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The AJN Got It Very Wrong: The Slurpee Saga

January 12, 2014 – 12:48 pm97 Comments

bad journalism2Editor’s note: Welcome back, Galus readers. We begin 2014 with two pieces by Rabbis Yaron Gottlieb and Meir Rabi. 

Yaron Gottlieb writes:

The AJN this week reported on the ongoing vitriol between the kosher agencies. The only problem was that without doing proper research, they ended up making a huge beat up out of a total non-story.

The AJN reported on an email received from 7-Eleven last week which claimed that an “unprompted” email “out of the blue” was sent to them certifying Slurpees as kosher.

The two Kosher Australia authorities (NSW and Vic) both used this email to attack Rabbi Rabi and his kashrut authority, It’s Kosher, which supposedly gave 7-Eleven the certification.

Something sounded wrong with the story, so I emailed 7-Eleven for clarification. This is the relevant part of the response I received:

“Coca Cola are the manufacturer of the syrup that we use in our Slurpees. The machines in store combine C02 & Water to bring out the finished product.”

This was quite different from what the AJN was reporting. The emails were sent 7-Eleven – Slurpee’s distributors, while any certification or authorisation can only occure at the manufacturing level. A good analogy is that we know a cinema can’t declare whether Cadbury’s chocolate has a hechsher – the hechsher is given at the manufacturing level.

So this is truly a non-story and with minimal research, the fact that it’s a non story is very easy to find out. It’s difficult to understand how the editor of Australia’s largest Jewish publication, Zeddy Lawrence, who wrote the article, could miss something so obvious.

The story doesn’t end here, however. There’s even more hypocrisy afoot. The AJN was happy to publish without any question the KA(NSW) statement that “the certification of Slurpees by It’s Kosher is an irrelevancy”, even though KA(NSW)  “allow for the consumption of Slurpees”, using the exact same methods that were used by It’s Kosher.

***

Rabbi Rabi writes:

If Zeddy Lawrence, editor in chief of the AJN, would do just a little more research, he would not be surprised by our CoSKA [Community Service Kosher Advisory] for various Slurpee flavours. After all, they are Kosher in NSW.

He [and so many others] must however remain in a perpetual state of surprise when considering that the same Slurpees that are Kosher in NSW, are banned by KAM [Kosher Australia Melbourne].

This riddle has long evaded resolution but an undeterred Rabbi Moshe Gutnick explains, “KAS [Kashrut Authority Sydney]in New South Wales, based on guidance from the London Beth Din and others, permits Slurpees – qualified by various guidelines as stated in our kosher directory”

There now, does that not make perfect sense? Its Kosher because its Kosher, but not because It’s Kosher says so – because “It’s Kosher is an irrelevancy”. And don’t ask why.

The fact is that foods are kosher if they comply with our traditional Orthodox, Halachic guidelines. Our CoSKA [Community Service Kosher Advisory] is issued when we have ensured that all ingredients are kosher, that all processes are suitable for kosher and that there is no risk of cross contamination from non-kosher foods or ingredients. We make all necessary evaluations and analyses and continue to monitor those for the duration of the CoSKA.”

Now a question is asked, “What measures are undertaken to ensure that all processes are suitable for kosher and that there is no risk of cross contamination”

Who better to ask this to than the London Beth Din Kashrut Division.They declare on their FAQ page:

All plain dried pasta, including pasta containing egg is permitted as is pasta coloured and flavoured with vegetable extracts such as spinach or tomato.

- also   All soft drinks are permitted, unless they contain grape juice or non-permitted E-numbers.

- also   Yoghurts are permitted except where they contain gelatine, E120 (which may be listed as cochineal or carmine), grape juice or other problematic ingredients.

Take note:

* This LBD Kosher announcement is made without inspecting ingredients and without inspecting the manufacturing plant.

* The LBD cannot verify that the same plant and machinery is not used for pork, lard, tallow or squid ink, which is used for making black pasta [and which the LBD is aware of] or any of those prohibited E numbers or other problematic ingredients.

I will explain how this works:

A.  Many ingredients are Kosher because they are intrinsically Kosher, like water, milk, etc. Their Kosher certification is a Mitzvah because it means a Jew is getting some Parnossa.

B.  There are known processing protocols in first world countries that provide assurances that Halacha can rely upon. In fact, the Gemara and Halacha is replete with illustrations where even in far inferior conditions, foods prepared by non-Jews in their non-Kosher kitchens, is perfectly Kosher LeChatChila, in the first instance. So the LBD is not worried about cross contamination from squid ink in the pasta factories.

Since the focus of our work is to assist the community, we will not be deterred if the manufacturers are unwilling to proceed with Kosher certification, or answer all of our questions. We pursue other avenues to establish the kosher status of the ingredients and processes. As should be clear from my tone, this information is very private and we are unable to provide detail.

Disclosure: The editor is married to Yaron Gottlieb.

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97 Comments »

  • Steven says:

    7 Eleven is happy for the slurpees to be certified, but the problem is with Coca Cola who make the concentrate/syrup and may not be interested in being inspected. Not really complicated.

  • Steven says:

    Meir, only certain LBD policies have been accepted by the KA based on research that has been done in Australia – out of the ones you mention, the only accepted one is the drinks policy.

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    It would seem, then, that we are to conclude that Rabbi Rabi has been misquoted by the AJN- “Rabbi Rabi, however, said “We are continuing our discussions with 7-Eleven Slurpee.”
    Either that, or someone has overstepped the mark here, more than a little!
    I am aware that Coca Cola make some carbonated syrups as BIB products for combination with carbonation and water, but without contacting the company that is selling the product, how does he know where it came from?

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    By way of update, it should be noted that Rabbi Rabi, on his website, claims that all slurpees are kosher, without any reserve, including those that contain glycerine and glycerol.

  • Osh says:

    Just saw this and thought it adds some relevant background on the history of the kashrut of coke products

    http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/magazine/articles/30-3-the-real-thing-how-coke-became-kosher.aspx?page=2

  • frosh says:

    Hi Osh,

    Thanks for sharing that article. I found it very interesting to read, but I couldn’t help but be shocked by the uncritical use of statistics in the following paragraph that appeared toward the end of the article:

    The result has been widespread interest by nonkosher consumers in kosher food. In the late 1980s the prestigious market-research firm Packaged Facts issued an influential report showing that only one in four purchasers of kosher products were in fact Jewish. Twenty years later a similar report would show that only one in ten kosher food purchasers were observant Jews. Today this fact is widely accepted among food manufacturers, who also maintain the corresponding belief that kosher certification can in many cases bolster their product’s image and increase sales, not only to observant Jews but also to many other consumers concerned about what they eat.

    This is an absolutely worthless statistic. The blaring problem with this it that it ignores base rates, as well as the fact that most non-kosher consumers buy kosher products all the time without any awareness or consciousness of the product being Kosher.

    For example, let’s take a random packaged food product with a high selling volume, and that happens to be Kosher, like Coco Pops . The vast majority of people who purchase this product in the supermarket are not Jewish, do not keep Kosher, and their reason for buying the product has absolutely nothing to do with the product being Kosher.
    Now, if one were to produce a similar statistic for a product such as Nuttlex Kosher, showing that non Jewish consumers were preferencing it over Original Nuttlex (which was previously certified as Kosher anyway, but that’s another story), then that would be worth something.
    http://www.nuttelex.com.au/nuttelex-kosher/
    http://www.nuttelex.com.au/nuttelex-original/

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Frosh, there is a wealth of research showing that, particularly American consumers, have a marked preference for kosher, consider it to be synonymous with high quality (especially for meat) and give credence to kosher symbols.

    The statistic itself is not worthless- it is perhaps being misused, in the sense that the implication that consumers are choosing kosher brands may not follow. Rather, it shows that:
    1. Mainstream/ popular products are increasingly certified
    2. There is an apparent commercial interest in certification, leading to an increase in kosher certification for widely consumed products
    3. Certified products are not confined to a niche market.

    Interesting to note, though, the story regarding some of the elements of coke that are chemically identical regardless of the source, but result in major kashrut issues…

  • When taxi drivers offer investment advice, you know something is out of whack. When newspapers become the source of Halchic guidance, there is more than something out of whack.

    There are significant corrections that must be made to that article.
    A. The kosher status of glycerin is not dependent on its source, although the big agencies will not use it.

    A discussion regarding musk and milk and honey, which is pretty much the foundation of the Halcha of NishTaNeh, that a non-Kosher food becomes denatured, it undergoes a metamorphosis and is deemed to be a new entity without association to its origin, begins with the Rosh [Berachos 6:35]

    The Rosh explains that there is some doubt about musk; is it a waste product ZeiAh, of beasts, in which case it is Kosher; or is it [which the Rosh thinks more likely] the accumulation of a substance which originates from blood and eventually becomes musk and is therefore prohibited like blood.

    The Rosh then quotes Rabbenu Yona who suggests that it is Kosher either way because it is a waste product. Even if it does originate from blood, it is, in its form as musk, a waste product, Pirsha, notwithstanding the pleasant taste and aroma of musk.

    Rabbenu Yona supports his argument with the following – all prohibited foods become Kosher if immersed for a long time, in honey. In honey, the non-Kosher foods are denatured, undergo a metamorphosis and become like honey. [Although it is not absolutely clear from the Rosh’s quote, if Rabbenu Yona is permitting even the residual piece of meat or just the honey which contains “dissolved” non-Kosher meat]

    The Rosh is unimpressed, suggesting that even Rabbenu Yona’s proof requires a proof.

    The Vilna Gaon however explains Rabbenu Yona’s proof. It is a Gemara [AZ 39b] as explained by the Ran. The Gemara permits honey acquired from a non Jew, in spite of the usual practice to add non-Kosher foods in order to enhance the honey’s flavour, since the non-Kosher food becomes denatured before it dissolves into the honey. [from here it is clear that the food itself becomes Kosher]

    Now although the Ran uses the word MasRiAch which usually means “stinky”, this cannot be the meaning since we know that foods immersed and left in honey do not become “stinky” and on the contrary are preserved and enhanced.

    Clearly the term MasRiAch means that it is certainly denatured, it has certainly metamorphosised and is a new product just as we are certain that a non-Kosher food that has become stinky is no longer Halachically deemed to be a non-Kosher food.

    – – – –

    The next point in that article – infinitesimal amount of glycerin isn’t nullified since bitul only applies to accidents, while the use of glycerin in Coke is deliberate.

    This is just not true. It most certainly is Battel even when it is deliberately added by a Jew. However, what apparently confuses is the Sages’ ruling to impose a penalty upon Jews who deliberately add the non-Kosher. They and they alone are penalised and not to eat the mixture. Everyone else may eat that mixture. And according to the BeNey Yisaschar it is preferable to drink that mixture than a drink which is completely free of all non-Kosher.

  • all slurpees are Kosher, with the advisory that some may contain glycerine
    this is based on established Halachic foundations and assumptions about ingredients and processes and follows the style of the LBD who permit pasta, fruit juices and yoghurts provided they don’t contain XYZ even though they are manufactured on the same machinery that produces the non-Kosher varieties and no Mashgiach oversees production or cleaning, nor are the ingredients investigated.

    Our Community Service Kosher Announcements [CoSKAs] go further, they are based on investigations of the ingredients and also of the processing.

  • Steven,
    Does anyone know, can anyone explain:
    A. why only certain LBD policies have been accepted by KAM?
    B. what research this is based upon?
    C. why KAM and KAS argue about slurpees being Kosher?

  • david segal says:

    Osh said: Just saw this…

    rabbi Tobias Geffen’s article “קרני ההוד – קוקה “קולה, To download here:

    http://hebrewbooks.org/2227

  • it is not true that
    American consumers prefer kosher meat
    it is true however, that it is very common for general manufactured foods to have Kosher certification but that is a senseless trend which leads to people buying regular products which are certified, but not because they are seeking Kosher.

    The statistics are all from the same source – an orthodox Jew who runs a profit making business from this statistical info and related services

    The only meat that enjoys some additional sales due to its Kosher status, is Hebrew National which is [one of] the most dominant hot dogs in the US.
    But the orthodox groups do not consider it to be truly Kosher

  • frosh says:

    “Conflict of interest”,
    You wrote:

    Frosh, there is a wealth of research showing that, particularly American consumers, have a marked preference for kosher, consider it to be synonymous with high quality (especially for meat) and give credence to kosher symbols. [My emphasis]

    Would you mind sending me a link to some peer reviewed research, or failing that, at least some respectable research … or failing that any actual research (as opposed to just some guy making a statement that is not actually backed by research)

    Given there’s a “wealth of research”, I’m sure you will be able to do this.

  • Confused says:

    RMR Wrote:
    The next point in that article – infinitesimal amount of glycerin isn’t nullified since bitul only applies to accidents, while the use of glycerin in Coke is deliberate.

    This is just not true. It most certainly is Battel even when it is deliberately added by a Jew. However, what apparently confuses is the Sages’ ruling to impose a penalty upon Jews who deliberately add the non-Kosher. They and they alone are penalised and not to eat the mixture. Everyone else may eat that mixture. And according to the BeNey Yisaschar it is preferable to drink that mixture than a drink which is completely free of all non-Kosher.

    Are you suggesting that R’ Geffen got his reasoning wrong or that the article didn’t report R’ Geffens reasoning correctly for getting Coke to change? If R’ Geffens reasoning is not presented correctly, can u help explain his reason for asking Coke to change the glycerine product?

    Thanks

  • There is a great Jewish tradition, we dispute Talmud and Halacha; it is Gd’s will and gives Him much pleasure, more in fact, than any other activity or devotion that we might engage in. Talmud Torah Kenneged Kulam.

    So, yes, I am proposing that the ruling that coke is not Kosher if it contains tiny amounts of non-Kosher, is not correct.

    I can only speculate about the reasoning – it is based upon an opinion of the Rashba, that is a DaAs Yachid – he’s all alone; and also I suspect is possibly misunderstood.

    My suspicion is that the trend today for Kosher agencies to apply this extreme stringency is not driven by Halachic considerations.

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Frosh, my apologies for not taking the time to provide citations before now.

    As I am without the relevant library at this hour, a 30 second google search provides an abundance of material.
    Market research is, by its nature, rarely peer reviewed.
    However, I’ve picked a random sample from the first two pages of results.
    I’ve offered a relevant brief quotation from within some pieces. Some of them cite the same research, but show an acceptance of the position by governments, agricultural departments and others.
    Again, apologies for the lack of peer-reviewed, referenced material. However, I hope that this will suffice.

    “Sixty-two percent of respondents to a recent study by Mintel Organization International stated they buy kosher for its food quality. The second most common reason to purchase kosher food was general healthfulness with 51 percent. The survey of 2,500 adults found 14 percent of respondents indicating religious rules as the reason why they purchase kosher food. ”
    http://www.agmrc.org/markets__industries/food/kosher-industry-profile/

    Introduction

    Kosher foods represent a growing niche market that can be associated with any cuisine. A recent USDA Foreign Agriculture Services Study (Faye Clark Marketing & Communications, Inc., 2002) revealed that the Canadian kosher food sales increased from $480 million in 2000 to $575 million in 2001. This is a 19.7 per cent increase. Four forces are driving the growth:
    Increased religiosity among Jews
    Concern about food safety by other Canadians
    Increased interest by Muslim, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, vegetarian and people who are lactose intolerant
    Increasing availability of kosher products.
    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis8737

    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis8737/$file/8737.pdf?OpenElement

    Although Kosher-certification identifies a product’s religious significance, for many consumers it also
    serves as a quality seal of approval, especially for those that are food-label savvy. For example, when
    a Kosher-certified food product is labeled ‘pareve’, knowledgeable consumers understand that the
    product is vegetarian, dairy-free and meat-free without having to examine its label thoroughly. When it
    comes to meat, kosher meat is safer because of the strict procedures that remove blood (which is the
    means of transmission of many diseases) from the meat.

    http://digitalcollection.gov.mb.ca/awweb/pdfopener?smd=1&did=17274&md=1

    Jewish ethnicity exerts an exceptionally strong influence on consumers, since it incorporates both cultural and religious dimensions. Jewish celebrations of their New Year and Passover are similar to Greek and Italian observations of Christmas and Easter. Preferences among the three groups are for high quality kids weighing from 20 to 40 pounds live. To satisfy an increase in demand for kosher food, each year about 500 new kosher products appear on the market. This trend is driven by 1) increased religious observance by young Jews, and 2) the belief among many gentiles that kosher food is of higher quality.

    http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/livestock/goatdemand.shtml

    This study was undertaken to investigate the inclusion of a kosher claim in an advertisement for a familiar and un familiar brand of breakfast cereal. Results showed that, as hypothesized, for the familiar brand a kosher third party endorsement led to significantly more kosher attribute- related thoughts, more favorable product attitude and great er purchase intention. For the unfamiliar brand, no signifi cant impact upon these dependent measures was observed given a kosher endorsement. Findings are interpreted from a cognitive perspective regarding the salience of the kosher attribute in a product familiarity context. Managerial implications are discussed.

    http://jam.sagepub.com/content/19/3/177.short

    Please indicate if the above is not sufficient to make my point.

    Or, frankly, next time please conduct a Google search first? It would speed discourse if we seek to verify before we accuse.

  • Confused says:

    Thanks for the clarification

    Basically, Rabbi Geffen got it wrong. If this is the case why has no one else called this out, like the Rav Belsky & Shechter of OU?

    You write that this extreme stringency is NOT driven by Halacha, if so what is driving all the major kosher groups worldwide to override the Halacha?

    In essence I understand that the charter for the likes of OU and OK are to find and certify the widest range of products on the market for the benefit of the Jewish consumer. Yet, by ousting glycerine, gelatine and carmine they have blocked out a massive number of products.

    Something doesn’t make sense? What are the ‘non-Halachic’ considerations. It can’t be money as they stand to gain vastly greater amounts with a huge number of additional products to be added to their portfolios

    Any thoughts?

  • Curious G says:

    Rabbi, could you tell us when this trend began? was there a time when kosher agencies did allow all glicerine to be used?

    When did everything go frum crazy?

  • Mintel is the business I was referring to earlier

    the statistics from the USDA Foreign Agriculture Services Study (Faye Clark Marketing & Communications, Inc., 2002) revealed that the Canadian kosher food sales increased from $480 million in 2000 to $575 million in 2001. This is a 19.7 per cent increase. Four forces are driving the growth – I wonder if this just reflects the fashion that is entrenched, not that the consumers are actively looking for Kosher.
    Is there any survey that has actually polled the consumers?

    I think the following is pure speculation cut and pasted from Mintel press releases – when a Kosher-certified food product is labeled ‘pareve’, knowledgeable consumers understand that the product is vegetarian, dairy-free and meat-free without having to examine its label thoroughly. When it comes to meat, kosher meat is safer because of the strict procedures that remove blood (which is the
    means of transmission of many diseases) from the meat.

    I don’t understand the significance of the familiar as opposed to the unfamiliar brands of breakfast cereals but this I think supports my thinking;
    For the unfamiliar brand, no significant impact upon these dependent measures was observed given a kosher endorsement.

  • I can only speculate about reasons why but I suspect it has to do with keeping their image – there is intense rivalry between orthodox groups, especially with regards to Kashrus; about who is more religious and about whose rabbi is greater, which inevitably leads to insults and more being traded.

    Also there is economic advantage, and certainly being correctly perceived/identified in the marketplace is V important for sales and marketing yourself. It is no winder that the rabbis for Kashrus are Rabbis Belsky and Schachter who represent V different Hashkafos and at the same time the OU has as its chief rabbi for the org rabbi Robert Weill [i think is the spelling] who represents a V different type of life outlook.

    Besides in Kashrus, Rabbis Belsky and Schachter do not have the final word, they present advice which is vetted and OKed by others.

    As for when it began – well that also is speculation but it seems reasonable that as their power grew they consolidated to reinforce that power [LeSheim Shamayim or otherwise] and then matters proceed as they pretty much do in all communities where there is opportunity to exercise control

  • When Reb Chaim Ozer Paskened that Gelatine was Kosher it was accepted everywhere.

    Even if some took the attitude that it is not Kosher, they did not have the Chutzpah to say so publicly and certainly had no legitimate Halachic argument to disagree with him, otherwise, we can be sure such cogent arguments would have been published and a public printed and published exchange would have taken place

  • frosh says:

    Sixty-two percent of respondents to a recent study by Mintel Organization International stated they buy kosher for its food quality

    Another useless statistic, since it doesn’t mention the criteria for being included in the survey.

    Sixty-two percent of respondents… which respondents… Is it 62% of the general population as it might imply (I very much doubt it is!), or is it 62% of Evangelical Christians who frequent kosher stores…

    Sorry, but after being so disappointed with your first effort, I didn’t bother reading the rest…

    FYI, I pull useless statistics apart for a living!

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Mr Frosh, I would suggest that, before concluding that the study is useless, you take the time to look up the study and not just the quotation that it refers to. I think it fair to conclude, on the basis of the material provided, that the governments of the united states and canadian provinces are firmly convinced that this is the case, and operate accordingly.

    If this is really something worth pursuing, enjoy.

  • I have had a discussion on a private fb and present here a summary hoping to promote more discussion
    The queries are marked with * and my responses directly following marked with #
    BTW this discussion on fb occupies more than 13,000 words

    * I am deeply frustrated and bamboozled by your approach to this discussion.
    # and I by yours

    * I’ve asked what I think are fair and practical questions about:
    # me too

    * – what your processes of supervision and investigation are
    # see below

    * – what you require in order to give a hechsher
    # see below

    * – The nature of a CoSKA and ongoing monitoring and alerts
    # When we issue a CoSKA [Community Service Kosher Announcement] it is based on investigation of ingredients and processes that takes us to a point where we are confident that the product is Kosher. This is not a certification since the manufacturer has declined to proceed with Kosher certification.

    # Our investigations for CoSKAs are through private confidential back channels with the primary producers or sellers themselves, who have declined to have certification but will often nevertheless offer some information, as well as with those in the manufacturing, importing, distribution and Kashrus and process engineering industries who can vouch with authority re the status of the ingredients and its manufacturing processes.

    # Our CoSKA is superior to the London BD which has long identified as Kosher all pasta, for example, even though they recognise that black pasta made with squid ink is not Kosher and they have not investigated the methods and protocols employed to clean the machinery between Kosher and non-Kosher production.
    They have also issued identical Kosher status for drinks in coffee shops and fruit juices and yoghurts even though they recognise that some varieties [those with various E numbers] are not Kosher.

    # Another perspective alluded to in the discussion – certification raises revenue, “approval” does not. So a Kosher agency will hold out on a product they know is Kosher if they wish to exert pressure to provide certification. This of course is covered by a “not recommended” announcement.

    * – Crucially, why your position on halachic matters differs from every other hechsher I could identify
    # Kashrus is not a numbers contest nor a name dropping fight, I present my Halachic arguments, you are welcome to discuss and debate with me and I promise you I will respond, but I do not concede or submit or agree to be held hostage to anyone else’s opinion just because it is their opinion, the Halacha must be able to stand on its own legs.

    * When asked to provide sources and authority, to explain why you are right and everyone else wrong, you asserted a ‘phantom itch’
    # See my website and this re glycerol – http://www.kosherveyosher.com/nishtaneh.html

    * Why does everyone else hold differently to you?
    # How can I be responsible for someone else’s opinion? I have invited everyone to engage in a Halachic discussion and not name dropping – but my inquisitor has not acknowledged my offer

    * With a single google search, you will find detailed explanations on their website.
    # No, one finds quasi Halachic arguments that do not engage nor recognise differing opinions, and you are welcome to present any Halachic argument – I promise I will respond

    * On Galus, you write that “I can only speculate about the reasoning – it is based upon an opinion of the Rashba, that is a DaAs Yachid – he’s all alone; and also I suspect is possibly misunderstood.
    My suspicion is that the trend today for Kosher agencies to apply this extreme stringency is not driven by Halachic considerations.”
    * You imply, effectively corruption on hundreds if not thousands of rabbanim
    # Yes, that is correct, somewhat. Corruption suggests a conscious malicious purpose to cheat, I suspect it isn’t conscious nor malicious.

    * You label the Rashba’s position a da’at yachid not to be followed.
    # That is correct

    * You have ignored the wealth of responsa and material that does not support you position.
    # No, I have evaluated and debated them and found them not persuasive

    * You irresponsibly tell people to treat kashrut and halacha as questions of politics only.
    # No, but I do suggest that the facts support the suspicion that not all is healthy and Kosher nor Yosher in the arena of Kashrus

  • Sunshine says:

    The great moral debate of our time

    How ridiculous , what a mockery of what it means to be a truly good person.

  • Being Loyal to Gd – as is being Loyal to ones spouse children parents and all those we profess to love –

    is all about being a truly good person, plus a little bit more.

    When you choose that horrible design because you know your husband loves it, or cook that tasteless mess because she likes it, are you being a truly good person?

    And when you purchase that useless toy which you KNOW will be in the trash or abandoned within minutes of it being opened, because your grandchild is begging for it, are you being a truly good person?

    That’s why we say people are madly in love – we do mad things to prove and display our love and loyalty.

    Sunshine – there certainly are ridiculous things going on which deserve sound and strong criticism, but I think you have not expressed yourself in the best possible way.

  • Although Isaac Balbin has plenty to say about my work, he doesn’t like to say it on Galus – where he cannot exercise full editorial control. [Benseon is another – who recently had his ego badly bruised on Galus so he goes where he feels secure, Pitputim]

    Well they said that at least Pravda=Truth had one true word in every edition, perhaps Pitputim=Shtooyot wants to be sure that’s its more than one word.

    Anyway here’s one [with overtones of Faulty Towers] that Isaac, in a Blondlot maneuver, somehow got all contorted with, he can see things, BIG things that others cannot- see this about N-Rays, the French response to X-Yays, http://www.skepdic.com/blondlot.html:

    – – –
    Steven January 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    Am I missing something?

    Rabbi Moshe Gutnick is apparently berating Rabbi Rabi for declaring a few varieties of slurpees kosher, but in Sydney ALL slurpees are kosher?

    – – –
    Benseon Apple January 13, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    The KA in Sydney has a “drinks policy” that allows any drink as long as it does not include certain ingredients. This is the relevant policy also for slurpees. (See the fruit juices guidelines athttp://www.ka.org.au/index.php/Halachic_Policy/The_Kashrut_Authority_Policy_on_Fruit_Juices.htmland the soft drinks policy athttp://www.ka.org.au/index.php/component/option,com_kosherdb/Itemid,61/catid,86/).

    This does not mean that the KA has checked out the particular slurpee flavours (and the production facilities) and given them a hechsher. Meir Rabi, on the other hand, has given (unannounced) a hechsher to 7 Eleven for the slurpee flavours in question. There is a clear distinction.

    – – –
    Steven, January 14, 2014 at 10:27 am
    I cannot see the clear distinction.

    – – –
    pitputim, January 14, 2014 at 10:32 am
    There is a big distinction. I’d say one would imply it’s okay for Mehadrin and Badatz and every Hungarian offshoot hechsher. The other is paskening for a small consumer base in challenging circumstances.

    The bottom line. Name the RABBONIM who trust the verification of slurpees.
    Does Donenbaum, Heimlich, Wurtzberger et al by that Kashrus business.

    I’ve avoided anyone to do with KA

    – – –
    Steven January 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm
    Sorry, still confused. I have been told that CCA are refusing to co-operate with anyone. Both KAS and KYV are saying it’s kosher without checking ingredients with CCA. So what’s the difference?

    – – –
    pitputim January 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm
    The difference is that the Melbourne source cryptically claims being privy to private information. This would presumably even make it Mehadrin

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I would take this opportunity to note as follows:
    1. This is not what I would describe as an appropriate summary of our discussion on facebook. The essence of our discussion remains a series of queries as to your approach and halachic requirements for kashrut certification and authorisation, which you largely declined to answer, as well as queries as to why you hold differently to every other kashrut organisation.

    2. You were instructed by Gideon Epstein, on whose wall this discussion took place, not to re-post the discussion without the consent of its participants. When you previously posted the discussion, as it was then, Gideon requested that you remove it, which you did. I would therefore respectfully request that you remove this post, until such time as you have the consent of the participants of the discussion. This is basic ‘netiquette.’

    3. I am very much in favour of posting, and distributing, the entire discussion. I fear that it does not show ItsKosher in a very good light- mystery, refusal to explain halachic or kashrut positions, ad hominem attacks and an obsession with a ‘phantom itch.’ Should you gain permission from participants, I guess we will continue the same debate again, you will again decide to make it about other kashrut organisations and not your own and we will restart the process.

    4. I will post this comment to the facebook thread as well.

    5. Your ‘CoSKA’ has still not been emailed to me.

    Nadav Prawer

  • Nadav,

    1. please post whatever you think requires attention and I promise to answer whatever is in my power and is also relevant.

    2. There was no need for you to mention anyone’s name, unless you have permission, which I suppose you do but which seems quite strange when you are insisting that the named person prefers to be unnamed.

    2b. I removed the quoted string of posts since they were all named and identified, and did I already mention this to you? – that I did not post it. In fact I rudely interrupted an important business meeting to remove it ASAP when I discovered it had been posted.

    3. Post away Nadav, I’m sure almost everyone will find 14,000 words rivetting reading – How about a better crafted, succinct rewording of your questions – and post them here – I promise I will respond

    4. You must be the only person in Australia to have not seen our CoSKA. I’m pretty sure its on our fb

  • It’s so nice to know that Isaac thinks that my humble Hashgacha is “okay for Mehadrin and Badatz and every Hungarian offshoot hechsher” It is true that I do spend every morning learning in the Adass Kollel, but I hardly aspired to those dizzying heights.

    At the same time, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick will be delighted to discover that his Hashgacha, “is paskening for a small consumer base in challenging circumstances.” In other words, he is allowed to bend the rules and be lenient where others are not because he is in “challenging circumstances”

    And here is the very best, Isaac informs us that his choice of Rabbonim do not trust Rabbi Moshe Gutnick’s Hashgacha. “The bottom line: name the RABBONIM who trust the verification of slurpees.
    Do [Rabbis] Donenbaum, Heimlich, Wurtzberger et al [go] by that Kashrus business?

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    So far, the track record has not been in answering questions.
    So let’s start simply:

    Please name the kashrut agencies that share your position on glycerine.

  • Confused says:

    Ok – getting back to the Glycerine / Rabbi Geffen issue. Rabbi Rabi thank you for your honesty. You are saying

    1) Rabbi Geffen made a mistake in his decision
    2) There is plenty of great Halachah driven Rabbis who permit Glycerine and Gelatine including Rabbi Chaim Ozer and Rashba
    3) All the relevant Rabbis in charge of Kashrut worldwide since Rabbi Geffen’s times are & were aware that their ongoing decision to NOT allow Glycerine is NOT based on Halachah and driven by others ‘ The powers that be’ who override them and their knowledge
    4) You suggest that the drivers of ‘The powers that be’ for forcing the community to adhere to NON Halachic decisions is their vanity and need for ‘one upmanship’ between Kashrut bodies and between Rabbis

    I see a lot of truth in what you write and quite frankly am disgusted by the likes of the Rabbis including [Eds: names removed. If you’re going to name names, at least write under your own name] who knowingly deceive the community under the guise of their Rabbinic leadership by allowing the money men and their need to keep their jobs as more important!

    FOR SHAME!!!

  • Rabbosay,

    Halacha is not a numbers game.

    Neither a name dropping game.

    Halacha is not a game. However, by the tone and posture of your postings, it appears that you do not realise this.

    Halacha is a serious discussion about Torah. Now I have presented the Halacha as is understand by many great Torah Sages, not just conclusions but their arguments. This permits you and everyone else to study and understand the framework and foundations that underpin my advice.

    That you do not address these underpinnings appears to support the view that in fact there are no serious challenges to these Halachic positions. Otherwise, as Nadav has told me, any simple web search will readily disclose any number of Halachic arguments that prove my error. The problem is – Nadav is wrong. A web search displays a number of rabbis and agencies who declare it to be not Kosher or not recommended – but without substantive argument, without identifying those great sages who permitted and who permit gelatine, carmine etc. Those web searches might offer at the most, a quasi Halachic discussion.

    You are most welcome to debate the Halacha with me and you should also feel comfortable debating the Halacha with any rabbis who offer an opinion. However, if all you seek is, “the OU/OK/Star-K/CrC/cRc etc. says its acceptable – or not” you are not engaging in a Halachic discussion. You are not serving HKBH. You are pretty close to betraying your duty as orthodox Jews.

    There is plenty of documentation on my website, seek and you shall find.

    The verse YeGiAh KaPeCha Ki Sochal, … AshReCha VeTov Lach, has an apparent repetition, which is explained in the Gemara -It refers to things being good in this world and again in the next world as well.

    The MaHarSha explains, when one works to understand Torah, there is a twofold benefit. Firstly on this world one can enjoy those foods that otherwise would be treated as forbidden through ignorance or laziness. Secondly when one gets to Olam Haba, one is rewarded for ones hard work in studying the Halacha, for one’s determination to keep at it even though others have already come to other conclusions and also for one’s courage to face those who try to bully their opinions and preferences upon others.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rabbi, as my mother is fond of saying, ‘if one person tells you you’re drunk, ignore them. if everyone tells you that you are drunk, go to bed.’ Of course halacha is not a numbers game, (outside of the times when it is- sanhedrin, beit din, ‘rov kahal,’ takana she’eina yachol la’amod ba and a host of other cases) but it is a question of intellectual honesty.

    That requires more than just declaring your view to be the right one- it requires a consideration of other people’s positions where, it seems, you are in the extreme minority. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Ockham’s razor answer to the question ‘why does no-one else seem to agree with me’ is that I am wrong. A failure to do so, in the circumstances where an error carries substantial halachic consequences is tantamount to ‘mipnei iver.’ I don’t appreciate the accusation that I am betraying my duty as a Jew or to God- it’s quite offensive. But what’s more offensive is the suggestion that all the rest of us, ALL of us, are just idiots because we rely on rabbanim across the globe.

    But, to quote- “1. please post whatever you think requires attention and I promise to answer whatever is in my power and is also relevant.”

    So, again, are there ANY other kashrut authorities that share your position on glycerine?

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Editor: please do not repeat comments. Please do not discuss moderation practice or policy in thread. Email the Editor with any queries.

  • Nadav,

    Please listen, I may be wrong, I may be drunk, and I will accept those evaluations if you can show this to be true – and I offer you a V easy method – share with us not names, not numbers, but Halachic arguments. This is easy according to you, as you assure us that a simple web search will provide any number of the Halachic proofs you seek.

    Please tell us why Rabbenu Yona, who says that non-Kosher meat becomes denatured when soaked for some time in honey and becomes Kosher, Paskened in ShA, and those who support his Pesak; Mishneh Berurah, the Achiezer, the Vilna Gaon, and even the Rosh who in his Halacha questions Rabbenu Yona but in his Teshuvos accepts – will not equally Pasken that glycerol derived from non-Kosher animal fat, is Kosher?

    I don’t mind keeping company with these great Poskim, even if you insist that I am in the extreme minority.

  • Nadav,

    re your being offended – I wrote, “You are most welcome to debate the Halacha with me ….. however, if …. you are not engaging in a Halachic discussion, you are not serving HKBH. You are pretty close to betraying your duty as orthodox Jews.”

    So, if you consider my words offensive that’s because you admit [and I cannot believe this] that you are not engaging in a Halachic discussion.
    Now I know you fairly well, and I never considered you to be anything but a thinking and analytic person who values investigating the Halacha and being a Loyal Jew; and even now I don’t believe you actually maintain that. So it is beyond me why you consider my words offensive.

    Similarly, your distortion of my comments, your insistence that, “all the rest of us, ALL of us, are just idiots because we rely on rabbanim across the globe” this too is a tragic theatric distortion, usually employed by those who have nothing of substance to offer and forgive me, but it does you no honour.

    And, who are these people you embrace in, “ALL of us”? I spoke of those who are capable of making a Halachic analysis but do not, those who just seek numbers and names. Surely you are not numbered amongst that group!

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rav, the last time i posted answers to these very questions, you simply ignored them.

    Let me again repeat the same question, one at a time- is there a single kashrut authority in the globe that agrees with your position?

  • Confused says:

    Rabbi Rabi, I don’t understand why you are pushing Mr Prawer to engage in debating Kashrut Halachah. It is obvious that he, along with the absolute bulk of Jews internationally follow the accepted opinions of the Rabbinical leaders of today.

    I suggest that as it seems to me to be a heavyweight argument that stretches back several decades, you should contend with the heavyweights in this field rather than a simple layman. Have you or are you engaging with the Rabbis of OU,LBD,OK? It would be amazing to see responses and arguments from the likes of Rabbi Belsky when you clearly demonstrate that up until the war such products as Gelatine were classified as 100% kosher

    However, I disagree with regards to the competence of the average layman to delve into Halachic analysis. There is a myriad of opinions on just about every topic in life and very few are trained in this Rabbinic sphere. Reminds me of the quotable quote ” whenever 2 Jews discuss a topic there are at least 3 opinions” – The question is which one is the applicable opinion or are all 3 valid and we can follow which ever we like.

  • Nadav,

    you don’t even need to do the search – you say you’ve already posted the answers elsewhere – I’m sure you know how to copy and paste.
    But you are wrong – you have sought and found naught but quasi-Halachic arguments and analysis

    Confused,

    I am challenging everyone to research and analyse all Halacha, not just Kashrus.

    and you are wrong:
    A. the absolute bulk of Jews both locally and internationally do not unfortunately, follow Halacha.

    What you really mean is that
    B. in YOUR opinion, the absolute bulk of Jews follow ….
    C. and you don’t mean all Jews,
    C1. but only those you count, the orthodox Jews, and
    C2. you define orthodox as those who accept those who you deem to be the Rabbinical leaders of today.

    And we ought to know more about WHY they accept
    D. what community pressures compel compliance
    E. what proportion of your sample set, take liberties [as soon as they feel they are not being monitored by the local Gd squad] because they really know that the Kashrus standards are not about Kashrus but about power, politics, profit, personalities and business

    The Talmud and Poskim are replete with “heavyweight arguments that stretches back several decades” yet we who are loyal to HKBH, engage in their discussions and debates and evaluate and argue. This is the desire of Gd. It is why I I posted those words that offended some – “if all you seek is, “the OU/OK/Star-K/CrC/cRc etc. says its acceptable – or not” you are not engaging in a Halachic discussion. You are not serving HKBH. You are pretty close to betraying your duty as orthodox Jews”

    The heavyweights you refer to have already published their opinions and arguments. Go and see if they refer to the position of those I mentioned earlier. Now if you were to suggest that the Rabbis today are utilising Kashrus as a means of building barriers, of maintaining Jewish identity and preventing Jews, their flock, from straying – we could proceed with a discussion. But I don’t believe you agree.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rav, I previously posted a link, http://www.shaalvim.co.il/torah/view.asp?id=33

    I believe that this offers a good summary of the issues.
    However, as ‘Confused’ pointed out, where one person is differing from everyone else, it behooves them to explain why all others are wrong!

    Again, the construct that you are positing is that everyone else is wrong- or, at least, you won’t identify a single kashrut agency that shares that position.

    so whether you want to have a proxy argument with little old me defending the rest of the kashrut agencies of the world or not, whether we are arguing about the machloket about whether the meat, or only the meat in the honey, is kosher, whether we are having an argument as to whether Reb Moshe was referring to the different bitul rules for wine and water as opposed to other products or not, we are still going to be in the same place.

    Rav, if you are a halachic pioneer, that is ok. But say so- go out on a limb and declare that you are alone in your position amongst kashrut authorities, publish a tshuva! Show us why the competing logic and halachic views is wrong!

    In the interim, can we infer from your replies that there is no other kashrut agency that shares your position on glycerine?

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    And, for that matter, can we assume that you are aware of why these kashrut agencies do not share your position on glycerine?

  • Nadav,
    The link you posted, http://www.shaalvim.co.il/torah/view.asp?id=33,
    supports me, That’s right – he quotes the Teshuvos HaRosh where the Rosh Paskens like the Rabbenu Yona – soaking in honey makes non-Kosher meat Kosher, even without the product becoming MasRiAch, a non-food.

    So the Gaon of Vilna, quotes the Ran, who uses the word MasRiAch which usually means “stinky”, but simply means, that the foods become denatured and Kosher “as if” they had become “stinky”.

    I’ve said nothing about others being wrong in Halacha. I have simply presented the Halacha that indicates that glycerine is Kosher.

    That hardly suggests that I am a Halchcic pioneer

    My publication is my website.

    In the interim, we infer from your lack of substantive Halachic analysis, and reliance on Kosher agencies Kashrut policies [a most decidedly un-Halachic modern-day double-speak] that there is no Halachic reason to prohibit glycerine.

  • Confused says:

    Rabbi

    It seems that you have confused yourself more than I. When I write:
    It is obvious that he, along with the absolute bulk of Jews internationally follow the accepted opinions of the Rabbinical leaders of today.

    All I mean, ALL Jews regardless of their level of observance rely on the little kosher symbol on the package. If they see an appropriate kosher stamp they purchase with the understanding that the Rabbi who authorised the product is doing so based on the fact that it is Kosher. None of these consumers are looking for debate or intricate insight, they just want a product.

    This includes everyone from an Ultra Orthodox Jew wanting to ensure his bubble gum is kosher to a two nights a year Jew wanting to ensure that the products purchased for the seder night are kosher. I believe that the underlying premise of Kosher agencies worldwide is to determine the kashrut of products, not to engage the consumer in Halachic discourse.

    Not sure where you interpreted or understand my statement to mean points A – E as you constructed above

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Editor, the site seemed to crash, so I’m duplicating my previous post, in brief- if my comment made it through, please delete.

    1. The link most certainly doesn’t support you- it raises the issues and the conclusion!
    2. Really! The lack of reference (which is incorrect) to ‘substantive halachic analysis’ infers a statement which you know to be untrue, is correct? You know that others- seemingly everyone in the world of kashrut- don’t hold the way you do. As a consequence, the inference you propose is silly.
    More importantly, though, I again refer you to the reality- which you have not chosen to dispute- that every other kashrut authority in the world disagrees with your position. Even pre-large kashrut authority operations- e.g. Coke, the same position seems to be pretty much universal. You don’t give any weight to the universal operating principle of you kashrut colleagues?

    Editor: The site has indeed been experiencing problems. Apologies for any lost comments or other inconvenience.

  • I have translated various parts of The Shiur of Rav Amital, referred to earlier, which as I said supports the Halacha that change creates Kosher from non-Kosher

    He begins with the Rosh, who suggests that musk is not Kosher because it is derived from blood
    The Rosh presents the opinion of Rabbenu Yona who Paskens it is Kosher because it is changed from its origin just as non-Kosher meat changes when it is soaked in honey.
    The Rosh does not agree and questions even the proof or Rabbenu Yona

    כתב הרא”ש במסכת ברכות פרק ו’ סימן לה:
    י”א שהמוש”ק הוא זיעת חיה ונכון יותר שחיה ידועה היא שיש לה חטוטרת בצוארה ומתקבץ שם תחלה כעין דם ואחר כך חוזר ונעשה מוש”ק והר”ז הלוי ז”ל היה אוסר לאכלו מפני חשש דם וה”ר יונה ז”ל פי’ דאפשר ליתן בו טעם להתיר ולומר דפירשא בעלמא הוא אע”פ שמתחלה היה דם לא חיישינן להכי דבתר השתא אזלינן שהרי הדבש אם נפל בו חתיכה של איסור ואע”ג שהאיסור נימוח בתוך הדבש כיון שדרך הדבש להחזיר הדבר הנופל לתוכו דבש כמו דבש דיינינן ליה ומותר[3] הכא נמי אע”פ שמתחלה היה דם כיון דיצא מתורת דם בתר השתא אזלינן ואע”פ שנותן טעם לשבח בתבשיל ונראה דהא אפילו ראייתו צריכה ראיה:
    ומשמע לכאורה מרבנו יונה שאיסור שהשתנה בתר השתא אזלינן. וראייתו מדבש שמשנה את האיסור והופך אותו לדבר מותר.

    – – – – – – –
    The Halacha regarding musk is discussed in ShA OCh 215. Rabbenu Yona is quoted and challenged by the Magen Avraham from the Gemara of Bechoros [6] that suggests that milk ought to be non-Kosher since it is, according to one opinion, an altered form of blood. However, milk is Kosher but not because it is altered but because the Torah provides an explicit decree to permit it; and this decree applies exclusively to milk.

    So, if not for the special exemption, milk would be prohibited; in that case musk, being also derived from blood, ought to be prohibited since it has no special exemption.

    ומגן אברהם באו”ח סימן רט”ז ס”ק ג’ הביא את דברי הרא”ש וכתב עליהם:
    ולענ”ד צ”ע דאמרי’ בבכורות דף ו’ דחלב חידוש הוא כיון דדם נעכר ונעשה חלב ה”ל לאסרו א”כ ש”מ דבתר מעיקרא אזלינן וכ”ת נילף מחלב הא קי”ל דמחידוש לא ילפינן

    – – – – – – –
    The GRA answers the MAvraham’s query from milk, by referencing the Ran that explains the Gemara’s ruling [AZ 39b] that we may eat honey processed by non-Jews even though they commonly add non-Kosher ingredients since these foods “MasRiAch” become “stinky” and become Kosher.
    [now it is clear that foods do not become “stinky” when immersed in honey, on the contrary, honey preserves and enhances the foods immersed in it. The meaning is simply that honey changes the character of the foods immersed in it and changes them as surely as non-Kosher foods that are left to become stinky are no longer deemed to be the original prohibited food]

    וע’ עוד בביאור הגר”א באו”ח שם שישב את קושית המ”א על רבנו יונה מדבש, על פי הר”ן בע”ז. על הגמרא שאומרת בדף לט ע”ב שאין חשש איסור בדבש של נוכרים: “דבש למאי ניחוש לה, אי משום איערובי מיסרא סרי” ומבאר הר”ן שם שאף שדרך הוא לערב בדבר דברים אחרים ונימוחו בתוכו וחוזרין דבש, “ליכא למיחש להכי לפי שהמתערב בו עד שלא נימוח מסריח ומותר”. מדברים אלו משמע שהגר”א אכן מפרש את טעם ההיתר משום שהיה שלב שהסריח לפני שהשתנה. אבל אם כן, הרי בדבר שלא עבר שלב של סרחון ישאר אסור.

    – – – – – – –
    The issue that remains is – understanding milk: why is a special exemption required if milk is altered from its original identity of blood and altering makes it Kosher as we see Rabbenu Yona Paskens that musk, altered from blood, becomes Kosher? The answer to this is that the Gemara is pursuing an approach that it in fact knows is not necessary but has in the back of its mind another need. There is a secondary problem with milk – any component or product taken from a living beast is prohibited because it comes from a living beast, Eiver Min HaChay and it is this that requires a special exemption because even in its new form it is still the product of a living beast.

    אולם ניתן לדחות את סתירת המגן אברהם מחלב: חלב גם אם השתנה צריך לימוד שהוא מותר משום שעדיין הוא כבשר, ומנין שהשתנה לדבר היתר. וזה החידוש של התורה . מה שאין כן בדבש שהוא היתר ומה שנהפך בו לדבש הפך להיתר.

    – – – – – – –
    Now Rabbi Amital reflects that the Chok Yakov 467:16, agrees with this interpretation, as does the Chasam Sofer YD 2:70; unlike Rav L Y Halperin.

    ונראה לי שזו כוונתו של החוק יעקב סימן תס”ז אות טז,[4] שהרע”א בסימן רט”ז מפנה אליו. ושלא כפי שהבינו הרב לוי יצחק הלפרין המובא בחוברת הנ”ל עמ’ כא[5].
    ונראה שגם בשו”ת חתם סופר ח”ב יו”ד סימן ע’ הבין את דברי החק יעקב כך:
    ודבר גדול דיבר הגאון חק יעקב סי’ תס”ז דזה אינו ענין לדם נעכר ונעשה חלב דלא הוה אזלי’ בתר השתא אי לאו דגלי קרא דשאני התם דלא נישתנו לדבר המותר בשלמא בשר שנשתנה לדבש איכא דבש תמרים ודבורים היתר גמור ונשתנה הבשר לאותו הדבר היתר אבל הכא נתלבן וליכא בעולם שום חלב דלא אתי מדם שנאמר שהדם נתהפך לאותו דבר אלא נעשה לבן ומהיכי תיתי לנו להתיר דם שנתעפש ונעשה ירוק ה”נ לא נתיר אם נעשה לבן אי לאו דגלי קרא אבל בנתהפך לדבר המותר או לעפרא בעלמא בהא פליגי.

    – – – – – – –
    The Chasam Sofer YD 117 explains why grape seed oil is Kosher: the prohibited wine product [the seeds] have been altered to a new product, oil – which is the same as non-Kosher meat changing to honey. [Here too there is no intermediate stage where the food becomes “stinky”.

    וכתב החתם סופר בתשובתו בחלק יו”ד סימן קיז בענין שמן הנעשה מחרצנים של ענבי יין נסך התיר כיון שהיין נהפך לשמן והוי כנבלה שנתהפכה לדבש, ע”ש בכל דבריו שסמך על מה שכתב החק יעקב ודחה ראית בעל מקור חיים מהגמ’ בכריתות שהזכרנו וכתב: “אבל לדינא דברי הח”י נכונים ואמתיים וה”נ דכוותיה”.

    – – – – – – – – –
    Rosh Teshuvos 24:6
    Everyone uses honey from the non-Jews, during Pesach, and none are concerned that they have added Chamets to it, since this is not the usual manner of processing honey.
    Besides, if we are to be concerned for such things then honey ought to be prohibited all year since it is known that some add meat to honey. However, Rabbenu Yona Paskens that even if meat is added it becomes Kosher.

    בשו”ת הרא”ש כלל כד סימן ו: “ודבש בפסח, לא ראיתי אדם נוהג בו איסור משום חששא דעירוב קמח, דלא שכיחא, וגם נתבטל קודם הפסח. ואם באנו לאסור דבש משום חשש תערובות, נאסור אותו כל השנה, דיש אומרים שנותנים לתוכו בשר נבלה ומתהפך לדבש. וה”ר יונה ז”ל כתב, שאפילו נותנין בו בשר נבלה, כיון דנמוח ונתהפך לדבש, מותר, דבתר השתא אזלינן ושרי. וכרכום מותר בפסח, כי לא שמעתי עליו שום חימוץ.” והובא בשו”ע א”ח סימן תסז סעיף ח’. אבל יש אומרים שההיתר של רגלי הדבורים בדבש אינו משום שהדבר הופך את הדברים להיתר, אלא משום שזה נותן טעם לפגם, או משום שהוי כמו רגלי החמורים. וע’ יו”ד סמן פד.

  • see my website for a translation of the Halacha discussion of Rav Amital, http://www.kosherveyosher.com/rabbenu-yona-musk-amital.html

    Nadav, this discussion need not be, should not be, but is – pointless

    You want to
    – count numbers
    – have confirmation from your preferred authorities
    – avoid discussing Halacha
    – avoid learning, analysing and evaluating the Poskim who permit these products
    – respond to me with inane denials such as “the link most certainly doesn’t support you”
    – pretend that your points have not been addressed
    – complain that I have misrepresented your postings when I copy and paste your entire posting, presumably because I succinctly neutralise all your points
    – confuse opinion with disciplined logical argument
    – distort and exaggerate my postings such as, that I insist that “ALL of us, are just idiots because we rely on rabbanim across the globe”
    – claim that I am offending you
    – offer me advice from your mother

    whilst I want precisely the opposite
    and argue that your approach is disloyal to HKBH

    Can you explain why the Rabbenu Yona, whose Pesak is accepted by the Mishne Berura, GRA, [see the link in this post] etc. is ignored by those Kosher agencies you seek guidance from?

  • Yaron says:

    Nadav,

    Several points must be made:
    1. Group think can happen and block out reasonable interpretations of halacha. Organisations such as the AKO can (and do) block certain practices that are acceptable.

    2. Various interpretations may be legitimate without you having to accept them. The example here of glycerine is a good one. The AKO may reject it, and the majority may not eat it. This does not take away from the fact that it is kosher. You may not eat it, I may not eat it, but it is legitimate for people to eat it under the banner of kosher food.

    3. The time has come to debunk the foolish comparison between medicine and halacha. Rabbis are nothing like doctors. A doctor is working in scientific absolutes, while the spiritual world is anything but a zero sum game, and there are many legitimate paths to God. The debate here seems like individuals imposing views of halacha on others who do not wish to be as stringent. It is a selfish and shortsighted relationship.

    4. I am not asking you to change your views or practices. If you wish to be stringent that is fine. Reject R’Rabi and his hechsher, but do it for yourself. The drive for the ‘perfect kashrut’ or nothing has probably lead others to reject keeping kosher altogether.

  • Dear Confused – I agree with what you say: “These consumers …. they just want a product. This includes everyone from …. to a …. Jew wanting to ensure that the products purchased for the seder night are kosher.”

    I am sure you will agree that only a few however, including a small component within the UO [Ultra Orthodox – amazing that OU is the opposite of UO ultra orthodox], are picky and ask the penetrating questions that Nadav is asking. And so I addressed my comments to Nadav. Since he [and perhaps you] wants to know more, I am assisting him in his pursuit of truth, justice and the Halachic way.

    I also agree with your statement, “the absolute bulk of Jews internationally follow the accepted opinions of the Rabbinical leaders of today” and these Yidden bless them all, are as you say, “ALL Jews regardless of their level of observance rely on the little kosher symbol on the package” when you certainly know that the vast majority of such symbols are “not recommended” by those that Nadav is championing.

    This should clear up your confusion.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rav, you seem to be assuming that any change in food is enough to create the halachic status of ‘nishtaneh.’ As provided for in the sources which you have ignored up until now, this position is not correct.

    Allow me to further indicate the error of your position, at least to my knowledge, by reference to the very source that you claimed as your basis- Rav Moshe Feinstein, who you quoted on facebook as follows:

    According to Reb Moshe Glycerine has no taste at all “Eino Nosein TaAm Kellal” and will therefore not be a problem in food, in that case, whiskey.

    In his Tshuvah, YD:62 (vol 1), R’ Moshe begins by mentioning two possible contaminants- wine and glycerine, which indicates that both of these are potentially not kosher. He does not mention other additives.

    Below is my translation of the paragraph referring to glycerine:

    “And regarding the concern of an admixture of glycerine, glycerine is a product that does not impart any taste at all, and only a little [is added] and is not [added] for taste but rather in orderr to make it easier to swallow and for similar purposes that are not related to taste. And further, many times none of the glycerine remains in the whiskey itself. And therefore we see that none of the rabbis in the country saw fir to forbid it [the whiskey] and nearly all of israel have drunk it [the whiskey] and therefore, heaven forbid that we should say that they committed a forbidden act; rather, it is as i have explained, that as a matter of the strict rule it is allowed [to consume the whiskey] “and if they [the jewish people] are not prophets, they are the children of prophets.’ (a commonly appended phrase, used to indicate that we should view the actions of the Jewish people favourably.)

    Now, we have two issues here. the first is that, today, glycerine IS added for flavour, as a sweetener. It is not added to whiskey as a sweetener, but it is added to diet soft drinks as a sweetener because of its freezing properties and its sweetness- 60% of that of sugar. In the case of slurpees, nutrition facts suggest that it is included in substantial quantities- well over 1/60th, and likely a substantial fraction (in some cases, the second most prevalent ingredient.) Therefore, the first assumption that R’ Moshe makes does not operate here.

    But the crucial thing is this- if glycerine was ‘nishtane’ and hence kosher, R’ Moshe would simply write this! He wouldn’t so much as mention it as a kashrut concern, or would respond that ‘it has been nishtaneh and is not a problem!, Instead, he writes that it is only in trace amounts!

    QED, R’ Moshe does not hold that glycerine has been nishtaneh and is not a kashrut-sensitive product!

    I also note YD:60 (vol 1) in which R’ Moshe discusses the kashering process from a factory that is making ‘glycerine from milk and wishes to kosher the machinery and the taps in order to afterwards make glycerine from kosher fat.’

    Now, I’m not a Rav- I rely on those who are- but this seems pretty clear to me, that Rav Moshe does not hold that glycerine has been nishtaneh, and that it must be kosher. Moreover, it appears that he even goes so far as to hold that glycerine made from milk is still milchig.

    Now, what a posek said in the 50’s and what is true today are very different. In the early part of the 20th century, the majority of glycerine was made from soap. This was not enough for Rav Moshe to mention ‘rov’ by glycerine. Later, however, it came to be primarily produced as a byproduct of fats, often at lower qualities. Today, for example, commercial glycerine is 95% pure, with 5% fat typically remaining when it is sold. It is then often further purified.

    This, of course, was spelled out in materials provided on facebook as well.

    So, in conclusion:
    R’ Moshe does not agree that glycerine is nishtane.
    R’ Moshe appears to be factually incorrect about taste, but even if he is correct permits it only where it is:
    – not added for taste
    – not a significant quantity
    – quite possibly not there at all

    He then requires kashering between non-kosher and kosher glycerine.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rav, this discussion is worthless if you won’t answer questions. You are offering a hechsher, reliance on which requires the kosher consumer to trust you and know what your stance is.

    In your sequence

    – I don’t want to count numbers, I want to know if anyone else shares your opinion at all. So far, you won’t answer.
    – We would like confirmation of support for your opinion from ANY authority.
    – You cited R’ Moshe, and I’ve responded- but you ignore that. I’ve provided sources, which you then read selectively.
    – You haven’t provided a single posek who says that glycerine is all kosher, so who should we learn?
    – if you read the link, it’s quite clear- the denial is not inane if it is correct.
    – Where my points had been appropriately addressed, I’ve stopped asking. You haven’t really answered any of them, so my questions persist.
    -That is a lovely assumption, but it isn’t borne out by the record.
    -Logical argument is rarely just ad hominem attacks.
    – I think that’s a fairly accurate summation
    – you have been offending me, and not just me- all those who you accuse of having a ‘phantom itch’ i believe have taken umbrage.
    – My mother is a very wise woman, who offers excellent advice.

    I’m not sure what you want, but what we would like is answers to straightforward questions that are entirely reasonable for a kashrut authority to answer. Why not just tell us? Our desire to know and understand the rationale and practice of a hechsher is hardly disloyal- quite the opposite, it is the approach that you yourself have advocated.

    As to why each kashrut agency in the globe does not accept the psak of Rabeinu Yona- I don’t know. In the material that I presented to you, Rabenu Yona’s opinion is explained in a number of ways- that the machloket is about the way that the product changed, not simply whether it has undergone a change. They may also not share your conclusion and insertion regarding the Magen Avraham.

    To quote:
    ולפי האמור הרי גם בדבר שהשתנה, קשה לסמוך על רבנו יונה בזה, גם בגלל המגן אברהם, וגם בגלל שאולי טעמו שמתיר משום שמסריח ואינו אוכל, מה שאין כן בדבר שעבר רק תהליך כימי לפירוק. בין כך ובין כך אי אפשר לסמוך על רבנו יונה לגבי איסור שהשתנה. או משום שטעמו הוא שמסריח כהבנת הגר”א, או משום טענת המגן אברהם שאי אפשר לסמוך על רבנו יונה בגלל הלימוד מחלב, והרא”ש עצמו הרי לא סמך על רבנו יונה.

    The outcome being that they may prefer the position of the Magen Avraham and the Rosh, and the apparent position of the GRA as well, without your inference as to his meaning for masriach.

    Separately, they may also be noting that the actual process for the extraction of glycerine from fats does not involve them being enveloped in kosher materials- the process is a break-down process, not an absorption process. But all this is covered in the link that I’ve provided, and which I am referring to again, which you have informed me you have read. So the position should be fairly clear. Again, I don’t know whether each kashrut authority’s posek takes this halachic position for this reason, but they all appear to disagree with you.

    Now, I’ve noted your response posted on facebook to my raising R’ Moshe. I assume that this will appear here as well, given time.

    You now appear to wish to selectively rely on R’ Moshe- to prove that it has no flavour- now to prove that it has a sweet taste, but not the original taste.
    Rav, something can be assur even if it has undergone a taste change. That is not necessarily the test- Chanan is a good example.

    But you principally respond by saying as follows:
    1. Glycerine has no flavour= indication that it has none of the ‘forbidden’ flavour’ it has been nishtaneh.

    If Rav Moshe meant that it was nishtaneh, he would say it- and present the alternative position. He would then be able to avoid the entire question of a limmud zchut, at least for those holding by Rabenu Yonah- not that there seem to be any.
    Further, he would say taam issur, not taam.
    There are indeed a host of considerations that would allow us to drink such whiskeys, but not one suggestion of what would be the obvious, and central, point- nishtaneh, if indeed that applied.

    So, according to your reading of Rabenu Yonah, what change or process is necessary? Toasting a fly will cause it to caramelize, producing a sweet taste that is unlike raw fly. Is that nishtaneh? I don’t think so… there is no other flavour here to ‘overwhelm’ the meat- there is a chemical breakdown here, which is partial, then a separation into different products.

    So I think that you are drawing a very long bow here. Rav Moshe says nothing of nishtaneh at all, when he obviously should, was either unaware of the flavour of the glycerine, considered it insignificant or to have no impact on the overall flavour.

    Rav, as to evidence, i’ve posted links and they are available online that discuss the history of glycerine and glycerol production. Plenty of evidence- just google.

    And again- apologies for the chelev-chalav transposition- my oversight- there is no mention of nishtaneh, though rav moshe freely mentions nishtaneh in other tshuvot of his.

    So, the principle of nishtaneh has not changed. The question of how glycerine was being produced has. I was quite clear on this.

    Now, perhaps you might tell us why the aformentioned article- which seems to explain why no-one relies on Rabeinu Yonah to say what you are saying- is wrong?

    Or perhaps you would choose to answer one of our many previous questions…

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Yaron, no-one is asserting that there can be variation and halachic dispute. The question is whether there is ANY other kashrut agency, now or ever, that allowed glycerine. Rabbi Rabi has been invited to provide any such authority, and has declined to do so, here and elsewhere.

    Accordingly, this is not a situation for comparison between medicine and halacha. We have a sole voice who is contending for an opinion, who has had to be coaxed out on each point, and who is still obfuscating and not providing clarity on his halachic positions or where he stands regarding EVERYONE else.

    Let me then make one thing clear- this is not about a search for ‘perfect’ kashrut, but an attempt to understand what ItsKosher claims to be kosher and what their basis is. This is a valid set of questions that should be embraced by any hechsher.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    And Yaron, is your contention that the group think has encompassed all poskim for kashrut organisations the world over, except for rabbi rabi? The responses and reasoning that i’ve provided seem clear enough and quite persuasive. Even Rav Moshe doesn’t question the kashrut essence of glycerine…

  • Steven says:

    Nadav and Rabbi Rabi, you could both save hours of time by having a discussion on a telephone (or over a slurpee at 7 Eleven) and then let us know the verdict.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Steven, this discussion has been going on elsewhere at much more rapid- but equally frustrating- pace of non-answers.
    The Rav requested that we hold the discussion here to allow more people to contribute.

  • Steven,

    But ONE Slurpee would NEVER do the length
    I suspect the world will run out of Slurpess before Nadav runs out of words and obfuscations, or is able to concede even his “mis-characterisation” of Reb Moshe’s Teshuvah re glycerol being made from milk.

    on fb [and soon to be posted here because wasting paper is no problem and Galus seems to have sorted out its IT bellyache] I advised him –
    In Reb Moshe’s Teshuvah, YD 1:60, the factory makes glycerine Nadav, not from milk “Chalav” but from “Cheilev” meat fat.
    They are spelled the same but are completely different pronunciations and products.
    Your preposterous conclusion that Reb Moshe considers glycerol to be Milchig is …. .

  • Yaron says:

    Nadav
    It is really cute how you believe that politics has nothing to do with the kashrut industry and that rabbis (and their followers) cannot force group think onto everyone else.

    Your lack of knowledge does not prevent something from being so. KA (both of them) adhere to the standards of the AKO, and most of the kosher authorities that you have heard of are part of that.

    There are however many others who have different standards, but who are not part of the ‘cool gang’. One example is that of gelatine (where there are similarities to the glycerine debate), which the rabbanut accepts. Rav Abadi (who was widely accepted until he decided to be lenient) permits it. And there are others.

    I have also spoken to a number of kosher authorities, and none of them have ever given me a straight answer. In fact R’Rabi gives clearer answers than most.

    Again – this is you claiming that since you are not aware of other opinions in the kashrut world that they must not exist. But as the mishna says לא ראינו אינה רעיה.
    And even if R’Rabi was a lone voice that is based on solid halachic learning, the opinion is still legitimate, and the food would be kosher.

    But I do agree with you that every kosher authority should be held to account by everyone, since the system is open to abuse, something we see all too often, even in the ‘reputable’ authorities.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rabbi Rabi, it’s pretty clear here who won’t answer questions and who will acknowledge an error here.

    Yaron, the validity of an opinion does not arise in halacha simply because someone said something- I’m asking if ANYONE else shares the position, whether now, before etc. The gelatine debate is quite different, as I’ve presented in source materials. So if this is to be a halachic discussion, let’s have a basis, let’s have a source, let’s have a response to the positions of what seems like every other rabbi who is involved.

    I’ve asked, perhaps 30 times now, for Rabbi Rabi to identify ANYONE else who agrees with him. If he does believe that other kashrut authorities are so messed up, he should also tell us whether HE relies on them, another thing which he simply won’t answer. Let’s have some clarity and integrity to what is a simple question.

    If your position is that the kashrut debate comes down to everyone else being in cahoots, ok- Ockham’s razor response is that there seems to be one voice, and only one, against everyone else- possible, but unlikely.

    If your position is that a Rabbi saying something is enough to grant it halachic validity, then, too, there is little to talk about- but your halachic world would allow people to drive on shabbat, too.

    So, final time- yes or no, is there another halachic authority that agrees with you?

  • And why can we not agree to disagree – I have proofs that glycerine is Kosher even when derived from non-Kosher animal fat;

    and you Nadav have faith in those who you believe have proofs, and those who say, that it is not Kosher.

  • Nadav
    2000 words!!! have Rachmanus on us.
    500 words my response
    I will begin with a point of agreement; I agree, your mother is a very wise woman, who offers excellent advice ……if only …..

    Rabbenu Yona Paskens that change redefines a non-Kosher food, non-Kosher meat soaked in honey for example, as NishTaNeh and therefore is Kosher. His Pesak is supported by the many Gedolim I have mentioned and most recently, Reb Moshe F.

    Some may not agree – but I am waiting to see their arguments and evaluate them.

    Reb Moshe states that glycerine has no taste at all “Eino Nosein TaAm Kellal” and will therefore not be a Kashrus problem. No taste at all simply means that it has no MEATY taste, he certainly knew it is sweet. In fact the sweetness is proof that it is a new product; since vegetable and animal oils are not sweet. This is his first and central argument.

    His pursuit of additional arguments is a normal Halachic approach; even if glycerol was deemed to be not Kosher, the food would still be Kosher because of A B C and D.

    In YD 1:60 Reb Moshe advises someone who is wishing to make glycerine from Kosher fats.

    Your sweeping, unsupported, pronouncements, “Now, what a posek said in the 50′s and what is true today are very different.“ and “Reb Moshe appears to be factually incorrect about taste” say more about you than anything I would dare say.

    Please elaborate on your impenetrable comment, “Rabenu Yona’s opinion is explained [do you mean dismissed] in a number of ways- that the machloket is about the way that the product changed.”

    Rav Amital is expressing an opinion to defend an already accepted position;
    I do not agree and find his reasoning flawed, in fact from the sources he provides I prove the opposite
    the Magen Avraham is not a concern to the Mishneh Berurah and many others and is answered by many Poskim
    We know that meat pickled in honey does NOT become stinky.
    the transformation from non-Kosher meat to Kosher is quite clearly because the meat flavour is overwhelmed by the honey
    when fat is fractionated and forms new compounds that have new flavours it is far superior to RabbenuYona’s example.
    The GRA supports Rabbenu Yona – he answers the question asked by the Rosh against RY
    The Rosh in his Teshuvos does rely upon Rabbenu Yona

    I do not know what you mean when speak of evidence – I ask for Halachic analysis and argument

    the links you posted and your assurances that plenty more are available, your reference to the history of glycerol production – are all not relevant and not valuable, why mention it?

    I do not request an apology for your chielev-chalav “transposition”; I urge you to recognise that you are not adequately experienced to make these daring pronouncements about Reb Moshe; that your assertion that Reb Moshe considers glycerol perhaps Milchig, to be an error. You should be seeking counsel and making suggestions and asking questions.

    see my website http://www.kosherveyosher.com/rabbenu-yona-musk-amital.html

  • We FINALLY can understand Nadav’s problem – he’s worried that if we permit glycerol as per the Rabbenu Yona and GRA Mishneh Berura, Ran Rosh Reb Moshe etc. ….. we will end up driving [internal combustion engined] cars on Shabbos and Yom Tov

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    I would add that no-one else that I could find- and I’m sure that you could, Rav, enlighten us if I am in error- explains the Gra the way you do- I’ve found a number of different positions, but no-one that suggests that masriach means denatured.

    Let me also draw your attention to Rav Amital’s note regarding the Gra, from within the shiur that you translated part of

    אבל לדעת הגר”א יתכן להתיר את הגליצרין אם הוא מיוצר באופן שנפסל לגמרי, אבל לא כשהוא נשתנה. וע’ להלן.

    “However, according to the understanding of the Gra, it would appear that glycerine should be permitted if it is created in a way in which it is destroyed/rendered completely, but not where it (simply) changes, and see further there.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rav, I’ve already responded to each of those points, from the absurdity of your suggestion that Rav Moshe says glycerine is nishtane through to your unique interpretation of the GRA.

    Not long ago, you were citing the same tshuva of rav moshe as proof of your original view, that glycerine has no flavour. You also seem to be deliberately misunderstanding my clear comments on the production of glyceerine, from the 50’s to now.

    And I note that i never said glycerine would be milchig. But all of that is fine. What really gets me is ” You should be seeking counsel and making suggestions and asking questions.”

    Rav, have the decency to admit that you are not answering the most basic and obvious questions here!

    Is there a single kashrut agency or posek who agrees with you?

    Come on already! Surely you now the answer?

  • Nadav, lets make small steps.

    The GRA is about 50 words, its on the ShA OCh 217:2

    Please translate those words and publish them here on Galus.

    if you want to offer some additional thoughts – that’s OK but keep to less than 300 words

  • Yaron says:

    Nadav,
    1. Rav Abadi permits it. Does having a name make you feel better? Hopefully this ends this ridiculous to and fro.

    2. Why is logic not sufficient for you? Is this not the foundation of halacha? Why can’t a sevara be the basis of a decision? Does it always have to be based on someone else’s opinion?
    It is not based on simply a rabbi’s statement (since the title rabbi is meaningless today),but on the logic of the statement.
    Similarly a statement of many rabbis is equally irrelevant if not backed by the logic.

    3. You speak of Ockham’s razor, although you are missing that there are two sides to the debate:
    On the one hand they are rabbis in search of the truth, and spreading Torah to the masses. On the other hand they are guardians of a highly lucrative business (the kashrut business).
    Ockham’s razor leads us to two conclusions, the one is that the rabbis are honest and responsible, the other is that a network of businesses will try to control the marketplace and block competitors from starting up.
    If we follow this up with another one liner – follow the money.

  • Nada, are you unable or unwilling to translate the GRA?

  • Nadav, I will quote you.

    “Now, I’m not a Rav- I rely on those who are- but this seems pretty clear to me, that Rav Moshe does not hold that glycerine has been nishtaneh, and that it must be kosher. Moreover, it appears that he even goes so far as to hold that glycerine made from milk is still milchig.”

    and today you insist – “And I note that i never said glycerine would be milchig.”

    Again I say, that you should be modestly seeking counsel, making suggestions and asking questions rather than brashly and immodestly making declarations and demands. Such is not the Torah way.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rabbi Rabi, surely you don’t need me to translate the Gra? Why not provide a full translation of the shiur from Rav Amital- perhaps on your website, instead of the exerpts presented? Writing on facebook that “Nadav is unable or unwilling to offer us a translation of the GRA – which I suggested he publish on Galus. The purpose being to make this discussion useful and edifying.” because i haven’t responded (whilst away from my computer for a few hours) is just childish.

    As to additional thoughts- do you intend to answer any of the questions I’ve asked?

    Yaron, Rav Abadi does not seem to say that glycerine is nishtaneh. In fact, he writes, in response to the query ‘is glycerine kosher,’ that “No, you should not eat it as a food, but as an ingredient it does not render a food unkosher.
    CYA”

    In his further responses on his website, he indicates that this is because glycerine is not eaten as a food- he takes a similar approach and references rav Moshe’s tshuva on whiskey, but makes no suggestion of nishtaneh, which is Rabbi Rabi’s position. (Seemingly, he too does not think that R’ Moshe believes glycerine is nisthaneh.)

    But yes, Yaron, it would make me feel much better if there was precedent for Rabbi Rabi’s assertion. Even better if there was support, shared belief or others agreeing with the legitimacy of his methods. I would feel great, and deeply molified, if Rabbi Rabi would answer direct questions about this or if he were able to explain why others differ. It would be SPECTACULAR if he were able to show that he was aware of such positions, instead of ignoring the question over and over again.

    3. Ockhams’ razor leads you to the conclusion that competitors across the globe, who differ on a plethora of points- from gelatine to glatt to chalav yisrael- would ALL agree regarding glycerine? Really? All Rabbis agreeing with something equals a conspiracy to control the world kashrut standards? Please.

    If the prerequisite for accepting ItsKosher as a hechsher is the assumption that every other kashrut agency is crooked, we are in a sad, sad place. That said, Yaron, if you believe that this is the behaviour involved, do you eat by KAM, KAS, LBD or others? Would you trust the kashrut of “a network of businesses will try to control the marketplace and block competitors from starting up” and will lie about the truth of Torah for that purpose?

    It must be a very bare shabbat table…

  • Nadav,

    Let’s make this a useful conversation, please publish here on Galus a translation of the GRA we are discussing, ShA OCh 217:2 – what could you possibly be scared of?

    I promise I will respond to you.

    We have noticed you are becoming shrill, irresponsible and erratic.

    ^ You deny [no longer remember] what you wrote on this blog [gelatine is Milchig]

    ^ You are not checking your spelling [now – know, “Come on already! Surely you now the answer?”]

    ^ You insist that you have responded to my points

    ^ You no longer remember that Reb Moshe says that glycerine has no flavour.

    ^ You imagine that I misunderstand your comments re modern production of glycerine

    ^ You rudely condemn me of indecency because I do not answer your pointless questions

    ^ You have failed to openly admit that you misread Reb Moshe’s Teshuvah [Chalav Cheilev] which makes it hard to have confidence in having an honest discussion with you.

  • Nadav,

    I suggest that you translate the GRA in order to begin a meaningful discussion – you and I will be able to compare notes about what the GRA says. Its only 50 odd words – it wont take you too long. Your reluctance is impenetrable.

    I am attempting to provide a useful discussion – it will not take long and will offer a real opportunity to discuss Halacha. I promise to respond.

  • and I certainly intend to answer the question for which you seek guidance

    I can also provide a full translation of Rav Amital’s Shiur – but I have already addressed that issue – “Rav Amital is expressing an opinion to defend an already accepted position;
    I do not agree and find his reasoning flawed, in fact from the sources he provides I prove the opposite
    the Magen Avraham is not a concern to the Mishneh Berurah and many others and is answered by many Poskim”

    but first – please publish your translation the GRA in order to begin a meaningful discussion

  • Yaron says:

    Nadav

    So we have found someone who permits it, but he does not permit it enough? Lets not get into silly semantics.
    I am glad you are able to ascertain the rational for an answer on kosher.org, because they rarely leave their full workings.

    Why R’Rabi doesn’t mention this or any other opinion that agrees with him is a question only he can answer. I would presume it is because he feels the logic is strong enough to speak for itself.

    As to Ockham’s razor – yes I presume that most kosher authorities around the world are compromised, and I do not trust any of them. The reason I use their hechsherim is a bedieved because I have to eat.

    And the biggest lie they peddle is that they are in the business of kashrut for altruistic reasons, and are not concerned about money. If you believe that one I have a bridge to sell you.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    I’ll tell you what, Rav.

    Silly insults aside, I’ll translate the GRA after you answer my simple and direct questions, put to you dozens of times.
    If you can’t, or are unwilling to respond to simple and direct questions, we really don’t have much left to talk about here.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Yaron, he doesn’t support the position of Nishtaneh as claimed by R’ Rabi.
    There are a half dozen responses on glycerine, in which he explains his position, very briefly.

    Yaron, you do have to eat- but surely, if you don’t trust the kashrut authorities, you would be eating very differently… it’s a poor excuse to say that you have to eat, therefore you will trust someone you think is untrustworthy. You can live just fine without juices, peanut butter, whiskey, coca cola or even meat. If none of these were available you would be fine. Kashrut is about trust, so if you don’t trust them, what value their hechsher?

    That said, I do think that you’ve hit the nub of the question, a conversation that has now gone the length of many novels.

    Why won’t Rabbi Rabi answer basic questions? You would expect that of any hechsher that you would trust, of a mashgiach in a restaurant or a posek writing a tshuva. You would expect a basic awareness of other’s positions, and conclusive, logical reasons why your position is to be preferred. These should not be a secret- indeed, if kashrut or the halachic process is to have any integrity, you would demand this.

    Could you imagine selling a toilet to a customer and saying ‘this is the best option’ without being able to explain why? Without knowing anything about other products?

    Now, I’m no posek, nor have i ever claimed to be. I’m happy to own up to my errors- such as by ‘chelev/chalav (quite correct, my fault entirely.) But in front of my eyes is the entire world of kashrut- and every reference to glycerine in the proyect hashut. on the other hand i have someone who refuses to answer basic questions. We went through the same thing in our discussion of the price of kosher chicken, and over again. On Facebook, I’m now told that ‘this is a shiur’ and that for my edification and that of others, I MUST translate the GRA. The absurdity of this bothers me deeply.

    I could go on and be accused of such, but I will just add one further question.
    What is it about ItsKosher- a private kashrut authority, with no oversight, no separation of finances and which seemingly stands at odds with all other kashrut agencies (still waiting to be corrected here) that makes it more trustworthy than everyone else? Do I understand that it is BECAUSE ItsKosher differs from everyone else that it is more trustworthy? Or is there some other factor? Waiting to be enlightened…

  • from a well known Posek, and below my translation
    [there are other Poskim]

    לאור כל האמור יוצא לנו
    שמותר גם להשתמש
    בגליסרין
    (שגם ע״ז מסתפק כת״ר)
    באשר שגס הוא משתנה מעצמותו ע״י הכימיה
    בהפרדת יסוד השומן מחתיכת הטריפה
    ומשתנה בהרכבתו הכימית
    מצורתן הקודמת
    ושייכים בו איפוא מצדדי ההיתר שצידדנו בדברינו

    אבל כפי שאמרו לי הרופאים
    יש גם גליסרין כשר
    ואזי א״כ ברור שכשנותנין גליסרין לשתיה
    מן הצורך לחזר ולהשיג הגליסרין הכשר
    אם הוא בנמצא במחוזו

    Accordingly, it is permitted to use glycerine since it too [along with the other products discussed earlier] is fundamentally changed from its original identity. There has been a separation [to create this new entity] which is now chemically altered from the “essence” of the non-Kosher fat.

    Those principles to permit [such foods] that we discussed earlier, apply here too.

    I have however been informed that glycerine derived from Kosher sources is available and it is quite clear this should be used wherever it can be obtained without difficulty.

  • This important statement by Mr.Yair Miller, President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies should interest everyone and particularly Nadav, but I doubt Nadav will admit it has any relevance.

    Under the Heading – Kashrut is [not] in Crisis

    The public claim by the KA, that it has submitted all appropriate accounts to the JCA is simply not correct. …..

    As has now been made public by the KA, it has resiled from its original agreement, noting that it is under no legal obligation to have an independent audit.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Is this the Tzitz Eliezer you are quoting, as it appears to be?

    Would you care to translate, specifically, “ושייכים בו איפוא מצדדי ההיתר שצידדנו בדברינו” ?

    And
    “ט) עכ״פ בנדו״ד אין אנו צריכים לזה׳ וכאמור ישנם
    צדדי היתר אחרים והרמ״א ביו״ד שם
    מתיר כל איסורי דרבנן אפי׳ דרך הנאתן אפי׳ לחולה
    שאין בו סכנת וכפי שכבר ביארנו אין בנידוננו לכל
    היותר כי אם איסור דרבנן או תרי דרבנן ואפי׳ פחות
    מזה׳ ובבה״ג י״ל דמוחר אפילו לדעת הב״י.

    Is this the basis of your position?

    If so, if you are relying on the Tzitz Eliezer’s tshuva (regarding medicine), why not say so from the outset?

  • V good Nadav,

    I do not rely on opinions but on Halacha, which is Sevara and open to discussion and evaluation.

    please translate the GRA

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    You are really saying that halacha= sevara?

    you do not rely on opinions… do you rely on psak?
    How about the psak halacha in the gemara? Would you care to delineate at what stage, or at what level you consider your sevarah to be on par with? I.e. as an acharon, are you able to contradict the shulchan aruch, for example? Or only when you consider his sevarah to be incorrect?

  • A. An opinion or a Pesak, is a Sevara.
    There are very few Pesakim in the Gemara.
    It is highly improbable that anyone would argue with a Pesak, even of an early Acharon, unless they had some foundation which supported their Sevara.

    B. Nadav, did you assure us that you researched “the entire world of kashrut- and every reference to glycerine in the Bar Ilan Torah db”, and yet you could not find one Posek who ruled that glycerol is Kosher?

    C. It is immodest to explain why so many rely on me, but it has something to do with being seen in a positive light, not talking in the Rabbi Fishbane style, using less words , ensuring they are clear and direct; and has little or nothing to do with which Hechsherim I rely upon and you prefer I am in sync with.

    It’s Kosher is more trustworthy because we do not certify eateries run by nonShSHabbos unless we have full time supervision, unless we have absolute confidence and we can explain and demonstrate how we achieve such confidence.

    D. You must have missed my earlier post – Mr.Yair Miller, President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies published that – The public claim by the KA, that it has submitted all appropriate accounts to the JCA is simply not correct. ….. As has now been made public by the KA, it has resiled from its original agreement, noting that it is under no legal obligation to have an independent audit.

    And you of course already know Reb Moshe’s Teshuva – http://www.kosherveyosher.com/lone-rabbis.html, you are welcome to evaluate my translation and offer your ammendments, and also present what considerations you feel Reb Moshe has omitted

    E. re CoSKA see http://www.kosherveyosher.com/coska—community-service-kosher-advisory.html

    We encourage those who are serious and balanced in their Yiddishkeit to avoid Chalav Stam, gelatine, glycerol carmine etc. but advise those seeking a more intense engagement with Yiddishkeit to make a comprehensive evaluation – there are many arenas where such fulfilment can be more productive, yielding far better returns for ones efforts.

  • Avigael says:

    Nadav, you may be interested to view this series on how Torah Scholars view Shulchan Aruch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsJGxA5kGWc

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    On Facebook, this discussion has petered out into you copy-pasting the same line, that I must translate the GRA. You have still not answered the questions put to you, which makes your points rather trite. Still:

    A. Glad to see that you consider psak to be a sevarah. But you seemingly rely on psak and heterim even where you don’t know the sevarah. And, presumably, one would not depart from the opinion of the vast majority of learned poskim, rabbis and kashrut agencies without both understanding their position and appropriate research.

    B. See my quote above. i’ve been asking you for weeks to explain or provide a basis and went through every reference to glycerin in the Bar Ilan responsa project by standard spelling.

    Is there now a development that you have found a Kosher agency that agrees with you? Surely, though, you have known from the outset- having done the research- what the positions are?

    C. ” unless we have absolute confidence and we can explain and demonstrate how we achieve such confidence.”

    THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR FOR WEEKS!

    By some alleged secret back channel, you claim to be able to confidently determine the kashrut of a range of products- ok. But when you won’t give a straight answer to simple questions put to you, you lose any claim to ‘confidence.’

    At the same time as criticizing Rabbi Fishbane, you write to him requesting to join his organisation- a collection of kashrut authorities that you imply are corrupt. I really don’t get it.

    D. I certainly haven’t missed your post- I view with great positivity every step towards openness in kashrut. As it stands, KAS, responsible to the Sydney Beit Din, will certainly be moving towards that, approaching the standards of KAM. These standards include complete separation of financial dealings from halachic dealings. I look forward to your independent audit, your institution of financial controls such that granting or not granting a hechsher will have no financial impact on you and otherwise moving into alignment with R’ Moshe’s position.

    We have discussed this before though, no? You also declined then to respond to the issues with ItsKosher then, too.

    E. Where and how do you encourage this? Not a line I can find on your website. Rather, you write that glycerol is all kosher.

    Below is the partial list of questions that have been asked repeatedly, which you have not answered on facebook. perhaps the change of forum will prompt an answer?

    – which hechsherim ItsKosher relies on
    – whether other hechsherim accord with ITsKosher’s position on glycerine/glycerol
    – What ItsKosher requires in order to give a hechsher or a CoSKA
    – What the point is of a CoSKA if ITsKoshers asserts that approval is all that is necessary, ever.
    – Whether any other products, aside from slurpees, that you certify contain glycerine
    – Why all others who hold that glycerine is kosher-sensitive are wrong
    – what sort of glycerine is used in slurpees
    – Where do the ingredients used in slurpees come from at present.

  • Thank you Avigael, lets wait to see if Nadav responds

  • Steven says:

    Considering the number of man hours it took to compose and type the above and what’s been achieved, I am wondering if it would be more worthwhile spending the same amount of hours doing some volunteer work in the community.

  • I find myself in a very difficult position – I am a dedicated teacher and a seeker of truth, particularly in the arena of Halacha. I am seeking ways of teaching, and true teaching is not repetition and reinforcement of what one already knows; teaching is truly about helping people overcome their limitations, to see where they have blind spots and assist them overcome them.

    A great Jewish Sage observed that a teacher does not have a student until he has a student who can and will disagree with him.

    Anyone can disagree, anyone can say, “No, that’s not true.” but only a student who recognises his teacher and understands his teacher can meaningfully disagree with him. Rashi is famous not because of those who applauded him and had no criticism of his work, but on the contrary, because other great people argued with Rashi and held he was wrong.

    Nadav, please engage in this type of a conversation. We can discuss one thing at a time. Then we either agree or disagree and move on to the next point.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rabbi Rabi, you are not being asked to be my teacher- that is a role that you seem to be choosing for yourself in this context. I, and everyone else on the facebook group who expressed the same desire, are simply asking you to answer direct questions about your hechsher. You have insisted that the prerequisite for such is a lengthy detour, and we have engaged you in this too. But surely as a rav hamachshir, you can put aside your ‘teacher’s hat’ and answer questions directly.

  • Galus Australis says:

    Gentlemen, I think this conversation has run its course.

    I’ll invite Rabbi Rabi to have the last word as author of the post that sparked this conversation, and invite Nadav to write a post of his own, should he feel he has more to add on this topic.

    Thank you both for your cooperation.

  • Everyone is a teacher, whether they like it or not – even the hermit living in isolation. Chazal say “from one’s students one learns the most” so even the teacher is a student.

    Being a student is not a humiliation although it requires humility – and that is why we are proudly identified as Talmidei Chachamim Students of the wise, in order to learn we must have a student’s perspective on the world and ourselves.

    There is plenty to discuss, and it should begin with Sevara, please translate the GRA – it’s about 50 words = we can deal with one thing at a time and either agree or disagree and then move on to the next point

    Until then Shalom

  • Elijah says:

    I like Rabbi Rabi and his position on Kashrut. I regard most other “Kosher Authorities” as being more interested in empire building and financial gain.

    I’m keenly interested in stamp collecting. Why is this relevant? The other week I was perusing Rabbi Rabi’s It’s Kosher website and found an image of the certificate he uses for providing to manufacturers and retailers. I am reliably informed the certificate is displayed at “It’s Kosher” retailers.

    The core image of the certificate is the MISAPPROPRIATED design of the Israeli 150 Pruta stamp commemorating the “Memorial Day for the Fighters for Independence” and “The Seventh Independence Day” by the late world famous graphic artist George Hamori. This stamp was released by the Israel Post Office on the 26 April 1955.

    George Hamori was born in Hungary, survived the holocaust, emigrated to Israel and later moved to Australia. He designed a vast number of stamps, many of which were issued by Australia and Israel. George Hamori’s family continue to live in Australia.

    I feel very strongly that Rabbi Rabi needs to discontinue the misappropriation of Hamori’s design for the following reasons:

    [1] The stamp was designed to commemorate the sacrifice of the independence fighters to establish and protect Israel. It is entirely wrong that this ideal is vandalised for commercial or personal gain.

    [2] Possible theft of intellectual property either belonging to the Hamori family or the Israel Post Office.

    [3] No attribution was provided to George Hamori on the certificate.

    [4] Shock to the Hamori family who might see the certificate image at an It’s Kosher certified retailer.

    The Hamori family deserve an explanation and apology.

  • Thank you Elijah,

    I will certainly look into this. I am however under the impression that the image is beyond the limitation that restricts its use.

    I also thank you for your applause and support of our work.

  • I post the following as it illuminates Nadav’s state of mind and heart.

    In responding to why they do not certify products with gelatine for example, Kosher agencies will declare: most reliable Kosher authorities do not follow this practice or accept this ruling.

    Think of all the holes in that statement. Here are a few to start you off:
    – A. they concede that there ARE some reliable authorities DO accept this ruling.
    – B. Secondly, who is it that decides if this authority is reliable or not?
    – C. it is a self fulfilling assessment, if they reject this ruling then they are reliable, if they don’t then they aren’t.
    – D. even by these self fulfilling guidelines, they still cannot dismiss some Rabbis whose fame cannot be ignored and who Pasken against the trend of, “most reliable Kosher authorities”.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    Rav, I’m sure that you have obtained authorization, rather than using images without approbation.

    However, if you do need assistance with licensing from Israel Post, I have a number of suitable contacts. Generally, though, reproduction of postal symbols is controlled, for obvious reasons. International copyright principles generally mean that if the image is copyright in Israel, it will be here too.

    Questions of use of images and associations should not interfere with the core issues, but nor should misrepresentations be allowed to affect kashrut.

  • Galus Australis says:

    Unfortunately, this thread has degenerated into nasty accusations that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    If Rabbi Rabi has any further clarification regarding the copyright issue, I invite him to comment, otherwise please consider all comments on this thread closed. This means that no further comments will pass through moderation.

  • The most sublime form of Divine worship is Unquestioning Obedience. But there are so many opinions. How are we to know and who can teach us? How are we to know what it is that Gd wants us to do? And why did He make it so difficult?

    But Jews have no pope. Even when we had a Sanhedrin, he who knows that a ruling of the Sanhedrin is wrong, is not to heed that ruling. And if they mistakenly think that it is nevertheless a Mitzvah to follow the Sanhedrin’s wrong ruling, then he must bring a sin offering.

    In our days we have seen the development of small groups with very strong allegiance to their particular customs, which is wonderful, as it signals the vitality of Yiddishkeit. However, amongst some it leads to a belief that “their” rulings can never be wrong; that other approaches are inferior or not valid, which leads to terrible rivalries and horrible behaviour. For these people, even the rulings of famous Poskim, like the Mishneh Berrurah, GRA, Tzitz Eliezer or Chazon Ish, be it regarding soft Matza or glycerol, does not quell their need to be dismissive.

    However, the real tragedy that emerges from this is that Yiddishkeit is poorer, our communities are weaker and individuals, particularly those seeking integrity, are disappointed and disillusioned in their Jewish traditions and heritage.

    The most sublime Divine Worship – Unquestioning Obedience – is attained by those who seek the Halacha, discuss and analyse it, and are unquestioningly obedient to their Gd given responsibility to know and understand the Halacha and recognise the diversity that Gd has implanted within it. Gd wants us to see different perspectives in the Halacha, it is the reason that we are all created with different minds.

  • Nadav Prawer says:

    It seems to me that the one line summary of the post is ‘those who disagree with me have something wrong with them.’ It’s hard to argue with you on this, because in so doing, by your definition, we would be demonstrating that something is wrong with us!

    With regard to copyright, if the artistic work was produced and then selected as a stamp, copyright will extend for 70 years beyond the author’s death- accordingly, it will not have expired at this time, pursuant to Israeli law. The only exception is if the state of Israel was the original copyright owner of the image, which does not appear to be the case here.

  • The MAvraham, OCh 216:3 who in analysing and questioning Rabbenu Yona’s Hetter of musk, explains that when Rabbenu Yona says that musk is Pirsha [rubbish which in Halachic terms means it is Kosher no matter what it came from] – he does not mean that it is Pirsha, rather “ShaEin Alav Toras Dam – it is no longer deemed to be blood”

    I don’t expect a novice to know this, but I do expect a novice to recognise his limitations, and be prepared to acknowledge new information that is brought to his attention.

    Thus what Reb Moshe says in his Teshuvah about whiskeys that “glycerine has no taste at all” – when it is known that it is quite sweet – is precisely synchronised with the MAvraham: Reb Moshe simply means that glycerin has none of its original meat taste and is adequately altered to be deemed to be Kosher.

  • Elijah says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi
    We are still awaiting your response to appropriating Georg Hamori’s work for Israel Post Office.

    You should know that the Israel FLAG AND EMBLEM LAW 1949 (5709) ss(3) & (8) and possibly s5 would apply to you and what you have done. There are penalties specified by the Act.

    Further research shows that Israel Post had a license to produce a stamp design almost identical to the Israel State Emblem. Looking at the stamp gutter is more information. For comparison, an exact image of the Israel State Emblem is depicted. The stamp design differs to the Israel State Emblem in that the lighting angle is the opposite, the base of menorah is rounded, the stem of the menorah truly depicts the menorah on the Arch of Titus (not stylized as on the Emblem), the font for “Israel” is different and of course there is the addition of flames.

    This article provides a scholarly discussion of the Halacha in relation to appropriation:

    http://weblaw.haifa.ac.il/he/Events/eveFile/NetanelNimme.pdf

    Rabbi Rabi, I feel you have demonstrated zero respect for Mr Hamori. Using the State of Israel Emblem for the gain of your Hechsher is reprehensible. The stamp was designed to commemorate the sacrifice of the Fighters for Independence to bring about a homeland and state for Jews in the shadow of the holocaust and earlier pogroms.

    It’s time to provide an apology and move forward.

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