘hate the opposition’ which Rabbi Rabi clearly is.

    Otherwise don’t be surprised that most people will trust Rabbi rabi far more than they’ll trust you.

  • kalman gradman says:

    From it’s kosher 1st April 2012 says:
    April 1, 2012 at 9.28pm

    Rabbinic Administrator: Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi

    Executive Administrator: K Gradman

    9 Nissan 5772

    1 April 2012

    INDEPENDENT Statement
    Rabbi Meir G Rabi is responsible for the Kosher standards of the entire production of Exodus Matza: the harvest, transport, storage, milling of grain; the entire kneading and baking process, and the packaging.
    Exodus Matza uses flour that is Shamur, guarded from harvest, MiShaAs Ketzira. It is monitored by myself during its milling and storage. Tapioca, which is not Chamets nor even Kitniyot, was used in our early experimental stages to prevent the dough sticking. Wheat flour is used exclusively for making the dough and nowhere else in production. The baking is done to perfection as defined by our Shulchan Aruch, Code of Jewish Law see.
    I state with absolute resoluteness that all claims made by the RCV (below) are utterly incorrect.
    The speculations of the RCV are pure fantasy. They make no attempt to substantiate their claims. They conceal the identity of those who they claim to have consulted. Even by the most basic standards, their fantastic assertions lack any and all credibility.
    As for their three main claims:
    The RCV claims,
    (a) ordinary flour that was not kosher for Pesach was used in its production.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. I personally oversaw the harvesting. I ensured the wheat was harvested on a dry day and that it had not rained the previous days. I ensured that the wheat was bagged, sealed, loaded into sealed, numbered and identifiable drums.
    (b) the conveyor belt was sprinkled with maize starch
    Tapioca [which is neither Chamets nor Kitniyos] was used in our early experimental stage, now we have refined our system and require no “dusting” to prevent the dough sticking during processing.
    (c) the process heat was not sufficient for the baking of matza.
    Exodus Matza is baked to perfection. Only soft Matza can be determined to be baked as per the dictates of our Shulchan Aruch. See details here. Hard Matza does not conform to any guideline described by the Shulchan Aruch regarding being adequately baked. In fact there is great suspicion that the ovens used for hand and machine Matza is far too hot. The late Poskim considered whether it was permitted to bake Matza on paper, which means at a temperature less than 230C, at which paper burns. Hard Matza is baked at temperatures well in excess of 400C.

    1 grimwade court caulfield north 3161 Victoria Australia abn 76 753 295 544 web http://www.itskosher.com.au
    email rabbi@itskosher.com.au telephone 0423 207 837 email kalman@itskosher.com.au telephone 0431 559 695

  • Steven says:

    This shouldn’t be about chabad vs others, nor Gutnicks vs others, etc it should be kosher vs treif. What it is is a big Chillul Hashem.

    I would love to see an open debate about the lafa matza and see who is lying/distorting the truth, even given there are different opinions about Halacha.

    Throw in Drew’s comments, the general attitudes of Rabbi’s to sex abuse, fraud, corruption, meshichists, etc and I am not suprised non-religious people don’t want anything to do with frummies.

  • drew says:

    Lets see if any of the blogs and websites that published the RCV’s attack will be mentchlech enough to also publish Kalmam’s rebuttal.

    (Advice: Don’t hold your breath)

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “The following members of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) are ALSO members/employees of our COMPETITORS ORGANIZATIONS as shown below. Kosher Australia, The Kashrut Authority of NSW and Agudath Chabad Committee or a CHABAD affiliate and CANNOT be relied upon to be INDEPENDENT OR UNBIASED.”

    Huh? So a rabbi is not allowed to sit on more than one committee?

    And why is a Chabad rabbi automatically disqualified as being “unbiased?

  • Harry Joachim says:

    And furthermore, the rabbis who have criticised It’s Kosher/KvY may well be members or employees of a kashrus agency, but so what? These agencies have been in the kashrus business for decades and know what they are talking about. If they say that It’s Kosher’s supervision cannot be relied on, then they must have a basis for doing so. It’s not always about grubby politics and conspiracies (as much as you would like us to think that Mr Executive Administrator of KvY) – sometimes, just maybe sometimes, it could be about kashrus and warning consumers about eating mamesh chametz!

  • Harry Joachim says:

    And another thing, Rabbi Glasman’s statement hits the nail on the head when he says “under the supervision of a private business known as ‘Kosher VeYosher’ (also known as ‘It’s Kosher’), “.

    That’s right, KvY is a PRIVATE BUSINESS. It does not have a rabbinic board or even a board of lay people, unlike the KA and K-Oz. There are no checks and balances! The level of accountability to the rabbinic bodies and broader community is far less than for the KA and K-Oz.

  • kalman gradman says:

    harry,

    I am a member and daven in a chabad shtiebl (16 years)

    my children attend a chabad school

    my wife and I were married by a chabad rabbi

    I and my family are invited to melbourne’s most senior
    chabad rabbi for 1st seder, this year!

    I follow the minhagim of chabad

    clearly, I am not apposed to chabad!

  • Steven says:

    Aren’t KA and K-Oz private companies too?

  • Chaveirim Kol Yisroel says:

    Hi Kalman,

    I agree with some of the other comments here that in essence the whole story of Kosher VeYosher is a chillul hashem. Not to say that anyone is to blame (I do not know who is right) but in my opinion the best thing to do would be to allow a independent Rabbi of well known standing inspect the laffa matzos and provide an independent report. I think that would be a kiddush hashem and show that people are interested in the truth whatever it may be. If the independent Rov says it can be relied on, so be it and all other organisations should stop making other claims. If the independent Rov says it can’t be relied on then so be it.

    That’s my humble opinion to save any more fracturing in Melbourne’s beautiful Jewish community. Let us use competition to lower prices and make Kosher more attractive to Melbourne Jewry but not let arguments that can be resolved by a Rov acceptable to all as a talmid chochom of note.

  • Steven says:

    Chaver, when I mentioned Chillul Hashem I meant the disagreement between the two sides, not that one is right or wrong.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Hi Steven,

    When I mentioned the chillul Hashem I meant the same thing – I have no idea who is right or wrong or even if there is a right or wrong. But one thing I do know is that when people view such a disagreement their response is “see kosher and judaism is all about politics….and frum people bicker like all other people”. We don’t want to fracture the beautiful kehila we have in Melbourne. If this means bringing in a well respected Rov to check out the laffa matzzos and let people know if it is kosher for pesach, if it is a chumroh not to eat it etc etc then so be it. Its great to bring in competition, it always raises standards and lowers prices. But we need the balance between splintering a community and people having the humility to bring in an authority greater than themselves and respecting the psak. That’s my opinion in any event.

  • “It’s Kosher!” represents the mainstream, the vast majority of Jews who are ignored and marginalised by the “established” Kosher organisations. This was Rabbi Rudski’s vision and charter, and my solemn promise to him when he insisted that I continue his work. Kashrus ought not be manipulated by a fringe group.

    Rabbi Rudski understood the nature of the relationship that exists between different Kosher organisations and like every such organisation around the world, he maintained his independence. Harmony in our Kehilla, in our city, in our nation; is only to be achieved by displaying respect and dignity for people and for the Halacha.

    We orthodox Jews have no single authority that defines absolute guidelines. Our authority is Gd and His Torah. The Halacha is a fiercely independent discipline. Pay attention to the following words, and before reading on, have a think about who may have said them.

    To decide Halachic questions from the codes of law without knowing the source of the ruling is not Gd’s plan nor was it the intent of the early Halachic codifiers. Had they known that their works would lead to the abandonment of Talmud, they would not have compiled their codes. It is better that Halacha be decided on the basis of the Talmud even though this may lead to erroneous rulings, because Halacha is the product of scholarly pursuit and a scholar must depend solely on his understanding. This is what makes the scholars beloved to Gd. Those who blindly follow the codes without knowing the reasons, are like a blind person stumbling through a maze.

    These are the words of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1520–1609), known as the “Maharal”, (1520–1609) found in NeSiVos Olam end of Ch 15 – from memory.

    Suggesting that a single opinion provides stability and longevity, is short-sighted. Such a suggestion runs against the advice of our traditions. Yiddishkeit has survived many vicissitudes and planned attacks, both from within and without. No doubt, the great flexibility engendered by this attitude to independently analysing Torah and Halacha, has had a profound impact on our continued survival and indeed our successfully flourishing in the vastly different environments we have been cast into.

    The only successful manner in which Torah scholars meet is through the discussions of Torah thoughts. So I will offer the following for further discussion. The ShaArei Teshuvah OCh 460, suggests that although a blob of flour in a baked Matza may become Chametz when the Matza is immersed in water, the same Matza ground into fine powder where the flour is dispersed as tiny particles, will not become Chamets.

    Wishing all, especially the contributors to this discussion, a Kosher Pesach
    May the spirit of Freedom permeate our souls and free us of petty issues that sap our strength

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “It’s Kosher!” represents the mainstream, the vast majority of Jews who are ignored and marginalised by the “established” Kosher organisations.”

    How do they “ignore” and “marginalise” the mainstream? If anything, the KA, K-Oz and Adass offer many more kosher options than ever before.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “May the spirit of Freedom permeate our souls and free us of petty issues that sap our strength”

    Talking about whether something is kosher or treif, chametz or not is a petty issue?!

    Some might say that the whole of kashrus is a “petty” issue – after all, does God really care what brand of chocolate we buy?

    Is this a view that you would agree with Rabbi Rabi?

  • drew says:

    Harry Joachim says:
    And another thing, Rabbi Glasman’s statement hits the nail on the head when he says “under the supervision of a private business known as ‘Kosher VeYosher’ (also known as ‘It’s Kosher’), “.

    That’s right, KvY is a PRIVATE BUSINESS.
    >>

    harry, you obviously are too young to remember (or getting on a bit and starting to forget).

    Rabbi Motel Gutnik and Rabbi Y Barber – today the ‘authorities’ of Melb’s KA both ran their own PRIVATE BUSINESS Kashrus.

    (And you should’ve heard what both Rabbi Zaichyk and his board members – in those days it called ‘Mizrachi Kashrut’- had to say about them and their standards!

    But Mizrachi realised that they cannot ‘beat’ both G and B (as they were after all Chabadniks with plenty of local support) and decided it would be far more practical and profitable to offer them both a financial package which they couldn’t refuse thus bringing both PRIVATE BUSINESS Kashrus rabbis into lucrative positions in Mizrachi.

    BTW, do you recall the RCV ever discussing or condemning rabbis Gutnick and Barber for running their own shows? No. Neither do I.
    Probably would have been out of place, as the president of the RCV was Rabbi Motel’s father the late Rabbi Chaim Gutnick z’l who also had a pprive business Kashrus org until his passing. (And there was never a public discussion about the fact that the caterer that he OK’d was known to cook and deliver – especially for Motzoei Shabbos affairs – on Shabbos!

    Furthermore, I recall reading sometime ago on one of Melb’s Jewish blogs (possible here or Aussie Echo or AJN Watch) that Rabbi Zaichyk was less than impressed and indeed felt most betrayed by own his Mizrachi board when they hired Rabbi M Gutnick a very short time after they – Mizrachi – had removed their hechsher from Glicks. It was all done in a couple of hours(!)

    Talk about private business..

    Harry: It does not have a rabbinic board or even a board of lay people, unlike the KA and K-Oz.
    =
    Maybe you should check out who the rabbinic board is. You’ll find that it is those same rabbis who have lucrative positions there. As for lay-members, can you recall when Melb’s public ever had an opportunity to vote or nominate for that board?

    I contacted Miztrachi twice and was told where to go..

    As for the Sydney KA, you seem to have overlooked what was going on there only a couple of years ago (Tip: Kosher milk powder manufactured in NZ for Israeli firms and the whereabouts of the hechsher money – a 6 figure sum)

    harry: There are no checks and balances! The level of accountability to the rabbinic bodies and broader community is far less than for the KA and K-Oz.

    Read above.

  • Reality Check says:

    Surely, people who observe the Passover tradition of not eating chamatz can work out for themselves if the soft matza is acceptible for them. Chabad don’t even eat the manufactured square matza, that ain’t kosher enough for them, and they eat their matza out of plastic bags in prevent water getting on it, so it’s no point asking them what matza is kosher or not. And as far as cost is concerned, it’s cheaper to buy kfp from the supermarkets.

  • Reality Check,

    Your comment about Chabad is ludicrous. Just because Chabad have very strict customs regarding which matzah is acceptable and the laws of gebrokts (getting matzah wet) doesn’t mean they will force these customs on the wider community, particularly when a Chabad Rabbi is in a communal role. The questions to a Rabbi: “is this kosher?” and “would you eat it?” are two very different ones.

  • Reality Check says:

    So, David, the answer would be “yes it is kosher, but I wouldn’t eat it because my observance to G’d is superior to your’s”. What? a Chabad rabbi wouldn’t answer along the lines of, “yes it is kosher, but if you want to be really kosher and more Holy, like me, you won’t eat it”. You just don’t get it; your attitude smacks of chauvinism. Just think about what and why you do it.

  • It’s up to an individual to choose what standard of kosher is appropriate for them, and chumras they choose to take on. Just because a person chooses a more stringent and restrictive standard doesn’t mean they consider themselves “superior” or “more holy” than others. For such a person to either put themselves on a pedestal because of their observance or look down on others who don’t maintain the same standard is indeed disgusting and chauvinistic.

    Some things are a minhag (custom) associated with a particular group, such as the Chabad strictness on gebrokts, or the Ashkenazi prohibition against kitniyos. Do you also think there are grounds for an Ashkenazi to consider themselves “superior” or “more holy” to Sefardim because they don’t eat rice on Pesach?? Again, that is ludicrous!

    Maybe it’s you who feels “inferior” or “less holy” because others maintain more stringent standards of kashrut? If so, that’s your attitude, not necessarily theirs.

    Does the BMW driver think they are better than the Holden driver (maybe some do)? Does the Holden driver think they are inferior to the BMW driver (maybe some do)? Does the Holden driver aspire to drive a BMW (maybe some do)? Would you prefer a world where everyone drives identical cars (perhaps Volkswagons – the people’s car)?

  • Reality Check says:

    David, you’ve missed the point.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Reality Check,

    I think you have missed the point. Chumros are a private affair between a person and Hashem. But that doesn’t seem to be the question around teh sfot matzos…it seems like one party is saying it is chometz and another party is saying it is kosher lepesach. For such a question, it would be advisable to bring an internationally accepted posek to give a final ruling – not on chumros….but on the basic question of whether it is chometz or not. Once the basic question is resolved, then we can start a discussion of whether it fits in with this chumra, this minhag etc. But the question of chumra is not relevant (yet) to this issue.

    Rabbi Rabi….I do not believe your quote from the Maharal is applicable or relevant here….that quote could certainly be used as the basis of reform and conservative judaism who could also contend this is how we understand the Talmud. In other words you could quote any source to support any position – that is obvious and self evident in a oral law that presents an argument on any and every topic that it discusses. I think the real issue here is that both parties need to have the humility to defer to a scholar of recognised authority to make a judgement. If Rabbi’s can’t agree to have a greater Rabbi rule on their situation, how could you expect “normal” to take their matters to a beis din of Rabbis to make a decision? I might be missing something, and certainly do not beleive that any kashrus organisation needs to close (competition breeds better standards and cheaper prices) but I do beleive that Rabbis need to practice what they preach and if there is an issue in dispute, you all need to go to a beis din and have the dispute resolved and the psak given will determine whether the laffa matza is chometz or permitted on pesach etc. And the Rabbonim chosen to give the psak should be chosen in the same way as anybody who has a dispute chooses the Beis din

  • Reality Check says:

    Having another read of what you said, David, your comment about me, possibly, feeling inferior, says it all. Now I know the difference between a minhag and what is said in, say, the Shulchon Oruch. I also know that sometimes a minhag is more important (for reasons which I won’t go into here). But there is a vast difference in what is and what isn’t kfp. As shown in your analogy with BMW, Holden drivers, and how I would prefer that we all drive a Vdub ; are you suggesting that interpretation of what is kosher is left to one’s individual choice? As for one’s aspirations, it appears to be Chabad’s thinking, that everyone should aspire to be one of them. (Either you’re with us or …..)

    Indeed, one should be left to follow the minhagim of their family and/or community (tribe), but the point I am making here is that Chabad is an evangelistic movement and their main selling pitch is that they subscibe to a Holier, superior brand of Judaism, and by definition, those who aren’t Lubavitch, are missing out. That is what is chauvinistic about Chabad.

    Having said that, I have, absolutely, no problems with Chabad’s customs (or customers), but they do portray theselves as being the “chosen Jews”.

    Finally, David, thanks for this exchange; me nearing 70, this kind of staff helps keep dementia at bay.

  • Chaverim kol yisroel says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    Just re read the quote you put up from Maharal(was the quote from memory as well?) and I am not even sure what the relevance of the quote is. It is obvious that a single statement of halacha can be misunderstood or misapplied if not understood in context. That is what the Maharal is saying – a posek is not someone who learnt Shulchan Aruch but needs to have an understanding of the background of the halacha, its purpose, its context and its source and its development which can only be understood from the discussion in the Talmud and the relevant commentaries. A renowned posek has obviously seen the sources and worked through the gemara and relevant commentaries. And everyone agrees that some scholars are greater than others. So bring in an acceptable posek, have him investigate the matzohs and give Melbourne a ruling on whether it is chometz or not – remember this is an issue where kares may be involved.

  • Reality Check,

    To clarify: it’s up to each individual what standard they choose to observe. A person without the requisite knowledge cannot determine what is or isn’t kosher (to any standard).

    My comment was a response to yours about Chabad. The discussion about whether Chabad is evangelical or chauvinistic more appropriately belongs here http://galusaustralis.com/2012/03/5798/understanding-chabad-and-messianism/ which is the currently designated place for Chabad-bashing comments. I’m happy to take that or other discussions offline – just use david [strudel] werdiger.com.

    To continue the car analogy to the more recent comments, I would say that the RCV is not suggesting we should all drive BMWs, but rather that this particular Holden is unroadworthy.

  • Reality Check says:

    Hi David, yes I may qualify as a chabad basher, but, I am not an Addass basher; reason being, they are not evangelistic and don’t behave, or as lest they show it, as if they were the chosen Jews.

  • Reality Check says:

    (Typed in haste!) I meant to write Chabad with a capital C and …” or at least they don’t show it”.

  • Mendy says:

    Bottom line.

    Until this matter is dealt with I would imagine one should err on the side of caution.

    See, if Rabi is right, then the KA will come out of it with egg on their faces, but if Rabi’s hechsher (Laffa matza) is deemed to be Chometz, then the consequences are stark.

    There will not be a moral high-ground for the laffa fressers to claim they weren’t “oiver” on anything due to having eaten the chometz with rabbinical approval….. (more so when it’s highly possible if my memory serves me well, that no one can say with any degree of certainty that Rabi is an ordained rabbi; he certainly won’t (or can’t?)

    But even if he was/is a rabbi, if the psak goes against him, he will be seen as having been “choiteh U’machteh es ho’rabim”…a modern day version of Yerovom ben Nevot.

    He should back off, swallow his pride and allow independents to paksen, but as we know very well…he won’t.

    So the question remains…..why not err on the side of caution?

  • Reallity Check says:

    How spooky! Typed in haste; just like our forefathers, and foremothers, when they left Egypt.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Now we won’t be using the flexible matzo. Because matzo has to be crunchy and leave crumbs everywhere.

  • Confused by Rabi Speak says:

    Mr Gradman provided an impressive list of Rabbonim associated with the RCV umbrella group who are directly associated with Kashrut.

    Note: All the other Rabbonim who are NOT in Kashrut are also in sync with the RCV line regarding the It’s Kosher / Kosher VeYosher brand including:
    Rabbi Freilich (Perth)
    Rabbi Garfunkel
    Rabbi Rubinfeld
    Rabbi Heilbrun
    Rabbi Nagel
    Rabbi Saffer
    Rabbi Berlin
    Rabbi Hassan

    What of :
    Rabbi Blackman(Sydney)
    Rabbi Eisenberg (Sydney)
    Rabbi Sacher (Syndey)
    Rabbi Coleman (Sydney)
    Rabbi Freidman (Sydney)
    Rabbi Chriqui (Sydney)
    Rabbi Moss (Sydney)
    Rabbi Gourary (Sydney)
    Rabbi Wolf (Sydney)
    Rabbi Lawrence (Sydney)

    Above and beyond this group, you would assume that the Rabbonim who are NOT aligned with the RCV may have broken ranks over the past couple years to support the views of Rabi, inlcuding
    Rabbi Beck
    Dayan Katz
    Dayan Heimlich
    Rabbi Kohn
    Rabbi Donnebaum
    Rabbi Wurtzburger

    Why has NOT ONE Rabbi come out in support?

    Perhaps we could bed this issue down as suggested above. Mr Kaltman & Rabi, would you be open to the suggestion of Dayan Abrahams coming down here specifically to ‘pasken’ whether the soft matzah is acceptable for ‘Mainstream’ Jewish community. Perhaps he may be so impressed that he will be interested in using this as a case study for the UK?

    Note: I would have suggest Rav Belsky, however I appreciate that Rav Belsky is unwell at the moment, but considering the high esteem that Rabi has for both of these Rabbonim and the fact that they seem to provide him their support as defined on the Kosher VeYosher website, I suggest that it is in the best interests of the product and the ‘Mainstream’ Jewish community to bring one of them out to independently assess and resolve this ‘spat’.

  • frosh says:

    @“Confused by Rabi Speak”,

    Let me see if I understand your logic correctly.

    Premise: I think the person who regularly posts under the pseudonyms “Confused by Rabi Speak”, “Anon”, “Interested Reader”, and “Not convinced” is a nasty mean-spirited individual who should worry less about other people’s kashrut and more about ואהבת לרעך כמוך

    Now, let’s wait for one of the above rabbis to show their support for you in defence of my ‘accusation’.

  • Steven says:

    Bringing Rabbi Abrahams out to pasken is an excellent idea and I am sure that ‘confused by rabbi speak’ would be more than willing to pay the $10-20,000 for the exercise.

  • Mendy says:

    Frosh!

    What a clumsy response!

    P*** weak!

    Your last line bait/analogy has as much dignity and common sense as stating that a cat has a tail, and so too has a dog, therefore a cat is a dog.

  • Yaron says:

    So Mendy, at it again…

    You doubt Rabi’s rabbinical qualifications while I doubt your humanity, but that is ok. A birth certificate and a DNA sample should clear that up. Not willing to do that? How do we know you are not a sentient chipmunk sent to conquer the world? I think the readers here deserve to know the truth.

    As for your other brilliant point – do you seriously believe that no Chametz comes out of the matzah factories?

    There are countless stories of people finding uncooked dough in their matzah with the outside burned and the inside uncooked (kind of like a BBQ, where if the flame is up too high the outside will burn leaving the inside pink). This would render an entire batch of matzah as chametz.

    And this is only the bits that people find.

    And you claim it this only happens in Rabbi Rabi’s factories?

    So please err on the side of caution and cook your matzah with a blow torch. This burns at least 3 times as hot as wood, and should leave you with some nice black matzah for Pesach. I’m sure your family would appreciate it.

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron:

    Keep writing shtus.

    Why do you have such a bee in your bonnet regarding my querying the credentials of Rabi’s rabbinic status? I would request the same of any other person using a title of which I was unsure of.

    And I mean…any person!

    Heck, all that person has to do to shut me up is to show the smicha.

    Weasel words are just that.

    Now we know that means zilch to you as you have publicly come out and stated that a layman with knowledge is good enough and a bit of paper is simply unnecessary.

    Good, let that be the case, but then the layman with the so called “knowledge” should out of respect for the implied “rabbi” title, be upfront and state he is not a rabbi.

    By way of example Leor Broh is an incredibly knowledgeable person with a great degree of humility, but will be the first to tell you that he is not a rabbi. And that’s why he is in such high demand and held in high esteem by both the lay co and the rabbinical community.

    Perhaps others with similar potential should emulate him, and take a leaf out of Leor’s book?

    All your other comments are unworthy of a response.

    You see Yaron, at Pesach time, “erlech” people wish to elevate their standards if they can. They wish to be more “makpid” whereas others look for any justification to adopt the lowest common denominator, and some, even lower.

    As a finale, eat what you like, when you like, how you like, with a brocho or without…I’m not gods policeman, but I still know when to call a spade a spade”.

    Wishing you a “Merry Pesach!”

  • Atoz says:

    Mendy:

    Personally I am not interested if in the view of a lot of other Rabbis think that Rabbi Rabi is a rabbi or not. It seems that almost everyone who follows a particular Jewish sect is a Rabbi and that you can obtain such qualifications from a corn flakes pack (kosher or otherwise).

    I am not interested whether Rabbi Rabi’s soft matzah is kosher for Pesach or not. I am sure like all things I could get a stack of qualified people who will say it is and then another group who will say it’s not. I will make that decision for myself and if I need advice I know where I can find it. If I want to eat rice, legumes and other things which are not considered in the general Askanazi minhag then that’s my prerogative not yours.

    It is the attitude of such people like you Mendy who draw the line. You consider your observances to be superior to others who do not follow you and your ways. Personally I don’t care. You can believe yourself to be superior and wish you good luck. The majority of Melbourne Jewry just yawns and ignores you.

    However much of this discussion I think has really come to an end. The verdict – keeping kosher in Melbourne is expensive and will remain so. The various Kashrut groups will fight hard to preserve their status and monopolies.

    atoz@yahoo.com.au

  • Mendy says:

    Atoz:

    You posted ….I am not interested whether Rabbi Rabi’s soft matzah is kosher for Pesach or not. I am sure like all things I could get a stack of qualified people who will say it is and then another group who will say it’s not.

    Go ahead then, get a stack of qualified people who will say it is!

    The rest of your post is nothing more than a cop-out.

    It’s not what I consider myself to be or what you may think I represent.

    Shooting the messenger is a losers tactic Atoz. Nothing more than a diversion from reality.

    Looking forward to your “stack of qualified people” acknowledgements

    Good luck.

    You’re going to need it

  • Yaron says:

    To the Great Sentient Chipmunk,

    You have proven my point. Thank you.

    Leoh Broh is not restricted from doing anything within Judaism (including marrying people etc), so what is the relevance to a piece of paper in this debate?

    None.

    If you have a relevant point please make it. So far you have successfully avoided logic and relevance so it is probably a forlorn hope.

    So I will leave you for the remaining few days before Pesach to blast furnace your house.

  • Mendy says:

    Chill out Yaron, you’re slip is showing.

    Here, you can have the floor.

    Bye!

    Pssst. Do something useful. See if you can assist Atoz with his list. He needs all the help he can get.

  • Steven says:

    “By way of example Leor Broh is an incredibly knowledgeable person with a great degree of humility, but will be the first to tell you that he is not a rabbi. And that’s why he is in such high demand and held in high esteem by both the lay co and the rabbinical community.”

    I re-read it a few times but still don’t follow the logic.

  • Mendy says:

    Steven:

    I’ll spell it out for you.

    Leor would never have the chutzpah (nor the inclination) to start giving out hechsheirim, especially controversial hechesheirim and more so, in controversial circumstances.

    He and every other serious talmud chochem would at the very least insist that hechsherim should only be issued a trained and certified Rov, no matter how learned the lay man may be (or thinks he is)

    One should not call themselves a Rov or rabbi if they do not have smicha, and more to the point, if there exists a credibility issue in regards to the the ownership of a smicha, anyone with half a brain would clarify that moot point at the outset.

    Yes, I know the term rabbi is bandied about loosely, even to some of the wealthy donors in our community, as an act of koved by fundraisers who assume writing to someone and using the prefix rabbi, will somehow encourage that person to increase the size of the donation.

    However that donor will not use it himself unless he has received ordination.

    I and many others will simply refuse to accept the hechsher of anyone …and I mean anyone, who does not have smicha.

    Period!

    In that context, Leor would never, ever have the chutzpa to call himself rabbi despite many people do, and do so in deference to his knowledge and humility.

    If our learned Meir adopted a similar principle, he would not be behind the 8-ball even before he starts.

    This whole “laffa business” is in very murky waters.

    How does that saying go?

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread?

  • Steven says:

    Are you saying that someone without smicha cannot give hashgacha. Decrease verbosity please.

  • Mendy says:

    Steven:

    Yep.

    The issuer of the Hashgocho certification must have smicha.

    Sure, they can and must use layperson professional expert advice, but after due consideration, the decision is made by the rabbi, who after considering all the nuances, and is an expert in that field, he (or a panel of rabbis) will make the final decision.

    Of course, the reputation of the rabbinical source is vital, and it naturally follows, the better the reputation, the more likelihood of broader acceptance of the product in question.

    Satisfied with the verbosity reduction?

  • Yaron says:

    To the Great Sentient Chipmunk,

    1) There are many rabbis in yeshivas around the world without smicha. I have heard that chief amongst them was Rav Nebinzahl, who before becoming the chief rabbi of the Old City had no formal smicha.

    2) You have also proven your lack of understanding of the kashrut industry. It is all a question of trust.

    Why can you eat at your parent’s place without a rabbi watching the preparation? Because you can trust them not to feed you treif.

    All you are doing with a kosher authority is that there are people setting up protocols that prevent something not kosher happening.

    If you trust the individual involved the hechsher is good regardless irrespective of a piece of paper.

    If you do not trust Rabbi Rabi that is your problem. It is not an issue of his lacking a piece of paper.

    3) Perhaps you should not speak on behalf of Leor Broh with regards to his willingness to give a certification.

    Unless you have intimate knowledge of his thoughts on this topic I think you should not be talking for him in a public forum.

    4) DNA sample and a birth certificate. I still do not believe in your humanity.

  • Steven says:

    “The issuer of the Hashgocho certification must have smicha.”

    Don’t think it says anywhere that you need to be a Rabbi.

    Also, if Rabbi Rabi didn’t have smicha wouldn’t make any difference to me at all. He is plenty of a Talmud Chocham for me.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Returning to the favourite topic on this site vis a vis kashrus… soft matza.

    In a recent Q&A from the COSV, Rav Mottel Gutnick said it is problematic to rely on someone who doesn’t have a mesora (i.e. Teymani) who says he knows how to produce soft matza.

    He also clarifies Rav Shachter’s pronouncement in support of soft matza saying that the Rav would not endorse any such matza that is made by Ashkenazim as he is not certain whether it is produced in the right way.

    Furthermore, soft matzas have a GREATER chance of becoming chametz than hard matza (Yaron – this also answers your comment above about uncooked flour in hard matzah – this can never become chametz!).

    And finally, Yossi Aron at the forum also said that he spoke to Rav Neuwirth of Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa fame last year about the question of Ashkenazim eating soft matza. Rav Neuwirth said that one should not depart from the minhagim of one’s parents – al titosh torat imecha.

    Don’t take my word on what Rav Mottel Gutnick and Yossi Aron said.

    Listen to the sound file – http://www.cosv.org.au/musicjam/14qanda_2012_soft_matza.mp3

  • Harry Joachim says:

    To clarify – if they’re not made in the proper way, THEN they can become chametz.

  • Shalom Friends,

    I am sure everyone will be delighted to see that Rabbi Mottel Gutnick says that we are free to choose our rabbi and eat Soft Matza according to that rabbi’s guidance. http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick.html

    Delighted to wish you all a very happy and Kosher Pesach. With or without the crunch.

  • from the COSV website comments, http://www.cosv.org.au/index.php?article=713

    Rabbi Mottel Gutnick mentioned during the Pesach Q&A presentation organised by the COSV, that he has a comment “in writing” from Rabbi H Schachter regarding soft Matza. Would it be too much trouble to have a facsimile of this document published?

    Posted on 2012-04-02 00:46:12 GMT

    I too am intrigued to see this written comment by HarAv Schechter.

    Posted by Rabbi Meir G Rabi on 2012-04-06 03:37:04 GMT

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Really rabbi Rabi,

    Surely one cannot say that Rav Mottel Gutnick gave blanket permission to follow one’s rav re soft matza without also saying that he also warned against eating soft matza produced by someone without a mesora (as per my comment above).

    So soft matza may – in theory – be OK, but not if produced by a non-Sephardi who does not have a mesora vis a vis how it should be made.

  • Yaron says:

    Harry,

    Really?

    Do you seriously think that government regulations would let anything out of the the factory that wasn’t fully cooked through?

    And are you suggesting that we cannot figure out how to bake matzah without burning it (as is the Ashkenazi tradition)?

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Yaron – Huh?

    The halachah is that unbaked flour on standard baked matza CANNOT become chametz. This is the halocho. What on earth does this have to do with government standards? Surely there isn’t a statute under Australian law requiring well baked matzos?!!!

    As for the soft matzo, it can more easily become chametz owing to the dough being soft and thicker than hard matzos. Rabbi Mottel Gutnick, quoting Rav Shachter, says that this is why one needs to have a mesora (such as the Yemenites do) for how to bake such matzo.

  • Yaron says:

    Harry,

    1. We rely on government regulations for Chalav Stam, would we not be able to accept that government regulations are sufficient here as well – that they would not allow any breads with raw dough in them on the market?

    2. Thicker? Have you seen the thickness of the soft matzas? They are thinner than traditional matzah.

    3. In the Beit Hamikdash they were able to make matzah that was a tefach thick. While I am not suggesting we try to emulate them, I would suggest that we are capable of making soft matzah only a few millimetres thick.

    4. We cannot figure out how to bake bread without a tradition? Really? This sounds a little far fetched and simplistic.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Yaron,

    Guten Moed to you.

    1. We rely on government regulations regarding milk because we are not supervising the production. With matza, it is JEWS supervising the baking. Are you seriously suggesting that we should place the onus on how well a matza is baked on the Department of Health?!

    2. But they puff up much more with a massive air bubble in-between when baking.

    3. Irrelevent.

    4. Is that all it is to you – “baking bread”? Are you saying that Rav Shachter doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says that one needs a mesorah? This is matza, in case you had forgotten, and is the closest thing to chametz!

  • drew says:

    Mendy says:
    The issuer of the Hashgocho certification must have smicha.
    >>

    Mendy, as anyone following your string of comments here, it is quite obvious that you are a loyal (and well-paid) employee of the KA, doing all in your power to ensure that tyou remain a monopoly Kashrus certification org.
    And that would be fair enough – if you declared your interest.

    But of course you don’t and neither do your reply to the questions that posed on this blog:

    A) Why didn’t you or the RCV attack your 2 current bosses – Rabbi Mord Gurtick and Rabbi Yanky Barber (as well as Rabbi Chaim Gutnick) – when they were operating their own private supervision businesses?

    B) Why was there no word of criticism from the RCV, ORA, NSWRC when both KAs were certifying as KLP matzos produced with obviously ‘chametzdig’ flour?
    I refer of course, to before Solomons and Sniders decided to transfer baking to Israel.
    And no one should fool themselves that the reason it is now baked in Israel is because the rabbis involved suddenly became concerned about the kashrus of the matzos. No way!! The only reason matzos is now baked over there is because it’s far, far cheaper and the profits are much higher.

    Whatever, at least no one now accuses our rabbis of approving unacceptable matzo – giving those same rabbis the break to bash Rabbi Meir Rabi at every opportunity.
    Does anyone recall another case in recent RCV history where they spent so much energy and money in condemning ANYTHING – a they have been doing with regards to ‘soft matzo’?
    I certainly don’t. Had I seen them care about any other one of the Taryag mitzvot, may accept this too. But nothing bothers them at all. Their own rabbis introducing Reform innovations at chuppas eg, swapping rings and allowing women to be part of the ceremony. Not a word of protest when shuls like Caulfield and recently the Great in Sydney turning a Beit Mikdash Me’at into a concert hall etc. Not even a rumble from our ever-so-frum rabbis. No. what bothers them is the danger of a an alternative Kashrus authority and the loss of income.

    Those rabbis know as well as we do that what many in teh charedi and chassidic community will not utilise certain establishments with the KVY certificiation, there are still hundreds of families – especially in the Modern Orthdox community (and may I say it – especially from the Mizrachgi community) who can be seen with their serugim enjoying the food at so many KVY locations. And starngely (or maybe not so starngely) there ghave been reports of several RCV members themsleves who have been seen as customers at Lord of teh Fries and the KVY -approved sushi bar. There is obviosuly a need for this standard and service.

    Anyway, Mendy, have a chat to your bosses and let us hear their reply to this and the earlier questions.

    And as to you statement that the issuer of Hashgocho must have semicha – what a load of nonsense.

    Had you ever learned the beginning of Mesechta Chulin which gives us all the laws of Shechita – the most sensitive of all Kashrus matters, you will see the Mishna begins with “Hakol Shochtim” – everyone may shecht.
    Yes the gemara qualifies this and explains it thoroughly. But nowhere do we see a word about Shechita – or kashrut requiring a person with semicha.
    Yes, he has to be knowledgeable and know the halachos and be a yerei shamayim merabim – a person know to be G-d-fearing. But semicha??

    Rabbi Rabi’s Torah knowledge puts to shame that of the vast majority of the membership OF RCV. And as for his yiras shamayim…well, while this may be harder to quatify, why not have a look at his home, his lifestyle and the fine erlich children that he and his wife have and then compare that with some of the rabbis who are attacking him.

    Finally, let me assure you and all, that all the rabbis and poskim who have their names dragged into this dirty turf battle, should they ever visit Melb and realise what and whom they are purported to be supporting – would run away in horror..

    PS: Following a discussion over Yomtov on this matter a friends emailed me the following which please let me tag on to my comment:
    ============
    Mendy, if the term ‘rabbi’ truly meant something, nu, then maybe you could have a point – re your insinuations about Rabbi Rabi’s lack of that document (which I wouldn’t know if correct or not).
    But you know as well as all of us that the RCV has many, many, ‘documented’ ‘rabbis’ who are ameratzim mide’oraysah and miderebonon.

    You, obviously a Chabadnik, knows, that every talmid of Chabad yeshivos, is expected to have in his pocket a “semicha” when standing under the Chuppah.
    How this is achieved by many, when it is clear they struggle to correctly read a Hebrew sentence, I don’t know.
    How many of these ‘semicha’-holders have a clue about halacha? Just look around here in Melb, how virtually every Chabadnik calls himself “rabbi” – despite the fact that quite a few “vissen tzu zogen a makkeh!”

    Rabbi Rabi, from what I hear, has been studying Torah almost full-time for the past 30-25 years and delivers daily and weekly shiurim to more people than half of the RCV membership combined.
    Who cares if he has that paper or not. I personally know of at least 3 ‘mainstream Shul’ rabbis whose ‘semicha’ is entirely ‘honorary’ – meaning they didn’t even go through the ‘fiddle’ of something like a pre-Chuppah semicha. And these rabbis are most welcome in the RCV and no doubt added their approval to criticise Rabbi Rabi!

    Furthermore, even a ‘documented’ rabbi – one who is a talmid chacham – but who lacks in Yiras Shomayim, his psak, his approval of any Kosher product or process, IZ GORNIT VERD!! GORNIT!

  • Yaron says:

    Harry,

    1. I have not seen Rav Shechter’s statement on this topic (as opposed to relying on what others say that he said).

    Having said that there is a question that is discussed (usually as an aside to other topics such as this one, techelet, kosher grasshoppers, etc).

    Rav Shechter clearly comes out on one side of the debate, but there are other rabbis who claim you can restart a tradition (witness all the people using techelet in their tzitzit).

    So you want to stick with Rav Schechter and that is your right, but are you not willing to allow rabbis who do allow for re-establishing traditions after they are lost to express their opinions.

    2. All I am suggesting is that with health and safety is modern factories we can rely on the fact that everything will be baked thoroughly.

    We should absolutely not rely on them to time out 18 minutes or to guard the flour etc. We would still need a mashgiach of some sorts.

    I was only suggesting that we could rely on them to ensure that there would be no unbaked bits in the matzah. That is it.

    3. The presence of matzah far thicker and still soft is present everywhere and we do not worry about them becoming hametz.

    Rav Ovadya gives a hashgacha to a soft matzah that would be considerably thicker than anything coming from Rav Meir.

    4. I am not sure if you noticed, but matzah IS bread. It is flour and water baked in an oven. Surely with scientific advances we can work out how to bake a flat bread completely without letting it rise.

  • I have requested that a copy of the written comments mentioned by Rabbi M Gutnick at the COSV Q&A forum be made available for the public. This is where it is suggested that HaRav Schechter has written that a Mesorah is required in order to know how to bake Matza.

    So far my request has been denied.

    The message and meaning as garnered from the audio is vague and elusive. I have not heard of such a restriction nor am I prepared to accept that HaRav Schechter actually says that until I see it in writing and that it is issued as a ruling.

    this is a transcript of what is said at that forum:

    3:16
    The Sefaradim who made those Matzos and still till today make those matzos

    I know there is a very Choshuva Rov in EY who gives a Hechsher on those particular Matzos they are made in a special way in a traditional way in a Mesora-dikke way that’s been given over from generation to generation on a griddle in a certain way in which they are made and we cant question that because that is their Minhag

    and probably maybe that is even the most original way of doing Matzos and it is quite possible that that is the case

    But HaRav Schechter who was once asked a Shailo, HaRav Schachter in America a Chashuva Rov was once asked a Shailo about soft Matzos and he said of course historically speaking there are such things as soft Matzos but however he says I for one – and I have got this in writing from him – I for one will not endorse any of these soft matzos that are made today other than those made by the Sefaradim in accordance with their tradition. Because I don’t know as to whether – when they are being made today as to whether they are fulfilling the proper Halachos and so on
    Now that is what HaRav Schachter said

    Now I don’t know – if someone has Rabbonim who they rely upon who do give a Hechsher to soft Matza I suppose that is up to you to choose which particular Rov, but if Rav Schachter tells me he does not know anyone and he does not want to give today anyone endorsement because of that fact

    Not saying that you can not use soft Matzos, not saying that at all, but from any particular way in which it is made today that could be a question

    And that is up to the individual to decide Who their authority is and who they wish to follow

  • I asked via email, Rabbi A Lebowitz of the Yeshiva University to clarify HaRav Schecter’s position re soft Matza requiring a Mesora. Please see his answer below.

    I post this since Rabbi Schachter appears to have been misrepresented or misunderstood – as reported on this thread “In a recent Q&A from the COSV, Rav Mottel Gutnick clarifies Rav Shachter’s pronouncement in support of soft matza saying that the Rav would not endorse any such matza that is made by Ashkenazim as he is not certain whether it is produced in the right way.”

    Aryeh Lebowitz aryeh613@att.net 7:23 PM to me

    “I spoke to Rav Schachter about this several times. He holds it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah. He only cautions that you need to have a good hashgacha on the matzah like you would on any matzah that you buy, and he is not personally familiar with any of the hashgachos on sefardic matzos. I personally eat the matzah that Rav Ben Chaim shlit”a eats – I trust his judgment on the hashgacha.”

    and here is the question I posed via email to Rabbi Lebowitz
    On Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 3:30 AM, wrote:
    Dear Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz,

    A question has been posted for you on YUTorah by Meir Rabi.

    Shiur Title: Ten Minute Halacha – Ashkenazim Eating Sefardi Matzos
    Subject: Soft Matza

    Question: Perhaps it was my website http://www.exodusmatza.com you referred to.

    May I ask your assistance clarifying HaRav Schachter’s opinion, as he has been quoted as saying, in fact writing, that soft Matza may not be made unless one has a Mesorah for making such matza. You can hear this claim here http://www.realmatza.com/uploads/6/6/8/7/6687170/rabbis_gutnick_sprung_soft_matza_2012.mp3 or here http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick.html

    May I request that you clarify this with HaRav Schachter?

    meir

  • gary L says:

    I think rabbi gutnicks answer and the RCVs ruling are two different points entirely. rabbi gutnicks answer is about not encouraging soft matzos in general. the RCV ruling is about an investigation that uncovered major concerns about the soft matzas produced in Melbourne. I’m sure rabbi rabi is a lovely bloke but somehow obsessing over rabbi gutnicks answer to the point of transcribing it in full and adding it to a collectiopn of other similarly far fetched and disingenuous endorsements on a dedicated website etc is a. missing the main point which the rcv raised and b. Showing up a bizzare obsession and desperation with needing to be vindicated no matter how tenuous the proof. Rabbi you would bring much more honour to yourself by addressing the crux ofbthe issues and moving on. I believe you yourself described this issue as petty. If so you aught not waste so much pesachdik time on it. :)

  • drew says:

    Question to those who are against soft matza because it goes against our ‘tradition’.

    Many of us – here and elsewhere – have a tradition from our parents and grandparents to eat only machine-baked matza. (It is well known that some of the greatest rabbanim of Jerusalem would never allow the use of hand-baked matza during Pesach.)

    So when our friendly Chabad rabbis and/or boys hand out parcels of their hand-baked matza, are they not encouraging such people to break with their traditions?

    How do those rabbis whose problem with soft matza is tradion – react to such a situation?

    I haven’t heard them or the RCV address this matter.
    Shouldn’t this too be an issue?

  • drew – To quote Sadducee: “Go take your anti-Chabad trolling back under your bridge”. You spout forth pure malicious venom.

  • Steven says:

    And before matzo machines were invented? Along the road everyone has changed tradition?

  • Mendy says:

    Drew!

    And whilst you’re out targeting the Chabad folk, why not have the same dig at the Ripponlea mob. They hand bake the regular style matza too, don’t they?

    I hear they are just as critical of Rabi and laffa as are the other frummies.

    Do you eat Rabi’s laffa matza during Pesach?

    Yeah, go on, tell me it’s none of my business.

  • drew says:

    Mendy/David what’s your problem?

    Isn’t my question valid?

    And for your info, I do not buy soft matza. I really happen to like the taste of shemura hand matza so I may as well enjoy this great mitzva

  • Mendy says:

    Drew:

    Very cute response.

    I didn’t ask you whether or not you “bought” laffa matza.

    You were asked “Do you eat Rabi’s laffa matza during Pesach?”

    Surely you could have a nibble of the laffa?

    After all, you seem to think it’s ok, no?

    My guess is that you wouldn’t eat it on the last day when gebrochts is ok.

    Drew, it also appears you have an almighty hang-up about Chabad and seem very anxious and just a little too keen to steer the discussion away from Laffa.

    So how about it, what’s bugging you?

  • This is getting quite nit-picking … would Drew *buy* it, would he *eat* it. Here’s an interesting hypothetical question: what if Drew found himself eating out at, say, his mechutan’s house during Pesach, and they served soft matza there. Would he eat it then?

  • Welcom Friends, MoAdim BeSimcha.

    Surely we are mature enough to ease off these minor issues that are truly just distractions; decoys that lead us away from the central matter that begs the attention of every honest thinking Jew who wishes to discover truth and Halacha.

    What has HaRav Schachter actually ruled about making soft Matza? Does it require a special Mesorah without which one may not make soft Matza? This appears to have been claimed at the COSV Pesach Q&A session 2012.

    We have requested but not yet seen this remarkable ruling which is said to be in writing.

    At the same time I have an email from Rabbi A Lebowitz, “I spoke to Rav Schachter about this several times. He holds it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah.” see full here http://www.realmatza.com/r-a-lebowitz-email.html

    We should also pay close attention to the words of Rabbi Mottel Gutnick at the COSV Pesach 2012 Q&A session see more and listen here http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html

  • drew says:

    Amazing how important my eating habits are to some.

    I don’t but OR eat laffa matzos on Pesach and neither would I have bought OR eaten matzas produced here in Australia with the hechsher of rabbis who attack the soft matzos.

    But then, to the best of my knowledge, none of those same rabbis who run the KAs would allow matza with their OK into their homes either.
    So it’s good enough for others – but not for them.

    Oh, and I also don’t eat that soft matza the rest of the year either. I simply don’t like the look or the taste of the stuff.

    As for my mechuten luckily he only uses imported shemura hand matza.
    And even more lucky, we don’t invited each other over Pesach. Er misht zich nisht

  • Mendy says:

    Drew:

    Oh, are you suggesting your laffa mechuten doesnt eat from his own hechsher, or are you referring to another mechuten?

    Jigs up, me thinks!

  • drew says:

    my laffa mechuten?

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Rabbi Rabi – you state, “Surely we are mature enough to ease off these minor issues that are truly just distractions; decoys that lead us away from the central matter that begs the attention of every honest thinking Jew who wishes to discover truth and Halacha.”

    Very true. One would have thought that encouraging people to keep kosher for Pesach is the big issue we all should be pursuing, rather than initiating practices – laffa matza – that do nothing other than promote your divisive agenda…

  • Mendy says:

    Spot on Harry.

    But does a top (transparent) job of feigning self-righteousness!

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Drew are you saying you and your mechutin don’t invite each other over Pesach?

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy the Great Sentient Chipmunk,

    1) DNA sample and birth certificate.

    2) You attacks seem to be hinting at some compensation with a lacking in your personal life. What could that be? Perhaps if you came to terms with your own issues you would not feel the need to lash out at others.

    Harry,

    1. A person can be in a fight without starting it if the other person throws the first punch.

    Rabbi Rabi is not trying to be divisive. He is giving a hechsher to a product.

    The RCV and the other kosher authorities picked the fight and are the ones who have been divisive.

    Should Rabbi Rabi simply close up shop because his business competitors are unhappy that they no longer have a monopoly.

    Please remember who is truly being divisive here.

    2. Please point to the chametz in the process? People can keep Pesach without blowtorching their wooden benchtops or buying a third and fourth kitchen.

    Or for that matter without burning their matzah.

  • Mendy says:

    Mandi:

    Neither would you if your mechuten was the chappie who gave the laffa hechsher and you were an influential member of Adass.

    AnDrew, perhaps that may explain why time and again, you attempt to throw the readers off the scent by alluding to chabad activities.

    As it that had anything to do with the price of fish.

  • david segal says:

    Harry Joachim March 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    In the last joint statement with the rcv regarding the laffa matzot they wrote:

    the KA statement referred to first hand information it received during its visit to the plant at which the soft Matzot were produced in 2010 and to its discussions with the manufacturer at that plant, and noted that the soft Matzot in question were certainly forbidden to be consumed and were all likely chametz because

    (i) ordinary flour that was not kosher for Pesach was used in its production;
    (ii) the conveyor belt was sprinkled with maize starch; and
    (iii) the process heat was not sufficient for the baking of Matza.

    I had firsthand experience with Kashruth organizations, (see here:

    http://www.bhol.co.il/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=919610&forum_id=1364

    and therefore I am not a great believer in stories about information received; why aren’t there any documents to support claims (i) and (ii)?

    In claim (iii) they wrote: the process heat was not sufficient for the baking of Matza.

    To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t in Hhalacha any definition to what heat is sufficient for the baking of Matza, this claim is similar to the claim made years ago by the KA that paper products that don’t pass the iodine test are not kosher for pesach.

    It seems that the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV), the Sydney Beth Din (SBD) and the Kashrut Authority (KA), got their kapotas tied in a knot and are unable to stop.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Yaron said: “Rabbi Rabi is not trying to be divisive. He is giving a hechsher to a product.”

    He didn’t simply give his hechsher – the whole notion of soft matza production was his baby. He has shrugged off the disapproval of every other rabbi (except yourself Yaron, but you don’t count) and disregard hundreds of years of tradition to initiate soft matza production.

    To my knowledge, there is no other Ashkenazi-supervised soft matza product (catering to Ashkenazim) anywhere in the world.

    I have little doubt that RR knew full well that his initiation and supervision of this product would unleash a torrent of criticism.

    Yaron also asked, “Should Rabbi Rabi simply close up shop because his business competitors are unhappy that they no longer have a monopoly.”

    This is a broader question relating to KvY. However, it cannot be applied to laffa matzos as Rabbi Rabi has the monopoly!

    Yaron said, “2. Please point to the chametz in the process? People can keep Pesach without blowtorching their wooden benchtops or buying a third and fourth kitchen. Or for that matter without burning their matzah.”

    Huh? What on earth does this have to do with anything? Have the arbaa koisos gone to your head?!

  • Harry Joachim says:

    david segal,

    R Gutnick gathered this information from the factory owner in the course of conversation, as noted in the statement. To satisfy your apparent unwillingness to believe a respected rabbi, perhaps R Gutnick should put other kashrus projects on hold while he traipses back to the factory to get the owner to sign an affidavit with his legal counsel present? Would that be sufficient to convince you?!

  • david segal says:

    Harry Joachim

    Really?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNzR3haTSk0

    http://www.dosiland.co.il/html/images/articles/matza_kasha_eli_zilka.doc

    Would you say that a few years are enough time to do it, without putting other kashrus projects on hold? why is it, that he could find enough time to fight for compensation from his shull, but can’t find time to ask his secretary to make a call or send an email to the factory owner asking him to put the things that he “told” him In writing.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    david segal – i fail to see the relevance at all of the video and article…

    as for your libellous remarks about Rabbi Gutnick, these reveal your lack of derech eretz and your desire to engage in mudracking and blatant rechilus.

  • Yaron says:

    Harry,

    1) So now you are the judge and jury as to who counts?

    I don’t, Rabbi Rabi does not, but apparently Rabbi Guntick does. Why?

    And who makes this final decision? And more significantly who would have to accept Rabbi Rabi for you to stop your slanderous attacks?

    2) It was a simple point with some (apparently failed) attempted humour inserted, so here we go again in a manner that the humourless can understand:

    The soft matzot are only an issue if they come out as chametz. If they are not chametz they is no problem with them.

    Please point out where the chametz is in the process.

    The only other option is that the RCV is playing a political game.

  • Mendy says:

    Easy solution.

    Since Yaron has it in the the RCV having flunked his entrance exam, why not have this matter settled by an independent local.

    To the best of my knowledge, no rabbis from the Adass community are members of the RCV.

    How about Rabbi Beck and/or the Dayan give a clear cut ruling as to whether or not laffa matzah, particularly under Rabi’s supervision is acceptable to be eaten on Pesach by

    1. Ashkenazim

    2. Sefardim (bearing in mind Sefardim do have a green light in eat soft matzah but under the acceptable hechsher) which I assume more than likely will be from Sefardi rabbis known for their (a)integrity and (b)knowledge of the Sefardi methodology inasfar as making laffa matza and(c) do not benefit personally from the sales of the said matza.

    It would be most interesting to hear what Rabbi Beck or Dayan Katz have to say vis a viz Melbourne’s laffa matza.

    You have a problem with that compromise, Yaron?

  • frosh says:

    Or, better yet, we could just let people make up their own minds about which hechshers they want to trust, instead of hysterical ranting and raving.

  • Mendy says:

    Frosh:

    “Instead of hysterical ranting and raving”?

    Huh?

    Have you and for that matter your comrade-in-arms ever heard of “Lifnei iver”?

    I’m sure you’ve heard of “Hocheiach Tochiach”. Every grade 6 kid knows that one.

    Sure, people have free choice and can make their own decisions, but the obligation on those of us who do adhere to the sages of old, are obligated to do what we have to do, in order to make sure that when people do finally apply free choice, at least they would be doing so with the benefit ofunderstanding what and why there aer such (complex) issues there to begin with.

    From your perspective, anyything goes…who needs all the rubbish about shabbat and kosher? All old time crap?

    It’s a free choice situation in everything and obviously many people choose the easy way out for only one reason.

    It’s the easy way out!

    Others couldn’t care less, know bugger all about our religion or what yidddishkeit is all about which isn’t restricted to the ability to speak Yiddish or to eat chicken soup on Friday nights.

    The so called soft option you are championing means results in giving up more and more till one reaches the point of assimilation because everyone can make up their own minds about anything.

    Let’s face it..you’re only here today with the limited amount of torah knowledge because only recently (up to 150 years I’d guess) your family heritage were religious. Those who were not then, are totally gone today as more than liklely your great grandchildren will be, should you follow the line of thinking you espouse.

    That’s the price one pays when they are “meikil” everything and anything at whim.

    But getting back to the first two points..

    Lifnei iverand “Hocheiach Tochiach.

    Do some research, even hysterical, but preferably historical.

    Oh, and do some statistical research on the Conservatives particularly in the USA.

    They’re going nowhere fast, except downhill, because they think like you.

    Free choice?

    Free choice: all the way to assimilation!!

  • frosh says:

    Ok Mendy,

    You’re right. I’ll do it your way.

    Now, I must implore you to stop eating any meat. I don’t believe that any industrially produced meat can meat the true standards of kashrut as practiced by our righteous ancestors whose meat sources were not industrial. Anyone who eats meat that is a product of the meat industry is eating treif!

    So, did you find that productive? What if I spent several hours a day berating you over your meat eating?

    Why is that you don’t spend your time encouraging people to better keep the golden rule?

    Is ואהבת לרעך כמוך less important than promoting one kashrut agency over another?

  • Mendy says:

    Frosh:

    And here I was deluding myself you had some grey matter where it counted.

    If one has the Ve”ahavata Le’reieicha” quality it follows they would do whatever possible to warn someone of an imminent danger, say a pothole ,or a jagged piece of glass etc.

    One can for example stare at an eclipse, exercising their free choice to do so, but if you stood there and didn’t know about the concept of “Lifnei Iveir”, nor “Hochiach” then said and did nothing, you couldn’t possibly be a follower of Ve’Ahavta Le’reicha.

    Next, on a lower level of understanding your comment …promoting one kashrut agency over another is remarkably stupid.

    Didn’t you see my compromise suggestion a few posts above?

    Compromise? Know what that is?

    Besides, I think standing idly by whilst someone knocks the RCV or the Beth Din with insinuations such as The only other option is that the RCV is playing a political game. sits uncomfortably with me.

    Bottom line……I’d rather rely on a group of rabbis some of whom I know personally (and therefore find Yaron’s sour grapes comment obnoxious)than an individual with a very colourful past with quite a few congregations, from which he has had more partings than the the exodus experience at the Red Sea, and…… on top of everything else refuses to put to bed once and for all, as to his entitlement to use the heading rabbi and who issued that smicha if indeed he has one.

    I’d have more respect if he just called himself reb Meir rather than rabbi.

    Twinkletoes Fred and the drovers dog would understand that being elusive by trying to demonstrate one doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone, would be to most rational people, as not only being too clever by half, but also slippery and evasive.

    As I said in a previous post…if the rabbinate is proven to be wrong, they’ll pay through the nose in one way or another whereas on the other hand, if Meir is wrong, people have either eaten chametz during Pesach.

    I just love the hypocrisy when you lot use the good old proverbs when it suits you, from the very source whom you consistently question and deride when it suits.

    Want it both ways, huh?

    Penny dropping yet Frosh?

  • frosh says:

    Mendy,

    If you want me to read your comment, you’ll have to be more succinct. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time becuase I’m not reading that rubbish you’ve posted.

    Just answer one quick single repsonse mutliple choice question (an essay is not required and will not be read) so we can all determine your standard of kashrut:

    Do you get your meat from
    1) the KA supervised butcherthe
    2) Adass supervised butcher
    3) shechter it yourself from an ecofarm etc
    4) don’t want to take any chances with kashrut, so you refrain from eating meat

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Yaron,

    You are concerned that I have excluded you from my list of rabbonim who have condemned KvY.

    Why are you surprised? In the bio that you have appended to your articles on this site you have stated “Yaron Gottlieb is embarrassed to be called a rabbi” ?(http://galusaustralis.com/2011/09/5073/too-many-rabbis/).

    Is it any wonder that I did not include you?

    And of course I am going to listen to other rabbis (who are not embarrassed to be called such) and who are experts in the field of kashrus and have been for many years, such as Rav Mottel and Rav Moshe Gutnick.

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy the Sentient Chipmunk,

    1. I still do not believe you are a real human. Do you have your DNA sample yet to prove your humanity? No? Well you must be some other species. It must be the truth since you are unwilling to prove otherwise.

    2. I am also amused at your suggestion of independent rabbis. Do let me know when you find one. The truth is that the rabbinical community is so small the idea that there could be no conflict of interest with any rabbi is amusing in its naivety.

    3. How about a nice Jewish solution to all of this. As was suggested by Frosh, we all follow what our rabbis say.

    That is we pick a rabbi and follow what he says. No central authorities, no lynch mobs of psychopathic sentient chipmunks, just each person and their right to decide who their rabbi is.

    It is the way Judaism has been for many years.

    4. It is ironic that you talk of 150 years when Jews were basically frum, since that is about the time when the current custom of eating only hard matzah developed in the Ashkenazi world.

    Yes, it is a recent development. Like peanuts being kitniyot. So why fight it, it was only about 4-5 generations since your family stopped eating soft matzahs.

    5. Basically leave people alone. They are not eating chametz, they are not breaking Pesach.

    If you want to eat burned crackers no one will stop you, so don’t try and shut down innovation that could lead to more people keeping Pesach.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “They are not eating chametz, they are not breaking Pesach”

    Unless, of course, you believe that the “matza” in question was chametz, as stated by the NSW KA and RCV.

  • Mendy says:

    Frosh.

    Sadly for you, none of the matters raised either in this thread, nor in others, will be a concern to your descendants.

    It’s not worth responding to your silly & childish questions which are simply irrelevant to the topic.

    My dear Tipesh, as I don’t issue hechsheirim, my culinary habits are irrelevant. But I’m sure more Jews who care about kashrut, would eat at my home rather than take an almighty chance at yours.

    Yaron:

    The conservatives and the Reform use exactly your last comment as a platform for their ideology.

    They too believe their “derech” will bring more people back to Judaism, or at least slower the rot of assimilation.

    To the Beth Din:

    You made the right decision a la Yaron. Kol Hakavod.

    To the RCV:

    Fear not the Yarons & the Frosh’s of this world.

    No “toichen” there…..but should any of their descendants choose to be “megayer” in the future, bear in mind where they came from

    Bye!

  • Yaron says:

    Sentient Chipmunk,

    1. You have now proven your non-human credentials as you are definitely not a mensch.

    I refuse to change my mind until I receive the results of the DNA test and a birth certificate.

    2. History is measured in decades and centuries not months or days.

    I am glad that the RCV and the Beth Din do not have to fear anyone. Because where will they be in 200 years?

    With over 3/4 of the Jews around the world not being frum who would keep wanting to stay Jewish if the chumra fetishists had their way?

    The Orthodox will not be able to survive in their current form. The model is unsustainable, so we can try and build a Judaism that makes sense and resembles what Judaism actually should be, or we can chase after chumras and chase the non-frum out.

    Glad you have chosen chumras over Jews. At least the priorities are there.

    3. So you are now you are defining your Judaism as who you are not.

    You will not eat matza which is not hard because the Conservatives and Reform would eat it.

    Don’t you want your Judaism to mean something more than ‘I am not them’.

    Something is either halachic or not. If you are afraid of the others you will stagnate and become overly stringent.

    Wait a minute…

    4. Now you are going to complain about these point, but there is clear logic. I know your tiny chipmunk brain finds that hard, but think carefully about it and process the points before you shoot off at the mouth in writing.

    It will only make you look like more of a fool than you already are.

  • Avid Reader says:

    Eds: Comment removed as commenter is using multiple pseudonyms in the one thread (not to mention a pointless comment).

  • Sam says:

    Mendy, you wrote

    “Frosh.

    Sadly for you, none of the matters raised either in this thread, nor in others, will be a concern to your descendants.”

    This shows how absolutely naive you are. If the brand of yiddishkeit that you espouse is as obnoxious as most of your comments towards others on this thread, then your descendents will rebel against your religion and desert judaism. That will take less than one generation.
    In every generation there are some jews that by their hate speech and behavior provoke gentiles to become anti-semites.

  • Mendy says:

    Sam:

    What a crackpot comment.

    I’d say that many Gentiles are turned off by Jews who want to be a gentile as the gentiles.

    Besides, many gentiles don’t need any provocation to become anti-semites. It comes a la natural. Ask them specifics and they just don’t have an answer.

    Please point to the hate speech whilst you’re at it?

    Disagreeing with posters who twist either halacha or customs/rituals is interpreted as hate speech?

    Read the negative comments about the Beth Din or the RCV? Are they expressions of love in your book?

    You’re off with the fairies mate.

    Was my last comment hate speech too?

  • david segal says:

    David Werdiger you wrote on April 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

    “Your comment about Chabad is ludicrous. Just because Chabad have very strict customs regarding which matzah is acceptable…”.

    are you able to name at least one of the strict customs regarding which matzah is acceptable

    Harry Joachim you wrote on April 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    The most common words in the Charedi world are “Arkaos” and “Rechilus”. a person is permitted to steal from others or commit worse crimes, but the victim is not permitted to report him to the police. You are permitted to assassinate a person’s character and destroy his Parnoso in cold blood, but when a person tries to defend the person that is being attacked, you will accuse him of lack of derech eretz and having a desire to engage in mud racking and blatant Rechilus.

    I have known M. Rabi for many years, and I don’t think he is able to feed other Jews Chometz on pesach. And I also have enough knowledge in halacha to know that the “Halachic” reasons given by the rcv and others, for why it is not permitted to eat Laffa bread on Pesach are plain nonsense.

    What should I do? Seat on the side line and watch people being destroyed, or try to defend the victim and the truth?

    My decision was to fight for whom that I thought is wright, and to take my chances.

  • david segal says:

    Harry

    my comment was on you wrote:

  • Dovid S,

    Chabad custom is to only eat (1) hand-made (2) shmura matza, and (3) to be extremely careful with gebrokts, some to the extent of (4) always covering matzah on the table, and (5) eating it out of a bag. I’ve eaten with people who (6) only eat matza at the start of the meal for hamotzie, then clear the table and don’t allow any matza on it for the rest of the meal. Chumras 1-3 are broadly accepted in Chabad – the others are a little more “hard core”.

    “Acceptable” was too strong a word as it implied anything else is not kosher, and the scope of my comment was not just the matzah itself, but the way it is eaten.

  • When we see an amputee, do we not feel sadness for that person? Even if it a self inflicted injury. Indeed, even if it is an enemy of ours who has inflicted that injury upon themselves in their pursuit of causing us harm. We mourn the loss of human potential to do good, the loss of human potential to be constructive and to be beautiful.

    Spilling wine from our cup at the Pesach Seder, as we list the ten plagues brought upon our tormentors, does not symbolise our sadness – that “our cup is not full” because we mourn the injury, hurt and loss inflicted upon these people. Our cup is not full because in spite of Gd’s best efforts to get Egypt to willingly recognise the One True Gd, they chose to defy Gd. Here too the pain is due to the lost human potential to do good and be beautiful

    It is distressing to see what appears to be, a mean nasty streak thread its way through some of the postings on this thread. Differences can and ought to be aired with dignity and recognition that there are different streams within Yiddishkeit. As Gd did not make our faces identical so too our minds are not identical. It is Gd’s plan that we should think differently. I alluded to this in my earlier post when quoting the Maharal and his view of determining the best manner in which to decide Halacha – and that it is not a singular golden needle in a haystack that we are pursuing.

    Let the discussion continue, let opinions be aired, the Talmud is replete with debate, but let us see ourselves as bearers of the great tradition of Talmudic debate, honourable debate, debate that is for the sake of Gd and for the sake of harmony.

  • david segal says:

    david

    the very strict customs have nothing to do with the kashrut of the matzah, but in the way in which matzah is handled and consumed.

  • Dovid S,

    Scroll up – my comment was a direct response to Reality Check’s “Chabad don’t even eat the manufactured square matza, that ain’t kosher enough for them, and they eat their matza out of plastic bags in prevent water getting on it …”

    Customs (1) and (2) relate to the matzah itself, although no Chabadnik would ever say non-shmura and/or machine matzah is not KLP, even though they would never eat it themselves on Pesach. That was exactly my point.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “when a person tries to defend the person that is being attacked, you will accuse him of lack of derech eretz and having a desire to engage in mud racking and blatant Rechilus.”

    Dovid – there is no need to make pernicious comments about RMG as part of your defence of RMR. Fine, you think all that has been said against RMR is rechilus, but that does not justify your propagation of in-kind rechilus against his detractors.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “I have known M. Rabi for many years, and I don’t think he is able to feed other Jews Chometz on pesach. And I also have enough knowledge in halacha to know that the “Halachic” reasons given by the rcv and others, for why it is not permitted to eat Laffa bread on Pesach are plain nonsense.”

    Have you not been following the detailed halachic discussion on the pitputim blog on this very issue? RMG has provided extensive information in support of the announcement the NSW KA made a year ago.

    As for any conscious attempt by KvY to sell chametz, there is no one saying that… It is a lack of experience and practical knowledge that is being cited as the cause.

  • frosh says:

    Harry,

    You’re free to put your trust in the young kids who work for KA, and others are free to put their trust in a knowledgeable expert such as R’Meir Rabi.

    As Yaron pointed out, that’s the great thing about a decentralised religion (which Judaism has largely been for the last two milleniums)

  • Harry Joachim says:

    frosh – and your point is?

  • TheSadducee says:

    I wish the people here who devote so much time and energy to the finer points of kashrut and matzah issues and fighting with each other over frumkeit would put as much time into the obviously less worthy causes such as taking action against child abusers in the community, aiding poorer Jews to get better educations and assisting community development…

  • david segal says:

    Harry

    Not only was I following this blog, but I was also active this blog:

    http://pitputim.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/diet-drinks-kitniyos-that-have-undergone-a-process-of-change/

    let the readers decide for themselves whether any evidence was supplied to support of the announcement the NSW KA made a year ago.

    The only evidence that I saw there was: “trust me. I am rabbi gee”!

    Only a Bur and Am Haaretz can say that m. rabi was using in his production:

    (!) ordinary flour that is not kosher for Pesach,

    (ii) the conveyor belt was sprinkled with maize starch;

    (iii)the process heat was not sufficient for the baking of Matza,

    because lack of experience and practical knowledge.

  • david segal says:

    david

    Never say never, see here:

    http://www.zumodrive.com/share/fYnRNjYwYj

  • Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick has finally admitted he did not speak the truth. He stated that he has a ruling “in writing” from HaRav Schachter, that soft Matzos can only be made by Sefaradim in accordance with their tradition. http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html
    He has now admitted that HaRav Schachter has not actually written that but that he thinks it can be figured out from what HaRav Schachter wrote. Now, he promises to verify his “figuring out” with HaRav Schachter. Too late Rabbi Gutnick, you should not have tried to mislead us.

    http://www.facebook.com/itskosher.authority

    I respectfully request that COSV distance itself from Rabbi Gutnick’s comment, at least until they have independently investigated and clarified their legitimacy.

  • A rabbi who is highly critical of soft Matza in general, and in particular of Exodus soft Matza has just written to me that, “Any expert in baking matso who would look at what you baked that year would say it is a cshash chometz. It is simply not baked enough.”

    Now this rabbi must consider both HaRav Wosner and HaRav Elyashiv to be incompetent. These two great Torah leaders both looked carefully at that Matza and although HaRav Wosner wrote that he is not happy with what he considers to be a break with tradition, he had no cause to protest about the far more serious allegation that it was not adequately baked. Obviously HaRav Wosner considers it adequately baked.

    The same is true of HaRav Elyashiv. Yes, my detractors carry on about him having changed his mind or that he was duped by me or by my representatives; but they admit he also did not protest that the Exodus soft Matza was not adequately baked.

  • Yossi says:

    Rabbi Meir G Rabi.I have alot of sympathy for what you do. You seem very passionate about defending your efforts in kashrus which is great.

    But as very much an outsider ( i have little understanding of the miuntae of this whole discusssion) can i respectfully encourage you to be more decent in your tones and accusations.

    I have known Rabbi Mottel Gutnick for 30 plus years he paskens my families halachos for me and i have found him to be a man of high integrity and menchlechkeit. He is widely respected amongst a wide variety of segments in this community (adass mizrachi secular etc) and it reflects poorly on yourself that you have gone after him in the manner that you have when it seems from the transcript of his lecture he bent over backwards to try and defend your cause and say that your product is essentailly ok as long as it is done to an appropriate standard and on the back of an appropriate tradition.

    I dont wish to get bogged down in the ‘he said she said’ over here merely to point out that in these days of sefirah i am astounded by much of the tone and manner of this discussion and especially your tone against Rabbi Gutnick. Have we not learned anything in 2000 years of exile?!

  • Dear Yossi,

    I do appreciate your observations and particularly your respect for Rabbi Gutnick and your general respectful tone and posture.

    Indeed, Rabbi Gutnick did say that anyone who wishes to follow their rabbi’s ruling to eat soft Matza, may do so. I admire him for his integrity and courage to declare that in public. You will I am sure have noted, that I have honoured him by posting his entire transcript on my website. However, you may not know, that Rabbi Gutnick contacted me and requested some amendments to that page, which I was pleased to incorporate.

    I believe that my observations are fair, balanced and in the circumstances, respectful and you will surely agree, even muted. It was not an easy matter to weigh up all the considerations. Reluctantly the conclusion was unavoidable and caused me pain both when writing and when posting. I did consult Halachic sources and opinions before posting and was assured that I must present this. The considerations are that many very untruthful things have been said, they have been planned with the purpose of causing harm to the very important Halachic and communal matters that I am promoting. Due diligence has not been performed to verify any of the facts. I have an obligation to Rabbi Rudzki and the Halachic principles that I learn, teach and implement; these must not be trampled upon, Torah must be honoured.

    I take no issues with other Rabbis who are deeply and vigorously opposed to my efforts since they express an opinion and do not present opinion as fact. I believe they are misguided, may Gd open their eyes, but I feel no need to defend what I do against their beliefs and protests.

    I have not complained that COSV and the RCV have provided the opportunity and the weight of their communal presence, to those who seek to harm me and yet have seen no need and not offered even the most basic of opportunity to respond. I do not protest that KAS has invested communal funds to advertise false information in an attempt to cause harm.

    You will also note that I have not in the past bothered to seek a platform other than my modest website and occasional postings to present the truth, in spite of the relentless barrage via all communal channels to spread false accusations made against me.

    But on this occasion HaRav Schachter was wrongly brought into the fray and falsely portrayed as having offered a written ruling. Even you Yossi have fallen for this untruth, as you say, “as long as it is done to an appropriate standard and on the back of an appropriate tradition”. HaRav Schachter as confirmed by Rabbi A Lebowitz http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html; has made it clear that Matza does not require an appropriate tradition.
    HaRav Schachter ruling was presented as though it is a new ruling only just recently provided. All this is not true.

    The manner in which HaRav Schachter was was presented was designed to mislead, indeed you Yossi were misled.
    And the simple and polite request to see the relevant written ruling was treated with disdain simply to mask that in fact no such ruling existed.

    Let us not pray for Shalom but DO for Shalom

  • Mel D says:

    I’d like to get back to chickens for a second… Can anyone tell me, do the kosher chicken producers raise their own chickens? If not, that may be the source of the price differential. Mainstream producers like Steggles etc grow their own chickens, then slaughter them at their own abbatoirs, and then sell them. If kosher producers are having to buy chickens live from a third party then transfer them to a separate abbatoir to shecht them, that is definitely a significant extra cost. Indeed, raising chickens would be a large part of the cost that non-kosher chicken producers would be passing on to consumers – if chickens are being bought, then shechted, there are now two parties which have to cover production costs, and both these costs end up being passed on to the kosher consumer, which is reasonable, even though it does make budgeting tighter for the kosher consumer who eats chicken.

    Perhaps, then, a solution would be for the kosher chicken producers to think about raising their own chickens so that we are back to only one company trying to make a profit.

    Of course, if the kosher producers raise their chickens themselves, this is a moot point. Is anyone able to clarify this?

    In regards to matzah – I’m now grateful that I’m coeliac and that there isn’t that much variety for me to choose from, and after the Seder, there’s just a lot of potato…

  • Yitzchak says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    You haven’t provided us with a source of the information that Rabbi Gutnick has admitted that he has not spoken the truth. We only have your unsupported allegation about that. Given the accusations you have subsequently levelled against the Rabbi it is only right that there needs to be a clear and unimpeachable proof of your allegation.

    On the other hand I have actually today received a copy of an email currently being circulated in Rabbi Gutnick’s name that quite clearly says that not only does Rabbi Gutnick stand by everything he has said but it also contains a copy of an emailed reply that shows that Rabbi Shachter has explicitly confirmed in recent days that he was indeed only ever speaking about traditional sefardi matzot. This clearly confirms Rabbi Gutnick’s claim.

    There are also some other clarifying comments made by Rabbi Shachter in that email clearly distancing him from having permitted anything other than the traditional sefardi matzot. But that is not my point at this time. Rabbi Gutnick and the other Rabbinic authorities are better credentialed and placed than I am to release such information and I am sure he or they will surely do so in due course, particularly given your intemperate attempts to besmirch the Rabbi and deny his claims on this and other forums.

    I agree with Yossi in that Rabbi Rabi has abused Rabbi Gutnick’s restrained attempts to give a fair opinion on soft matzas. That opinion should have been welcomed by Rabbi Rabi and anyone else advocating soft matza use on Pesach as a form of surprising concession when compared to the outright condemnation issued by others. Instead, Rabbi Rabi’s imprudent response has now unleashed a further clarification from Rabbi Shachter that looks like it will all come back to haunt him in a big way.

  • Thank you Yitzchak,

    It would help if you would forward to me the email you speak of.

  • Yaron says:

    Yitzchak

    So the dog ate his homework and now he is quickly redoing it in the corridor before the lesson?

    And you now need to be a rabbi to forward an email…

    Really? This is getting sillier

  • Shalom Yitzchak,

    You make a very important point: unsupported allegations you say, cannot be used to accuse.

    Allegations must be supported by clear and unimpeachable proof. Do you mean like the email from Rabbi A Lebowitz, who writes, “I spoke to Rav Schachter about this several times. He holds it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah.”? This clear and unimpeachable proof does not require stretching ones brain to “figure out” what he means. And it clearly contradicts Rabbi Gutnick’s claim that HaRav Schachter rules “in writing” that soft Matza may only be made by those with a Mesorah.

    Yitzchak, you can see this on my website http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html. BTW, in order to ensure transparency, the entire email exchange with Rabbi Lebowitz is available on my website. Don’t you agree that unless a full disclosure of the email is available, the proof cannot be considered clear and unimpeachable?

    You also express confidence that eventually Rabbis Gutnick and the RCV will release clear and unimpeachable proof to support their allegations. I envy your faith.

    Have you applied these criteria to the claims made by Rabbis Moshe and Mordechai Gutnick and the RCV? If you have the clear and unimpeachable proofs for any one of their claims, please post them; I have been waiting for them to be presented for all these years.

    My integrity is further buttressed by my successful appeal that only I should present my perspectives: “the buck stops here”. I have no need and discourage agents who do not officially represent me and certainly anonymous posters to speak for me. Clear and unimpeachable proofs and honest discussion cannot be accomplished without Rabbis Gutnick and the RCV speaking for themselves, being available to answer and having their arguments subject to public evaluation.

    May I add, I am pleased that Rabbi Gutnick stands by his comments, “people may choose to rely upon rabbis who endorse soft Matza”; did you not read my earlier response April 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm, “I admire him [Rabbi Gutnick] for his integrity and courage to declare that in public. You will I am sure have noted, that I have honoured him by posting his entire transcript on my website. However, you may not know, that Rabbi Gutnick contacted me and requested some amendments to that page, which I was pleased to incorporate.”

    Yitzchak, may I ask, why are you surprised by Rabbi Gutnick’s “fair opinion on soft Matza”? Surely you are not surprised that a rabbi speaks Halachic truth? I am not. Neither am I fearful of being haunted by truth, on the contrary I welcome truth.

  • Steven says:

    In the end the main casualty will be the truth and personally I think telling the truth is more important than the arguable status of soft matzah.

  • Yitzchak says:

    Rabbi Rabi and Yaron,

    All your pilpul and ridcule is totally irrelevant and is avoiding the simple question I raised here.

    That question was motivated simply by the fact that Rabbi Rabi posted an extraordinary claim that was aimed at embarassing a senior and well respected rabbi in our community because he conveyed information that ultimately challenged the information that Rabbi Rabi has been providing.

    All I have asked for is full and unimpeachable proof to be presented for the basis of that post, namely that Rabbi Gutnick made the retraction. This is the whole point of my comment. The replies regurgitating again what Rabbi Shachter or Rabbi Gutnick did or did not say about the permissibility ot otherwise of soft matzot are irrelevant to the question I asked.

    The silence to that pivotal question is deafening.

    Yaron, if you are indeed the champion of integrity as you make out to be, then why have you too not demanded to see the proof of Rabbi Rabi’s claim before making your childish and irreverant supportive comments. Is there one ethic for your cronies and none for everyone else?

    And finally Rabbi Rabi, you have asked for a copy of the email that contains Rabbi Shachter’s latest clarification. That email states that you have been sent a copy of the email received that confirms Rabbi Gutnick’s original report of Rabbi Shachter’s opinion on soft matzot. Have you or have you not received that information already?

  • Yitzchak says:

    Just one further point.

    I can understand Rabbi Rabi’s original dilemma given that he alllegedly received an opinion from a Rabbi Lebowitz who. while admitedly not directly consulting with Rabbi Shachter, alleged he knew that Rabbi Shachter’s staement covered all forms of soft matza – contrary to what Rabbi Gutnick conveyed.

    However, now that Rabbi Shachter’s opinion has been clarified directly from the Rabbi himself (and Rabbi Rabi has apparently been sent a copy of that reply) surely Rabbi Rabi needs to reassess the original claims that he made and publicly modify them accordingly. An apology to Rabbi Gutnick would prbably also be the decent thing to do although, given the histroy, I for one am not holding my breath.

    The email I saw also notes that the reply received from Rabbi Shachter will be diseminated in due course in an appropriate manner – if it hasn’t been already. I shall find out and post a link to any web posting.

    Meantime I await an answer to my original question of Rabbi Rabi as referred to in my previous two postings.

  • Yaron says:

    Yitzchak

    I am not one of anyone’s cronies, I doubt everyone equally. I have asked questions of both sides in my time (offline). So far Rabbi Rabi has answered my questions straight, while it was Kosher Australia who seem to take pleasure in dodging the questions.

    But what would you have me demand from Rabbi Rabi? Proof that an email that the Gutnicks have not released has indeed not been released? That is a negative proof and impossible to prove.

    And your precious email is only ‘in Rabbi Gutnick’s name’. So we now have an email that is quoted in Rabbi Gutnick’s name where he claims something in Rabbi Shechter’s name. You see where this is going?

    I will gladly admit I was wrong if I am proven wrong, but why does this have to get to this point?

  • Yitzchak, you have not read my post, so you really do not deserve a response.

    Rabbi Lebowitz, responding to Rabbi Gutnick’s claim that HaRav Schachter forbids manufacture of soft Matza unless one has a Mesorah, a Tradition; writes, “I spoke to Rav Schachter about this several times. He holds it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah.” SEE full email exchange, http://www.realmatza.com/r-a-lebowitz-email.html

    It is wrong of you to suggest that “an opinion from a Rabbi Lebowitz who. while admitedly not directly consulting with Rabbi Shachter, alleged he knew that Rabbi Shachter’s staement covered all forms of soft matza – contrary to what Rabbi Gutnick conveyed”

    Such distortions suggest that you are less than honest in your discussions and pursuit for truth.

    If you apologise, I will continue this discussion with you.

  • Yossi says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi.

    Im sure you are under great strain from all of this and i see you are taking it all very personally which besides for anonymous postings on various websites i havent seen any offical correspondance that is objecting to you personally merely a product under your hechsher.

    Unfortunately you raised the tempereture quite considerable by suggesting people were lying. To call somone a liar (not incompatent or lacking in hasgachah ability… but a liar). To do this on a forum such as the internet where billions of people will see it. To do this againsta a chosheve rabbi – probably Melbournes most senior and respected Rabbi who has never wronged you and is a decent and upright individual known to be a rodeph shalom and has helped many people in this community out in their darkest hour etc etc. is in my eyes unforgivable. (I hazard to guess in Shulchan Aruchs eyes as well). Even if he had misquoted rabbi schachter (which now appears he didnt.) you should surely have been dan lekaf zechus as halacha obliges or at very least argued that an exageration or an error in recollection had occurred. But to use the term liar is, in my opninon unnacceptable.

    Rabbi i have met you and you seem like a decent and knowledgable person. I do beleive however that you have ‘lost it’ in this particular matter with rabbi gutnick (which never was the main claim against your matzos anayway).

    Perhaps i should write to you in private but i feel at least some sort of public display must be stated for the eternal nature of the interent so that it will not be said that the community was silent in the face of what i feel is a significant wrong comitted by yourself albeit under pressure and in a state of upset.

    I agree with steve to me this now runs far beyond a debate about Mtzaos but rather matters ‘bein adam lachevro’.

  • Yitzchak says:

    Rabbi Rabi.

    I do not see why I have to apologise. Or is this another tactic to avoid answering the REAL questions I have raised?

    Both Rabbi Gutnick and Rabbi Lebowitz have presented clarification of Rabbi Shachter’s remarks. I was melameid zechut that you may have legitimately accepted Rabbi Lebowitz’s remarks at face value. But I explain again: I don’t know who this Rabbi Lebowitz is. All I know is that he has admitted that he did not ask the specific question directly of Rabbi Shachter but relied on his understanding of previous conversations he claims to have had with Rabbi Shachter. I do know Rabbi Gutnick and I have no reason not to believe his claim that Rabbi Shachter’s opinion was confined only to traditional sefardi matzot.

    So there have been two points of view expressed about the opinion of Rabbi Shachter. They deserved the same respect until the matter could be be resolved. That was unfortunately certainly not the case.

    This is not a difference between two Rishonim where we have to engage in pilpul to see who we should rule according to. Rabbi Shachter is still with us thank G-d (bis a hundret un twanzig). So Rabbi Gutnick did the logical thing and asked him. The answer has now come back. I have seen a copy of it.

    And Yaron, the email actually originated from Rabbi Gutnick himself. Also, please check with Rabbi Rabi himself. He hasn’t answered whether he has seen Rabbi Shachter’s answer or not (which is telling in itself) but I have been infoormed that he has. Ask hikm to show it to you and then decide whther you have to issue your promised apology or not.

    But all the above is not the point of my original comment. I still await the reply to my question that I now raise for the fourth time. Where is the proof that Rabbi Gutnick ever recanted on his original presentation of Rabbi Shachter’s remarks? That question needs to be answered or an apology is due, not just to Rabbi Gutnick but to all of us for Rabbi Rabi’s claim and the resultant irreverant comments against Rabbi Gutnick that started this latest unfortunate exchange.

  • Yitzchak, you have not read my post, so you really do not deserve a response.

    The only issue that needs to be clarified is: Rabbi Gutnick’s claim that HaRav Schachter forbids “in writing” manufacture of soft Matza unless one has a Mesorah, a Tradition. Have you seen this written ruling?

    Your additional claim that, “Rabbi Lebowitz has presented clarification of Rabbi Shachter’s remarks … But he has admitted that he did not ask the specific question directly of Rabbi Shachter but relied on his understanding of previous conversations he claims to have had with Rabbi Shachter.” has not added to your credibility not your desire to appear as an impartial party. Again you have certainly not read the full email exchange.

    Rabbi Lebowitz, responded to Rabbi Gutnick’s claim that HaRav Schachter forbids manufacture of soft Matza unless one has a Mesorah, a Tradition; writes, “I spoke to Rav Schachter about this several times. He holds it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah.” SEE full email exchange, http://www.realmatza.com/r-a-lebowitz-email.html

    It is wrong of you to suggest that “an opinion from a Rabbi Lebowitz who. while admitedly not directly consulting with Rabbi Shachter, alleged he knew that Rabbi Shachter’s staement covered all forms of soft matza – contrary to what Rabbi Gutnick conveyed”

    Such distortions suggest that you are less than honest in your discussions and pursuit for truth.

    If you apologise, I will continue this discussion with you.

  • Mel D says:
    April 22, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I have tried to find someone competent to answer your query, but have not yet succeeded

  • Yitzchak says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    Your reply is repititious rambling and irrelivant to the points I have made. You obviously have not understood or are purposely ignoring what I have written. You also have obviously introduced these irrelevncies to avoid answering the serious and highly relevant questions I ahve raised. I have made my point and I now leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Yitzchak – why do you sound so surprised that Rabbi Rabi is not answering the questions you raised?

    The good rabbi has repeatedly refused to answer the questions I posed to him on this and other posts. He seeks to engage with the public via this and other fora, but then will use all means of obfuscation to avoid addressing points that he feels uncomfortable in addressing.

    Take, for example, the question I repeatedly posted elsewhere on this site (http://galusaustralis.com/2012/02/5604/six-reasons-why-you-might-already-be-keeping-kosher/). I asked the rabbi whether he has an issue with “kosher-lite” – Jews who keep kosher merely by reading the ingredients on packaging. The rabbi had attacked me for commenting negatively on such practices, so I, understandably, sought to clarify his stance and that of the kashrus agency that he runs.

    To date he has not responded.

    It’s a fairly simple question that does not require any lomdus, but the good rabbi seems to be unwilling to reply, possibly because he knows that his answers might reflect badly on his agency and its practices

  • Cannot resist the temptation of posting the 200th on this thread

    Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick has finally admitted he did not speak the truth. He stated that he has a ruling “in writing” from HaRav Schachter, that soft Matzos can only be made by Sefaradim in accordance with their tradition.
    He declared, “I have got this in writing from him – I for one, will not endorse any of these soft Matzos that are made today other than those made by the Sefaradim in accordance with their tradition” http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html for entire transcript and recording.

    This is contradicted by Rabbi A Lebowitz who writes, “I spoke to Rav Schachter about this several times. He holds it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah.”

    Rabbi Gutnick has now admitted (as seen in his email below) that HaRav Schachter has not actually written that, but – Rabbi Gutnick thinks it can be figured out from what HaRav Schachter wrote.
    Furthermore this figuring out is so subtle that Rabbi Gutnick did not notice it when he read HaRav Schachter’s ruling the previous year.
    In fact he admits that he did not notice it even this year; it was someone else who alerted him to this allusion.

    On Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM, Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick wrote:
    I will however contact Rav Shachter today directly and ask him for a direct answer as to whether or not my INTERPRETATION of his words are (sic) correct or not.
    The reason I have not raised this point till now was because I was only alerted to the DIYUK by a colleague of his at the OU prior to this Pesach.

    Now that is hardly the sort of matter one can honestly emphasise in public as a ruling from HaRav Schachter “in writing”.

    And promising to verify his “figuring out” after making his public bold statement, that he has a ruling “in writing” from HaRav Schachter, is not the honest way to go nor the manner in which one garners respect for the rabbinate.

    And somehow, mysteriously; this is all a matter of the greatest secrecy;
    we are not informed as to who noticed this subtlety,
    we have not been shown what the subtlety is,
    we have not been shown the ruling of HaRav Schachter
    we have not seen what Rabbi Gutnick asked
    we have not seen what was answered but are only shown limited, selected excerpts.

    Furthermore, it appears from the excerpts that Rabbi Gutnick has disclosed of his exchange with HaRav Schachter’s representative, that:

    1. Rabbi Gutnick failed to ask the question, “May soft Matza be manufactured without a Mesorah?”
    2. The response relayed to Rabbi Gutnick confirms that HaRav Schachter does not require a Mesorah for manufacturing soft Matza.

    The response does affirm these issues:
    • HaRav Schachter “does not endorse any particular manufacturer of soft matza”
    • HaRav Schachter “certainly did not express an opinion on something that he has never heard of and does not know what it is”.

  • Mendy says:

    Why is anyone wasting their time with this issue any further?

    Meir has a personal vested interest and as such, true to form, will never ever admit he is/was wrong about anything.

    For heaven’s sake, Meir never admits he’s wrong even when he doesn’t have a vested interest!

    Why doesn’t someone write to Dayan Abrams in London and ask him whether he would eat laffa matza to begin with and more so in particular, laffa matzah under Meirs haechsher?

    And the same should be asked of HaRav Schachter and any other rav mentioned in this thread.

    It never ceases to amaze me as to how far some people are prepared to go to make a buck.

  • A rabbi who is highly critical of soft Matza in general, and in particular of Exodus soft Matza has written to me that, “Any expert in baking matso who would look at what you baked that year would say it is a cshash chometz. It is simply not baked enough.”

    Now this rabbi must consider both HaRav Wosner and HaRav Elyashiv to be incompetent. These two great Torah leaders both looked carefully at that Matza and although HaRav Wosner wrote that he is not happy with what he considers to be a break with tradition, he had no cause to protest about the far more serious allegation that it was not adequately baked. Obviously HaRav Wosner considers it adequately baked.

    The same is true of HaRav Elyashiv. Yes, my detractors carry on about him having changed his mind or that he was duped by me or by my representatives; but they admit he also did not protest that the Exodus soft Matza was not adequately baked.

  • Then there is also the issue of the misinterpretation/misunderstanding
    of the ShaArey Teshuva that was presented at the COSV RCV Pesach Q&A session 2012.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, please have a look at that ShaArey Teshuva and we can engage in some enlightening Torah discussion.

  • perhaps we will then have something substantial to be amazed about

  • Yossi says:

    Rabbi Rabi,
    To me you would be a much bigger/holier/learned person if you apologized about your ‘meltown’ and attack on Rabbi Gutnick then any lesson you may want to enlighten me with from the shaarei Teshuvah. The leraning is great but we were always taught in school – derech eretz kodmah latorah!!

    Perhaps i am a bit sensitive for rabbi gutnick as i genunely respect him as a learned rav and a MENTCH and really who am i to direct a rabbi what to do, but i would suggest you make an apology on the same forum that you screamed your accusations (GA) and move on.

    The punishment for Chametz on Pesach is Karet the punishment for embarrasing someone in public is no portion in the world to come CV!!!

    The notices against your laffa matzos never attacked you persoanlly – merely a standard of kosher supervision. Rabbi Gutnick went out of his way not to attack you personally and indeed endorse in theory a concept of soft Matzos.

    And to be fair i urge the poster Mendy and others to consider this request as well, albeit i too can empathise with THEIR frustrations re Rabbi Rabis repetative posts and not answering Harrys questions etc.

    Cmon lets be bigger then all this. Cant you see what a kiddush Hashem and beautiful message it would be for the community if you admitted you overreacted and approached rabbi gutnick, have a good shmooze with him about all the kashrus issues. I can assure you from past experience he is a mentch and would be happy to chat. (Maybe you can even get a picture standing over his shoulder and use it as your avatar for a week as a good will gesture). For me this would make you gadol and somone worth respecting. Not Lengthy debates about laffa matzos, Rabbi schachter and shaarei teshuvah.
    And do you not think this course of action would bring the geaulah closer?
    Lets do Shalom!

  • Mendy says:

    Yossi:

    I endorse your sentiments/comments, but will not be holding my breath.

    You see, what you are suggesting will sadly, be interpreted as a loss of face by Meir. (My apologies, but I am unable to bring myself to refer to Meir as rabbi. For all of his knowledge, which incidentally I believe is immense, I do not believe he has smicha, but would be grateful to be proven wrong)

    For the record, Rabbi Gutnick has my respect. He’s modest, he’s “erlech” and he’s humble.

    But none the less, I’ll follow your lead. I’ll hold my peace (for the time being).

  • Yitzchak says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I am absolutely amazed at your selective quotations or should I say misquotations!

    1. The statement you misrepresent from Rav Wosner was posted in the Adass and Yeshivah and elsewhere for all to see. You have conveniently left out of your report of Rav Wosner’s psak, when he forbids your specific product on non-mesoratic grounds, the statement :
    ” מלבד החששות הגדולות על כשרות מצה זו”
    He clearly says that he forbids them on mesoratic grounds “quite apart from the great doubts about the kashrut of these matzot.” How can you honestly misrepresent so blatantly the Rabbi’s written statements as not having cast serious doubt on the kashrut of the matzot that you yourself admit he examined?! How can you pretend that he would have allowed your laffa bread if not for the masora problem?

    2. You have also selectively quoted from Rav Shachter’s latest reply (so you did get a copy of it). You left out the crucial first line where Rav Shachter replied that he was “indeed only referring to traditional sephardic matza”. The simple fact is that Rav Shachter has now confirmed that Rabbi Gutnick’s statement limiting Rav Shachter’s lenient opinion to tradional sephardic matzot only is true. Rav Shachter continues to clarify that this specifically rules out anyone applying his ruling to your laffa and mountain breads!

    3. You continue to quote a letter from one of the London Bet Din’s Dayanim on the home page of your web site as a general endorsement of you activities. According to a letter written by the London Bet Din that was also posted in various shules and on various forums in the past, the letter posted on your website was obtained under false pretences. That letter from the LBD claims to have repeatedly instructed you to remove that letter and any claims of their general endorsement from your site. It further clearly states that they too do not endorse your kashrut activities in any way. Do you deny such a letter from the LBD exists? If not – why do you still misrepresent their endorsement against their express instructions? If you do deny it I will personally retrieve a copy and post it in an appropraite forum and then publish the link here.

    The continued misrepresntations make me, for one, highly supspicious of the veracity and context of the quotation you have posted of Rabbi Lebowitz’s alleged correspondence with you. This is particularly so given Rav Shachter’s latest reply that completely contradicts the alleged advice from Rabbi Lebowiz.

    I further suspect that you have misquoted and/or misrepresented the email you now claim to have received from Rabbi Gutnick. I don’t know what you are trying to prove from that alleged email. Your own diyukim prove nothing – particularly given your record of misrepresentation. All I do know is that Rabbi Gutnick’s claims have been completely vindicated as a result of Rav Shachter’s latest answer that I have seen and that you yourself now admit to.

    Oh – and if you are going to challenge the authenticity or intent of that answer as you are already starting to do, then I suppose Rabbi Gutnick was right in preempting this in his email when he says he is waiting till he gets a signed hard copy of Rav Shachter’s answer before releasing it more extensivley.

    You have placed yourself in a seriously compromised position with your selctive quotations and misrepresentations. This has serious repercussions regarding other statements and claims that you make in the course of your kashrut and general activities.

    Rabbi, facts are comtinuing to unfold that clearly show that you have seriously painted yourself into a corner. Don’t make it worse for yourself than it already is by further incitement and questionable claims and tactics. It is time you face reality and respond accordingly. This may help you salvage some respect and defuse this whole nasty controversy.

  • Pitputim from Isaac Balbin's blog says:

    Lets give the final say on all this to the usually insightful and occasionally sensible Isaac Balbin. Taken verbatim from his website (hope thats legal)

    Rav Schachter on Soft Matza
    Posted on April 24, 2012
    It has been claimed in various quarters that R’ Schachter has no issue in principle with “soft” matza. His name has been used, making such claims, and through a long bow, trying to associate R’ Schachter with the acceptability of particular types of ashkenazi machine made soft laffa style matza.

    I heard R’ Schachter speak on this topic, and I came away with the distinct understanding that

    Soft Matza was certainly used in the past by Ashkenazim
    There are some Sephardim who have maintained their Mesora on how to make the traditional soft matza
    An Ashkenazi who wishes to eat from a Sephardi Soft Matza and rely on a particular Sephardi Mesora on how to make these matzos may do so if they wish, but they are relying on that well-known and accepted Sephardi hechsher.
    R’ Schachter in no way endorses any particular Matzos (hard or soft)
    Ashkenazim over the last 200 years have reverted to thin hard matzos. (R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach disagrees with R’ Schachter and says that an Ashkenazi should therefore only ever have hard matzos)
    R’ Schachter had absolutely nothing to say about new laffa style, some of which has also found its way into Melbourne, Australia, under R’ Rabi, and in no way should R’ Schachter’s comments be used to ascribe any acceptability to the kashrus thereof.
    I understand that R’ Schachter has very recently made the above views known explicitly in response to queries about the use of his name on R’ Meir Rabi’s Kosher Business/Hechsher, which promotes Rabi’s soft laffa style product. I also understand that R’ Rabi is now aware of these clarifying comments.

    [ I was shocked to find that R’ Rabi posted an earlier letter from R’ Schachter on this topic (which does not contradict the above) on possibly the least respectful and most disparaging website, specifically designed to besmirch religious Jews at every opportunity. That website, which is hosted by the infamous Scott Rosenberg, certainly has some positives, but in my experience over many years, published comments that do not contradict his free editorial policy are simply deleted by Scott each time they showed up Scott’s crooked agenda.

    There are boundaries, and placing a letter from R’ Schachter on that website is an absolute disgrace, especially given that Scott has grossly debased R’ Schachter’s name in the past. ]

    There is a solution to this conundrum. R’ Rabi should open himself up to an overseas kashrus expert, such as Rav Moshe Heineman or indeed the OU or similar to come and oversee his laffa production before next Pesach, and formally put their imprimatur on his production. Heck, if it’s good, he can export it too, presumably.

  • The Inner Drew says:

    Considering how unreliable Rabi is with his kashrus authority, his ability to twist facts and for dragging in alsmost every major posek from across the globe in which as he understands it, they all seem support him and/or his products…..

    As was noted in Adass over Pesach, it would seem that Rabi is now expanding his operations and dabbling in conversions.It is a wonder how reliable his skills are at converting people to Judaism are. Can it be assumed that Rabbi Rudzki z’l passed along this mesorah to Rabi too?

    Perhaps someone can enlighten us to this supposed conversion of a person whom it is understood an Australian Beis Din continually refused for a decade.

  • TheSadducee says:

    The Inner Drew

    Why don’t you make your request a little clearer and ask –

    Does anyone have any dirt they would like to share on Rabbi Rabi?

    At least be intellectually honest if you’re going to play games with others reputations.

  • Our Sages assure us that learning Torah, debating Torah, is a guaranteed recipe for promoting Shalom. So I will continue to discuss the ShaArey Teshuva 460 I mentioned earlier, hopefully on a new thread. On other matters further discussion seems pointless. I will offer a brief summary and no further response unless something new and relevant comes up.

    # Rabbi Gutnick claimed that he has a ruling “in writing” from HaRav Schachter, that soft Matza may not be manufactured unless one has a Mesora, a tradition. As captured by someone on this thread, soft Matza is OK “as long as it is done to an appropriate standard and on the back of an appropriate tradition”

    But Rabbi Gutnick admits that he does not have such a ruling in writing but it can be figured out from what HaRav Schachter wrote last year. He also admits that he did not notice this and did not figure it out until someone else showed it to him. See http://www.realmatza.com/r-mz-gutnick-admits.html

    # Furthermore, Rabbi A Lebowitz “spoke many times about this to HaRav Schachter” http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html; “it is completely permissible and has nothing to do with mesorah”. But we have had the pleasure of reading on this thread that Rabbi Lebowitz “did not directly consult with HaRav Schachter”

    # Rabbi Gutnick also publicly stated that anyone who wishes to follow their rabbi’s ruling to eat soft Matza, may do so. I admire him for his integrity and courage to declare this in public.

    # It has been claimed that, “Any expert in baking matso who would look at what you baked, would say it is a cshash chometz. It is simply not baked enough.” So this rabbi must consider both HaRav Wosner and HaRav Elyashiv to be incompetent as they both looked carefully at Exodus Matza and neither criticised it for not being adequately baked.

    # No one has disagreed with my assertion that clear and unimpeachable proofs and honest discussion cannot be accomplished without Rabbis Gutnick and the RCV speaking for themselves, being available to answer and having their arguments subject to, public evaluation.

    # It was said on this thread that HaRav Sh Z Auerbach rules that “Ashkenazi should only ever have hard matzos.” This is not true, he says that A should only use THIN Matza – based upon the Rama. He has not said that Matza must be HARD.

    I believe it was Lucy of Peanuts who said, “You aint nothing till you’re envied”

  • david segal says:

    isaac

    please explain:

    what part of the baking needs a Masoret, why do we need it, and Who invented this need?

  • Pitputim fan says:

    Attention Meir G RAbi,
    I am looking at a scanned letter from Rabbi Shachter on one of your websites. in it he states:
    Sheaf leashkanazim mutar leechol matzos elu SHEL HASFARDIM – clearly this means the matzos are made by sefardim. no?

    In Judaism anything like safrus, rabonnus, hashgacha and yes matzah baking etc needs a tradition in addition to the halachos. To bake hard matzos you need to learn halachah and then learn the mesorah. Surely it is the same with soft maztos. Anybody looking at Rabbi Shachters letter would take away the same points. Yes he goes beyond Rav aurbach and many others to say that these matzos may be eaten by ashkenazim. But he still is saying they need to be made by sefardim – obviously meaning the sefardi tradtion. So you are incorrect in what you write.

    Furthermore you keep stating that rabbi’s Wozner and Elyashiv looked carefully at the matzah and endorsed the matzah. Is that in the same vain as Rav Belsky gave you his endorsement because you took a picture standing over his shoulder. That is about as rediculous as me saying a rabbi looked at the cooked meat ball and said it is kosher. I mean lets get a bit of honesty into this discussion. The wording rav elyashev’s aide used was Tzurah and racus – their shape and softness. At no stage does this address the degree of bakedness. Indeed how could he if he was never giving a hechsher rather passing comment on the shape and style.Your translation of those words is incorrect and one can assume deliberately misleading.

    The three main claims about the Matzah by Glasman at the RCV are still unanswered and it seems these exodus matzos have likely been chametz R”L. The more this thing drags on and you grapple in the dark for red herrings about rabbis schachter and wosner, the more you look like a goose.

  • I posted this on Isaac Balbin’s blog Pitputim,
    Meir Rabi on April 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm said:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Isaac,

    # please direct us to the Shiur you heard from HaRav Schachter, I presume it is publicly available.

    # I don’t follow what your complaint is. I have provided an independently vetted summary and explained, and posted a facsimile of HaRav Schachter’s note, do you feel that is wrong? Please explain. When discussing HaRav Elyashiv’s message I do specify that although he actually had a sample of Exodus soft Matza in his hands, his approval is not, cannot be for Exodus Matza, since he is unaware of the manufacturing process. This is not applicable to HaRav Schachter’s comments.

    # I think you are mistaken about R Sh Zalman; he encourages THIN Matza but does not mention that they should be HARD.

    # I did not post on the FM website. When I post I use my true name. You might want to edit your article, Isaac. It would have been prudent to ask me before publishing.

    # The Rama says that Matza shold be Rekikin. You can see details on http://www.exodusmatza.com The BaEr Heitev quotes the Beis Hillel, Rekikin means like a finger’s thickness about 12mm. The Rama does not say “as thin as possible”.

    It is almost certain that the Rama was eating soft Matza. Not one of the Poskim says Matza should be hard.
    The Mishneh Berurah The Aruch HaShulchan and the ShA HaRav all speak of Matza being soft like a sponge. HaRav Schachter mentions this in his note. In fact the Chacham Echad he refers to in his note is myself; I brought this to his attention.

    # Anyway as far as thin is concerned Exodus Matza is probably the most Mehudar Matza available, less than 1mm thick; thinner [better] than most other Matzos.

  • Yitzchak says:

    Yossi and Mendy: now you see why I didn’t follow your well-meant suggestions and also take a step back.

    Becasue, as even Freddie’s blind dog can now see, Rabbi Rabi has no intention to listen to any conciliatory advice. He continues to blindly repeat the obvious misrepresentations ignoring reality, clear facts and evidence presented against his claims and statements.

    I agree with you both about Rabbi Gutnick’s standing, His learning, integrity and empathy (not to mention his great sense of humour) have helped to fill some of the deep void in rabbinic leadership experienced in our community since the passing of his late father Rabbi Chaim Gutnick z”l and the late Rabbi Groner z”l. As one of you said: it would be a great shame if the misrepresentations levelled against him were to remain unchallenged.

    So I did my bit and put forward some answering comments and information for the record. Those readers who are sincerely interested in a balanced picture now have the other side of the story. I’m quite happy now to leave it at that.

    And David: I presume you address your question to me – Yitzchak. I am not a baker or kashrut supervisor, but to mme the answer is obvious. Anyone who has learnt anything about baking matzot knows of the extreme precautions that need to be taken to avoid them becoming Chametz. The difficulty in achieving this is is one of the reasons why the Rama rules that today we only use thin, hard, truly well-baked matzot. Acceptable sephardi matzot are made to a specific tradional method (see: softmatza.com ). These sephardi maztot are no longer made or used today even in many Sephardi communities because of the many intricacies of ensuring it is produced correctly – particularly in a factory situation. So the accepted practice today is to make either hard, well baked matzot or a soft sephardi matza but only if it is according to a traditionally valid process. That’s obviously what Rav Shachter has ruled when he limits his permissive opinion to tradtional sephardi matzot and excludes endorsing laffa and mountain bread varieties. Rav Wosner and others have seen the local prodcut and, despite Rabbi Rabi’s astonishing ongoing claims to the contrary, they have clearly said that there are serious questions as to whether they are Kosher (see the quote in my last post).

  • From COSV website - Will Rabi apologize now or later? says:

    Clarification about soft matza

    by Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick
    5 Iyyar 5772

    בס׳ד
    ה’ אייר ה’ אלפים תשע”ב

    Friday April 27, 2012

    בס”ד

    ערב ש”ק לפ’ “זאת תהי’ תורת המצורע ביום טהרתו” תזו”מ, ה’ אייר תשע”ב

    Important clarification from Rabbi M Gutnick on the “Soft Matza” Issue.

    At the COSV Question and Answer session before Pesach this year I cited a written clarification by Rabbi Tzvi (Hirschel) Shachter of New York concerning his ruling on the use of “soft matzas” for Pesach. I stated that Rav Shachter confined his ruling allowing Ashkenazim to eat soft matzas on Pesach to traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi matzas only. Rabbi Shachter clearly used the words “Sephardi matzas” in his clarification and not a generic term such as “soft matzas”. Accordingly, I added that Rav Shachter’s clarification specifically did not include laffa, mountain breads and wraps and other such imitation “soft matzas” that did not conform with the traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi method in appearance or processing methods.

    The issur (ban) placed on using such laffa/mountain bread products for matza on Pesach that was issued by various poskim in Eretz Yisroel and by the local Australian Rabbinate has been well-publicised, Nevertheless, in the interest of presenting a fair, authoritative overview of the whole issue, I felt an obligation to convey Rav Shachter’s dissenting opinion at the COSV session – but clearly confining it to traditional Sephardi matzos in accordance with his written statement we had received the previous year.

    Rabbi Meir Rabi, the producer and certifier of a locally produced laffa/mountain bread for Pesach has harshly challenged my statements in a number of forums. He claimed to have received an email from a confidant of Rabbi Shachter saying that Rabbi Shachter’s permissive ruling applied to ALL soft matzas reliably produced Kosher for Pesach and not to any specific traditional matza process. He therefore continued to strongly insist that Rav Shachter’s opinion endorsed his particular laffa/mountain bread product.

    As a result of the conflicting interpretations of Rabbi Shachter’s rulings I presented the issue again to Rav Shachter in the past week for clarification.

    I asked, simply, whether I was right in conveying his original written clarification as pointedly permitting “only traditional (mesoredike) Sephardi soft matzas produced in a traditional (mesoredike) manner” given that his opinion had been more widely applied to other “soft matza” products – such as the laffa or mountain bread products that are produced with different appearance, form and processing method than traditional Sephardi matza.

    I received the following answer by return from Rabbi Shachter’s recorder of halachic policy – Rabbi Eli Gersten, Rabbinic Co-ordinator at the OU in New York.

    Dear Rabbi Gutnick,

    I showed your letter to Rav Schachter.,

    He asked me to write back that he was indeed only referring to traditional Sephardic soft matza.

    He is not sure what all these other styles of bread are and certainly did not express an opinion on something that he has never heard of and does not know what it is.

    He reiterated that he does not endorse any particular manufacturer of soft matza.

    Rabbi Eli Gersten

    Rabbinic Coordinator

    The reply from Rav Shachter clearly confirms what I have relayed concerning his views. Namely – that Rav Shachter has issued an opinion ruling that Ashkenazi Jews may eat traditional (mesoredike) Sephardi soft matza but that this ruling does not include other laffa and mountain bread products marketed as soft matza. He personally has certainly not endorsed any “soft matza” production – traditional sefardi or otherwise.

    I further reaffirm my own advice that given the stricter and lenient opinions extant one should consult with one’s own Halachic authority as to whether an Ashkenazi Jew may consume even the traditional Sephardi matza and as to whether any particular such product should be accepted as produced acceptably Kosher for Pesach.

    Since receipt of that answer to my personal query I have now received a hand-written general pronouncement from Rav Shachter for circulation within our community addressing misrepresentation of his views that are still extant. A copy of the original is attached.

    The letter translates as follows:

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

    I have been asked many times over the past years if it is correct for Ashkenazi Jews to fulfil their obligation for eating Matza on the night of Pesach with Sephardic Matza. I have always answered that in my opinion this is not against custom provided that they should be produced under expert supervision under the strict guidance of reliable and responsible rabbinic authorities. My intention was in strict reference to the Sephardic Matzas that are known to us here in New York. I have now been informed from afar that there are new varieties called Laffa and Mountain Bread that I have never seen and know nothing about and I have not expressed any opinion concerning them, for one may only rule on what one’s eyes have seen. It is impossible to give my opinion on anything that I am not familiar with. I am greatly astonished how a “living person can contradict a living person” and how it is possible that anyone can say things in my name that have totally never entered my mind.

    Signed: Tzvi Shachter.

    I am issuing this statement, after consultation with Rav Shachter, in order to confirm the clarification I relayed in the name of Rav Shachter particularly in the wake of what is considered a continued major misrepresentation by others of Rav Shachter’s views. I sincerely hope that those concerned will read these clear clarifications and disclaimers by Rav Shachter and correct their misrepresentations accordingly.

    With blessings that we all be granted the merit to convey and observe authentic Torah teachings,

    Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick

    Senior Rabbi, Elwood Shule
    Senior Dayan, Melbourne Beth Din
    Rabbinic Administrator, Kosher Australia
    Past President, Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia

  • david segal says:

    Pitputim fan

    on April 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm you wrote in your opening paragraph that “in Judaism anything like safrus, rabonnus, Hashgacha and yes Matzah baking etc needs a tradition in addition to the halachos To bake hard matzos you need to learn Halachah and then learn the Mesorah”.

    Are you able to quote even one source, where you saw what you wrote.

    What you wrote sounds to me like plain nonsense.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are only a few things that need a Masoret, and safrus, rabonnus, Hashgacha and Matzah baking are not among them.

    Could it be that you mixed up Shimush with Mesorah (assuming that you know what Shimush is).

    You opened your posting with nonsense and advanced with a rule “that in addition to the halachos To bake hard matzos you need to learn Halachah and then learn the Mesorah”.

    Even a person with a minimum sheb’minimum knowledge in Halacha, will not say what you said.

    I can’t understand why do you need a Masoret, either for dry Matzot or for soft Matzot. If there was need for a Masoret how to bake Matzot-hard or soft, don’t you think that we would have seen it mentioned in at least in one Sefer, But it wasn’t. why wasn’t it?

    Could it be that you are really a supporter of M. Rabi, who knows that what you wrote is plain nonsense, and you are pretending to be his enemy to show how … the people that fight him are.

  • david segal says:

    Rabbi gutnick wrote: “…i stated that Rav Shachter confined his ruling allowing Ashkenazim to eat soft matzas on Pesach to traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi matzas only. Rabbi Shachter clearly used the words “Sephardi matzas” in his clarification and not a generic term such as “soft matzas”. Accordingly, I added that Rav Shachter’s clarification specifically did not include laffa, mountain breads and wraps and other such imitation “soft matzas” that did not conform with the traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi method in appearance or processing methods”.

    In the translation of Rabbi Shachter I read: I have been asked many times over the past years if it is correct for Ashkenazi Jews to fulfil their obligation for eating Matza on the night of Pesach with Sephardic Matza. I have always answered that in my opinion this is not against custom provided that they should be produced under expert supervision under the strict guidance of reliable and responsible rabbinic authorities. My intention was in strict reference to the Sephardic Matzas that are known to us here in New York”.

    I saw there a questionI “if it is correct for Ashkenazi Jews to fulfil their obligation for eating Matza on the night of Pesach with Sephardic Matza”, on which he answered “that in his opinion this is not against custom provided that they should be produced under expert supervision under the strict guidance of reliable and responsible rabbinic authorities. My intention was in strict reference to the Sephardic Matzas that are known to us here in New York. I have now been informed from afar that there are new varieties called Laffa and Mountain Bread that I have never seen and know nothing about and I have not expressed any opinion concerning them, for one may only rule on what one’s eyes have seen. It is impossible to give my opinion on anything that I am not familiar with. I am greatly astonished how a “living person can contradict a living person” and how it is possible that anyone can say things in my name that have totally never entered my mind.

    But not: “that Rav Shachter confined his ruling allowing Ashkenazim to eat soft matzas on Pesach to traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi matzas only. Rabbi Shachter clearly used the words “Sephardi matzas” in his clarification and not a generic term such as “soft matzas … Accordingly, I added that Rav Shachter’s clarification specifically did not include laffa, mountain breads and wraps and other such imitation “soft matzas” that did not conform with the traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi method in appearance or processing methods”. as was written by rabbi Gutnick, and copied here and there, by many like parrots.

    Seems that the Hebrew language and knowledge in Halacha, are rare commodities in Melbourne.

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    I honestly wonder where Rabbi Rabi goes from here now that his false endorsement scheme has been exposed in the wider kashrus world. The above mentioned quotes from rabbi Schachter criticizing rabbi rabi’s use of his endorsement is so pointed i doubt anyone from the OU could be able to take him seriously ever again?

    (not sure what David Segal is adding to the debate at all?)

  • Mendy says:

    Shimon:

    Those in the know refer to Dovid as Dave, the D.I.B.

    If you say it’s black, he’ll argue till he’s blue in the face, it’s white. Most people in whichever shul he he drops in, understandably give him a wide berth.

    He’s similar in many ways to Meir. Knowledgeable but up there with the fairies.

    What did he add to the thread?

    Bugger all!

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Mendy is that the guy that hangs out at St kilda library and the Kollel library till the wee hours of the morning? i do remember him always arguing with people but I didn’t know he was still around i thought he moved to Fiji or something? goodness! Hi Dovid, I just cant understand what you are writing are you supporting rabbi rabi or against him. I cant see how you could support him now that the latest letter has come out from Rav Schachter. I cant help thinking its all a bit embarrassing for him.

  • Yitzchak says:

    David , with all due resepctyou should learn when to back down humbly when faced with overwhelming proof. Your rambling semantics and comments here and elsewhere ( and I for one am really not quite sure what you are claiming…)are reminscent of thos of Rabbi Rabi (are you study partners by any chance?).

    It is now absolutely clear to any objective (and rational) person that Rabbi Shachter has confirmed Rabbi Gutnick’s presentation of his view as confined to traditional Sephardic matzas only and in his written statement further strongly admonishes anyone who tries to apply his ruling to the laffa and mountain bread varieties. That’s the crux of this whole discussion – anything else is irrelevant.

    I will not hold my breath for any retraction or apology from Rabbi Rabi. It is unfortunately pretty certain that he will continus with his convaluted misrepresentations given the record he has regarding other such proven misquotes and dubious claims. But what about you Yaron? Is the promised apology or at least an acknowledgement going to be coming from you?

    One final point – I would be most interested in seeing a reply also from Rabbi Lebowitz given Rabbi Shachter’s last sentence.

    See here: http://www.cosv.org.au/index.php?eid=887&dptu=61&article=721
    for the original statements as now on the COSV site.

  • Wolf says:

    I am not entirely familiar with all the issues here, but it seems to me that Rabbi Shachter allows the sefardi Matzos?

    Does this then mean that if the Matzos baked under Rabbi Rabi’s kashrus authority are produced within the halachic definition of ‘sefardi matzos’ they are perfectly acceptable?

  • So far you have seen 925 words to explain 182 words of HaRav Schachter; so I will be brief.

    ICH VILL DI FREIGEN FIER KASHES.

    1. Was the Rav [HaRav Schachter] asked if making soft Matza requires a Mesorah, a special tradition?
    No.

    2. Does the Rav rule that soft Matza requires a Mesorah, a special tradition?
    No.
    He maintains that manufacturing and eating of soft Matza has nothing to do with Mesorah; see http://www.realmatza.com/r-mz-gutnick-admits.htmland http://www.realmatza.com/harav-schachter.html

    3. Does the Rav maintain that Matza production requires “expert supervision under the strict guidance of reliable and responsible rabbinic authorities?”
    Yes.

    4. Has Exodus Matza claimed that the Rav has inspected or endorsed its Matza?
    No.

    So, in conclusion, nothing has changed.

    UN YETZ VILL ICH FREIGEN NOCH TZVEI KASHES VOSS ICH VEISS NISCHT KEIN TEIRETS

    5. Was HaRav Schachter erroneously informed that his name is being misused?

    6. Why does the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria (COSV) allow itself to be used by Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick?
    Is this COSV email service available to all COSV Rabbis?

  • Yitzchak says:

    Fair question Wolf.

    There was indeed never any discussion here about Rav Shachter’s permission to use genuine Sephardic matzot. (Although it should be mmentioned again that, by Rabbi Rabi’s own admission, it certainly appears that others have an alternate view on that principle.)

    Rav Shachter now confirms, as Rabbi Gutnick correctly gave over, that his lenient ruling applies however ONLY to those sephardic matzot.

    He then clearly qualifies even that, however, by saying that those Sephardic Matzot need to be certtified by a responsible and knowledgable authority to guarantee the process is Kosher for Pesach. Ultimately, of course, as both Rav Shachter and Rabbi Gutnick would no doubt agree – this would be up to an individual’s own Rabbinic authority to determine. Unfortunately, given the information circulated about Rabbi Rabi’s certification of his current prodcut and other general issues, it doesn’t take much imagination to predict what the locsal Rabbonim vitually unannmously would say in that regard.

    Getting to Shabbos. Grest to see that the issue is now conclusively resolved. Although just waiting to see if Rabbi Rabi will do the mentchliche thing and apologise to Rabbi Gutnick and indeed to all of us for the misrepresentation and unseemly behaviour he has shown in in dealing with this issue.

  • david segal says:

    I am not supporting him and I didn’t support him in the past, if he blew it is his problem. I said it not once that I don’t know whether the flour that he used was bleached or not, lubricated the rollers with Chomtz or with pig fats, I didn’t ask him and I don’t think that his answer would have made any difference to me.

    He is a business that his business is sells Kashrut, and so is mk and others, and seems that all of them get their Tongues in a tangle when they fight for their life.

    Any person that claims that is saying that so and so approved his laffa Matzot when the so and so never said it, or never saw the production, is not a liar, he is not very smart. And the same goes for somebody that is saying: “I cited a written clarification by Rabbi Tzvi (Hirschel) Shachter of New York concerning his ruling on the use of “soft matzas” for Pesach”, when rabbi schachter’s letter says: “if it is correct for Ashkenazi Jews to fulfil their obligation for eating Matza on the night of Pesach with Sephardic Matza”.

    Any person with a basic idea in Halacha knows the difference between: “the use of “soft matzas” for Pesach”, and: “fulfil their obligation for eating Matza on the night of Pesach”. Or ” I stated that Rav Shachter confined his ruling allowing Ashkenazim to eat soft matzas on Pesach to traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi matzas, when rabbi schachter never said it, and he uses ” Sephardic Matza” as a generic term.

    ______________________

    Mendy

    When you will have enough and write under your real name I will answer you.

    I know your style of writing, but can’t “remember” where I saw it.

    Aren’t you dg?

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Oh dear!

    “my intent was with the strict reference to sefardik maztos”

    I imagine the COSV sent out Rabbi Gutnick’s response because he is a respected Rabbinic figure and they care about truth, honesty, Kashrus, Yiddishkeit, integrity, ethics and morals. Apparently not everyone is!

  • david segal says:

    Mendy

    Aren’t you dw?

  • Dovid,

    If you mean me, then the answer is no. If I have something to say, I will say it with my own name. In any event, this discussion about who might be whom is far from the point. And those comments about “Dave the DIB” are just stupid playing-the-man stuff from someone who has studied less Torah than Dovid himself (and that doesn’t narrow it down very much).

    Good Shabbos!

  • David, a very nicely paid compliment to Dovid.
    Gutt Shabbos

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “I imagine the COSV sent out Rabbi Gutnick’s response because he is a respected Rabbinic figure and they care about truth, honesty, Kashrus, Yiddishkeit, integrity, ethics and morals. Apparently not everyone is!”

    And because the Q&A forum that the email is a follow-up to was hosted by the COSV…

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Rabbi Rabi asks – “Why does the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria (COSV) allow itself to be used by Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick?”

    No doubt if you were invited to speak at a COSV forum Rabbi Rabi, and your comments at that event led to you being labelled a liar by another rabbi who took to the blogosphere to defame you, then the COSV would also allow you to send an email through its network defending yourself against a malicious slur.

  • Pitputim chasid says:

    David Segal,

    I think you will find that masorah or masoret is a term to denote ‘the teachings of Judaism as transmitted by an oral tradition or personal example.’ Whilst you cannot think of many mitzvot that have a masoret i cannot think of any that don’t have a masoret. Including Matzah. Which is clearly what Rabbis Gutnick and Shachter refer to.

    Are you a follower of Tzadok? or just trying to be typically contrary?

    Shavuah Tov

  • George Weiss says:

    Mendy is yw. He is loyally looking after Ka’s monopoly

  • Steven says:

    If laffa matzo is the same as “the Sephardic Matzas that are known to us here in New York” (which are permitted to Ashkenazim) then we are back to square one again.

  • Mendy says:

    This thread has morphed into a 3 ringed circus.

    And the ringmaster is……..?

    Anyone seen the movie, Dumb & Dumber?

    Looks like the cast has been re-incarnated and now they haunt us.

    Laffa-Minute will be the title of the sequel.

    Cheerio!

  • Yitzchak says:

    Steven: Anyone who has seen the laffa product sold here and traditonal sefardi matza sold in NY and Isarael (See description here : http://softmatza.com/about-soft-matza ) will know that they ceretainly aren’t the same thing by any stretch of the imagination.

    David: Seeing you are the self-proclaimed expert in Hebrew translation how would you translate the word “REKIKIN” as brought by the Ramo to describe current Ashkenazi custom for making maztot already in his time. Rabbi Rabi tells us in another questionable claim that these thin rekikin as described by the Ramo are “probably referring to soft matzas”. (At least he had the honesty to add the word “probably”.)

    My humble view (as confirmed by Jastrow and ALL translations of Chumah that I have seen) is that Rekik means a wafer or biscuit (as opposed perhaps to LECHEM matzot also mentioned separately in Chumash). Modern Israeli dictionaries refer to REKIK as a biscuit. Would it not be more honest to therefore say that REKIKIN used by the Ramo is “probably a HARD biscuit-type matza” as indeed evidenced by the current Askenazi practice WITHOUT EXCEPTION today. Is this another of Rabbi Rabi’s mirepresentations in his claiming that the Ramo and other poskim (including the Mishnah Berura) refer to soft matza wwhen they clearly all use the expression REKIKIN to describe the matzot referred to by the Ramo as being the Ashkenazi tradition?

  • Steven says:

    Mendy, I am not sure if you are referring to me as one of the Dumb and Dumbers, but if you are, can I be the smarter one?

    As you are blog savvy, your personally condescending and derogatory comments about Dovid Segal are disgusting (and a chillul Hashem) considering you post anonymously. If you disagree with him, is it too hard to just explain politely why, —

    “Those in the know refer to Dovid as Dave, the D.I.B.

    If you say it’s black, he’ll argue till he’s blue in the face, it’s white. Most people in whichever shul he he drops in, understandably give him a wide berth.

    He’s similar in many ways to Meir. Knowledgeable but up there with the fairies.”

  • Mendy says:

    Steven:

    No I didn’t mean you, so by all means feel welcome to discard the guilt complex.

    I follow the principle that if it’s too hot in the kitchen, then it’s time to get out.

    Other posters have a go at me…Yaron even has a favorite title when he addresses me.

    So what?

    That’s the cut ‘n thrust of being on a blog.

    Chillul hashem is an easy word to throw around……I’m not even going to bother responding on that one.

    But perhaps you (and I stress perhaps) and some other posters here may have given license to an individual to promote chometz on Pesach in one of the most controversial Pesach kashrut issues I have ever seen..

    Is that not a chillul hashem?

    And what would you label someone/anyone who may be “goirem” a fellow Jew to eat chametz on Pesach?

    A Tzadik?

    Peeleaaaaase!!!

  • Steven says:

    “Other posters have a go at me” – you are anonymous – no skin off your nose!!

    “That’s the cut ‘n thrust of being on a blog.” – All blogs have rules including this one “Be nice”. Personally insulting someone whilst you are anonymous is not nice. And if you like the cut n thrust, then why ignore my comments about you and deflect them to laffa.

    Is not defaming someone publicly serious enough for you? And if other people think that’s how frum people behave, then it’s a chillul Hashem.

    You can still get your point across without the insults.

  • Rekikin means 12 mm thick, see BaEr Heitev quoting the Beis Hillel, – all on http://www.exodusmatza.com

    Such thick Matza baked hard would only yield to a hammer and cold chisel.

    The ChChayim and Aruch HaShulchan and Chabad Alter Rebbe all speak of Matza that is soft and made like a sponge. I pointed this out to HaRav Schachter and I am the one he refers to “Chacham Echad HarAh Li” in his letter.

    There is plenty to see and learn from my website. It is free and does not require registration.

    Do not fear knowledge fear only ignorance

  • david segal says:

    David

    Thank you. I am sorry.

    Shimon

    Yes I am that guy. But I am there only until midnight, and that is it is why I am able to say the that R’ Hershel Schachter wrote that you need a Masoret for mtatzot is plain nonsense, and therefore it a plain lie, unlike you and your mate nendi (whoever they are) are so stupid, that even when told that their mother/sister/wife or daughter is a street walker, will answer: it is not true, I was told by their best customr, that she is working in a licensed establishment.
    ___________________

    Yitzchak

    I never was m. rabi’s study partner. The fact we may think the same is in no way an indication that we study together, or join forces. We say the same things, because our knowledge comes from the same sources, and not from gossip and news releases designed to mislead people.

    his words in his letter: “My intention was in strict reference to the Sephardic Matzas that are known to us here in New York. I have now been informed from afar that there are new varieties called Laffa and Mountain Bread that I have never seen and know nothing about and I have not expressed any opinion concerning them, for one may only rule on what one’s eyes have seen. It is impossible to give my opinion on anything that I am not familiar with. I am greatly astonished how a “living person can contradict a living person” and how it is possible that anyone can say things in my name that have totally never entered my mind”.

    I can’t see in his letter any word that may even hint that only traditional Sephardic Matzas may be used on Pesach, or that he admonishes anyone who tries to apply his ruling to the Laffa and mountain bread varieties.

    Saying that “he said that Laffa and Mountain Bread are kosher l’pesach” when he didn’t say it, is wrong and stupid, but nothing is wrong with saying: “according to my understanding, his ruling that the Sephardic matzot are not against custom provided that they should be produced under expert supervision under the strict guidance of reliable and responsible rabbinic authorities”, will apply also to the Laffa and mountain bread varieties, as they are supervised by me under the strict guidance of reliable and responsible rabbinic authorities”.

    Applying a principle from one case to anotherare a common practice in halacha, and I can’t that he admonishing anyone who tries to apply the principal that using matzot that are not hard are not against a Minhag to Laffa and mountain bread varieties.

    The question is what did rabi say. Did he say that the r’ Hershel Schachter said (or wrote) that “the Laffa Matzo that is under my Hashgocho are Kosher L’pesach”, or did he say (or wrote) that r’ Hershel Schachter said that eating soft matzot on pesach is not against the minhag.

    To say that r’ Hershel Schachter said, that we need a Masoret to bake Sephardic matzot is just as lie, as saying that r’ Hershel Schachter said (or wrote) that “the Laffa Matzo that are m. Rabi’s Hashgocho are Kosher L’pesach”.

    r’ Hershel Schachter wrote in his letter: “I have now been informed from afar that there are new varieties called Laffa and Mountain Bread that I have never seen and know nothing about and I have not expressed any opinion concerning them…”.

    Is anyone able to bring here a copy of the correspondence between harav Gutnick r’ Hershel Schachter, so we will be able to see what r’ Hershel Schachter was informed, and if was he given a link to m, rabi’s site, and not just being told “I said and he said”, and producing a letter that says nothing of what he said that R’ H. Schachter said.
    ___________________

    Pitputim chasid

    you think that masorah or masoret is a term to denote ‘the teachings of Judaism as transmitted by an oral tradition or personal example’. And this this applies also to be able to baking matzot for pesach is plain nonsence. The Tora requires ONLY one think: that the bread eaten on pesach souldn’t be Chametz, and what is Chametz is defined by Halacha, and Halacha doesn’t say anywhere that we need any masoret to what is bread. and as a matter of fact the way matzot were baked was chancing all the time (see here: https://www.zumodrive.com/file/575073543), and we didn’t find anyone complaining that we need a masoret to how to bake matzot, until it was invented by mk.

    I never said that I cannot think of many Mitzvot that have a Masoret, I said that I can’t think of many things that need a Masoret, (or didn’t chage with time) and baking Matzah is (not) one of them, if you think that baking matzo needs a masort, please do so, but you may have to take in account that you will think so for a long time, unless you get basic knowledge in Hhalacha, or change your teacher that is feeding you all that rubbish.

    you Am Hoaratzut explains Your question “Are you a follower of Tzadok? or just trying to be typically contrary”.

  • Mendy says:

    Steven:

    You deliberately failed to respond to my key points and have missed the bigger picture.

    As a general principle, when people resort to chillul hashem arguments, that means they are deflecting the heat away from themselves as they don’t have a “convincing” point of view to put across.

    And why are you anonymous, or have I missed your declaration of your identity?

    What do you have to hide?

    After all, you’re a polite guy (or gal).

  • Steven says:

    Mendy, we are going in circles.

    All lies and jests
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest.

  • Yitzchak says:

    David, your answer to me (or at least that part that I could follow) was not on the topic that I, and others, raised intitially. So I am not really working too hard at trying to understand exactly what it is you are saying.

    Let me put it as simply as I can.

    Rabbi Rabi accused Rabbi Gutnick of misrepresenting Rav Shachter’s view when Rabbi Gutnick gave over his opinion that Rav Shachter permitted only traditional sephardi natza(he may have used the word mesora rather than traditional but for most of us laymen – who are not as pedantic and argumentative as you – it’s virtually saying the same thing.)

    Rabbi Rabi, based on alleged advice from a Rabbi Lebowitz, clearly claimed, despite his denials and back-peddling now,that Rav Shachter’s ruling on the permissibility of using soft matzas applied to ALL varieiteds of soft matzas including his own laffa style product.

    Rabbi Gutnick subsequently informs us that he asked Rav Shachter whether his transmission of Rav Shachter’s ruling as confined to “traditional (mesoredike) matzas produced in a traditional (mesoradike) manner” was corret or not, Rav Shachter clearly asmsweredin in his orginal answer as conveyed by Rabbi Gersten “that he was indeed only referring to traditional Sephardic matzas”.

    He reiterates this in his public hand-written announcemnt – and actually confines his opinion even further – only to the type of Sephardic Matza produced in New York.

    What could be more clear than that?!

    Everything else you raise, such aswc arguing about whether matzot indeed need a mesora or what mesora means, is really irrellevant to the issue at hand.

    As for Rabbi Rabi, he should now withdraw the erroneous advice he has conveyed abouyt Rav Shachter’s opinion as referring to ALL soft matza products that was based on Rabbi Lebowitz’s obviously incorrect comment. He should also apologise to Rabbi Gutnick for claiming that he misrepresented Rav Shachter’s opinion. And he should withdraw ALL the misrepresentations from his site regarding endorsements of his product by various authorities such as Rav Shachter and the London Beth Din and other Poskim who have specifically advised that they have never emdorsed his Laffa product. He really cannot expect anyone to take anything he says or does seriously until he acknowledges facts and acts with integrity accordingly.

  • Mendy says:

    Steven:

    And your point is?

    To stay anonymous and hide behind that, and chillul hashem?

    Like, you want to taken seriously right?

    I’m wasting my time, Stevie.

    Pssstt. Why don’t you start a “Chillul Hashem” thread?

  • david segal says:

    steven

    thank you

    ________________________

    itzchak

    if you think that writting “Seeing you are self-proclaimed expert”,is going to downgrade me, and add credit to your fully blown Gaava, you are mistaken, and the reader will be able to see it here and now.

    I can only say for only sure that rekikin means thin, and not the thinnest tnd not dry, but I can’t say how thinest.

    http://www.babylon.com/definition/%D7%A8%D7%A7%D7%99%D7%A7/Hebrew

    refers to rekik as:

    עוגייה, עוגה שטוחה, ביסקוויט, ופל

    May it will be honest but certainly not true, as for hundreds of year after the ramo no one understood the Ramo as saying that Mtzot sould be hard Askenazim and they ate soft matzut

    If you read this link (https://www.zumodrive.com/file/575073543), you may see that it wasn’t another of Rabbi Rabi’s mirepresentations in his claiming that the Ramo and other poskim (including the Mishnah Berura) refer to soft matza wwhen they clearly all use the expression REKIKIN to describe the matzot referred to by the Ramo as being the Ashkenazi tradition, but the truth, and your comment was plain Shtus and Am Hoaratzus.

    You may also see it in this link:

    http://ravtzair.blogspot.com.au/2008/04/blog-post_3364.html

    ה”ידענים” שבינינו יביאו את דברי הש”ע או”ח ת”ס סעיף ה': אין עושין בפסח פת עבה טפח. והרמ”א בסעיף ד: ויש לעשות המצות רקיקין ולא פת עבה כשאר לחם כי אין הרקיקין ממהרין להחמיץ. כיון שהרמ”א לא הגדיר מהם ‘רקיקים’, הרי יש טועים שעל הרקיקים להיות דקים בתכלית הדקוּת.

    מגמת המאמר היא להראות את הטענות שעד לפני דור או שנים גם האשכנזים השתמשו במצות עבות יותר ורכות, ורק אילוצים כמו צורך להכין הרבה מצות זמן רב מראש הביאו לאפית מצות יבשות.

    don’t you people realize that by comming up with all that garbege, you Bury yourself deeper and depper. m. rabi is not going to give in, and so arn’t i.

    so make my day.

  • Yitzchak says:

    Dovid,

    You quote to me “proof” from “Rav Tzair” who describes his blog as “Thoughts and Reflections of a Beginner Communal Rav”. Please. If you are going to present an authoratative point of view bring your proof from a classic or otherwise generally accepted authoratative source.

    In general, I have not used derogatory terms to describe your views or yourself (as much as I think they are incorrect and come only from a place of obvious self-procalimed expertise – everyone else being an am haaretz or worse in your eyes….). Yet you insult me and call me names for having a view different than your own. Our chochamim have pointed out the inadmissability of any opinion or ruling given in anger. As, from your words, it is obvious that you are in such a state we cannot but otherwise accept that your opinions cannot be taken at face value or are a worthy contribution to the debate.

    You are right in your final remarks. It is obvious to all that you are not going to change your mind no matter what answer you receive and further discussion is useless.

    I agree with whoever said that we are now going around in circles. Logical and objective people can now make up their own minds given that both sides of the issue have npow been presented ad nauseum.

  • Pitputim boy says:

    David and Meir,

    Your last words summarizes this sad chapter so poignantly “m rabi is not going to give in and either am i’ You make it sound like there is something terrible and poisonous about giving in, when actually had meir rabi done it some time ago this would have been so much less damaging for him.

    Now we have a situation where the the wider kashrus world are aware that Rabi uses many rabonnim (including R’ hershel shachter and R’ Gutnicks) names and photograph falsely as an endorsement for his products. This is far more serious then anything we have been talking about till now. This is theft of intellectual property etc etc. So while we are so keen on the nuances of matzos etc we are wantonly breaching motze shem ra, gneivas daas, and other key jewish precepts.

    David Segal!

    We all know you spend alot of time reading and put down everyone else in Melbourne as being ignoramus, and i am fully aware it can be pretty frustrating considering oneself so learned and all these am haaratzim rabbis get all the kavod and gelt, but i just cant understand why you are denying one of the basic principles of Judaism – that of the oral tradition. Im sure you know about masorah and torah shebbal peh and binding minhagim and and non binding minhagim etc. I mean at least you admitted to shimush according to you shimush is unnecessary because it is all in the books. What do you think is taught during shimush? Halacha reading lessons? No Judaism has always relied on personal example and tradition. Even if hard matzos are only a 200 yr old custom, that is more then enough to bind us to that tradition. the same would apply to soft matzos and the traditions their baking. The last thing authentic living Judaism needs is someone coming along and say that whatever our predecessors have done for the past 200 years is meaningless or worse.

    This issue seems to have caused you to rant in a non nonsensical manner. im sure you will find a way to say that everyone else are fools and your various other complimentary turns of phrase about someones female relative being prostitutes etc. – cmon i really thought you were better then that, but clearly im not alone in saying i cant understand what it is you are saying or how it fits in with with authentic Judaism.

  • david segal says:

    Let me put it as simply as I can.

    Let see what rabbi gutnick said in his statement:

    “Hirschel) Shachter of New York concerning his ruling on the use of “soft matzas” for Pesach. I stated that Rav Shachter confined his ruling allowing Ashkenazim to eat soft matzas on Pesach to traditional (Mesoredike) Sefardi matzas only. Rabbi Shachter clearly used the words “Sephardi Matzas” in his clarification and not a generic term such as “soft Matzas”. Accordingly, I added that Rav Shachter’s clarification specifically did not include laffa, mountain breads and wraps and other such imitation “soft matzas” that did not conform with the traditional (Mesoredike) Sefardi method in appearance or processing methods”.

    Didn’t harav Gutnick know that kol hamosif gorea, or he added “that Rav Shachter’s clarification specifically did not include laffa, mountain breads and wraps and other such imitation “soft Matzas” that did not conform with the traditional (mesoredike) Sefardi method in appearance or processing methods”, because for most of us laymen – who are not as pedantic and argumentative as me – it’s virtually saying: “I have now been informed from afar that there are new varieties called Laffa and Mountain Bread that I have never seen and know nothing about and I have not expressed any opinion concerning them, for one may only rule on what one’s eyes have seen. It is impossible to give my opinion on anything that I am not familiar with”.

    Where can we see in harav shachter’s letter anything about “Sephardi matzas” (mesoredike) or Sefardi method in appearance or processing methods.

    Once Rabbi Rabi thought that his Matzh is kosher l’pesach he was able to say based on harav Scachter’s ruling (with or without advice from a Rabbi Lebowit), ALL varieites of soft matzas including his own laffa style product, and that laffa are not against minhag or masoret

    Did he?

    I can only find that rabbi Gersten wrote:

    He asked me to write back that he was indeed only referring to traditional Sephardic soft Matza.

    He is not sure what all these other styles of bread are and certainly did not express an opinion on something that he has never heard of and does not know what it is.

    He reiterated that he does not endorse any particular manufacturer of soft Matza.

    Any honest person is not going to give an opinion on things that he never saw or know, And any smart person is not going to get involved in a fight that stinks to high haven. And harav Schachter is known as an honest and smart person.

    Did you read the article in the other link?

    https://www.zumodrive.com/file/575073543

    this article written by a Chabbad rov, and published in Monsey

    Itzchak. Pitputim chasid. Pitputim boy. What will it be next? Piputim neched?

    Itzchak why don’t you cut out all that c…and stop preaching about “This is far more serious then anything we have been talking about till now”.

    What we saw until now is ganging up on some body because he is cutting into their business, spreading lies and trying to destroy his livelihood. Is that nothing to you?

    Who said so?

    Did anyone say what you say, when they changed from “matzot ovi tefach”, to “matzot ovi etzbah”?

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “What we saw until now is ganging up on some body because he is cutting into their busines [sic]”

    Aside from David Segal’s inability to spell, his argumentation is nonsensical in that Rabi’s is the only “matzah” produced in Australia under a local “supervision”, so if other local rabbis attack it, how is that to their financial benefit? Solomons and Snider Carmel both import their matzah and the NSWKA and K-Oz gain no financial incentive [Ch’v] by condemning the chometzdik nature or the Rabi “matzah”.

    They condemn the matzah solely based on their desire to prevent the kehillah from eating chometz on Pesach!

    To suggest otherwise is a pernicious lie.

  • DAVID SEGAL says:

    HARRY

    I agree you. English isn’t my first language, and it is as hard for me to write in English, as it is for you reading a Siddur In Hebrew with Nekudot.

    Mk and Sk are not interested in Kashruth or whether people eat kosher or Treif, eat Chometz or Kosher L’pesach, they interested only in one thing, and it is called money, and any new upcoming Kasruth organization is less muscle and income for the existing Kashruth organizations.

    They thought that they will convince people that m. Rabi certified nchometz as kosher l’pesach, he will be discredited, and he will be forced out of business, but they under estimated his ability to fight back, with his knowledge in Hilchos Chametz Umatzo that is much more than the knowledge all of them combined.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    “Mk and Sk are not interested in Kashruth or whether people eat kosher or Treif, eat Chometz or Kosher L’pesach”

    David Segal, you’ve managed to slander the many rabbis, mashgichim, admin staff and boards of management – not to mention the consumer of these agencies’ products – in the one sentence.

    You are obviously a warm, sensitive individual who sees the best in everyone and has so much respect for the rabbonim in the community and their practices.

    You are also obviously a modest person who believes that the knowledge of these rabbis “combined” is much more than your own.

    You should start your own shul (or, better, yet, your own kashrus agency) – with such good middos I am sure that you will achieve a wide following from those who pale in your aura of greatness.

  • Pitputim Yid says:

    David Segal,

    First of all i want to thank you for your efforts in your second to last post – you basically went a whole post without slandering the community and its rabonnim and did a pretty good job of explaining yourself. Of course what you wrote is obviously ridiculous and you are obviously just trying to take on the big guns but weve been over that stuff a hundred times already. Basically you think one thing about what rav shachter and rav gutnick said and everyone else thinks another. Ok i really think enough has been said and the community will make up its mind.i mean we have a life to lead beyond this story. do we not?

    But unfortunately it was too good to last. Your last post was a disgraceful comment and brings great shame to yourself.

    Furthermore I think you are misreading the community mood on this. There is a general sense of disquiet in the community and in kashrus circles overseas about what Meir has done.

    Even among his band of groupies, some of whom are good friends of mine, there has been a severe falling out. ( i know i was open minded about meir rabi until this story) i particularly like his idea of the farm which didn’t require shechitah although i was skeptical about the hasgachah for the shop open on shabbos veyom tov and the story that he was contacting Melbourne koshers clients and promising easier conditions and cheaper prices but hey that was just the stuff of rumours and i could choose not to believe that)

    But the way he attacked the man when in my reading rabbi gutnick went out of the way to try and create a bridge over the soft matzah issue was despicable. Debates have been going on re kashrus in Melbourne for years, and even in the good old days with Zaychik we never saw this type of behavior. To take to the open market of the blogosphere with slander and garbage against somone well respected and who has served the community for 40 or so years. In fact you David and Meir as well i imagine probably have used R’ Gutnicks services over the years wether in eating at one of Melbournes Kosher establishments or beis din or lifecycle or counselling as we all have.

    David unfortunately youve taken the discussion to a new low in your last post. In fact the vast bulk of your nasty comments you really arent doing Meir Rabi or yourself any favours. And im quite suprised Meir who i believe is overall a decent bloke caught up in the ‘moment’ hasn’t condemned you last comment.

    In fact im not sure there is much more to be said in this whole conversation to be honest. However mesaymiom betov. I do wish you well and respect that you have allegedly dedicated much time to Torah study and only regret that you couldn’t show it in a more choerent, balanced and darchei noam manner on this occasion. Be well all. Im going back to pitputim reading… until next pesach i imagine!!

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    To me there is one major issue here the rest is a bit of a storm in a teacup!

    First of all may i suggest that Rabbi Gutnicks terminology of mesorahdik sephardi matzos is quite different to David Segals discussion about masoret.

    I agree that a modern day masoret in the technical way that David Segal is stating is indeed not necessary. What i hear from Rabbi Gutnick as saying is that soft matzos technically are ok (in some eyes even superior). He then, at the COSV Q&A, went on to quote Rav Hershel Shachter who ruled in a letter that the rama and particularly his terminology of ‘rekikin’ doesn’t have to mean hard matzos and that technically soft matzos would be ok. He then continues to say that Ashkenazim can eat soft matzos and fulfill their obligation. Ie Rav Shachter disputes other major rabonnim such as Wosner who believed there was an issue of minhag in ashkenazim eating soft matzos.

    Rabbi Gutnick then made a point that Shachter definitely confines this general ruling regarding soft matzos to sefardi matzos (call it with a sefardi mesorah or call it sefardi generic term…who cares the point is his ruling was confined to sefardi matzos in new york). If anyone is going to use Rabbi Shachters ruling as an endorsement for their soft matzos they must realise that Rav Shachters ruling – and he again confirmed it for rabbi Gutnick and all of us quite clearly – is confined to the sefardi matzos.

    So david i actually think you and Rabbi Gutnick are speaking in different tongues, albeit probably drawing very similar conclusions.

    Namely; according to Rav Shachter soft maztos are ok. His ruling is confined to sephardi matzos – and a competent hasgachah.

    The competant Hashgachah issues is one the Melbourne and Sydney Rabonnim have taken up with much gusto (which Rabbi Gutnick with much decency avoided because of any perceived conflict of interest) namely that Rabbi Rabis Hechser is not up to any typre of basic standard and expressed three concerns about the Laffa matzos he produced in the first year – which have been discussed ad nauseum.

    Finally , and to me and it appears others, the real issue here is that it became apparent that Rabbi Rabi was using endorsements from Rabonnim overseas without their knowledge and in a dishonest manner. R’ Shachter addressed this in his final letter disavowing any relationship to Laffa/Mountain bread matzos. To date rabbi Rabi persists with presenting Rav Shchter as somehow an endorser of his product, in disrespectful contradiction to R Shachter. To me that is the biggest issue here.

    End of story.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Shimon

    “To date rabbi Rabi persists with presenting Rav Shachter as somehow an endorser of his product”, I don’t believe that to be the case.

    I think any objective person looking at the facts would say Rabbi Rabi is simply presenting hard evidence that soft matzos, in the right circumstances, is acceptable, and there are competent renowned authorities (Rabbi Schachter) who prescribe to this opinion.

    Whether Rabbi Rabis’ soft matzos confirm to the halachic definition of ‘sefardi matzos’ that Rabbi Schachter deals with is another issue altogether and is a matter of trust between consumer, kosher ve’yosher, and the company that produces these ‘sefardi matzos’.

  • Steven says:

    I particularly agree with this part of Shimon’s comment

    “END OF STORY”

  • david segal says:

    . If anyone is going to use Rabbi Shachters ruling as an endorsement for their soft matzos they must realise that Rav Shachters ruling – and he again confirmed it for rabbi Gutnick and all of us quite clearly – is confined to the sefardi matzos>

    I agree with everything that you said. But…

    If m. rabi said that rabbi that Shachter said that any soft Matzo is ok, than he is wrong, as rabbi schachter never said it, but if he said that as rabbi schachter said that the traditional sefaradi matzot sold in new York( that they are “soft matza”) are ok, then hehad all the right to say that his laffa matzot are ok, even that rabbi schachter never said it.

    Not “and a competent hasgachah” but “the only competent is hasgachah”, and I couldn’t see that, in rabbi gutnick answer.

    If they the same 3 that were mentioned this year, than I proven that the third one is a halacha invented with the sole purpose to discredit m. rabi.

    In http://pitputim.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/diet-drinks-kitniyos-that-have-undergone-a-process-of-change/ I asked rabbi moishe gutnick:
    In claim (iii) you wrote: the process heat was not sufficient for the baking of Matza.

    To the best of my knowledge there isn’t in Hhalacha any definition to what heat is sufficient for the baking of Matza…
    his answer was:

    As to the temperature … I saw the baking and in my experienced opinion the temperature of the oven was insufficient to properly bake the flat bread – it came out of the oven with large portions of the surface area not נקרמו פניה

    then I asked him:

    1f we see that נקרמו פניה may we assume that אין חוטין נמשכין ממנה but not that we need נקרמו פניה did anyone check if חוטין נמשכין ממנה?

    And then I was asking some questions about the other problems. Se the blog and enjoy.

    Be fast before it will be edited.

    Did m. rabi ever said that rabbi Schechter had any relationship to Laffa/Mountain bread matzos? If you think that he said that he did, please show where.

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Thanks David and Wolf.
    Go to the front page of the exodus matzah website you will see it has the title: “Exodus Matzah, the tastiest most enjoyable matzah on the planet etc” with images of Rabbi Shachter and Rabbi Eliyashiv alongside – the 2 rabbis who specifically insisted that they do not endorse exodus matzah!!! If this was advertising Rabbi Rabi would be looking at up to one year’s jail time for false advertising Chas Vshalom!

    Consider for example if Heimishe would would put a picture of Mr Glick on their shop front window it would still be less dishonest because Mr Glick never explicitly said he does not endorse Heimishe Bagels.

    However David and Wolf, having compelled me to go to the Exodus website, I was struck by a further host of misinformation and textual inaccuracies. I will just mention 2:

    1. Rabbi Rabi writes: Amongst the Rabbanim who support the use of soft Matza by Jews of all backgrounds, are -HaRav Y Sh Elyashiv.
    Now an earlier an email was received from Meir Rabi himself stating: “I must convey that it has been reported to me in the name of Rav Dovid Aryeh Morgenstein, that HaRav Elyashiv is opposed to Ashkenazim eating soft Matza on Pesach. “Rav Elyashiv said the person representing Australia wanted to claim that there is no minhag there, to which Rav Elyashiv answered that if they are Ashkenazim they may not eat soft matzos even in Australia.”

    2. Rabbi Rabi writes: The great Poskim, the M.Berura, Aruch HaShulchan and ShAruch HaRav, go out of their way to mention that Matza can be soft and make no mention of Matza being hard.
    The identical quotes in MB and SAR are “afilu hi raka vaasuya kisfug”. When talking about the shiur on the seder night, If there are no holes even if the matzah is soft it is till ok. Now any ben chamesh lamikra would know that the term afilu includes the more remote scenario ie the basic subject matter is hard matzah that has no challalim however even soft matzah that has no challalim also doesn’t need to be crushed.

    Just 2 of several issues with the contents of the site alone (aside from the advice of the rabonim) which make me have little or no confidence in the reliability of Rabbi Rabis Hechser.

    Finally I would like to ask: If modern day Poskim such as Rabbis Wosner and Elyashiv believe there is an issue of minhag, is that not enough to avoid Laffa matzos (or all soft Matzos) as an Ashkenazi jew?

  • Thank you for visiting the Exodus Matza website.

    your comments and criticisms are noted.

    1. May I begin with the observation that both HaRav Elyashiv and HaRav Wosner inspected this Matza directly and had their hands on it. They were both happy with it. HaRav Wosner’s objection emerges from his deeming it to be a change from traditions otherwise he can see no problems with it. He also of course alludes to universal Halachic concerns that pertain to the manufacture of any Matza.
    I can not think of a better recommendation for Exodus soft Matza.

    HaRav Elyashiv “saw these (Exodus) Matzot and inspected them, and he said that from what he observes, these Matzot would be perfectly Kosher for Pesach.” these are the words of HaRav Weitman.

    2. You should also note that I have pasted on the website, an email from HaRav Weitman,
    “זאב וייטמן to rabbi

    אני יודע על דברים ששמעתי מהרב אלישיב להיתר והרב מורגשטיין אמר בשמו שאסור כך שאני לא מתפלא שגם בנושא המצות הוא עושה אותו הדבר.”
    which basically says that the comments from Rav AD Morgenstern should be ignored.

    3. HaRav Schachter, “Jews of all traditions may eat soft Matza. There is no custom directing, encouraging or compelling Ashkenasim to eat hard Matza.”

    4. Permit me also to observe that it has not been suggested that the Poskim did not know of hard Matza, only that
    “There is …. no Halachic discussion about and certainly none that suggests, that Matza should be hard. The great Poskim, the MBerura, Aruch HaShulchan and ShAruch HaRav, go out of their way to mention that Matza can be soft and make no mention of Matza being hard.”

    please let me know of any other concerns you may have, I will be pleased to consider them and correct the website if necessary

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I am really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt but the more i look at your site, and your comments online, the more i see dishonesty and misrepresentation about the facts.

    1. Rabbi Wosner after looking at your soft matzos forbids the soft matzos on tradition grounds “quite apart from the great doubts about the kashrut of these matzot.

    If you cannot think of a better recommendation for your laffa maztzos you obviously don’t have a very high opinion of your laffa matzos.

    2. Rabbi Eliyashiv said Ashkenazim may not eat your matzos. Now you wish to say that it should be ignored because of some internal dispute. On what basis should i ignore rav elyashivs words? Please elaborate because what you wrote was too cryptic for a simpleton like me.

    3. Halichos Shlomo of Rav Aurbach ztzl says ashkenazim cannot have soft matzah.

    4. R Asher Weiss says we cant have them because ‘ein bekiim’ in the tradition of their creation … (sounds suspiciously familiar to something i heard from rabbi Mottel Gutnick recently.)

    5. The context and wording of the one instance of soft Matzah being mentioned in the MB and SAR shows only that the rest of the time the subject is hard matzah. Of course anecdotaly and from his discussions on sheruyah, we know the Baal Hatanyahs matzos were hard.

    6. Furthermore in the sefer Halichos Shlomoh 9:41 matzah is referred to as Kashah – hard, and the source is (drumroll…)Shulchan aruch and Mishnah berurah – siman taf samech!!

    7. Re Rav Shachter – does his letter say his opinion is confined to sefardi Matzos? Does his letter say he is specifically excluding laffa matzos from his ruling? A yes or no answer will suffice.

    Youve asked for more concerns of your on your web site:
    Quite frankly there are too many to list but let me ask you this.

    8.You write “Exodus Matzah the most Kosher of all’ and you go on from there about many Jews of Ashkenazi tradition eating soft Matzos etc etc. Now can you point to one leading ashkenazic rav, rebbe or posek anywhere in the world who consumes soft matzos on Pesach. Even the gaon adir R’ David Segal doesnt :)

    So you are saying that Every chassidic rebbe, every gadol and posek every rosh yeshivah,(even David Segal) is eating a less kosher version of Matzah and you are eating the most ‘kosher of all’?

  • Thank you for your observations Shimon.

    HaRav Schachter has said unambiguously that one does not require a Mesorah to manufacture or eat soft Matza. http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html

    HaRav Elyashiv is recorded on the Exodus website as per the actual emails from Rav Weitman, i.e. that Exodus soft Matza – from what he can see – may be eaten by Ashkenasim. He said this after examining Exodus soft Matza. i.e. he may in fact not permit Ashkenasim to eat Sefaradi thick style Matza but he does permit Ashkenasim to eat Exodus soft Matza which is very very thin.
    Rav Weitman also indicates that we should ignore the comments of Rabbi Morgenstern.

    Exodus is amongst the thinnest Matza, uniformly less than 1mm, a quality that other Matza manufacturers and Rabbonim can only dream about.
    Also Exodus soft Matza is made the most rapidly and
    furthermore spends the least time idle as dough.

    There is no suggestion by any of the Poskim like the ShA etc, that Matza ought to be hard.

    There are two types of soft Matza, some with and some without bubbles like a sponge. Even when it is soft and spongy i.e. it has bubbles in it, it need not be squashed to measure the Kezayis.
    Those are the only types of Matza dscussed in the ShA and the commentators.
    Exodus soft Matza is soft but has no bubbles.

    Unspecified concerns expressed about Exodus soft Matza are just the usual concerns about any Matza production but mentioned in order to promote the illusion of unacceptability, which is only driven by the “newness” of this product and its break with perceived ideas about “tradition”.

    Reb Sh Z maintains that Ashkenasim should not use Sefardi Matza since it is thicker than what has become our tradition from the Rama, which he understands to mean as thin as possible; not like the Beis Hille who speaks of 12mm. HaRav Schachter disagrees.
    In Halichos Shlomo 9:41 R Sh Z is referring to the fact that it is very difficult to eat two Kezeysim of hard Matza. He is not saying that Matza ought to be hard, only that it happens to be hard which is a consequence of trying to make it thin.
    I humbly suggest that had he seen Exodus soft Matza he would have been most interested as it is extremely thin and yet soft so that it is easy to eat two Kezaysim very easily within the allocated time.

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    im seeing some progress here although it so slow and painful:

    In my post i raised 8 points. I will rely on the dictum of shticka kehodaah – silence is an admission so that you agree with 5 points:
    1. Rabbi Wosner forbidding Your matzos on 2 grounds (he does write ‘these matzos’).
    4. Rav Asher weiss prohibition of soft matzos for Ashkenazim.
    8. You cant name one askenzai rav, posek, rebbbe or gaon who eats soft matzos on pesach (ksh”k at the seder)- thus consigning them to a lower class of jewish observance then your good self.

    With point 3. You agree RSZA says ashkenazim should not use soft matzos…except yours. An admission of sorts (beggars cant be choosers)

    And point 5. You have also finally conceded that you were wrong to write ‘The great Poskim, the MBerura, Aruch HaShulchan and ShAruch HaRav,…. make no mention of Matza being hard.” and have now changed your wording to “…no suggestion that matzah ought to be hard” two very different points. Chachamim hizharu.

    May i humbly suggest you rectify your website to demonstrate these 5 points.

    You never answered point 7 about R Shachter.
    With the dubious nature of here-say, how about we just stick to what we have in writing from Rav Shachter. Does his letter say his opinion is confined to sefardi Matzos? Does his letter say he is specifically excluding laffa matzos from his ruling? A yes or no answer will suffice.

    Point 2 about Rav Elyashiv: you are trying to argue that you admit there is a quote from Rav ELiyashiv prohibiting your matzos, however you say (your source tells you) that the source of that quote (Rav Morgenstern) should be ignored ie he is a liar. Well there’s not much i can say about that except muse that theres an awful lot of calling people liars going on around here when the ruling doesn’t endorse your laffa matzos.

    In a nutshell you have finally conceded that most Ashkenazic poskim; Wosner, elyashev, RSZA, et al don’t actually allow sefardi soft matzah for ashkenazim and so you have now come up with a new chidush – my matzah is actually NOT the soft matzah that they talk about and which we read about in Shulchan Aruch because it is thinner then ever before. So then your matzah is not the authentic true historical matzah of the past at all!!! Perhaps you should rectify that on your site as well.

    Don’t you see where this is going.

  • david segal says:

    ????

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Shimon Cukierman wrote: “So you are saying that Every chassidic rebbe, every gadol and posek every rosh yeshivah,(even David Segal) is eating a less kosher version of Matzah and you are eating the most ‘kosher of all’?”

    Very well said Shimon!

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Another gem from Shimon: “so you have now come up with a new chidush – my matzah is actually NOT the soft matzah that they talk about and which we read about in Shulchan Aruch because it is thinner then ever before. So then your matzah is not the authentic true historical matzah of the past at all!!!”

    I wish I had pointed out that anomaly in the good rabbi’s posts.

  • The information on the website is accurate.
    HaRav Elyashiv has inspected the Matza and from what he saw of it, he detected no problems nor with Ashkenasim eating them during Pesach.
    HaRav Wosner objects to “newness”. His inspection did not disclose any other concerns.
    HaRav Sh Z objects not to soft but to thick Matza.

    HaRav Sh Z, does not suggest that Ashkenasim by custom, should use hard Matza. That is in agreement with all the great Poskim. As I said “The great Poskim, the MBerura, Aruch HaShulchan and ShAruch HaRav,…. make no mention of Matza being hard.”
    And I add that they do not suggest that Matzah ought to be hard.

    I have quoted the words of Rav Weitman and the entire email exchange is fully disclosed.

    HaRav Schachter has confirmed that a Mesorah is not required.

    Rav A Weiss is not mentioned on the website.

    I have not argued, suggested or proposed that Exodus soft Matza must be used. I would not even say that Exodus soft Matza should be used, but that is not a consequence of the Halachic nature or Tradition of soft Matza. It is due to the fact that I am an unknown entity in the world of Kosher.

    Truth be told, it is highly unlikely that ever before has there been a Matza that is as thin as Exodus Matza, so thin in fact, that it surpasses most if not all other Matza.
    And yet at the same time Exodus Matza remains pliable and soft.

    If you wish to use ancient authentic Matza, use soft Matza 90mm thick.
    If you are looking for Rama authentic Matza, use soft Matza 12mm thick.
    If you are looking for the thinnest Matza available, use Exodus soft Matza. But not only is it thin and made with the least idle time, it is authentic Matza in that it is soft, deemed Halachically to be bread and not Mezonot.

    And therefore, the only logical conclusion is that Exodus Soft Matza is most likely, the most Mehudar Matza available.

  • Mendy says:

    So mehudar in fact that no Ashkenasi rabbi (of worth) will eat it, nor even offer a (clear cut?) laffa endorsement that anyone else could either.

    Meir, if my neigbour promises to put a magen david on top his X-mas tree could I get a heter from you to light my chanukah candles (with a bracha) under it?

    Better still, perhaps you could assist in discovering a way to bless the tree itself?

    After all, it will have a magen david on top.

    Shouldn’t be a problem. David Segal could assist if you ask him politely.

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy,
    If a sentient chipmunk were to have a bris could you make a bracha on it?

    You have failed to prove your humanity with a DNA test and birth certificate, therefore your statements on this issue are to be discounted as the irrelevant ramblings from a non-human source

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron:

    How would you know?

    You flunked your rabbinical entrance exams, remember?

    But then if I were to make the bracha, the “metzitza” kibud would be all yours.

    Suit you to a tee!

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Yaron writes: “Mendy, If a sentient chipmunk were to have a bris could you make a bracha on it? You have failed to prove your humanity with a DNA test and birth certificate, therefore your statements on this issue are to be discounted as the irrelevant ramblings from a non-human source”.

    Yaron, perhaps I should remind you of the criticism you (unjustly) hurled at me on the “Reclaiming the Yom Haatzmaut prayer service” comment section on this site, where you said: “Or is your entire existence validated by a series of cheap shots at groups that you do not like?”

    Perhaps you should practice what you preach and cease throwing what can only be defined as “cheap shots” at Mendy?

  • Yaron says:

    Harry,
    There is a very clear aim here – Mendy is try to invalidate R’Rabi with ridiculous red herrings about his status as a rabbi and Xmas trees. I am merely playing his ridiculous game.

    Mendy the Sentient Chipmunk,

    I understand now what you are doing. You are trying to do me and R’Rabi a service by cancelling our semichas.

    This would remove us from the moshav leitzim, and give us our dignity back.

    Unfortunately there is no way to defrock a rabbi, so in spite of your good intentions it would seem that we are stuck with our status for good.

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron!

    What utter rubbish.

    No need for me to invalidate either you or Meir.

    Why should I? You’re both doing a better job of Hari-kari than I ever could.

    And you’re quite right.

    You’re both stuck with your status for good.

    And that’s a fact!

    Man, if I ever saw a person with a persecution complex, it’s just gotta be you.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Mendy,

    What’s your beef with kosher ve’yosher? Rabbi Rabbi et al are doing a fantastic job of providing a kashrus service for fair remuneration to the entire orthodox Jewish community.

    Unlike many other institutions that provide kashrus audits, Rabbi Rabi actually backs up his kashrus audit with halachic rulings from certified authorities. He has very generously taken time out his schedule and gone to great lengths to answer everybody’s questions on this forum and elsewhere in an attempt to be as open and transparent as practicable.

    If you’re not happy with this, then don’t abide by his hescher, but unless there’s a very serious halachic disputation, on purely halachic grounds (not monetary), and there’s hard evidence of some sort of kashrus wrongdoing, you should live and let live.

  • david segal says:

    Shimon

    I explained earlier why I don’t eat soft Matzot, and in case you missed it, or you didn’t understand what I wrote, I will repeat it again: I am not eating soft Matzot, not because it isn’t permitted for an Ashkezi like me, to eat soft Matzot, but because I am not used to eat them, But if I was asked by a person, if it is permitted for an Askenazi to eat on Pesach soft Matzot (pita or laffa), I will answer him if your only problems are Minhag or Masoret, go ahead and eat them. we never drank coke or sprite in Russia, does that mean that it became a Minhag and we are not allowed to drink them here, because we break a Minhag?

    As far as the name droppings, and “he said” in your comment:

    “2. Rabbi Eliyashiv said Ashkenazim may not eat your matzos. Now you wish to say that it should be ignored because of some internal dispute. On what basis should I ignore rav elyashivs words? Please elaborate because what you wrote was too cryptic for a simpleton like me”.

    Will I be a Kofer B’ikar if I will say that Rabbi Elyashiv was never asked and never answered, and it was answered in his name, by somebody that thinks that he knows what would have been Rabbi Elyashiv’s answer if was asked.

    In non cryptic words: Harav Elyoshiv is over 100 years old, and was manipulated by certain people close to him, by feeding the him false information, to get the answer that suits them.

    3. Halichos Shlomo of Rav Aurbach ztzl says ashkenazim cannot have soft matzah.

    Halichos Shlomo wasn’t written by Rav Aurbach ztzl, and the editor of the book never said that he said it.

    4. R Asher Weiss says we can’t have them because ‘ein bekiim’ in the tradition of their creation … (sounds suspiciously familiar to something I heard from rabbi Mottel Gutnick recently)>

    Did they really say it!?

    What is there that we don’t know?

    That we need flour?

    That we need water?

    That we have to bake the dough?

    We know how to fly to the moon and back, but we don’t know how to bake a pita!

    What a joke!

    5. The context and wording of the one instance of soft Matzah being mentioned in the MB and SAR shows only that the rest of the time the subject is hard matzah. Of course anecdotaly and from his discussions on sheruyah, we know the Baal Hatanyahs matzos were hard.
    !? !?

    here is the whole Teshuva:

    סימן ו

    גלילי ידיו הטהורות ואת כל אשר בה ראיתי וקריתי, ובאתי בקצרה לאמר עם הספר, אודות איסור בישול מצה שנתפררה.

    באמת כי גם שאינו איסור גמור וברור מדינא, מ”מ המחמיר תבא עליו ברכה, ואינו מן המתמיהין לאמר כי היא חומרא בלא טעם, אלא טעמא רבא איכא במלתא, ליזהר מחשש איסור דאורייתא, לפי דעת סמ”ק ורבינו ירוחם, הובאו ב”י סי’ תס”א, וכן פסק הפרי חדש שם (ס”ב), בקמח שנקלה דחיישינן שמא לא בשול שפיר.

    והנה עינינו רואות בהרבה מצות שיש עליהם מעט קמח אחר אפייה וזה בא מחמת היינו המצות לחודייהו אבל לשום במרק מסתפק המג”א סי’ תס”ג אפילו בדיעבד. ואף דמסיק להחמיר משום הפסקת המצה בין הקמח והאור, והכא לא שייך האי טעמא בקמח שעל גבי המצה, היינו לפי דעת רש”י והרמב”ם שם במג”א, אבל לפי דעת הפרי חדש שפסק כסמ”ק ורבינו ירוחם, בקמח שעל גבי המצה נמי איכא למיחש אפילו בדיעבד. ואף שהפרי חדש ס”ל לחלק בין קמח הרבה למעט שעל פני העוגה, וחולק על הרשד”םיד דלא סבירא ליה חילוק זה, פשיטא שהמחמיר כהרשד”ם תבא עליו ברכה, דהא גם המג”א לא ס”ל חילוק זה, דלא נסתפק אלא בדיעבד, אבל לכתחלה מודה דאסור אפילו בקמח מעט שבמצה ליתן במרק, לפי דעת סמ”ק ורבינו ירוחם. ומ”ש המג”א סוף סי’ תנ”ט ועוד דהא נקלה כו’, הוא לפי דעת רש”י והרמב”ם. ואף שבין להמג”א ובין להפרי חדש יש להקל, מ”מ כיון שהקולות הן מב’ טעמים חלוקים, אינן מצטרפין בדאורייתא, כמ”ש הש”ך סי’ רמ”ב, וכל שכן בפסח.

    ואף דהמג”א והפרי חדש מיירי בקמח ממש שמערבים בידים, מכל מקום כיון שעינינו רואות מצות הרבה שמצוי בהם קמח מעט נראה לעין אחר האפייה, אי אפשר להכחיש החוש. ומה שלא הזכירו זה הפוסקים, היינו משום שזה אינו מצוי כלל אלא בעיסה קשה שלא נילושה יפה, ובדורות הראשונים היו שוהין הרבה בלישה וגלגול עד שהיה נילוש יפה. עד שמקרוב זה עשרים שנה או יותר נתפשטה זהירות זו בישראל קדושים, למהר מאד מאד בלישה, ואין לשין יפה יפה, ולכן נמצא קמח מעט במצות של עיסה קשה, כנראה בחוש למדקדקים באמת.

    והנה משהו קמח בעין שעל פני המצה למעלה שמתחמץ במרק, כשמפררים את המצה לתוך המרק כנהוג בשבתיז, יש בזה חשש איסור דאורייתא, כי אין כאן תערובות כלל. אבל במצה טחונה שעושים ממנה עגולים יש לדון בזה דין תערובות, ותלוי באשלי רברבי, מחלוקת הפוסקים ביו”ד סי’ ק”ד גבי תערובת יבש בלח ע”ש בפרי חדש. ומגודל טרדתי לא אוכל להאריך בזה.

    ומ”מ אין למחות בהמון עם המקילים, כיון שיש להם על מה שיסמוכו, והעיקר ע”ד רש”י והרמב”ם. אבל לפי מ”ש האריז”ל להחמיר כל החומרות בפסח, פשיטא שיש להחמירכב כהרשד”ם שבפרי חדש. ומ”מ ביו”ט האחרון המיקל משום שמחת יו”ט לא הפסיד. ובמי פירות פשיטא דאין להחמיר כלל כל הפסחכד.

    והיה זה שלום מאדון השלום כנפש או”נ
    שניאור זלמן במוה’ ברוך זלה”ה

    וחדש של ישראלכה לפי דעת המ”א (סוף סימן תפ”ט) אין חשש. אלא שבתשובת כנסת יחזקאל (סי’ מ”א) האריך להחמיר, על פי דעת הב”ח, ונהוג עלמא כוותיה. אך לצורך זיתים של אכילת מצה ואפיקומן דמצה שמורה בשני הלילות יש להקל, כי העיקר בזה כהמ”א דלא כתשובה הנ”ל ואין לי פנאי להאריך בזה.

    שניאור זלמן הנ”ל

    a link to the Teshuva:

    http://www.chabadlibrary.org/books/default.aspx?furl=/adhaz/shut/6&search=%d7%91%d7%9c%d7%99%d7%a9%d7%94+%d7%95%d7%92%d7%9c%d7%92%d7%95%d7%9c

    You know that the Baal Hatanyahs matzos were hard. But I can’t see how from his discussions on sheruyah, you are able to know the Baal Hatanyahs matzos were hard. The only hard thing that is in this tesuva is that they used hard(er) dough (עיסה קשה).

    when answering please copy and paste where you saw in the Teshuvah that the Baal Hatanyas matzos were hard.

    6. Furthermore in the sefer Halichos Shlomoh 9:41 matzah is referred to as Kashah – hard, and the source is (drumroll…)Shulchan Aruch and Mishnah Berurah – siman taf samech!!

    You didn’t see the Shulchan Aruch Harav or the Mishnah Berura inside.
    How do I know that?

    If you did and understood what is written there, is now way that you would have written “Furthermore in the sefer Halichos Shlomoh 9:41 matzah is referred to as Kashah – hard – siman taf samech!!”, as the Alter Rebbe or the Mishnah Berura don’t say a word about hard Matzot, and they discuss only the thickness of the matza

    See here: http://pitputim.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/rav-schachter-on-soft-matza/

    7. Re Rav Shachter – does his letter say his opinion is confined to Sefardi Matzos? Does his letter say he is specifically excluding Laffa Matzos from his ruling? A yes or no answer will suffice.

    he is confined his ruling to the soft Matzos that he knows-the matzos known in New York as “Sefardi Matzos”, but added that he is not going to say a word about something that he doesn’t know.

    Rabbi Gutnick’s questions to Harav Schacter and you question here are like the question: “do you still beat your wife and kids? I don’t want any lengthy explanations, I want only a one word answer, a yes or a no!”.

  • Mendy says:

    Wolf:

    Read all the previous comments by various posters, then come back and ask the same question.

    But before you do that, may I ask you why you refer to Meir as Rabbi?

    Must I assume you have sighted his smicha, or are you simply parroting third party insinuations?

    Next, as other posters have remarked…can anyone, even Meir find one notable authority of Ashkenasy persuasion, who will endorse his laffa matza? Can he present even one who will eat his laffa matza?

    Alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear, but then I guess the Yarons of this world couldn’t care less as long as they have a hat, anyone’s hat to hang their stomachs on.

    Loshon Horo furfies crop up…red herrings as usual, but no one cares about Hochiach Tochiach es Amosecha. Why not?

    There is a stench here and that’s why no rabbi who’s worth a cracker will touch the stuff let alone eat or endorse it, for Pesach. Certainly not an Ashkenasi for an Ashkenasi.

    If that doesn’t register, forget about coming back to me with anything as it simply indicates you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Unless your eyes are in your stomach?

  • Wolf says:

    @ Mendy,

    In response to your question, the answer is ‘no’, I have not seen Rabbi Rabi’s smicha… I haven’t seen Barack Hussein Obama’s birth certificate either.

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I am now fully convinced that you yourself are quite unconvinced by the standard of your own laffa matzos.

    If this was not the case you would not have white washed or ignored so many facts that I used to query your matzos. You simply could have admitted and said for example ‘yes, Rabbi Shchter did indeed confine his ruling to Sefardi Matzos and specifically exclude laffa matzos, but he still supports Ashkenazim eating soft matzos etc (like David Segal did). Or you could have said that Yes there was a quote from Rav Elyashiv but I believe it is fraudulent. (Like David Segal did) Etc. Etc. Instead you’ve opted for this bizarre option of ignoring clear facts and simple queries and continuously writing long postings essentially blocking your ears and yelling the earth is flat!

    Why would you say ‘HaRav Sh Z, does not suggest that Ashkenasim by custom, should use hard Matza’ when your own website states ‘There are those who forbid soft Matzos. While they agree that in the past Ashkenazim did eat it, they ceased doing so (Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Halichot Shlomo chap. 9 note #80) and there is no tradition (Masoret) to permit soft Matzos.’

    Why would you say ‘ Rav A Weiss is not mentioned on my website’ when he is…I hadn’t heard of the Rabbi till I read your website!!!

    And then bizarrely after building a whole website stating alleged proofs of support for soft Matzos you concluded by saying actually your matzo is not that soft Matzah at all!

    Of course you did this because under mild questioning from a few internet trolls, giant holes and fallacies were exposed in your presentation. So you essentially shifted your whole story, and the goalposts, to state that any issues that exist with Ashkenazim eating soft matzos or issues with soft matzos in general don’t apply to your matzos because they are special thin Ashkesphardic ones never before seen . What a triumph of Talmudic redaction!!! And then you wonder why you are an unknown quantity in the kashrus world!

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    One further point.

    Your quote about the Shulchan Aruch Harav and the Mishnah Berurah is, I believe, much like the rest of your website riddled with either intentional or unintentional flaws.

    The Shulchan Aruch Harav and Mishnah berurah use the wording about air holes and sof sponge-like as a direct quotation of terminology from earlier times based on a Mishnah in Uktzim, when soft matzas were indeed in vogue. The terminology has absolutely no bearing on any thesis that ‘The great Poskim, the MBerura, Aruch HaShulchan and ShAruch HaRav, go out of their way to mention that Matza can be soft and make no mention of Matza being hard.’ In fact the halacha one is to take away is if the hard maztah, which was exclusively used in both the Chafetz Chayim and Baal Hatanyas times, contains bumpy and elevated surfaces, like a sponge, (as one sees in todays hard Matzos) this is included in the shiur of kzayis. This actually has very strong implications re shiurim of today’s hard Matzos (especially machine) Any use of terminology such as ‘Rakah veasuyah kisfug’ is a direct replica of terminology from the earliest texts and are quite irrelevant to your thesis . vekal.

  • Thank you for taking the time to read my posting and examine our website.

    Here are some facts:

    Exodus Soft Matza is most likely the most Mehudar Matza available in the world today.
    It is amongst the thinnest if not the thinnest, uniformly less than 1mm
    It spends the least time idle as dough
    It is produced in an extremely short time
    It is a true “Lechem – bread” and not a Mezonos cracker

    Rabbonim Who endorse use of soft Matza:

    HaRav Schachter has said that no Mesorah is required to manufacture or eat soft Matza, http://www.realmatza.com/harav-schachter.html

    HaRav Elyashiv has examined Exodus soft Matza and said that he sees no problems with it. http://www.realmatza.com/harav-elyashiv.html

    HaRav Wosner examined Exodus soft Matza and other than considering it a break with what he deems to be tradition, he sees no problems

    HaRav Sh Z says that Ashkenasi custom is to use the thinnest possible Matza, and he would probably be delighted with Exodus soft Matza.

    The Mishne Berura and others mention soft pliable bubbly Matza as the most ordinary thing. They offer no qualification or observation suggesting that it is not the preferred style of Matza. http://www.realmatza.com/spongy-mi-berura.html

    Even Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick concedes that, “people may choose to rely upon rabbis who endorse soft Matza”
    http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html

    You quoted from my website a quotation from Rav Aviner’s website, http://www.ravaviner.com/2012/03/soft-matzah-for-ashkenazim.html.
    As you can see from our website and our discussions here, this quotation is not accurate.

    I give up, please post the URL for where Rabbi A Weiss is mentioned on our website.

    Other than HaRav Wosner’s opposition to Exodus soft Matza, which based solely upon his deeming it to be a break with what he considers to be tradition, I have yet to see anything of substance that suggests anything Halachically wrong or questionable.

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy the Sentient Chipmunk,

    Has your mind has taken a permanent break from reality?

    Why are you playing this game with R’Rabi’s semicha? Did you see the Rema’s semicha? Maybe he isn’t a rabbi either.

    What about the Amoraim? Did you see their semicha? Perhaps we should discount the entire gemara?

    But if you are that desperate to have R’Meir to be plain old Meir in your parallel invented universe, then I suppose we should let your Meir live with all your other imaginary friends.

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi,
    Thank you for summarising and sharing some of the facts (again). Just to be fair and to give anyone who wishes a balanced and educated choice I will share the rest of the facts (again)

    1. Rabbinical Council of Victoria – Exodus/Laffa Matzas are prohibited (ossur).

    2. Rabbincal Council NSW – Exodus/Laffa Matzas are prohibited (ossur).

    3. Sydney Bes Din – Exodus/Laffa Matzas are prohibited (ossur).

    4. Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach (as read on http://www.realmatza.com) – Soft Matzos are prohibited (ossur – ein mesores lehatir)

    5. Rav Wosner – Laffa Matzos are prohibited (ossur) because of minhag (aside for great doubts in the actual Matzah)

    6. Rav Elyashiv – Prohibited (ossur) to give Hecsher to these matzos (because of pirtzah)

    7. Rav Weiss (as read on http://www.realmatzah.com) – Prohibited (ossur) for ashkenaz to make soft Matzos

    8. Rav Hershel Shachter – Limits his heter to sefardi Matzos and (only to those he has observed himself)

    Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi, Im sure you can see how infantile this has become. I can’t see any point wasting Galus Australis’s website any further. I merely wanted to establish that you had been dishonestly misappropriating these Rabbis names on your website as endorsers of your laffa Matzah. I believe i have established that although i am sad you haven’t agreed to make the changes. I don’t have anything against you or your Matzos pers se and wish you much success and parnosso.
    (If you want to discuss something in learning I would be happy to – for example my previous post about SAR and MB clearly not speaking of soft Matzah…)

  • Yaron says:

    Shimon,

    R’Rabi does not say that the overseas rabbis are supporting the hechsher, rather that the concept of soft matzah is ok.

    As for the claims from the Australian rabbis, they were not in the factory as the matzah was being made and did not see the process.

    R’Rabi was there.

    So why would we trust their hearsay and best guesses over the testimony of someone who was there?

  • I found Rabbi A Weiss on the website, it is an opinion that Rabbi Aviner dismisses

  • Yitzchak says:

    I cannot believe this discussion is still ongoing.

    Does Rabbi Rabi take us all for idiots in persisting that nothing has changed since Rav Shachter’s latest letter of clarification? Or is he simply bombarding us with words in the hope that he can thereby cloud the fact that he has been proven to be misrepresenting the facts and is unreliable in general?

    I say it again. Rabbi Rabi has clearly misrepresented Rav Shachter’s opinion. Given that Rav Shachter is the only one who has specifically allowed a form of soft matza for Ashkenazi Jews, that misrepresentation is significant. Rabbi Gutnick confined Rav Shachter’s opinion to traditional Sephardic matza. Rabbi Rabi continues to maintain that Rabbi Gutnick is wrong and Rav Shachter’s ruling is not confined to tradiomasl Sephardic matzas. He instead says (in the links that he himself supplied) that Rav Shachter’s ruling applies to ALL soft matza varieties – obviously trying to include his Laffa product as well. Rabbi Shachter has since confirmed both verbally and in a follow-up written pronouncement that he was indeed only referring to traditional Sephardic matza. Rabbi Lebowitz’s alleged answer to Rabbi Rabi is therefore invalidated. As Rav Shachter himself writes “eich hachai yachol lehakchish et hachai” – how can someone misrepresent the opinion of another living person in the face of that person being around to clarify what he meant? Rav Shachter has done that. End of story.

    So until Rabbi Rabi modifies his site and updates and changes his misrepresentation of Rav Shachter’s and Rabbi Gutnick’s opinions and the other opinions he misleadingly implies also endorse him and/or his laffa prodcut, he simply cannot be taken seriously and all his claims and activities must accordingly be held suspect.

    Yaron, your argument has some validity in that noone in regular circumstances needs to prove their credentials. But this is not a normal situation. You have someone cvertifying a thin soft laffa product that simple observation can prove has simply not been found or used, certainly in the past generations, either in ANY Ashkenazi community anywhere in the world or actually in any Sephardi community either. Surely an individual who now introduces that product to an unsuspecting public (no matter what the theoretical justification for it) needs to be known as a baal horaah of impecable credentials. Asking Rabbi Rabi to therefore produce proof of such credentials is not only justified but an absolute neccessity. His refusal to produce such credentials, even to senior Rabbonim in the community, is there highly disturbing to say the least – particularly given his proven misrepresentations and his failure to acknowledge fact referred to above.

  • Yaron says:

    Yitzchak,

    1. There is a difference between accepting the concept of Ashkenazim eating soft matzah and giving a hechsher to a specific make of matzah.

    R’Shechter was clear that he had no issue with the former while making no comment with relation to R’Rabi’s matzot specifically.

    2. It is baking. Not exactly brain surgery. You would assume in modern society we could work out how to do that without a mesora. It is not that radical to suggest that we do not have to burn our mazta to make it kosher.

    3. “introduces that product to an unsuspecting public”

    You make this sound like drug dealing. It is matza. Lets not get carried away.

    If you can point to real examples of chametz in the factory or the process then we would have to look into R’Rabi’s credentials.

    Until then his chazaka of trustworthiness stands.

  • Mendy says:

    And look what that little birdie Wikileaks sent me.

    From a member of the London Beth Din
    Intercepted email – May 2010

    Kvod R’ ………

    In response to repeated requests from Meir’s uncle, Harav Zvi Rabi, in light of Meir’s dire personal predicament at the time, I wrote a PERSONAL Hamlatza as a means of offering him some chizuk. It was never intended as an endorsement of Kashrus services nor any other issue Meir is involved in. I was neither informed of any such services nor asked for such a letter. Rav Rabi asked me for a recommendation which might help Meir get a job. Nothing else.

    When the (mistranslation – see the original letter on the website link – and) flagrant misuse of my letter, and even worse, its abusive misrepresentation, insinuating that the London Beis Din endorsed his kashrus came to light, I immediately contacted Meir. He had initially deceptively lifted the Beis Din logo and plastered it over a shop he was trying to give a hashgacha to!

    I insisted that he immediately remove my letter, my name and any link to myself or the Beis Din. Only after the threat of publicising an open letter setting out the facts, did he finally relent and back down.

    It seems that despite his promises he continues to misuse it by simply adding in small letters on his website that the letter, which he mistranslates, is a personal endorsement, going on to flaunt his recognition by the Beis Din.

    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. In hindsight it was misguided of me to use Beis Din letterhead and stamp even for that, given the manner in which it has been misused.

    Meir Rabi is fully aware of all this. His conduct in this matter is, regretfully, neither Kosher nor Yosher.

    Signed…….

  • Mendy says:

    Hey Yaron!

    Chipmunk here.

    Cat got your tongue?

    Until then his chazaka of trustworthiness stands.

    Meir Rabi is fully aware of all this. His conduct in this matter is, regretfully, neither Kosher nor Yosher.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Mendy

    You write “Meir Rabi is fully aware of all this. His conduct in this matter is, regretfully, neither Kosher nor Yosher.”

    This is highly disrespectful to speak of a Rabbi in this way. A mensch wouldn’t speak like that of a Rabbi, and menschlachkeit precedes the mitzvos. I think you owe the Rabbi an apology my friend.

  • Mendy says:

    Wolf:

    In case you haven’t figured it out, I copied and pasted verbatim what a senior member of the London Beth Din wrote.

    And, in case you haven’t noticed, the writer never refers to Meir as rabbi.

    So why do you?

    You have a problem?

    Take it up with the London Beth Din.

    Oh, and one more thing.

    Have you ever contemplated changing your name or(nickname?

    Goose would certainly be more apt.

  • Shimon Cukierman says:

    Mendy Yaron and Wolf,

    Just a word of humble advice if i may,

    Almost everyone in the community barring a few rusted on fans are aware that Rabbi Meir Rabi, in his zeal to promote himself, misrepresents endorsements and Halachic discussion etc. I was keen to establish this, not because i think his hechsher is necessarily inferior but because it is not fair to the community who makes the decisions about fundamental issues such as Chametz, Kashrus etc.
    I cant comprehend why Meir just doesn’t set up his own hechser and and thats it. Instead some sort of inferiority complex has motivated him to warp and misrepresent a series of statements and teachings and publicize them on a cheap, advertising style website, which after reading, only raised more questions then answers about his whole enterprise.

    However, i must say, despite the fact that it was R, Meir who decided to bring this discussion into the murky world of the internet and blogosphere, i feel this letter, touches on accusations of fraud and personal circumstance, which perhaps better are left to other avenues.

  • To begin with Torah discussion; I answered the suggestion that the ShAruch is assuming hard Matza is the norm. Perhaps I did not understand your perspective. I will be pleased if you try again to help me understand your question/assertion.

    Rabbi Y Sprung Shlita, the Mara DeAtra of Mizrachi admits that he is unaware of the facts about soft Matza, saying [same Q&A session 2012 and following directly after Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick’s support for soft Matza, “people may choose to rely upon rabbis who endorse soft Matza”] that he [and he says that he is speaking on behalf of all the Rabbonim represented at the COSV RCV Q&A session 2012] is “unaware of any soft Matza either brought in or manufactured in Melbourne Australia that should be eaten during Pesach.” Indeed he is unaware, although others seem to think they are aware of much more.

    I have seen HaRav Schachter’s latest clarification [which adds nothing new] but I have yet to see the clarification that Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick said that he has in writing from HaRav Schachter that soft Matza must be made only by those who have a Mesorah.

    But I have seen and shown the email from Rabbi A Lebowitz that HaRav Schachter says it has nothing to do with Mesorah, http://www.realmatza.com/rabbi-m-gutnick-kam.html

  • Elijah says:

    IS OUR MEAT KOSHER?

    In the Kosher Australia food guide, Rabbi M. Gutnick has written about separating Challah. Separating Challah is 1 of 7 of the 24 Kohanic gifts generally agreed as obligated in the Diaspora.

    The other gifts generally agreed as obligated in the Diaspora are: First shearing of a sheep; Redemption of a first born son (Pidyon ha Ben); Redemption of a first born donkey; Things declared Herem; Property recovered from a deceased resident alien with no heirs and lastly – Right foreleg in its entirety (with the skin attached), The lower jaw with attached cheek flesh, tongue included and Abomasum of all non-sanctified, ritually slaughtered domestic animals.

    Relevant to kosher meat is Nikkur, a practice performed in Melbourne until the early 20th Century. Nikkur has been the subject of much confusion, however, the Orthodox Union (an authority Kosher Australia aspires to be like) has unambiguously and categorically stated is a practice all Kosher authorities shechting meat must do. They state it is a great sin not to do it, particularly as losing the ability prevents performing the ‘korban Pesach’.

    Not one kosher butcher in Australia adheres to the requirement to provide Kohenim with the gift of Right foreleg in its entirety (with the skin attached), The lower jaw with attached cheek flesh, tongue included and Abomasum of all non-sanctified, ritually slaughtered domestic animals. In fact, in direct contravention of this law – tongue, beef cheeks, bones, foreleg meat is not only provided, but even WORSE is sold to anyone. The kosher butchers refuse to provide Abomasum because either they are too lazy or because the slaughter house does not meet the very simplistic, cheap and easily done HACCP regulation of double washing in hot water, the Abomasum.

    Not providing this Kohanic gift in its entirety and definitely the selling of portions of the gift is Gezel – theft! The punishment for this is Cherem – excommunication.
    The meat from the rest of the animal is considered Piggul and should not be eaten.

    Rabbis Gutnick, Telsner and Beck are the rabbonim responsible for these “Kosher” butchers. Rabbi Gutnick would appear through his public warnings about separating Challah to have a heavy responsibility in ensuring strict adherence to laws about the Kohanic gifts.

    Perhaps our kosher authorities should first ensure our meat is Kosher with Nikkur performed. This would seem to be far more important than the cost of kosher products or discussions about who has the strictest most correct Matzah.

  • Mendy says:

    Shimon:

    Must be a full moon due.

    Don’t know what these posters are taking, but I’ll have a some please.

    Type in “Space Cadets” in Google and it defaults to this thread!

  • Steven says:

    I can see an impending class action by Kohanim.

    Meir, 300th comment coming up soon. Will it go to 400?

  • 296 is also a good number.

    I will post a little later the ShaAreey Teshuvah [Rabbi Margolious d.1818] Siman 460, re there is no reason to not eat Gebrochts and in fact we should eat Gebrochts in order to enjoy the Chag.

    He also says that Matza was soft, the only Matza being made hard was that which was crushed for crumbs.

    But for now I wish to post about the Rama that speaks of Rekikin.

    The Rama (640:4) writes that Matza should be made as Rekikin, which is usually (mis)translated to “thin wafers”. How thin is thin? The BaEr Heitev quoting the Beis Hillel says, like the thickness of a finger [thickness of the thumb, (Kaf HaChayim 460:44) about 12mm]. We would not describe a flat slab of baked bread dough roughly 12mm thick, as a wafer. So why does the Rama describe it as Rekikin? The answer is pretty obvious; the Rama did NOT mean a wafer. In his days the work Rekikin simply meant something thinner than the usual bread. The word Rekikin over time has morphed into our usage, “wafers”.

    So the Rama is now properly understood to be ruling that Maza should “be made as Rekikin [about 12mm thick] and not thick like other bread”. This Matza would obviously have been soft. 12mm thick hard baked dough would only submit to a hammer and cold chisel.

    Now here is a strange thing, the Rama usually adds his glosses after the instructions of the Mechaber, Rabbi Yosef Caro. He will add a qualification, expansion or explanation. But not in this case. Here, in the very next Seif [numbered Halachic paragraph] the Mechaber speaks about how thick Matza ought to be: “Matza should not be made one Tefach thick. [90mm]” In this instance the Rama is silent. He makes no amendments, he mentions no prevailing customs. Yet only a few words earlier in the previous Seif, he is quite emphatic that Matza must be Rekikin, 12mm.

    Let’s have a closer look at the Rama. When the Rama demands that Matza be made as Rekikin, he gives a reason; Rekikin, thin dough does not become Chamets as quickly as thick dough. Actually, this is first said by Rashi, Gemara Pesachim.

    Now this observation is not understood. Why does thick dough become Chamets more quickly than thin dough? As far as I can determine none of the bakers or scientists devoted to researching bread-making can explain this. But that is of no consequence to us. The Halacha is the Halacha and we do not dispute this.

    What does interest us, is the reason the Rama offers this argument here. And of course, this may in turn help us understand why the Rama makes no comment on the Mechaber in the next Seif. In this Seif the Mechaber explains that Matza must not be decorated by cutting squeezing or engraving the dough, as was their custom, to make images of various animals in the bread.

    The reason for this prohibition is that the dough is at risk of becoming Chamets when it is not being vigorously worked (Mishneh Berurah 14).

    The Rama, aware that this instruction was not being followed and that people were still decorating their Matza, suggested that at the very least, they make the Matza thinner so that the risk of becoming Chamets will be reduced. See Beirs Yosef in the name of the Ritzba and also BaEr Heitev 8, “people rely upon this Rama to decorate their Matza.”

    However, the Aruch HaShulchan seems to take a different approach.

    Now let us look at the next Seif, where the Mechaber is concerned about Matza being too thick and therefore possibly not baking adequately and becoming Chamets, at its core. In order to avoid this risk, he rules that Matza must be made less than 1 Tefach thick [90mm]. The Rama does not comment. The Rama does not disagree. The Rama agrees: in order to ensure that Matza bakes thoroughly it should be made less than 1 Tefach thick.

    So now let us compile these Halachos into a comprehensive structure.
    1. Matza should not be decorated.

    2. If you insist on decorating Matza, ensure it is thin like Rekikin. [12mm]

    3. Regular [undecorated] Matza should be made less than 1 Tefach thick.

  • Yitzchak says:

    Totally off the topic but good question Elijah.

    I just checked with my Rav and he answered that according to the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deiah ch 61 the final accepted ruling is that matnot kehuna of animals do not apply in Chutz L’aretz. Also according to the Rama in the same chapter of Shulchan Aruch matnot kehuna do not apply when there is a non-Jewish owner or partner who own or have a share of the ownership of the animal at the time of shechita. I am told that animals killed for local Kosher butcher shops belong to non-Jewish wholesalers at the abbatoirs and only kosher forequarters are purchased by the Kosher butchers – well and truly after the shechita.

    I am also assured that all local Kosher butchers carry out full nikur on all kosher meat as required.

    Although we have discussed the relability of Rabbi Rabi’s certification for the good reasons mentioned do you really suggest that ALL those other Rabbonim are not aware as to how to properly certify kosher meat?

  • deer fat is all Kosher [also from the giraffe] since it is not a BeHeima but a Chaya, so Nikkur is not required to remove the fats only the blood

  • Yitzchak says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    More words to totally attempt to befuddle the average reader.

    They do not detract from the serious questions that have been raised about your misrepresentations and reliabily in general.

    Clean up your site and your act in general and then someone may be interested in debating the details of the halachic texts you quote.

  • As Lucy of Peanuts said, “You aint nothin till you’re envied”

    The site is clean, its words are true
    Those who fear the truth
    Are in the stew.

    Put the differences aside, we can discuss the Torah I posted and with the blessings of our Sages, we can talk Shalom, bring Shalom and make Shalom.

  • david segal says:

    Mendy

    you wrote on March 19, 2012 at 5:46 am:

    “Without a smicha, it matters not if you are the most learned man in Melbourne, your certifications are as welcome as is the unlicensed surgeon or lawyer. Bush lawyers etc carry very little weight, and unlicensed doctors cannot have their accounts presented to Medibank (and others) for refunds”.

    Until I saw your post I thought that you need a Smicha to be able to get married, but to certify products or “pasken”, you need knowledge, for example, to “pasken” if a sukkah is kosher you have to know Hilchot Sukkah, and not to have a “Smicha”. And I also thought that it is forbidden for an unlicensed person to practice as a medical practitioner, even if he graduated a medical school (http://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Registration.aspx), but thanks to you I know that I was mistaken. Now I know that doctors have to be licensed only if they want that the accounts they present to Medibank (and others) will be refunded, and without a Smicha, it matters not if you are the most learned man in Melbourne, your certifications are not welcome.

    I don’t who you are or where you are, and what is your occupation and education, but I am sure that you are not even a bush lawyer, and your knowledge in Halacha isn’t something to be proud of.

    In the past, if a person got a “Smicha” from a respected rov, it was an indication that the Rov thought the that Musmach had enough knowledge to be a “Rov”, and “Pasken” for others, but I don’t think that you able to say that about that about the Masmichim and holders of Smichot of today, when Rabbonim that know very little, certify people that know even less.

    Do you think that his Smicha is enough?

    http://www.chabad.info/index.php?url=article_en&id=24462

    What is a Smicha:

    http://www.zumodrive.com/share/6uJIMTlhYT

    What is needed to certify products as kosher:

    http://www.zumodrive.com/share/g3stZTAyNG

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Mendy –

    How did you get hold of that email from the anonymous dayan on the LBD?

    Is it legit?

  • Mendy says:

    Harry:

    Is the letter legit? Yes!

    How I got it? You really expect me to divulge that?

    Of course not.

    Would you in my shoes?

    David:

    I’d still expect a person who calls himself a rabbi to have a smicha.

    Sure, I know the title may mean little these days, depending who is using it and who bestowed it, but I’d still expect a reputable person who refers to themselves as rabbi, has a smicha.

    Now what part didn’t you understand, genius?

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy,

    So you now have an anonymous letter which fell in your lap from an undisclosed source attacking a rabbi who you have been trashing for the past few weeks.

    And this is ultimate proof?

    Are you living in a parallel universe where the laws of logic have been suspended.

    And when did you write it… um, er sorry, when did you receive this letter?

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron:

    Finished hibernating?

    Yes, the email is authentic.

    Judging by whom it’s been cc’d to, there are at least 4 others who know about it and have known for the past two years.

    It matters not what you think, the email is there plus a few more.

    You sound like Gillard backing Thompson, all the way into a tight corner.

    I guess you simply enjoy losing.

    What a guy!

  • Elijah says:

    IS OUR MEAT KOSHER?

    It seems that I have created some confusion about Nikkur.
    I clarify that I am referring to Nikkur Achoraim, the removal of blood vessels, fats and nerve bundles in the hind quarters and other organs of kosher animals.

    It is an oxymoron and absurd to assert that meat is only purchased buy kosher butchers from an abattoir after Shechita is performed. Shechita is only the first step to obtaining kosher meat. After the animal is killed, there is Bedika, Nikkur, Salting (broiling for livers) and final checking. The talmudic concept of Breira is fundamentally contentious and immoral, especially when applied to Kashrut. Breira applied to Kashrut would make Pas Yisroel, Cholov Yisroel and Bishul Yisroel null and void. Why does the kosher butcher then sell the hindquarters back to the abattoir? It just doesn’t make sense and thats why the animal is purchased from the supplier after the shochet has performed and initial visual check and only then sold back to the abattoir if the animal is found to be Treif after Bedika.

    I assert strongly that not giving the Right foreleg in its entirety (with the skin attached), The lower jaw with attached cheek flesh, tongue included and Abomasum of all non-sanctified, ritually slaughtered domestic animals is required as one of the Kohanic gifts.

    In rabbinical interpretation this is a positive commandment requiring the shochet (ritual slaughterer) to give the aforementioned parts of a kosher-slaughtered animal to a kohen. This giving is required to be free of both monetary and servicial compensation (B.Bechoroth 27a).
    Contrary to common misconception these gifts are entirely mundane (“chullin”) and are not associated with all or part of the sacrificial offerings brought on the central altar in the Jerusalem temple (Mishna Chullin Ch. 10:1).
    The early Rabbinical authorities felt the need to specify the specific animal parts to be given due to confusion in understanding which animal parts the Torah verse refers to (for example which foreleg), and who is required to give them. The earliest extant Midrash on the above quoted text is found in the Sifri to Deuteronomy 18:3 which relays the following detail:
    Foreleg: The right foreleg in its entirety (with the skin attached)
    Cheeks: The lower jaw with attached cheek flesh, tongue included
    Abomasum: The abomasum in its entirety

    The Mishnah states that the application of this Mitzvah is not dependent on whether the temple in Jerusalem stands. Likewise, it is non dependent on whether the animal is slaughtered in or outside the land of Israel, as the gift are to be given nonetheless (Mishnah Hullin 10:1).
    The Talmudic view coincides with that of the Mishna requiring the giving even outside the land of Israel. The basis of this view is due to the Mitzvah not being a obligation of the land but an obligation of the body.
    The Talmud delves further than the Mishna in terms of citing instances of penalties being levied against both individual transgressors and entire communities for failure to give these Gifts (Talmud Hullin p. 132b).
    The view of Hai ben Sherira coincides with the Talmud regarding penalty, urging excommunication on those who do not carry out the commandment.
    Maimonides, both in his commentary to the Mishna (Chullin Ch. 9 and 10) and in his Mishna Torah compilation was of the opinion that the giving of the gifts are completely mandatory outside of Israel. Nachmanides stated that any leniency applied to giving of the gifts outside the land would lead to forgetting entirely about the practice. He therefore stated that regardless of whether the obligation is direct from the Torah (min haTorah) or Rabbinical (midirabanan) the gifts are to be given outside the land.
    Dealing with the issue of gift giving outside the Land, Meir of Rothenburg was by far the most lengthy and detailed of all Rabbis, Meir reasoned that reliance on Rabbi Elai in the Mishnah for leniency and or invoking a hekesh between reishith haGez and the gifts is invalid.
    The Prisha (Commentarian to Tur Shulchan Aruch) argues that partnering with a non-Jew with the intent to excuse the obligation of giving the gifts is “trickery” which causes the Kohen to lose out on his rightful due.
    The Vilna Gaon sided with the opinion of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg and differentiated between the gifts and Reshit HaGez. Hence making it not only a proper Jewish custom to give the gifts -but halachically mandatory. It is also recorded by his pupils that he actively engaged in giving the gifts.
    This view is followed by the Chasam Sofer.

  • Yaron says:

    Mendy,

    I am not suggesting that the email is not authentic.

    What I am suggesting about the email is:

    1. It was made public by a person who very clearly dislikes R’Rabi
    2. It is anonymous
    3. The way you came to possess the email is unknown
    4. The others that are in possession of the email is unknown
    5. The main players in the debate (RCV, R’Gutnick etc) do not feel the need to publicise the letter (if they have it at all)
    6. It was sat on for 2 years before being shown in any public forum

    In light of that I am suggesting that it has no value in the public debate (which is also your level of credibility on this topic)

    Reveal the above information and we can begin discussing the contents.

  • Stephen A Lewis says:

    OXYMORON,ABSURD.??? As the owner of the largest kosher butcher In Australia I can assure you that I have NEVER purchase a full live carcass and then unsold the hindquarter .
    In 36 plus years of operation( during which time I have either managed or ownedCKB) my business has ALWAYS purchased only the forequarters from animals presented for shechita & subsequently passed as GLATT kosher by the shochtim .
    Regarding Nikkor ,Kashering ,treibering,etc …..That’s a certainty .( bit of a no brainer)
    Re prior comments about the foreshin leaving the abattoirs ,with skin intact/attached ……this would be in breach of the health standard both state& federal where NO item with any attached fur or hide can leave an abbatior .
    Suggestions of washing out the stomach with hot water is equally absurd as pre kashering hot water contact would render the said product treif .
    Lastly ,suggesting that ANY kosher butcher is LAZY is an absolute insult .I know first hand all about the long hours ,2.30 AM starts,heavy physical work in a cold& wet environment …need I continue?
    Stephen Lewis ( managing director Continental Kosher Butchers Melb /Australia.)

  • Elijah says:

    If HACCP regs do not permit hide to leave the abattoir, the right foreleg still needs to be gifted.
    The warm water wash at 60℃ is to kill bacteria, is very brief and would not cook the abomasum, alternately could be done after the acceptance of it being kosher (broiling livers comes to mind).
    Selling beef cheeks, pressed tongue small goods, pickled and raw tongue is not gifting.
    Why no Nikkur Achoraim?
    Obviously economics rather than kashrut appears to be the issue.
    The rabbis have a problem in Australia.
    Promulgating separating Challah as one of the Kohanic gifts and other restrictions cannot be done arbitrarily.

  • Mendy says:

    Yaron says:

    Mendy,

    I am not suggesting that the email is not authentic.

    What I am suggesting about the email is:

    1. It was made public by a person who very clearly dislikes R’Rabi

    Wrong! I don’t dislike him. I dislike his methods, his smugness and his gilded tongue.

    2. It is anonymous

    I see. The messenger angle. Forget about the veracity, that’s irrelevant, right?

    3. The way you came to possess the email is unknown

    Who cares? Either the content is true or it’s not.

    4. <i?The others that are in possession of the email is unknown

    And what’s the relevance of that?

    5. The main players in the debate (RCV, R’Gutnick etc) do not feel the need to publicise the letter (if they have it at all)

    I’m not a rabbi and do not feel bound by the protocols one would expect from rabbis

    6. It was sat on for 2 years before being shown in any public forum

    Yep. But as Meir kept on pounding away smugly on his keyboard, and has consistently refused to answer specific questions not only from myself but others, there’s comes a point in time when enough is enough. He better than anyone else ought to know that one doesn’t kick a dog (or a chipmunk) whilst it’s sleeping., more so when one has many skeletons in their cupboard and burnt many bridges in the process of getting the skeletons there.

    7. In light of that I am suggesting that it has no value in the public debate (which is also your level of credibility on this topic)

    Yaron, you’re the “Great Denier” but has it ever registered that many people may have…..you hear that…many people may have eaten chometz on Pesach? To you that’s not a problem, but when “too clever by half individuals” start tearing at the edges of the fabric of what the rabbis of the past, (more eminent than he by millions of miles in every which way) have ruled, then it’s time to step up to the plate and stop the rot. If that means someone tramples on your flighty feet, so be it.

    8. Reveal the above information and we can begin discussing the contents.

    I have no intentions of revealing anything, not to you or anyone else. You have the Beth Din’s address. Make your own inquiries.
    Having said that, you and like-minded people have been accessories to people breaking with tradition, for no good reason other than to satisfy your gourmet fantasies.

    Do some Teshuvah for that.

    I meanwhile I too will do Teshuvah for what I need to, but not for exposing the truth, particularly so where that exposure may assist totally innocent people not to be “nichshol”.

  • Stephen A Lewis says:

    The inacuracies continue….
    1/ I do not believeANY Rabbi would allow any unkoshered meat to come in contact with 60 degree water or heat ,no matter how brief the time was ,however I am happy to be corrected on this if wrong.

    2/ I cannot vouch 100% for Australia’s other Kosher butchers however I can state that CKB never sells ox cheek & that to the best of my knowledge has not done so in th last 36 years & 67 years to the best of my knowledge .

    I am still unsure what your reference to nikkor ,or lack there of is referring to .I am happy to be elightened as to what you are referring to that is NOT being done.

    Best regards

  • Marky says:

    If the achoraim is not bought by the butcher and hence not sold as Kosher, why do nikkur achoraim??

  • Stephen A Lewis says:

    Elijah ,sorry ….I left out one part ..re your reference to Nikkur Achor.
    You mention the hind quarter…these are NOT processed in Australia.
    Regarding Nikkur performed on the forequaters …all kosher butchers do Nikkur to the standard demanded by there supervising rabbi.From personal experience ,the level of Nikkur demanded in my business is over & above that of any in the USA or Israel.
    KA & Rabbi M Gutnick have verified this by having top authorities visit our plant & also by availing himself of both books& videos by the leading authorities in this field .
    I hope this assists in putting most of you concerns to rest .

  • I suppose Elija’s query can be supported by the now more common effort to find ways to perform rare Mitzvos. Such as ShiluAch HaKen, sending away the mother bird before taking the eggs or the fledglings and Pidyon Petter Chamor, redeeming the first born male of a donkey.

    I suspect that one of the key problems with these Matanos is that we do not have Cohanim with a verifiable Yichus, genealogy to satisfy us that they are indeed Kohanim and that they may legitimately partake of the gifts. In that case, it is better to avoid the obligation.

    In SIMAN 128 SE’IF 1-7, re Bichas Kohanim. Regarding how we establish the credentials of someone who claims he is a Kohen. The MB (s.k. 1) we let anyone who claims to be a kohen bless BK. See the Rema cited by the MB who disputes the Shulchan Arukh (EHE 3:1) who FORBIDS a doubtful Kohen to bless BK and even to be called first to the Torah on his own say-so. But this is because of further consequences. That person will then be wrongly considered entitled to Matanos Kehunah (teruma, challa, zero’a-lechayim veakeiva, redemption of a bekhor, etc.), involving monies that belong to the tribe and now he is claiming without adequate proof money that will also deprive other kohanim. Also there is an Issur for a Zar (non-Kohen) to eat Teruma or Challa.

    The Gemara (Ketubot 24) asks if it is customary to assume from the fact that a Kohen blesses BK, or eats Teruma, or appears in a court document as so-and-so “HaKohen,” that he is a true Kohen fitting to marry a “Meyucheses” – a pedigreed lady. If yes, then we can not allow a doubtful Kohen to engage in these activities without examining his background.

  • Mel D says:

    Dear Steven A. Lewis,

    I’m very glad that you are involved in this thread. I’m sorry to pull this back to the original article, but would you happen to know if kosher chicken producers raise their own chickens, or do they have to purchase live chickens from a chicken grower? That, to me, helps explain why our chicken is a bit more expensive than non-kosher chicken, as it means extra purchasing and transportation costs over and above those of the non-kosher chicken industry.

    On a slightly different note, I would like to say just one thing. As a less-knowledgeable person regarding the intricacies of halachah, but as someone who very much respects those in our community who are knowledgeable, I would like to say that the way in which this thread has progressed saddens me. If the thread was purely a halachic discussion, it would not bother me – in fact, being privy to a respectful halachic argument I think may have been quite inspiring.

    What upsets me is the cynicism and sarcasm inherent in the comments above. Whilst one may disagree with another, and may even question motives, I don’t understand why the discussion has become so spiteful.

    My Rabbi recently spoke of the manna, and that every person received an Omer each. Every person. Regardless of knowledge, minhag, middot, or motives. I would like to humbly suggest that during this time of the Omer, we might like to remember that we are all human and all deserve to be spoken to with kindness.

    If that doesn’t help, perhaps it will help to know that some of us who hold you all in deep respect, are sadly becoming disillusioned as this thread progresses.

    Steven A. Lewis, could you please let me know as soon as possible if you or anyone else might be able to answer my question? I asked it once before and have been patiently waiting to hear, but I thought it might be a good opportunity to ask someone in the trade, as I hope to leave this thread as soon as possible.

    With deepest respect,
    Mel D

  • david segal says:

    Pitputim Yid said on April 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    it is the same disquiet that is that the kashrus circles overseas have any time there is a fight on turf between two kasruth organizations, and each of them accuses the other how they gave Hechsherim to non kosher products, should I remind you a few wars involving Badatz, Belz, Hig Chasam Sofer, Rabbanut Yerushalaim, Sheeris Isroel, Harav Efrati, Harav Iando, Harav Rubin, Addas, Yeshiva and Mk?.

  • What Does the ShaArei Teshuva say about Soft Matza?
    He says it’s fine

    The ShaArei Teshuva (OCh Chapter 460) discusses a number of issues to do with Matza. Primarily, he dismisses the stringency that one not eat Gebrochts [AKA Matza balls] since it has no longer has a foundation.

    He explains that:

    originally all Matza was soft but special Matza was made for grating into meal. That is why the ShaArei Teshuva says they grated it on a Rib Eizen, a grater. They could not CRUSH it, only dry hard Matza can be crushed.

    the Matza for making meal was baked differently to regular Matza, and it was likely to be Chametz [because it was only lightly baked, presumably in order to provide a whiter meal, as is the case today.]

    this under-baked Matza was then GRATED to form crumbs. Once in crumb form, it was no longer possible to evaluate if it was fully baked and therefore likely to be Chametz. Therefore, Gd fearing Jews stopped eating foods made with such meal.

    that now [1800] the universal trend is to bake special Matza for making meal and to bake it until it is hard and there is no longer any risk of it being Chamets. At this point the ShaArei Teshuva describes this hard Matza being CRUSHED into flour. No longer were they using the Rib Eisen to GRATE the Matza into crumbs.

    Even when the Matza for making meal was baked hard and then crushed, the regular Matza was still made soft, otherwise at 12mm thick it would be impossible to chew and eat.

    There was no need to consider altering soft Matza to hard Matza since it was never considered at risk of being Chamets, although as per the Rama, Matza was no longer made 40 to 50mm thick but only 12mm.

    Besides baking Matza until it is hard means that it is no longer Halachically recognised as bread.

    This is quite clear when he writes that Ha’idna IsKashra Dora (these days people are more careful) and that the KEMACH, the MATZA FLOUR is made from dry hard Matza. This means that only the Matza used for making flour was baked hard whereas the regular Matza [which was 12mm thick (Beis Hillel cited by the BaEr Heitev) and must have been soft, as per the ruling of the Rama] was not and could not be baked hard.

  • david segal says:

    My last posting was a comment to what pitputim kid wrote:

    “Furthermore I think you are misreading the community mood on this. There is a general sense of disquiet in the community and in kashrus circles overseas about what Meir has done”.

  • Elijah says:

    IS OUR MEAT KOSHER?

    Nikkur Achoraim is a term normally applied to the hind quarters.
    If the shochet is skilled in Nikkur Achoraim then we would be able to purchase cuts of meat like Rump steak or Filet Mignon from our kosher butchers. The reason we do not have the hind quarters processed in Australia is because the shochets employed either do not have the requisite skill or the butchers are not prepared to accept the extra cost involved in a time consuming and exacting process. The OU authority in the USA conducts courses for shochets to learn the extra skills required. The OU (an authority Kosher Australia aspires to be like) has unambiguously and categorically stated is a practice all Kosher authorities shechting meat must do. They state it is a great sin not to do it, particularly as losing the ability prevents performing the ‘korban Pesach’.

    Rabbi Gutnick with his public warnings about separating Challah has a heavy responsibility in ensuring strict adherence to laws about the Kohanic gifts. Rabbis Gutnick, Telsner and Beck are the rabbonim responsible for our Kosher butchers, bakers, dairies and other food establishments. They all extol the strictness of pas, cholov and bishul yisroel standards. Logically and halachically they all must ensure our butchers provide the Kohanic gift of the right foreleg, cheek flesh, tongue and abomasum. The Talmudic penalty for not giving these gifts is ‘excommunication’ (an inexact English word for the Hebraic concept of shunning). This is a very severe penalty. For hundreds of years in worldwide communities, Jews have always followed the Talmudic law. What makes our Australian kosher authorities think they can disobey these laws? Selling tongue and foreleg is an obvious flagrant breach of these laws.

    Pretending that there are no known Kohenim in Australia is insulting. A specific Kohen’s lineage is immaterial since the Mitzvah is on the giver (not for the Kohen to withdraw), hence the burden of locating a Kohen rests on the giver. One only has to goto our shules and cemeteries to see proof of Kohanic status.

    If the Australian kosher ‘authorities’ want Australian and worldwide communities respect, then they must apply the law, especially to something as simple, clear cut and historically mandated as the Kohanic gifts. The Kohanic gifts are a cost that is part and parcel of owning a butchery or bakery business.

  • Marky says:

    The Shulchan Aruch rules that the minhag is not to give matnat Kehuna these days. And even those that hold otherwise, still say it is Kosher even if you don’t.

    So your heading “Is our meat kosher?” is misleading!

    There are many very respected Shechitas who do not do nikkur achoraim. The OU do not say it is a great sin not to do nikkur achoraim. They do quote Rav Moshe Feinstein who said it’s a great sin to forget how to do it and with the OU teaching it and other shechitas doing it, it will not be forgotten. No one says that it always everywhere needs to be done. The OU also doesn’t do it mostly. It is only done when the achoraim is used.

  • If I may submit another matter for consideration.

    Let’s read the following and have a little think about what is actually being said.

    from the website of a prestigious Kosher organisation
    “Carmine, or carminic acid, is a natural organic dye made from the dried bodies of female insects called Coccus Cacti which live on cactus plants. It is one of the oldest known natural dyes. Most of the major kashrus agencies accept the psak halacha that carmine is not kosher.(Min”Yitzchok, 3:96).”

    This is very interesting because the response of the Mizrachi World Organisation in its sponsored publication which is compiled and edited by Israel’s most prestigious Rabbanim, BeMarEh HaBazak, [see http://www.kosherveyosher.com/carmine-e120-1227.html also quotes the Minchas Yitzchok but to support the opposite view, that Carmine is Kosher.]

    So, “Carmine/cochineal are [sic] not permitted in products certified by most responsible authorities.”

    We ought to make a couple of simple observations.
    Firstly; this statement concedes that there are some “responsible authorities” who permit the use of Carmine.

    Secondly; let us ask a couple of questions.

    1 What criteria determine if an authority is a “responsible authority”?

    2 Who determines these criteria?

    3 Are these criteria applied equally to all authorities?

    4 How could it be that some “responsible authorities” authorise Carmine, whilst other “responsible authorities” will not?

    5 Does permitting Carmine make the authority irresponsible?

    6 What is the rational of those authorities that prohibit the use of Carmine?

    7 Is this a Halachic determination or are other considerations at work?

    8 What type of things do the “irresponsible authorities” permit?

    9 Who made the count of “responsible authorities” that permit and prohibit, and which are in the majority?

    10 Is there a list of “responsible authorities” and “irresponsible authorities”?

  • Harry Joachim says:

    JWire has picked up on the story surrounding the kashrus status of KvY – see http://www.jwire.com.au/news/melbourne-in-meltdown/25082

    It appears that the desire for Peter’s ice creams has brought additional sweet impetus to the debate….

    Of interest is the fallacious assertion in the story that “His web site displays a certificate from the London Beth Din acknowledging his ability to certify products Kosher”.

    Mendy’s post above puts the claim to rest that the LBD somehow endorses R Rabi from afar…

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