לא תוסף עליו ולא תגרע ממנו

"לא תוסף עליו ולא תגרע ממנו" (דברים יג,א) הם שני איסורים דאורייתא. יש רפורמים חילונים שעוברים על איסור דאורייתא "לא תגרע ממנו", ויש רפורמים חרדים שעוברים על איסור דאורייתא "לא תוסף עליו". בהרבה ישיבות לא מלמדים שגם "לא תוסף עליו" זה איסור דאורייתא, וממציאים חידושים כל כך נפלאים שאפילו משה רבנו לא ידע מהם.

ה' אמר לאדם לא לאכול מעץ הדעת. אדם הוסיף סייג לדברי ה' ואמר לחוה גם "ולא תגעו בו". לאדם היתה כוונה טובה - הוא רצה להרחיק את אשתו מהחטא. הוא רצה שהיא לא תיגע בעץ כדי שלא תתפתה לאכול ממנו. ואז גם אמרה חוה לנחש "ולא תגעו בו".  בגלל התוספת הזאת הצליח הנחש לשכנע את חוה לאכול מעץ הדעת. ובגלל זה גורשו אדם וחוה מגן עדן. אפשר לטעון שהתוספת של "ולא תגעו בו" היא סייג שנועד להרחיק את האדם מן העברה. אך, העובדה היא שהתוספת הזאת היא שהובילה לגרוש של אדם וחוה מגן עדן.

אפילו משה רבנו צווה לנו רק את מה ששמע ישירות מה' ולא המציא שום דבר מדעתו. קל וחומר שאסור לאף אחד אחר להמציא חומרות ואיסורים שלא נאמרו ע"י ה' למשה רבנו או לנביאים. ומי שכן ממציא חומרות ואיסורים כאלה חוזר על הטעות של אדם וחוה וגורם להנצחת הגרוש מגן עדן.

הרפורמים החילונים ממשיכים לקיים מצוות שבין אדם לחברו. אך, את המצוות שבין אדם למקום הם עזבו כי הם לא יכלו לעמוד בכל החומרות והאיסורים שהומצאו ונוספו לאורך הדורות. מצד שני את מצוות התורה כפי שנמסרו לנו ע"י הנביאים קל לקיים כמו שכתוב: "כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשותו".

אלה שחוזרים שוב ושוב על הטעות של אדם וחוה, ממשיכים להמציא חומרות ואיסורים שאינם חלק מהתורה שבכתב או מהתורה שבע"פ כפי שנמסרה לנו ע"י הנביאים, ועוברים על איסור דאורייתא "לא תוסף עליו".  עליהם נאמר: "ותופסי התורה לא ידעוני".


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מועתק מאתר כיכר השבת

Teach Me How to Be a Mentch

Don't teach me how to learn Gmara,
Teach me how to be a Mentch.

I don't want to be a Rav,
I want to be a businessman,
I don't want to turn the Torah
Into my commodity in trade.

I want to learn the Torah
As a guiding light for my daily life.
I want to know how to deal with people
With honesty and respect.
I want to know what to do
In difficult situations
Which come up from time to time.

I don't need to know
What Bracha to say
If on Succot day
I wake up at the top of a palm tree
Holding on to an uncut Lulav with my hand.
I promise you, I never will.
I also have a feeling
That you will neither.

I asked my Rabbi
What did he get tested on
When he was ordained as a Rav.
He told me many things
Which matter from time to time;
Not even one of them
Had anything to do with
How to be a Mentch.

Please my teacher, please again,
Teach me how to be a Mentch.

הגינות

הגינות - מלה כה בודדה
כל כך קשה למצוא אותה.
הגינות - טפה בים אבדה
לאן שלא נפנה - אינה.

ועשית הישר והטוב
למדנו בתורה.
אז למה
מתנכלים
ועושים עוול
זה לזה?

הגינות - מלה כה בודדה
כל כך קשה למצוא אותה.
הגינות - טפה בים אבדה
לאן שלא נפנה - אינה.

מדבר שקר תרחק
למדנו בתורה.
אז למה
מרמים ומשקרים
ומוליכים שולל
זה את זה?

הגינות - מלה כה בודדה
כל כך קשה למצוא אותה.
הגינות - טפה בים אבדה
לאן שלא נפנה - אינה.

חשבתי
האמנתי
ניסיתי למצוא אותה.
אך היא חמקה ואיננה
וכל מה שנשאר
זו אשליה.

הגינות - מלה כה בודדה
כל כך קשה למצוא אותה.
הגינות - טפה בים אבדה
לאן שלא נפנה - אינה.

מדוע קרתה השואה

מדוע קרתה השואה?

בנגוד לדעות המקובלות, רצח יהודים במחנות הרכוז הנאציים לא התחיל רק על ידי הגרמנים. למרבה הצער, אחד היהודים הראשונים שנרצחו במחנה רכוז היה תינוק יהודי שזה עתה נולד. הוא נרצח בידים יהודיות.

הורי ז"ל, שגרו בפולין, היו בין הראשונים שנלקחו למחנה רכוז בגרמניה. אמי היתה אז בהריון. אחי, שמעולם לא הכרתיו, נולד במחנה הרכוז. נשים יהודיות אחרות שגרו יחד עם אמי לקחו ממנה את התינוק. נשים אלה החליטו שכדי להציל את עצמן מהשומרים הגרמנים, הן צריכות להפטר מהתינוק. וזה בדיוק מה שהן עשו. יש תינוקים שנולדו במחנות ריכוז ושרדו את השואה יחד עם אמותיהם. אך אחי הגדול לא שרד. הוא נשלח למרומים ע"י נשים יהודיות, מאד מאד דתיות, עם חנוך פגום.

והאלקים, ששמע את אמי בוכה, הביט מלמעלה והכפיל את גזר הדין שלהן בששה מליון עותקים...

איפה היו כל הנשים האחרות? מה עשו הן כדי להציל את התינוק? איפה היו הרבנים של אותו דור שהיו אחראים על החנוך, מה עשו הם כדי למנוע את רציחת התינוק? הנשים החרדיות שרצחו את התינוק היו כולן מומחיות מאד בפרטים הטכניים של החיים הדתיים היהודיים. רק, חסרה להן הערכה לחיים של אחרים. האם אף אחד לא לימד אותן ששפיכות דמים זה יהרג ואל יעבור?

זה מה שקורה כשממציאים חומרות יתרות בין אדם למקום ומזלזלים במצוות שבין אדם לחברו. כל הרבנים לומדים היטב ומקבלים את סמיכתם לרבנות בדינים שבין אדם למקום. כמה רבנים אנו מכירים שנבחנו במבחן הסמיכה על הלכות חנוך או דינים שבין אדם לחברו? כמה זמן לומדים בנינו ובנותינו, ביחס לכל הנושאים האחרים, כיצד להתייחס אל אחרים בכבוד?

דודי ובנו הקטן, שהיו באגף הגברים של אותו מחנה רכוז, שמעו מה קרה והביאו לאימי שמיכות ואוכל. אימי, דודי, ובן דודי, זכו לשרוד ולהנצל. אחרי השואה הם ספרו לשאר בני המשפחה שנצלו, מה קרה. אבי, שהיה במחנה אחר, לא ידע מה קרה עד אחרי תום המלחמה. גם הוא זכה להנצל. אך, אחי הגדול לא זכה. הוא נשלח למרומים בידים יהודיות, מאד מאד דתיות, עם חנוך פגום.

הורי היו בין הזוגות הבודדים שהיו נשואים לפני השואה, עברו בנפרד את הגהינום-עלי-אדמות, וזכו להתאחד מחדש. הם שרדו, ספרו מה שקרה, והשאירו מסר חינוכי למחנכי הדורות הבאים.

הורי שמעו הרבה ניצולי שואה זועקים ושואלים: "למה??????  איך יכול האלוקים לעשות זאת לנו??????"

לאחרים לא היתה תשובה, אך להורי כן היתה:
"זה לא האלוקים שעשה זאת לנו. אנו עשינו זאת לעצמנו במו ידינו."
בדיוק כמו שאמר הנביא מלאכי (פרק א, פסוק ט) על הצרות שתוקפות את עם ישראל: "מידכם היתה זאת".


Why Did the Holocaust Happen?


Contrary to common belief, the murder of Jews in Nazi concentration camps was not initiated only by the Germans. Unfortunately, one of the first Jews murdered inside a concentration camp was a Jewish baby, just born, and murdered by Jewish hands.

My parents Z"L who lived in Poland, were among the first Jews taken by the Germans into forced-labor concentration camps in Germany. My mother was pregnant at the time. My brother, whom I never knew, was born in the camp and was immediately taken away from my mother by other Jewish women who shared living quarters with her. These women decided that to save themselves from the German guards, they needed to get rid of the baby. So they did. Some babies born in concentration camps, and their mothers, did survive the holocaust, but, my older brother did not. He was sent to heaven by very Frum, yet ill educated, Jewish women.

And God, who heard my mother crying, watched from above and made six million copies of their verdict...

Where were all the other women who were there, what did they do to save the baby? Where were all the Rabbis of the generation who were responsible for education, what did they do to prevent the murder of the baby? Those very Frum women were great experts in the mechanical details of Jewish religious life. But, they had no respect for somebody else's life.

All Rabbis are well educated and ordained in the laws between man and God. How many Rabbis do we know who were tested, when ordained, on the laws of education or the laws between man and fellow man? How much time do our children spend in Yeshiva learning how to treat others with respect, compared to all the other subjects?

My uncle and his little son, who were in the men's section of the same camp, heard what happened, and brought my mother blankets and extra food. My mother, my uncle, and my young cousin merited to survive the holocaust and tell the family what happened. My father, who was in a different camp did not know what happened until after the war. He also merited to survive. But, my older brother did not. He was sent to heaven by very Frum, yet ill educated, Jewish hands.

My parents were among the very few couples who were married before the holocaust, went separately through this hell-on-earth, and later found each other and reunited. They survived to tell their story and to leave a message to the educators of future generations.

My parents heard many holocaust survivors ask "Why??????   How could God do it to us??????"

Others did not have an answer, but my parents did:
"It was not God who did it to us. We did it to ourselves, with our own hands."
Just like what the Prophet Malachi said (ch.1, v.9) about the troubles that befall the Jews: "It was caused by your own hands".

איש צדיק תמים


פעם היה בעיר חלם איש צדיק תמים עם בטחון מושלם בה'. כל היום ישב ולמד תורה.

יום אחד באו שטפונות והציפו את העיר. ביתו התמלא במים והוא עלה לגג והמשיך ללמוד תורה. המים עלו ועלו ורגליו שקעו במים. עברה סירה לידו ויושבי הסירה קראו לו להכנס לסירה כדי שינצל. אך הוא ענה להם: "אני בוטח בה' שיצילני. אין לי צורך בסירה."

המים המשיכו לעלות והגיעו עד צווארו. הליקופטר הופיע מעליו וזרקו לו חבל כדי שיתפוס בחבל וינצל. אך הוא ענה להם: "אני בוטח בה' שיצילני. אין לי צורך בהליקופטר."

המים המשיכו לעלות והוא טבע. כשהגיעה נשמתו למרום שאל את הקב"ה: "ריבונו של עולם, אני בטחתי בך. מדוע לא היצלתני?" ענה לו הקב"ה: "שלחתי לך סירה ושלחתי לך הליקופטר. מה עוד רצית שאעשה?"

על זכות העם היהודי לארץ ישראל - דוד בן גוריון


דברי דוד בן גוריון על זכות העם היהודי לארץ ישראל:

"אילו הועמדה לפני השאלה: מדינה יהודית בכל מערב ארץ ישראל תמורת הסתלקות מזכותנו ההיסטורית על ארץ ישראל כולה - הייתי דוחה את המדינה."

"אין רשות לשום יהודי לוותר על זכות העם היהודי בארץ. אין זו מסמכותו של שום יהודי, אין זו מסמכותו של שום גוף יהודי, אין זו אפילו מסמכותו של העם היהודי כולו החי אתנו היום - לוותר על איזה חלק שהוא בארץ. זוהי זכות האומה היהודית לדורותיה, זכות שאינה ניתנת להפקעה בשום תנאי. ואילו גם היו יהודים באיזה זמן שהוא מכריזים על הסתלקותם מזכות זאת - אין בכוחם ובסמכותם להפקיע זכות זו מהדורות הבאים. שום ויתור ממין זה אינו מחייב ואינו קושר את העם היהודי. זכותנו על הארץ - על הארץ כולה, קיימת ועומדת לעד. ועד ביצוע הגאולה המלאה והשלמה, לא נזוז מזכותנו ההיסטורית. בכל זמן ובכל שעה, נעמוד על זכות זו בכל האמצעים הכשרים והמוסריים אשר בידנו". (דוד בן גוריון, הקונגרס הציוני בציריך 1937; ומכתב למרכז מפא"י, 1 יולי 1937)

על שמירת השבת - חיים נחמן ביאליק


מכתבו התקיף ביותר של מי שהוכר כ"משורר הלאומי", חיים נחמן ביאליק.

ביאליק היה רחוק מאוד מהמופקרים שבקשו להסיר מעליהם כל סממן של יהדות. במכתב הבא הוא גוער קשות באלו שחשבו לבטל את שמירת השבת.

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לכבוד מר מ' קושניר קיבוץ גבע שלום וברכה

‎דבריך הגיעוני, ואין בהם אפילו מקצת נחמה.

לחינם חסת "על כבודי ועל כבוד אותו דובר" ולא הראית את דברי אלא ליחידים.

אדרבה ואדרבה, דברי לא נכתבו לשם גניזה.

מן הצורך לצווח ככרוכייה יום יום על סילוק השכינה וסילוק הדעת מצעירי ישראל.

ועד שאתה חס על כבודי, מוטב לכולכם לחוס על כבוד קונכם ועל כבוד ארץ ישראל המחוללת בידכם. ואם כדבריך כן הוא, שהמעשים נעשים לא רק על-ידי יחידים, אלא על-ידי רוב מניין ובניין של הצעירים בקבוצות, הרי אוי ואבוי לכולנו שבעתיים.

ארץ-ישראל בלי שבת לא תיבנה, אלא תיחרב , וכל עמלכם יהיה לתוהו.

עם ישראל לא יוותר לעולם על השבת, שהיא לא רק יסוד קיומו הישראלי, אלה גם יסוד קיומו האנושי. בלי שבת אין צלם א-להים ואין צלם אנוש בעולם.

אילו היתה העבודה תכלית לעצמה, הרי אין מותר לאדם מן הבהמה.

כל עמי התרבות קיבלו מיד ישראל, בצורה זו או אחרת, את יום המנוחה, והיא שעמדה להם ללבוש צורת אדם במקצת. בלעדיה היו כולם עומדים בפראותם.

השבת, ולא התרבות של תפוחי הזהב או תפוחי האדמה, היא ששמרה על קיום עמנו בכל ימי נדודיו. ועתה, בשובנו לארץ אבות, הנשליכנה אחרי גוונו ככלי אין חפץ בו?

לחינם קפצת במכתבך קפיצת פתאום לעניין אכילת חמץ בפסח. אני בפעם הזאת לא על שמירת המצוות בכלל דיברתי, אלא ייחדתי את הדיבור על שמירת השבת, שהיא שקולה בעיני לא רק כשמירת כל התרי"ג מצוות הישראליות, כדברי חכמינו, אלא כשמירת רוח האדם כולה.

מי ששומר את השבת, אפילו עובד עבודה זרה כדור אנוש, מוחלין לו את כל עוונותיו. בלי שבת אין ישראל, אין ארץ ישראל, ואין תרבות ישראל.

השבת היא היא התרבות.

ואם אתה לא עמדת על ההבדל שבין שמירת השבת לשמירת שאר המצוות, סימן רע הוא לך ולכל שכמותך. ואוי ואבוי לכולנו שראינוכם בכך.

ואולם מחוץ לכל זה, איכה לא יבינו צעירנו, כי עם ישראל ברוב מניינו ובניינו, זה שעל אדמתו אתם יושבים ובכספו אתם נתמכים, נתן את ידו לבניין הארץ על דעת כך שתישמר השבת בשלמותה ועל דעת כך שולחתם הנה. הטוב, הנכון הדבר, כי תמעלו מעל בשליחותכם?

ליבי אומר לי, כי לא יאריכו הימים וסערה גדולה, סערת התמרמרות, תתפרץ מלב כל העם, ואת תוצאותיה מי ישורן?

בכבוד רב,

חיים נחמן ביאליק

בני המרגלים ממשיכים את חטא המרגלים

מועתק מאתר כיכר השבת
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אחרי יציאת מצרים וקבלת התורה, עשו המרגלים מה שעשו וקבעו את ט' באב כיום בכיה לדורות.

ממה פחדו המרגלים? במדבר ירד מהשמים מן בלי שום טרחה, לא היו צריכים לעבוד לפרנסתם, ולא עסקו יותר במלחמות. כל היום היה פנוי ללמוד התורה. לקראת הכניסה לארץ ישראל הבינו המרגלים שיצטרכו לכבוש את ארץ ישראל במלחמה ואחרי הכניסה לארץ יצטרכו לעבוד למחייתם. לזה לא הסכימו וכך נקבע יום ט' באב כיום בכיה לדורות.

המלחמה לכבוש ארץ ישראל עוד לא נגמרה. כדי לאכול צריך לעבוד ולהתפרנס. אך, בני המרגלים בימינו ממשיכים את חטא המרגלים ורוצים רק ללמוד תורה כמו במדבר בלי לעבוד לפרנסה ובלי להשתתף במלחמה. זה בדיוק מה שמנציח את חטא המרגלים ואת ט' באב כיום בכיה לדורות. על לימוד התורה שלהם נאמר: "כל תורה שאין עמה מלאכה סופה בטלה וגוררת עוון".

לפני מלחמת מדין אמר משה רבנו לעם: "החלצו מאתכם אנשים לצבא". רש"י מפרש: "אנשים - צדיקים". רק הצדיקים צריכים לשרת בצבא. רשעים אינם שייכים לצבא.  אם כל לומדי התורה ושומרי המצוות יתגייסו לצבא, יהיה לנו צבא כשר למהדרין ולא יהיה יותר צורך בחילונים ובבנות בצבא.

הרב מרדכי אליהו אמר שכל מי שמתגייס לצבא מקיים שלש מצוות - כיבוש הארץ, ואהבת לרעך כמוך, ולא תעמוד על דם רעך.  על מי שאינו מתגייס אמר משה רבנו: "האחיכם יבואו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה?"  משה רבנו המשיך וקרא לאלה שאינם משתתפים במלחמה "תרבות אנשים חטאים". 

ינאי המלך אמר לאשתו: "אל תתיראי מן הפרושין ולא ממי שאינן פרושין, אלא מן הצבועים שדומים לפרושין, שמעשיהם מעשה זמרי ומבקשים שכר כפינחס." (סוטה, כב, ע'ב).  הרמח"ל אמר: "שהם מכלל הצבועים אשר אין בעולם רע מהם." (מסילת ישרים, כב).

הצבועים בני המרגלים בימינו, שממשיכים את חטא המרגלים, מתייהרים כאילו הם גדולי לומדי התורה וממציאים חומרות יתרות בתקוה לגרום לאחרים לחשוב שהם גדולי הצדיקים. הם מאמינים שבאמת צריך להיות כמו המרגלים, ובזים לאלה שכן מוכנים לעבוד ולהלחם. עליהם אמר הקב"ה: "עד מתי לעדה הרעה הזאת", ועליהם אמר הנביא: "ותופסי התורה לא ידעוני".

כל עוד יש בתוכנו צבועים רבים כל כך שממשיכים את חטא המרגלים, ממשיך יום ט' באב להיות יום בכיה לדורות. "על אלה אני בוכיה". המרגלים התחילו את החורבן ובניהם הצבועים בימינו מנציחים אותו. כל מי שגר בארץ ישראל, וחוטא בתלמוד תורה שאין עמה מלאכה (שסופה בטלה וגוררת עוון), ואינו משתתף במלחמה לכבוש ארץ ישראל, דינו כדין המרגלים. מי שאינו רוצה לעבוד לפרנסתו ואינו רוצה להשתתף במלחמה לכבוש ארץ ישראל, מה יש לו לחפש בארץ ישראל? שיחזור למדבר וילמד שם תורה כל היום. הדרך פתוחה.

כובעו של משיח


שיר זה מוקדש באהבה לכל מי שחושב שהוא צדיק יותר מחברו

תרגום חופשי מאנגלית: אלי שקדי וצבי שקדי


ליל הגאולה הגיע, ובכל בית-מדרש
שלמדו בו תורה, אם בפשט או בדרש
התנגנו חידושים ונישאו גם דרשות
ביידיש, עברית ,ובשפות חדשות.
בשמים ציווה אז בורא העולם:
"זה הזמן לשחרר את בני מסבלם !
משיח, קום נא ממקום מרבצך
ורד להציל את עמי - בטובך !"

עלץ המשיח, מהר התלבש
לארץ ירד במרכבת האש
דהר עד לבית המדרש הראשון
ופנה ליושבים בו בזו הלשון:
"אני המשיח ! באה הגאולה !
קול צקון תפילתכם לרקיע עלה
ועכשיו מתחילה פה תקופה מעולה !"

פסק הניגון, נפלה שם דממה
חבורת הלומדים נראתה המומה
וכל דמות שהיתה על הספר רוכנת
בדקה את הזר, ובעין בוחנת.
"זה אינו המשיח" ציחקק האחד
"כובעו מקומט, כמו נווד מפוחד"
ואחר העווה פרצופו כבטטה
כובעו של משיח עם שוליים למטה?"

חשב המשיח: "עם כאלה חוקים
לא מפליא שהם כאן ואני בשחקים...
אעלה השוליים ואף אגהץ
ולא יעליב אותי שוב איזה לץ."
עמד לו לרגע לאור הפנס
ישר כובעו והחליק המיכנס
ולבית המדרש השני כך נכנס.

"אני המשיח..." מילים רק הגה
ונדרש להציג תעודת מפלגה
שתעיד אם הוא שמאל או מרכז או ימין
כנדרש ממנהיג בעל אופי אמין.
"איזה כובע הדור !" "איזה בגד שחור !"
צחקו היושבים באולם מאחור
ובעודם מלעיגים בו בלא הפוגה
כבר החליף כובעו בכיפה הסרוגה.

"אי אפשר להפסיק משימות חשובות"
הרהר המשיח, פניו עצובות
"לא כל כך משנה מה מונח על ראשי,
אנסה מזלי במקום השלישי."

"אני המשיח..." החל להסביר
אבל שקט מתוח עמד באויר
"אתה המשיח? לא יעלה על הדעת !
מי שמע על משיח ללא שחור המגבעת?"

"דווקא יש לי מגבעת" גנח המשיח
ומיהר כובעו הישן להניח
אבל כל הקהל הקדוש שוב צחק
ואברך מצוין שם קרא ממרחק:
"איזה כובע הפוך, אולי גם הראש?
אם אף כובע ישר לא תדע לחבוש,
לקבל מלכותך מאיתנו תדרוש?"

הבין המשיח – זמנו לא הגיע
ופנה לדרכו חזרה לרקיע
אך פתאום הקיפוהו המון יהודים
חילונים, מסורתים, והרבה חרדים
חברים מן השמאל, הימין, ומרכז
כל אחד בנפרד בבגדו נאחז
"חכה, אל תלך, זה הכל אשמתם !"
ואיש על רעהו הרימו ידם.

התעצב המשיח: "אינכם מבינים"
מרכבתו כבר פונה אל שמי עננים
"חשוב ונפלא הוא לימוד התורה
אך נראה כי שכחתם עיקר במסורה"
הסתכלו היהודים זה בזה במבוכה
ממה בדיוק אין הדעת נוחה?

אמר המשיח: "הקשיבו היטב
ואתכם אלמד לכוון את הלב"

"למעט בדיבור, את הנפש לפתוח,
איש את רעו לאהוב, ולסלוח.
למדנים, סוחרים – יהודים הם כולם
אהובים כמו בנים על בורא העולם.

אם אתם מבקשים כבר לגאול את העם,
פתחו את לבכם וקבלו את כלם.
אהבו שכניכם ודברו בשבחם,
והקפידו רק על זאת - אהבת חנם !"

The Seven Noahite Laws


The fundamental principles, or laws, which represent the standard of a civilized society and are incumbent upon all people. Non-Jews are expected to follow the following seven laws which date back to the time of Noah. Judaism regards any non-Jew who keeps these laws as a righteous person who is guaranteed a place in the world to come.
 
These are the fundamental principles, or laws, which represent the standard of a civilized society and are incumbent upon all people. While Jews are commanded to observe hundreds of laws, non-Jews are expected to follow the following seven laws which date back to the time of Noah. Judaism regards any non-Jew who keeps these laws as a righteous person who is guaranteed a place in the world to come.

  1. You shall practice equity, establish and promote justice: We are to be fair, just, and equitable in our dealings with others. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. This law also commands us to translate the ideals of our personal life into the building blocks of society to uphold the other six laws. A robust and healthy legal system results in a society worthy of God's blessings.

  2. You shall not commit Idolatry: We are to believe in one God, the Supreme Being. To give life meaning, one has to recognize that there is one, and only one, Supreme Being who created the Universe. This Supreme Being grants us free choice and is aware of all our deeds. What's more, He desires good, despises evil, and rewards and punishes man according to his actions. In the first of the Ten Commandments we are commanded to establish our belief in God. In the second commandment we are prohibited from believing in any other god and prohibited from deification of anything earthly or heavenly that can take the form of a physical image.

  3. You shall not commit Blasphemy: We are to respect God and not blaspheme His Name. The most natural inclination is to take credit for our success and blame others for failure. Yet blaming people cannot undo what has been done. Rather, it is a selfish act that can only lead to anger, bitterness, and frustration. Blaming or blaspheming God or cursing in His name is a similarly selfish act; yet one with much greater consequences: it undermines the very foundation upon which society stands. 

  4. You shall not commit Sexual Immorality: We are to respect the family and not commit immoral sexual acts. This includes adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, and incest. Man has the choice of being selfish or selfless. The selfish person is never satisfied. Rather his preoccupation with his own desires leads him to self destruct. What is true of man is true of mankind. The story of the creation of woman and the institution of marriage, presented with such solemnity (Gen. 2:22-24), constitutes a quite solid foundation for the prohibition of forbidden relationships, adultery, and unnatural vices by this law. Those nations that have condoned selfish acts such as adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, and incest have never lasted.  True happiness comes when one desires to help another. The family unit is the ultimate expression of that desire. In a wholesome family, man's desires find fulfillment, as his selfish inclination gives way to selfless love. 

  5. You shall not commit Murder: We are to respect human life. Man was created in the image of God. Therefore human life possesses sanctity. Everything must be done to preserve life and prevent murder and manslaughter. One who attacks a fellow human being is, in essence, attacking the Image of God. The account of the punishment of Cain, Abel's murderer, is clear evidence near the beginning of Genesis that homicide is a punishable crime. The law which condemns him is later formulated most explicitly in the covenant established with Noah (Gen. 9:5). 

  6. You shall not commit Theft or Robbery: We are to respect others' rights and not take anything that is not ours. God not only rules the world, He runs it according to His Infinite Wisdom. An attack upon man is, in reality, an attack on the Creator. Man must realize that he cannot succeed by robbing or cheating others. Whatever gains have been made will ultimately be lost. The prohibition of theft exists in embryo in the distinction made by God as sovereign master of the earthly paradise between what Adam may take and what is forbidden to him (Gen. 2:16-17).  

  7. You shall not eat the limb torn from a live animal. Flesh with the life of it, the blood of it, you shall not eat:   We are to respect all creatures and not eat the flesh of a living animal. We are caretakers of God's creations. As a result, our responsibility extends beyond our family and beyond society, to the entire world. Removing flesh from a live animal shows that we are insensitive to God's creations. Instead, we must always remember who we are and what we must do to as Partners and caretakers of God's world. The commandment of not removing flesh from a live animal and eating it extends to not being cruel to animals. We find this law in full in the laws given to Noah after the flood. (Gen. 9:4)


The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Noahite Laws in legislation which was passed by both houses. Congress and the President of the United States, George Bush, indicated in Public Law 102-14, 102nd Congress, that the United States of America was founded upon the Seven Universal Laws of Noah, and that these Laws have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization. They also acknowledged that the Seven Laws of Noah are the foundation upon which civilization stands and that recent weakening of these principles threaten the fabric of civilized society, and that justified preoccupation in educating the Citizens of the United States of America and future generations is needed. For this purpose, this Public Law designated March 26, 1991 as Education Day, U.S.A.
 
105 STAT. 44 Public Law 102-14 -- March 20, 1991 Joint Resolution To designate March 26, 1991, as "Education Day, U.S.A."
 
Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded;
 
Whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahite Laws;
 
Whereas without these ethical values and principles the edifice of civilization stands in serious peril of returning chaos;
 
Whereas society is profoundly concerned with the recent weakening of these principles that has resulted in crises that beleaguer and threaten the fabric of civilized society;
 
Whereas the justified preoccupation with these crises must not let the citizens of this Nation lose sight of their responsibility to transmit these historical ethical values from our distinguished past to the generations of the future;
 
Whereas Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, leader of the Lubavitch movement, is universally respected and revered and his eighty-ninth birthday falls on March 26, 1991;
 
Whereas in tribute to this great spiritual leader, "the rebbe," this, his ninetieth year will be seen as one of "education and giving," the year in which we turn to education charity to return the world to the moral and ethical values contained in the Seven Noahite Laws; and
 
Whereas this will be reflected in an international scroll of honor signed by the President of the United States and other heads of state: Now, therefore, be it
 
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that March 26, 1991, the start of the ninetieth year of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, leader of the world-wide Lubavitch Movement, is designated as "Education Day, U.S.A." The President is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. (Approved March 20, 1991)

The Real Meaning of Tzedakah

What is the difference between a respectable religion and some of the nicer cults which also preach kindness and study of religious literature?

Many cults place an emphasis on the study of their religious literature, ethics, morality, giving money to their church, and being nice to each other. So, what makes truly religious people better or different from them?

The key difference is the attitude to parents. In a cult, parents are a burden. Cults advise their followers to disconnect from their non-member parents, let alone help them. Giving money to others without receiving an immediate fair exchange is also discouraged by the cults. The only ones worthy of receiving charity are the leaders and their organizations.

We have all been educated about the importance of Tzedakah (charity). Little children learn how to place a penny in a pushka before they learn how to talk. As adults we are constantly bombarded with requests for Tzedakah. Unfortunately, very few of us have learned the Halachot and the real meaning of Tzedakah.

The number one priority of giving Tzedakah is taking care of older parents who need help. Other family members come next. Those who are not family members also have to be helped, but, only after the needs of all family members have been satisfied. Most Rabbanim today do not teach that Tzedakah money should be spent, first and foremost, on the needs of older parents or family members who cannot support or care for themselves.

The Tanaim and Amoraim - the scholars of the Mishnah and Gemara - had their own businesses. The Rambam worked as a doctor. The Radomske Rebbe had real-estate investments. They did not depend on Tzedakah for their livelihood. Today, on the other hand, very few practicing Rabbanim have independent businesses or jobs.

In the Rambam and in the Shulchan Aruch we find the rules of giving Tzedakah only to needy INDIVIDUALS. The concept of giving Tzedakah to support organizations and to pay salaries has not been invented yet. It seems to be a modern invention. More than that, giving Tzedakah money to those who get paid for collecting it - also known as fund raising expenses - is PROHIBITED! (If it sounds hard to believe, you are not alone. See Hilchot Tzedakah in the Shulchan Aruch.)  It is nice to support certain organizations, but, Tzedakah it is not. Not only that, but, very few people know how harsh the Rambam is against those who expect to be paid with Tzedakah money to learn Torah. (See Rambam, Hilchot Talmud Torah, Ch.3:10-11).

Another aberration is the prevalence of organizations which pay high salaries to their leaders, yet, collect donations from low-income people. Why should a low-income person be asked to donate money to fund somebody else's higher income? Such practice should be prohibited.

In Asseret HaDibrot, there is only one that is connected with long life - "Kabbed et Avicha ve-et Imecha". What exactly is the meaning of the word "Kabbed"?

In addition to giving honor, the word "Kibbud" in Hebrew also means giving food to others. The word "Kabbed", as a commandment, appears in the Bible only three times. Twice in Asseret HaDibrot, and the third is in Mishlei 3:9 - "Kabbed Hashem with your money, and from the first fruits of all your produce."  Not just "fruits", but, "first fruits". So, now, there is no more room for mistakes or misunderstandings. "Kabbed" does not mean only verbal or ceremonial honor. It also means: "First, take care of the needs of your father and mother in a way that costs you money and effort."

Now, that we understand the real meaning of giving Tzedakah, it is also easier to understand the promise in Asseret HaDibrot. Those who make life better for their parents are blessed with long and happy life for themselves.

Two Thousand Years of Failure

In our quest to be Tzaddikim we forgot about being a Mentch.

2000 years ago, we caused, with our own actions, the destruction of Beit HaMikdash. For the next 2000 years we cried, we fasted, we wore black hats and jackets, we learned many pages of Gmara by heart, and we prayed for the reconstruction of Beit HaMikdash - to no avail. Beit HaMikdash is not yet rebuilt and we seem to get deeper and deeper into the hole. We made an experiment, a 2000-years long experiment, and we failed.

God could not care less what color hat we wear. God could not care less if we wear a shirt, a jacket, or a kappotta. God could not care less how many pages of Gmara we know by heart or how many days in a year we fast. There is only one thing that God cares about – what we do for each other. The time we spend helping someone in need, is infinitely more important than the time we spend with our noses pointed to the books we learn. Yes, we do have to learn Torah. It is very important to learn Torah. But, when nobody visits a lonely person in the hospital; when nobody helps an older person carry heavy shopping bags; when nobody helps an overwhelmed family care for a sick child; when we hurt another Jew who is not as "holy" as we are; when a person can say “Let somebody else provide the help, I am too busy learning Torah”; all the pages of the Torah books we learn, cannot make up for it.

The prophet Yeshayahu, during the days of the first Beit HaMikdash, already warned against false Frumkeit. In Ch.1 and in Ch.58 Yeshayahu tells us that God does not care about our sacrifices; does not care about our prayers; despises our holiday observances; and does not want our fasts. The only thing God wants from us is justice and acts of helping those in need. We did not listen, and Beit HaMikdash was destroyed, twice.

It is time for us to wake up from our illusions and false Frumkeit. It is time for us to understand that we have failed and that we need to change our priorities. It is time for us to start helping each other with our actions, not with our lips. If we ever want Beit HaMikdash to be rebuilt, we better drop our books and roll up our sleeves to help each other in times of need. As it says in Tana Dvei Eliahu (24.1): “Those who went out of Mitzraim had one Mitzvah that was liked by God more than 100 other Mitzvot ... they were all united, with a covenant to do Chessed with each other.” All united – not segregated into private cliques and groups which act like private insurance clubs.

A man who had trouble in his marriage, complained to his Rabbi: "It says that folding the Tallit immediately after Havdalah is a Sgulah for Shlom Bayit. I always do it, yet, it does not help." The Rabbi answered: " I have a better Sgulah for you. After Havdalah, roll up your sleeves and go wash the dishes."

Let's not try to be a Tzaddik. First, let's try to be a Mentch.

Emunah - The Essence of Being Jewish

One of the barriers facing non religious Jews in returning to their roots is what they call lack of faith, or the inability to accept a higher authority on faith alone. The true problem is not lack of faith but the lack of understanding of the true meaning of "Emunah". The Jewish religion does not require Jews to accept Godliness on faith. What the Jewish religion does require of Jews is to accept Godliness on Emunah.

Contrary to common belief, the Hebrew word "Emunah", in its religious sense, cannot be translated into the English words "Faith" or "Belief". There is probably no word in any other language that can convey the true meaning of "Emunah".

One of the barriers facing non religious Jews in returning to their roots is what they call lack of faith, or the inability to accept a higher authority on faith alone. The true problem is not lack of faith but the lack of understanding of the true meaning of "Emunah". Surprisingly, the Jewish religion does not require Jews to accept Godliness on faith, (using the English or Christian meaning of "faith"). What the Jewish religion does require of Jews is to accept Godliness on Emunah.

Since there is no word in English to which Emunah can be translated, it will require a longer definition.

Emunah: The personal revelation of truth and the higher state of awareness that can be attained only through performing certain beneficial God-given physical acts, and abstaining from certain harmful divinely prohibited acts. It cannot be attained through any course of study, logical reasoning, or meditation. Once Emunah is attained it can be reinforced and taken to higher levels through study, logical reasoning, and meditation, but it cannot be initiated on those alone.

When all the Jews were standing together in front of Mount Sinai they proclaimed in unison: "Na'aseh Venishma" - we will do and [then] we will understand. This was the most important characteristic of Jewish identity - the willingness to follow the will of God and the understanding that no understanding of Godliness is possible without this willingness. On the other hand, the single most harmful obstacle to attaining this heightened state of Emunah and the predominant reason for losing it is the surrender to bodily desires and temptations that run contrary to the will of God.

Now that we understand the meaning of "Emunah" we can return to the beginning of this article, read from the beginning again, and gain a better understanding of why lack of blind faith is not and was never the true barrier facing non-observant Jews.

Most non-observant Jews who feel the need for spirituality in their life, yet are obstructed by their perceived "lack of faith" blame their lack of proper religious education as the culprit. Again, the same mistake is being made here due to the lack of understanding of the term "Emunah". The culprit is not the lack of study or education or logical proofs, but the lack of physical performance of those acts that God has commanded us to perform and the lack of abstention from (a double negative meaning indulgence in…) those acts that God has commanded us to abstain from.

Jewish children who are treated with love and respect (in compliance with the will of God) and are trained in physical observance of the laws given to us by God, before they even understand the concept of God and before they learn logical reasoning, have no problems in attaining this heightened mental and spiritual level of "Emunah". It is the lack of this kind of upbringing that needs to be compensated for by those who did not merit to grow up with it.

This is why the Lubavitcher Rebbe has stressed the importance of starting with physical observance of certain God-given laws as the entry way into the Jewish way of life, and instructed his emissaries to avoid logical debates and scientific argumentation. The statistical fact is that the Lubavitcher emissaries who follow the advice of the Rebbe attain a higher rate of success then any other group or methodology in bringing those who went astray back into Judaism.

It's Emunah, and Emunah alone, that is the gateway into the palace of the King.

Learning Torah in Yiddish?

Yiddish is not an independent language. It is the Jewish dialect of the German language. The German language has hundreds of dialects, and Yiddish is just one of them.

A person who knows only German can easily understand Yiddish. On the other hand, a person who knows only Hebrew cannot understand anything in Yiddish. Many great Rabbis agree that the Germans are the descendants of Amalek. Therefore, Yiddish is the language of Amalek.


As shocking as it sounds, the fact is that Yiddish is based on the language of Amalek. Amalek belongs to the three lowest levels of impurity that can never be elevated to holiness. Therefore, no matter how many holy Rabbis learn Torah in Yiddish, it can never be elevated to holiness. If a Rabbi, by mistake, happens to eat something non-kosher, would that elevate the non-kosher food to become kosher?


Some have argued that the inclusion of so many Hebrew words in the language elevates it to holiness. Others argue that the use of the language for Torah study elevates it to holiness. These arguments are about as valid (or absurd) as the argument that adding kosher ingredients into a non-kosher soup will render the entire soup kosher.


Others have argued that Yiddish is THE language of the Jewish nation. This argument, in a single sentence, instantly excludes millions of Sefardic Jews from the Jewish nation. Does anyone really believe that those who don't speak Yiddish are not Jews, or, perhaps, inferior Jews?


We have such a strong obligation to wipe out the memory of Amalek - why are we still working so hard to perpetuate it instead? Even if we say that "we didn't know" that German, with all its dialects, is the language of Amalek - this might have applied before the holocaust. Now, after the holocaust, there is absolutely no more room for doubt. Because of the holocaust, many Jews would no longer use a product made-in-Germany. Why is it then, that so many Jews don't mind using a language made-in-Germany? The memory of Amalek needs to be wiped out until no remnants are left; its language, with all its dialects, included.


Great Rabbis have taught us that when a Jew learns Torah in a language of another nation, that nation gains power that it could not have otherwise gained. Hundreds of years of learning Torah in Europe, in Yiddish, have given the nation of Amalek a tremendous boost of power. And, since Amalek is all about destruction, the power they gained is the power of destruction. Unfortunately, by 1939, they gained so much destructive power that they were able to drag the world into the worst catastrophe in the history of mankind. Ironically, they have also murdered six million Jews, the very same Jews who gave them the power to do what they did.


Practically all the Jews murdered by the Germans were Yiddish-speaking Jews. Very few of the holocaust victims did not speak Yiddish. Was this God's punishment or revenge for giving the nation of Amalek so much power?


Our forefathers were redeemed from Mitzraim because they did not change their names and did not change their language. They retained their Hebrew names and retained their Hebrew language. They did not learn Torah in the Egyptian language and did not give their children Egyptian names. What's wrong with the name "Ze-ev"? Why does it have to be "Ze-ev Wolf"? How can we expect God to redeem us from our current Gallut while we do learn Torah in the language of Amalek and do give our children German/Amalek based names?

Many Lubavitcher Yeshivas all around the world have already stopped teaching Torah in Yiddish, in accordance with answers by the Lubavitcher Rebbe who said:
"Tell the parents who want everything taught in Yiddish that they most probably also want their children to grow up to be shomrei Torah u’mitzvos (Torah observant Jews). If their children will be taught in Yiddish, which is a strange language to them, they may develop distaste to everything they learn. This will affect them in the future development of their personal Yiddishkait (Judaism).  It is appropriate to speak to them in Yiddish during their playtime, recess, breaks, or when telling them a story as this will help expand their familiarity with the language; however, not when teaching them formal Yiddishkait subjects."

"I am not for .... the Yeshivos who are very enthusiastic about forcing the people to teach all subjects in Yiddish, Gemara etc, I am not enthusiastic about it, we are spending a lot of time to learn a new language and after they have learned it, they have a language barrier, they cannot speak fluently, then are thinking in English, and it is a pity on the time loss, as I said before 'the building is burning!' "

It's about time that we learn that our obligation to wipe out the memory of Amalek is a real one, not just lip service. Are we ever going to learn anything from history? It's about time that we stop giving the nation of Amalek so much power. What else are we waiting for? When are we finally going to stop teaching and learning Torah in Yiddish?


Kosher Milk - חלב ישראל

Edited by Dr. Zvi Shkedi, based on an article written by Rabbi Daniel Neustadt.

Summary

Only milk that was milked in the presence of a supervising Jew is kosher. The prohibition against unsupervised milk, known as "chalav akum", applies even when no other milk is available or when supervised milk is very expensive.


The prohibition against unsupervised milk is mentioned in the Mishnah, Talmud Yerushalmi, and Talmud Bavli
(1) in the chapters dealing with Avodah Zarah (idol worship). This is not a Chumra BeAlma (extra strictness). This is a fundamental prohibition which leaves no room for lenient interpretations.

Several recent Poskim in America allowed drinking "company milk", i.e., milk produced by large companies, without supervision. They argued that government authorities monitor the dairy industry and strictly enforce the law against mixing other milk with cow's milk. Such government regulation should be tantamount to supervision. This argument, however, is not acceptable to most Poskim since it recognizes non-Jews as Kosher supervisors and ignores the idol-worship element in the prohibition. Another problem with the concept of "company milk" is that there is no such a thing. All milk comes from a large number of dairy farms, big and small, and it is all mixed together at the "company".

In the 1950's Rabbi Moshe Feinstein agreed in principle with the lenient ruling and permitted drinking "company milk", but only in extreme circumstances. In the 1960's Rabbi Moshe Feinstein encouraged very strongly that milk from such companies should be avoided. He himself would not rely on the leniency. He explicitly advised Torah observant Jews to refrain from drinking unsupervised milk. He also recommended that schools strain their budgets in order to purchase chalav Israel. "in a place where chalav Israel is obtainable, even though it requires a bit more effort or is more expensive, it is not proper to be lenient in this. One should purchase chalav Israel."

Editor note: Rabbi Feinstein never issued a blanket Hechsher for all unsupervised milk or dairy products. Those who believe he did, are not only making a mistake, but, are also engaging in "Motzy Shem Ra" - slander. Neither did Rabbi Feinstein authorize any kosher supervising agency to "kosherize" products containing non-kosher dairy ingredients. Symbols like OU(D), OK(D), and the like, were invented by business people, not by Rabbinical authorities.

The halachah of Chalav Israel:

The Rabbis enacted a strict prohibition against milk which was not supervised by Jew: Only milk that was milked in the presence of a supervising Jew(1,2) is kosher. All other milk is prohibited. This ordinance is based on the text in the Mishnah, Talmud Yerushalmi, and Talmud Bavli(1) which states that if a Jew did not observe the milking, the milk is prohibited. This requirement is about "observation" not about "evidence".

The Rabbis' fear was not only that one might mistakenly drink non-kosher milk, since horse or camel's milk looks altogether different from cow's milk(3), but rather that a non-Jew might mix a small, undetectable amount of non-kosher milk into the cow's milk rendering it non-kosher. While the Rabbis realized that such an occurrence is unlikely, they were still concerned about it even as a remote possibility(4). Thus, they prohibited drinking all unsupervised milk. This prohibition also includes powdered milk (5). The Rambam(1) explicitely states that all non-Jewish milk is suspect.

The prohibition against unsupervised milk, known as "chalav akum", applies even when no other milk is available or when supervised milk is very expensive(6). This prohibition is so severe, that even a utensil in which chalav akum was cooked is prohibited for use unless it undergoes a koshering process(7).

A utensil in which cold chalav akum is stored for twenty-four hours is also prohibited for use unless it undergoes a koshering process(8). Chalav akum, like most other non-kosher foods, is nullified, bateil, only if it is inadvertently (but not intentionally) mixed into a permitted food or liquid that is sixty times greater in volume(9).

All milk that is not supervised is chalav akum and, therefore, is prohibited.

Unlike wine, there are only two kinds of milk - chalav Israel [supervised and kosher] and chalav akum [unsupervised and prohibited]. There is nothing in between. Later on we will mention a modern invention called "chalav stam" or "company milk" which is an attempt to create an in-between type of milk. However, this in-between type has no basis in halacha and the concept cannot be found anywhere in the early halachic literature.

Is chalav akum ever permitted?

Several hundred years ago, the Pri Chadash ruled that it is permitted to drink unsupervised milk if there are no non-kosher milk producing animals in the entire vicinity. His argument was that since there is no reasonable possibility that a non-Jew could mix non-kosher milk into the kosher milk, supervision is no longer required. Several other poskim also agreed with this ruling(10). But, almost all of the poskim who followed the Pri Chadash disagreed with his view(11). They all reached the consensus that the ordinance against drinking unsupervised milk is the type of a decree which can be classified as a "permanent ordinance", which, once enacted, can never be abrogated. The ruling by the Pri Chadash also ignored the idol-worship aspect of the prohibition.

Some explain that since the rabbinical degree was issued originally only because of a remote possibility, the fact that no such milk is available in the vicinity is of no consequence. Milk can be certified as kosher only if it is supervised(12).

The Chasam Sofer(13) explains that the ban on unsupervised milk was pronounced irrespective of the availability of non-kosher milk. Even if it could be ascertained beyond all doubt that there was no possible access to non-kosher milk, it is still prohibited to drink unsupervised milk.

Whether for the first or the second reason(14), it is agreed by almost all of the poskim(15) that the Pri Chadash's leniency cannot be relied upon. Some poskim add that even if the halachah were to be decided according to the Pri Chadash, it would be of no consequence, since it has been accepted by all Torah-observant Jews [prior to modern-day America] as a binding custom, which has the force of a vow, not to drink unsupervised milk, even if there are no non-kosher milk producing animals in the entire vicinity. One must, therefore, be stringent in this matter(16).

In more recent times, another argument for leniency was advanced by several poskim(17). They argued that since government authorities in the United States and other developed countries closely monitor the dairy industry and strictly enforce the law against mixing other milk with cow's milk, government regulation should be tantamount to supervision(18). According to this argument, the fear of being caught by government inspectors serves as a sufficient deterrent and may be considered as if the milking is supervised. Based on this argument, several poskim allowed drinking "company milk", i.e., milk produced by large companies, without supervision(19). This argument, however, is not acceptable to most Poskim since it recognizes non-Jews as Kosher supervisors, and, again, it ignores the idol-worship aspect of the prohibition.

The major problem with the concept of "company milk" is that there is no such a thing. All milk comes from a large number of dairy farms, big and small, and it is all mixed together at the "company". Small dairy farms have a very strong financial incentive to mix in pig-milk. The high fat contents of pig-milk allows them to add water to the milk without getting caught by conventional inspection means, thus increasing their profit with minimal risk. In practice, in America today, government inspectors call in advance before they come for an inspection, so the entire idea of the inspection acting as a deterrent is moot.

Most Poskim oppose the leniency with regard to "company milk" for other reasons. Based on the aforementioned view of the Chasam Sofer, who maintains that the rabbinical ordinance against unsupervised milk applies even when there is no possible access to non-kosher milk, there is no room for leniency just because of government regulation. Nothing short of actual supervision by a Jew renders milk kosher(20). Regardless of how probable or improbable it is that such circumvention can happen, it has already been ruled upon by all authorities, unlike the Pri Chadash, that the rabbinical ordinance applies even for remote possibilities(21).

Rabbi P. Waldman from Aish Hatorah wrote the following answer in response to a question:

"In the early 1950's, it was difficult to find locally milk that was overseen by a Jew, and R' M. Feinstein gave reasons why big companies are believed not to mix any other milk with the cow's milk. In the late 1960's we see that R' Feinstein encouraged very strongly that milk from such companies
should be avoided, and we should only have proper supervised milk. We are not aware of any responses by R' M. Feinstein, on this subject, that were written later. (source: "Igrot Moshe" by R' M. Feinstein, Y.D. I 46-9; II 31; IV 4:5) "


So, what is the practical halachah?

In the 1950's, when supervised milk was hardly available [or was of inferior quality] and it was truly a hardship to obtain chalav Israel, many people relied on the leniency. Some people continue to rely on this lenient opinion even nowadays when supervised milk is readily available(22). Indeed, many kashruth organizations in the United States, because of business pressures, confer kosher certification on dairy products, and milk, that contain no other non-kosher additives or ingredients, but which are produced from unsupervised "company milk".

Many others, however, no longer rely on this leniency, since conditions have radically changed and chalav Israel is so readily available. It is important to note that while Rabbi Moshe Feinstein agreed in principle with the lenient ruling and in the 1950's permitted drinking "company milk" in extreme circumstances, he himself would not rely on the leniency and advised scrupulous individuals, ba'alei nefesh, and bnei Torah to refrain from drinking unsupervised milk (23). He also recommended that schools strain their budgets in order to purchase chalav Israel.

The following letter (24) by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein gives us an idea of how he felt on this issue:

"Regarding the milk of government regulated dairies in our countries, there are definitely grounds for permissibility to say that they are not included in Chazal's prohibition, as we see that many are lenient in this due to dochak [pressing circumstances] in many places.
However, in a place where chalav Israel is obtainable, even though it requires a bit more effort or is more expensive, it is not proper to be lenient in this. One should purchase chalav Israel."

Footnotes:

  1. Mishnah, Avodah Zarah, ch.2.6; Talmud Yerushalmi, Avodah Zarah, ch.2.7, p.15; Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah, p.35b. See also Rambam, Hilchot Ma-achalot Asurot, ch.3.15.
  2. "Supervised" means either watching the actual milking or standing guard outside the milking area to make sure that no other milk is brought in from the outside; Y.D. 115:1. Even a minor over the age of nine may be the supervisor; Aruch ha-Shulchan 115:8. [Nowadays, when the chance of mixing non-kosher milk into cow's milk is remote, even a non-believing Jew may be trusted with the supervision since only non-Jews were included in the original decree; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:46; 2:47.]
  3. Cow's milk is pure white, while non-kosher milk is greenish; Avodah Zarah 35b. Some hold that they taste different as well (R' Akiva Eiger on Shach Y.D. 118:8), while others hold that they taste the same (Beis Meir, ibid.)
  4. As explained by Chochmas Adam 67:1.
  5. Powdered milk, too, was included in this ordinance; Chazon Ish Y.D. 41:4; R' Yonoson Shteif 159. See, however, Har Tzvi 103-104 who is lenient, and his ruling is followed by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate which certifies unsupervised powdered milk as chalav Israel (Daf ha-Kashrus, December 1997). Most chalav Israel chocolate manufacturers, however, do not rely on the Har Tzvi's leniency, and use only powdered milk made from supervised milk. Note that almost all milk chocolate products are made of powdered milk; liquid (fluid) milk is usually not used to make milk chocolate.
  6. Darkei Teshuvah 115:6.
  7. Rama Y.D. 115:1.
  8. Taz Y.D. 115:7.
  9. Shach Y.D. 115:17; Chochmas Adam 67:5.
  10. See Teshuvos Radvaz 4:74 and Pri Toar 115:2.
  11. See Pischei Teshuvah 115:3, Aruch ha-Shulchan 115:5 and Darkei Teshuvah 115:6.
  12. Beis Meir Y.D. 115:1; Chochmas Adam 67:1; Avnei Nezer 103; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:49.
  13. Teshuvos Y.D. 107, quoted by Pischei Teshuvah 115:3.
  14. Some additional arguments against this leniency are: 1) There are hardly any locales, especially in rural areas, where non-kosher animals do not exist; Beis Meir, ibid. 2) Chazal did not always divulge all of their reasons for any particular edict; sometimes even when the obvious reason does not apply there are other, concealed, reasons which may apply; Aruch ha-Shulchan 115:6.
  15. The view of the Chazon Ish 41:4 is somewhat unclear on this.
  16. Chochmas Adam 67:1; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 107; Birkei Yosef Y.D. 115; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:46.
  17. Chazon Ish 41:4; Harav Y.E. Henkin 2:57; Igros Moshe Y.D. 47,48,49.
  18. As mentioned earlier, "supervision" also includes standing guard outside the milking area so that no non-kosher milk is being brought in from the outside.
  19. This became known colloquially as chalav stam ("plain milk"), which refers to its status as being neither expressly prohibited chalav akum nor expressly permitted chalav Israel. Note that only large milk companies are included in this leniency; there is no leniency for milk that comes from small farms, etc.
  20. Zekan Aharon 2:44; Minchas Elazer 4:25; Har Tzvi 103; Minchas Yitzchak 10:31-15; Kinyan Torah 1:38 quoting Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky.
  21. Chelkas Yaakov 2:37,38.
  22. Even today there are situations where chalav Israel is not available, e.g., business travelers or hospital patients. They may rely on the lenient opinion; Harav Y. Kamenetsky (Emes L'Yaakov Y.D. 115:1).
  23. Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:35.
  24. Dated 5716 (1956) and printed in Pischei Halachah, pg. 107. For unknown reasons, this responsum was not published in Igros Moshe.

Beware of Treif "Kosher" Meat

Introduction

When we first came to America, I asked the Rav of the Shul where I Davened, where can we buy trustworthy Kosher meat. The Rav answered: "There is no such thing as Kosher meat in America."
 
It is sometimes hard to believe how many levels of observance we find among Jews when it comes to defining what is Kosher and what is not. Some Jews consider any meat kosher as long as it comes from a kosher animal, regardless of how it was killed or processed. Others will not eat any meat unless it meets the most stringent of all requirements. (The term "meat" in this article follows the Hebrew meaning of "Bassar" which includes all forms of beef, chicken, turkey, etc.)

The common denominator to all Jews is that everyone considers his own level of observance the most perfect and most accurate of all. Anyone who is more stringent is a fanatic. Anyone who is less stringent is careless.

The root of the problem is that most meat eaters - Rabbis and non-Rabbis alike - have an uncontrollable desire to eat meat. Therefore, they will do whatever they can to make life as easy as their conscience will allow. Shrewd and dishonest merchants take advantage of this uncontrollable desire and perpetrate an unbelievable amount of fraud. The best illustration of the magnitude of the fraud, was given by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik who said: "The total quantity of glatt kosher beef sold in America is greater than the number of cows being kosher-slaughtered."

In the olden days an observant Jew would not touch any meat unless he first owned the animal alive, and then observed the Shochet as he performed the Shchitah. Some would also require checking of the knife before the Shchitah. Today, on the other hand, most observant Jews buy dead meat in the market, having no idea what the real history of the meat is. The only thing they rely on is the presence of a "kosher symbol" on the package.


Some will argue that on Yom Tov it is a Mitzvah to eat meat.   אין שמחה אלא בבשר ויין - There is no happiness except with meat and wine. They don't realize that this was said about the service of the Kohanim on the Altar in Beit HaMikdash, not about filling the stomach with meat and wine. 

Others will argue that "My great Rabbi eats meat, so it must be permissible." They don't realize that great Rabbis don't do things for themselves. Great Rabbis have a duty to defend the Jews when they don't follow the will of God. They do things which might be questionable in order to try and convince God that if they do it, then, maybe it is not so bad that others do it, and therefore, the others should not be punished for doing those things.


Uncontrollable Desires

The permission given by the Torah to satisfy the desire to eat meat, is similar to another permission given by the Torah to satisfy another strong desire. In Dvarim, Parashat Ki Tetze (ch.21.11), a soldier who goes to war and captures a beautiful non-Jewish woman is permitted to take her and mate with her to satisfy his bodily desire. Both actions - eating meat and mating with a non-Jewish woman - are equally hated by God. In the desert, after coming out of Egypt, all instances when the Jews ate meat ended up in disasters. Those who ate meat died because they ate it. Later, just before entering the Land of Israel, those who mated with non-Jewish women (Bnot Moav) also died.

The Torah recognizes that sometimes the bodily desires overcome a person's ability to serve God with holiness. For such a person, whose heart is far from God, the Torah prescribes conditions which must be followed before mating with a beautiful captive non-Jewish woman, or before eating meat. Only if a person is incapable of overcoming the desire, and then fulfills all the conditions prescribed by the Torah, only then is such a person permitted to satisfy the desire.


What Does the Torah Say?

For meat to be kosher it has to conform to a well defined set of rules in three stages. Stage 1: while the animal is alive. Stage 2: the process of killing it and preparing it for distribution. Stage 3: after it leaves the slaughter house. Those who eat any meat as long as it comes from a kosher animal observe one of the requirements in Stage 1, and don't particularly care about stages 2 and 3. On the other hand, those who are the most stringent of all, require the meat to comply with all the requirements of all the stages. The majority of Torah-observant Jews consider meat kosher if it complies with some of the requirements in each of the stages.

This article is not intended to serve as a comprehensive summary of all the laws which apply to kosher meat. Some of these laws are known to all; other laws are known only to a select few. In Stage 1, everyone knows that the animal has to be one of the kosher species. In Stage 2, everyone knows that the animal must be slaughtered in a kosher way by a trustworthy certified Shochet. In Stage 3, very few people know that the meat must never be left alone without constant supervision by a trustworthy Jew. Each of these stages, however, has a long list of additional requirements which are not known to all. Therefore, practically all meat eaters delegate the responsibility to ensure that the meat is kosher, to hundreds of kosher certifying agencies and Rabbis around the world.

This article will discuss the weak links in this long chain. These weak links frequently result in kosher observant Jews eating non-kosher meat which carries prominent "kosher" certification.


While the Animal is Alive
 
Let's examine some of the rules which apply at the beginning of the chain, in stage 1.

In the desert, after coming out of Egypt, all instances when the Jews ate meat (the term "meat" also includes fowl) ended up in disasters. Tens of thousands of Jews died because they ate meat. How is it possible, then, for a Jew to have a desire to eat meat?

In BaMidbar, at the end of ch.10, we learn that the Jews in the desert have reached a high level of holiness following the conclusion of the construction of the Mishkan (Holy Temple) and they started the journey towards the Land of Israel. Then, in the next chapter, ch.11, we learn about the beginning of the decline and all the trouble that followed:
"The Erev Rav (rabble) amongst them aroused their desire and the children of Israel also cried and said: we want to eat meat."
The Erev-Rav desire to eat meat was the beginning of the decline which led to all the trouble that followed. The people in the desert were given meat to satisfy this desire, and those who ate it died. Then, Miriam talked Lashon HaRa against Moshe Rabbeinu; the spies complained about the Land of Israel; the Jews were punished by having to remain in the desert for 40 years; Korach challenged the authority of Moshe Rabbeinu; the people complained about lacking water (Mei Meriva) and Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon were punished. It all started with the desire to eat meat.

In Dvarim, Ch. 12.21 we find:
"If the place where God chooses to place his name (Beit HaMikdash) is too far from you, then you may kill from your own cattle and from your own sheep ... and eat..."
Kli Yakar explains that "far" means far from the heart. The desire to eat meat arises when Beit HaMikdash gets far away from the heart of the Jew. The desire to eat meat is a result of becoming less religious. To a truly religious person this can never happen. But, when a person feels far and removed from Beit HaMikdash, this Erev-Rav desire wakes up. "When God is far from you, you immerse yourself in the desire to eat meat" says the Kli Yakar.

For such non-religious people, the Torah provides a permissible way to satisfy this desire. Several conditions are prescribed by the Torah, all of which must be fulfilled before eating meat:
 
  • In Dvarim, ch.12.21, It says: "VeZavachta MiBekarcha UmiTzoncha ... VeAchalta". You are allowed to slaughter FROM YOUR cattle and FROM YOUR sheep ... and then you can eat." The terms "cattle" and "sheep" are qualified by "from" and by "your". "From" means part of of what you own and not all of what you own. If you own a few animals you are allowed to slaughter some of them but not all of them. "Your" means that the animal must be yours when you slaughter it. If you meet both of these requirements, then, you are permitted to eat the meat. 

  • The Gmara, in Chulin p.84a, explains this concept. "Is it possible that a person will take (meat) from the market and will eat? As an answer to this question we learn that you are allowed to slaughter FROM YOUR cattle and FROM YOUR sheep."  Rashi explains: "If he has in his herd he can take and if not, he cannot buy in the market." The Gmara and Rashi are very clear and explicit - the only way for a person to eat meat is to own a live animal (more than one) and then slaughter it. If he does not own a live animal, he is not allowed to buy dead meat in the market.

    A thorough search of all the commentaries on this Gmara did not reveal a single opinion that disagrees with Rashi on this subject. In other words, they all agree.
     
  • According to the Gmara, in Chulin p.84a, most people, those who are not wealthy, are permitted to eat only vegetables and fish. For a person to eat meat, the Gmara says "Yishpetu Lo" - servants (in the plural) who work in his kitchen will cook it for him. In other words, a person must be so wealthy that he has at least two servants who do the cooking for him, before he is allowed to eat meat. 

  • In the next step on the way to eating meat, the Kli Yakar (Dvarim, ch.12.22)  teaches us that the owner of the animals must have such a strong desire to eat meat that he will take the trouble to run after an animal and catch it while the animal tries to escape.

  • Then, the animal must be slaughtered and its blood must be drained.

  • Then, the meat must be "koshered" in water and in salt. It must never leave the supervising eye of a trustworthy Jew and it must be securely protected from any possibility of being exchanged with non-kosher meat.

In summary: Before eating meat a person must
a) own the animal alive;
b) is prohibited from buying dead meat in the market;
c) must be so wealthy that he has at least two servants who do the cooking for him;
d) must run after the animal and catch it;
e) get the animal slaughtered correctly;
f) process the meat in water and salt and keep a permanent supervising eye on it.
Only then, if all of these conditions are complied with, and the desire can still not be controlled, is a person permitted to eat meat.


Is the Shchita Kosher?

Long ago, the Rabbis determined that for a product to be labeled as kosher it needs to be supervised. Business owners and employees cannot be trusted as supervisors wherever there is a possibility that a financial conflict of interest will undermine the quality of the supervision. A business owner who can profit from replacing something kosher with something not kosher cannot be trusted. An employee who fears for his job if he opens his mouth, cannot be trusted either.

When fraud or negligence are not prevalent and not financially beneficial, an occasional visit by a supervisor is sufficient. On the other hand, when each and every food item can be the subject of fraud or negligence, a permanent full-time independent supervisor is mandatory.

In the field of kosher slaughtering, the Rabbis have determined that every Shochet must be permanently supervised by an independent supervisor who does nothing but observe each individual Shchita operation. This is known as the rule of: "בשנים שוחטים" - Shchita must be done in a team of two - one does the act of Shchita and one supervises to make sure it was done correctly. Each cow and each chicken is a new and different entity. The fact that one chicken was slaughtered correctly does NOT mean that the next chicken will also be slaughtered correctly. That's why the Shchita of each individual animal must be independently supervised.

Nowadays, a kosher slaughter house in which every Shochet is individually supervised by an independent supervisor is practically unheard of. In two famous slaughter houses which I have personally visited, an independent supervisor NEVER looked at the Shchita operation. One kosher supervising agency sends a supervisor once every few weeks to observe the general operation, BUT NOT the Shchita by the individual Shochatim. Another supervising agency sends a supervisor for a few hours ONCE A YEAR. What happens between these visits? Nobody knows.

So, how do those in charge of the remote-control supervising agencies "comply" with the requirement that Shchita must be done in a team of two?  Two Shochatim are placed on two parallel lines. Every Shochet is busy doing his own Shchita on his own line having to comply with the minimum speed and quantity required of him by the owner of the slaughter house. Since there are two Shochatim working at the same time, the "team of two" requirement is considered complied with. Never mind that each Shochet is busy doing his own work and has no time to look at what the other Shochet is doing.

In one glatt-kosher slaughter house I have observed a Shochet of cattle working completely alone. He was surrounded by goyim helping him, but, not a single Jew near him. A second parallel line did not exist at this place.

Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed how un-reliable and un-trustworthy kosher Shchita and supervision can be.


Fraud

Fraud is most prevalent at the end of the supply chain, in stage 3.

In the US, 20 states have laws that prohibit mislabeling of kosher food. In May 2002 the US 2nd circuit court of appeals has affirmed a lower court decision to declare the NY kosher laws as unconstitutional. The NJ state supreme court, in 1992, has also struck down the state's kosher fraud laws as unconstitutional. In February 2003 the US Supreme Court refused, without comment, to get involved in an appeal to reinstate the NY kosher laws. Following this refusal, anyone who calls himself a rabbi can now set his own standards and label any meat as kosher. If some group wants to trademark a pig symbol and market their product as "kosher pork" that's perfectly legal. In response to these decisions, the state of NJ, for example, has issued new regulations that PERMIT RETAILERS TO SET THEIR OWN STANDARD OF WHAT IS DEFINED AS KOSHER. There is no legal authority that can tell the retailers what those standards should be.

In Israel, the Customs Authority does not allow a representative of the Rabbinate to be present when foreign meat is unloaded from the ships. Cartons of non-kosher meat often arrive in Israel as kosher and are distributed to the markets.

Aside from errors and disagreements as to what is the definition of "kosher", the most prevalent problem is outright fraud. A kosher meat distributor in NY ordered 12 truck loads of glatt kosher meat from a well known kosher slaughter house in the mid-west. The supervising rabbi at the source locked the trucks with 12 new locks that he special-ordered from a locksmith. He then mailed the key to the supervising rabbi in NY. When the shipment arrived, there were 18 trucks waiting to be unloaded. All of them were locked with brand new locks, and all the locks could be opened with the same original key that, supposedly, only the supervising rabbi in NY had. One in every three strictly kosher families in NY that bought this meat had the pleasure of eating totally Treif meat.

"Wait a minute", will some of the readers say. "How about the seals on the individual cartons?" Every carton of kosher meat is sealed with an adhesive tape that identifies the source and the supervising authority. Well, all adhesive tapes are printed by commercial tape printers. Anyone can take a sample of an old tape peeled off a used carton and have a printer print new rolls of the same tape. Printers don't get involved in the contents of what they print, and it costs only a few dollars per roll...

When my son visited a glatt-kosher slaughter house in the mid-west, he went to the supply room and asked the Mexican worker in charge of the supply room for a roll of carton-sealing tape. The Mexican worker gave him the tape and didn't even ask who my son is. Now my son has in his possession an original tape which bears all the right symbols and Hechsherim. How trustworthy can an adhesive sealing tape be when any stranger can obtain an original roll, and when the person in charge of supplying the rolls is not even Jewish?

A well known kosher slaughter house in the US used to load unlabeled cartons of meat on their trucks, driven by non-Jewish drivers. The drivers carried with them pre-printed labels of various Hechsherim. When they arrived at their destination, the driver would ask the distributor or store owner which Hechsher he wants. He, then, went back to the truck, and pasted the right labels on the cartons.

Well, if the seals on the cartons are no good, how about the labels on the individual packages? Early in 2005 one of the largest and most trusted Glatt-Kosher meat retailers in Brooklyn NY was caught printing forged Glatt-Kosher labels and placing them on meat packages obtained from a distributor who sells non-kosher meat. All families who bought meat from this retailer were instructed by their Rabbis to re-kosher their kitchens. Today, anyone with a good computer scanner can duplicate and forge brand-name labels, and it will take an FBI laboratory to tell the difference. In other words, the labels and seals on packages are useless as evidence of kashrut.

Here is another example to demonstrate how useless kosher-labels are. In 2011, the following packages of pork, labeled as Beit Yosef Shchita (the highest grade of Glatt-Kosher meat) were photographed in a supermarket in New york. Who knows how many packages of treif beef were similarly labeled and sold?



Every kosher slaughter house has a certain percentage of chicken which are rejected as non-kosher. In Israel, these rejected chicken are sold to the Arabs. A shrewd Arab dealer in the Gaza strip printed forged copies of individual bags bearing the Kosher symbol of the Badatz in Jerusalem. He then bought the rejected chicken, packaged them in his own Badatz bags, and sold them in Israel as extra-kosher chicken. It took two years to discover this fraud.

A few years ago, a large shipment of supposedly "glatt kosher" meat was distributed to the ultra-frum neighborhoods in Israel. Each piece was stamped with the stamp of the supervising rabbi, to make sure that scanners and printers didn't help "kosherizing" the meat. Somebody decided to investigate and back-track this shipment, and discovered that the supervising rabbi loaned his stamp to the distributor in exchange for a few thousand dollars. Following this discovery, the religious papers in Israel carried large ads advising all kosher families in Israel to re-kosher their kitchens.

Here is another news bit from Israel: "Police arrested a Palestinian and an Israeli Jew on charges of selling thousands of pounds of non-kosher poultry wrapped in packaging stamped "kosher" to stores in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and a neighboring suburbs."

In 2006 Kashrus Magazine and kashrut.com published the following alert: "Unauthorized Turkey/Meat Products Bearing KAJ Logo. - January 18, 2006 - Turkey or Meat products bearing this symbol - "Khal Adath Jeshurun - KAJ-Canada" are not authorized by KAJ-Breuer's as they do not shecht in Canada and they do not currently use such a symbol."

In September of 2006, a huge kashrut fraud scandal was exposed in Monsey, NY. "All meat and chicken purchased from Shevach Meats in the Hatzlocha Supermarket in the last 6 months may not be eaten," said the Monsey Rabbanim. Needless to say, the owners were known to be very frum. The Monsey Rabbanim issued a joint instruction to all those who bought such meat and chicken to re-kosher all their meat dishes. This store also served as a distributor to the caterers in town. What did the guests eat when they went to a catered event?

In 2009, the chief rabbinate in Israel published the following alert: "meat suspected as non-kosher (treif) was found. Making things worse, the meat had forged stickers and labels attesting to its kosher integrity... In one of the locales they found packages from the well-known Tibon Veal Company, with the product marked Soft Ribs. The stickers are not from the Tibon firm but forgeries...  the slaughter house in Argentina revealed the products are indeed forgeries and in no way represent legitimate kosher packages from the company."

In April 2012 "Pri HaAretz" catering company in Israel was caught serving Treif meat in an official dinner at the home of the President of Israel. An employee of this catering company was seen on video recordings buying the Treif meat from an Arab meat distributor. This company has full-time Kashrut supervisors, yet, the supervisors had no idea where the meat is coming from.

In England, the most kosher beef anyone can buy is supervised by "Kedassia". This beef is delivered by a distributor who also delivers pork and possibly also treif beef all intermixed in the same truck. The Kedassia stamp (in Hebrew) can be seen on one of the beef pieces which hangs in the same truck next to pork. (Photographed in London, July 2011). How do we know if the "Kedassia" stamp is original or a forgery? What prevents a distributor who also sells pork from making his own "Kedassia" stamp? If glatt-kosher beef, treif beef, and pork are delivered in the same truck, how do you know what you get when you buy a piece of meat or ground meat in the store?




Many strictly kosher consumers will not buy meat if the Hechsher on it comes from a rival supervising agency. But, if the meat rubs shoulders with pork - no problem at all...

To be 100% sure that meat is kosher, we must perform or observe the entire process ourselves. If this is not practical, we tend to delegate the Hashgacha to an individual Mashgiach or to a kosher-supervising agency. Can a full-time Mashgiach be really trusted?

My son was once asked by his friend, who is a full time Mashgiach in a kitchen, to substitute for him. My son agreed and did his job applying the same standards he keeps at his own home. After three days, the owner of the business asked my son not to come back, saying that a good Mashgiach needs to know how to close his eyes from time to time. How many Mashgichim do we know who are willing to risk their livelihood to protect the consumers? Professional Mashgichim know that the first rule of survival in this business is "keep your mouth shut".

So, if an individual Mashgiach cannot be trusted because of his conflict of interest, how about a large kosher-supervising agency?

One of the largest kosher supervising agencies in the world was involved in a different kind of a scandal. Kosher consumers discovered that one of the presumably kosher supervised products contained treif gelatin. (Gelatin was listed as one of the ingredients) They protested to the company and were shocked to discover that the supervising agency knowingly allowed the treif gelatin in the product, fearing that if they don't allow it they might lose the company as a client. The "official" reason for allowing the gelatin in the product was that it contained only a small quantity. The food engineers refused to give up the gelatin - it was an essential ingredient for better taste, therefore any reliance on hallachic nullification was outright fraud. The (non-Jewish) company owners did not like it when they discovered that their customers were betrayed by this kosher supervising agency. They fired them and hired a different agency. Following this event the kosher supervising agency published a letter in which they announced "a change in their policy" to no longer rely on nullification of treif ingredients. Who knows how many other companies and products were certified as kosher by this agency, before they "changed their policy", even though the products contained small amounts of Treif ingredients?

These are only a few examples to show how a financial conflict of interest diminishes the value of delegated supervision. As stated above, professional kosher supervisors know that the first rule of survival in this business is "keep your mouth shut". Does it mean that the entire concept of kosher supervision is flawed? No. It means only that any product under delegated supervision has the Halachic status of "Safek" - doubt. And, the Halacha is very clear on the subject of Safek. "Safek DeOraita LeChumra, Safek DeRabbanan LeKula" - any doubt that involves a Torah prohibition renders the product non-kosher; if the doubt involves only a Rabbinic prohibition, the product is kosher. So, a chicken with a kosher sticker on it is Safek DeOraita - a Torah prohibition. A box of cereal under kosher supervision is Safek DeRabbanan - Rabbinically permitted.

Next time you buy meat or plan to eat meat in a catered event, remember that a single truckload can yield a profit of more than $50,000 to the dishonest distributor or retailer. You may choose to trust whoever you want, but you have no idea what is really going on in the supply chain. Being frum is not a sufficient qualification for anyone who can profit from fraud. Even a full-time Mashgiach cannot always be trusted, because if he decides to do his job honestly he will lose his job. The need to earn money creates a very powerful conflict of interest.

Now we know why we have the Halachic rule of "Bassar SheNitaleim Min HaAyin" - meat that was exposed to the possibility of fraud. All such meat is Hallachicly Treif, even if fraud did not occur. Yet, most consumers and many Rabbis don't seem to care. They prefer to close their eyes, rely on the assumption that the majority of the meat is hopefully kosher, and hope for the best. Just like in the infamous game called "Russian Roulette". Players point at their head a revolver with only one bullet and pull the trigger. Most of the chambers in the revolver are empty, so most of the time nothing happens. But, occasionally, the bullet is correctly aligned with the barrel and then it is too late.


The Past and the Future
 

When God created the world, all creatures were vegetarians. Nobody ate meat. Nobody killed an animal in order to eat it; not even the animals who are known today as wild, meat-eating, animals. This continued for 1656 years up until the Mabul - the great flood. Noach's ark was full of wild animals, yet they did not eat other animals. 

Except for Noach, the people in the generations before the Mabul were extremely wicked. They were so wicked that God decided to punish them and kill them. Yet, as wicked as they were, they did not kill animals for food.

Sefer HaZohar teaches us that after the Mabul God wanted Noach to become the Moshiach. Noach, however, made wine, drank it, got drunk, and exposed his body while drunk. God decided to punish Noach and take away his high level of holiness which he had. God punished Noach by giving him a desire to eat meat and by giving him permission to eat animals. The desire and the permission to eat meat were a punishment that God gave Noach because he spoiled God's plan to make him Moshiach.

Following the desire and permission to eat meat, Noach's and all his descendents' punishment had both a spiritual and physical dimension. In the spiritual dimension the level of holiness that Noach had (which qualified him to be Moshiach) was lost. In the physical dimension the life span of humans was shortened from many hundreds of years to 120 years.

The prophet Yeshayahu (in ch.11 and ch.65) teaches us twice that when Moshiach comes, the world will return to its original state in which animals do not eat other animals. Even the lions will become vegetarians. The practice of killing animals for food will completely stop. This is the will of God; this is how God created the world; and this is how we all need to conduct ourselves.


Why Did'nt Great Rabbis Prohibit Buying Dead Meat in The Market?

Here is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe says:
מתי אין ללמוד מהגדולים שבדור?
בתחילת פרשתנו מדובר אודות מעשה זמרי וקנאות פנחס. ומצינו, שכאשר אירע מעשה זמרי היו נוכחים שם משה ואלעזר והזקנים, ופנחס הי' הצעיר שבחבורה (במדב"ר פ"כ, כה. ועוד), ומכל מקום דווקא פנחס אמר את הדין ש"קנאים פוגעים בו". ואמרו לו: "קריינא דאיגרתא איהו להוי פרוונקא [הקורא את האיגרת הוא יהי' השליח]" (סנהדרין פב, א).
ומובא במדרש (במדב"ר פ"כ, כד) שהטעם שענין זה נעשה על ידי פנחס דוקא ולא ע"י משה הוא כדי שיבא פנחס ויטול את הכהונה.
ומזה יש ללמוד הוראה בעבודת השי"ת:
כאשר ישנם ענינים כאלה שהגדולים שבדור שותקים ואינם אומרים דבר, הנה לא כל פעם מורה הדבר שלא צריכים לעשות מאומה ואפשר להתחמק מזה.
אלא יש לדעת, שאם יכול לעשות משהו בדבר, עליו לעשותו, ומה שגדולים ממנו אינם אומרים מאומה, אולי הסיבה לכך היא רק "כדי שיטול את הראוי לו", היינו, שמלמעלה רוצים שהוא דווקא יתעסק בדבר זה. ולכן אין אחרים מתעסקים בזה, מפני שזהו ענין שהוא דווקא צריך לפעול בו.
ובמילא, כאשר בא ענין לידו שאין מישהו מתעסק בה, אין לעשות חשבונות, אלא יש לעסוק בו במסירות נפש ומלמעלה יתנו לו את כל הכחות הדרושים שיוכל להצליח בדבר.
(ע"פ לקוטי שיחות ח"ב עמ' 342)