Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Another Kosher conversation - An email Discussion

unfortunately this kind of desire to be contentious rather than a desire to really know what the Law is, happens to be a big problem in the Jewish world today.

Dear Rabbi Schwarcz,
At the vegan restaurants under your supervision, such as Certain Restaurant ,are the veggies checked for bugs?
At the meat/pita restaurant, there is a non-jew behind the counter, who appears to have little respect for laws of kashruth, nor was there a mashgiach of any nature.. What is the supervision to insure the counterman does not bring in trayfa meat, either for use in the salads and sanwiches, or for his own use.
Attempting to become familiar with standards of kashruth, as to adhere to the laws of the Torah.

Dear Person,
Thank you for your questions and please feel free to call me with further clarifications @
The veggies are very well checked for bugs as vegans don't believe in eating bugs either.
But what do you mean that "there is a non-jew behind the counter, who appears to have little respect for laws of kashruth" ?
Please clarify for me.
Rabbi Zev Schwarcz

Rabbi Schwarcz,
I don't see how the fact that vegans don't like to eat bugs which is a personal preference issue equates to a Issur Doraysa [Torah transgression]. Checking for bugs is an arduous time consuming task. Hard to accept that vegans checking equals that required by Halacha.

At (some place) there is a place that sells non glatt meat where there was only a nonjew in charge behind the counter.

Dear Person,
Where do you get your information?
Where does the Torah say that it is an "arduous Time consuming task"?
"hard to accept"? is that halacha too?
Once again you did not explain the "appears to have little respect for the jewish law"
I think you seem to be mixing opinion with fact which is definitely a dangerous thing.

Rabbi Schwarcz,
Checking for bugs is an arduous time consuming task. That's a practical reality. Made more so with the volume of veggies in a vegan store. Halacha requires super careful checking not to be nicshol [make a mistake]. If your contention is guys at a
vegan rstrnt are as careful and dedicated in their search day after day as one who is afraid of transgressing the Issur Dorasa [Torah transgression] you may want to seriously verify this. There is the problem of Lifnei Iver. [causing people to sin}
The person behind the counter was from a south americn or caribbean ctry. Not caucasian not jewish not acquainted or probably concerned with halacha.

Dear Person,
Have you ever been in the kitchen of a vegan restaurant?
You're already jumping to me being over lifnei evair.
You haven't even spoken to me. I haven't answered directly any of your questions.
You assumed that the "Caribbean or South American" person behind the counter is not concerned with Halacha.
I propose that YOU are not concerned with Halacha but only with being contentious and assumptive.
I offered you my phone # to call me and that I'd gladly answer your concerns. But apparently you are only interested in making accusations.
It's a dangerous thing to be motivated by (mistaken) assumptions and emotions rather than actual Halacha.
And all this right before Shiva Assar B'tammuz.
Please feel free to call and I'll gladly answer your specific concerns.
Rabbi Zev Schwarcz

continuing of the email exchange - the problem of assumptions
The conversation continues:
and as they say don't assume because if you assume
you ..... ass u me

I am not jumping on you. I just wanted clarification. I do stand behind both my assumptions.

As I said please call me when you have the chance and I will be glad to clarify your concerns one by one. It's easier by phone.
You can't "stand behind" an assumption as it is just that an assumption. Since it is not based on fact there is nothing there to "stand behind".


  1. Rabbi

    I wanted to know if the wine in sacred chow was mevushal. Also does any of the food fall under the isur bishul akum and why?


  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. all except for one and they only sell it by the whole bottle.
    the owner is jewish and involved in all the cooking. but besides that none of the cooked stuff is "oleh Al shulchan Melachim"
    although some Chassidish are Meachmir on beans.
    The OU howver is not.

  4. Is Soy considered Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim?

  5. An excellent question.
    It's not considered a significant product on it's own and the things prepared with soy are considered on a lower level.
    So at this point the prevalent opinion is that it is NOT considered Oleh al Shulcha Mlachim.

  6. i was in ashkara eating a lafa the other day under the assumption the food was kosher until the israeli person behind the counter mentioned that they are opened on shabbat... can this be? can there be a glatt kosher meat hashgacha while the restauraunt open on shabbat?

  7. well.. not the other day, more like about a year ago... never the less, i am still curious as to how that works.

  8. If you have more questions please feel free to ask me but I will refer you to the following posted Q&A from
    Friday, June 26, 2009
    Shabbos and Kosher
    I recieved the following question:
    I understand that you give the kosher supervision for (Certain Restaurant) in Manhattan. How is it possible for it to be kosher when it is open on the Sabbath?

    Thanks for answering!

    And I answered the following:
    Thanks for the question.
    According to Jewish Law, Shabbos and Kosher are two different things. Being open on Shabbos does not effect the Kosher status of the food.
    Of course we want every Jew to be all that they can be and keep the Shabbos as holy as can be. BUT if someone does not keep Shabbos it does NOT at all mean that their Kosher standards are compromised.
    Unfortunately, in this world of convoluted and unnecessary stringencies we are made to believe the opposite, that Shabbos is somehow a Kosher standard.
    When I was young, reliable certifying agencies did give certification to restaurants and businesses open on Shabbos. And even now all the major certifying agencies (OU, OK, etc.) certify factories that produce on Shabbos.
    If I can help you any more please feel free to contact me further.
    Have a good Shabbos.
    Rabbi Schwarcz

  9. From what I understand what you said above is true only if the kosher establishment opened on shabbos is owned by a non-jew. if owned by a jew then the ownership needs to be transferred to a non-jew for shabbos via a Shtar Mechira. Is that correct?

  10. It is sad that this restaurant is considered Kosher. There isn't any mishgeach or kosher supervision, as per my phone conversation with their employee. Do you really know what is going on there? Rabbi with all respect please...

  11. I have no restaurant which has no Mashgiach and no supervision. I do not know what you are referring to. If you want to ask more clearly and specifically by all means please do.
    You can also send me an email at rabbi@ikckosher.com
    It's convenient being "anonymous" and making unsubstantiated claims.

    1. so your Mashgihim, work over there while they conduct business on Shabbos?

  12. Ouch!! That's gotta burn

  13. what is the situation of mashgiach on shabbat? is there one at your vegetarian places?

  14. A vegetarian/vegan place under IKC supervision opened recently in Rego Park, NY. Yelp and similar sites have rave reviews about the food. However, I see on the menu that there are many broccoli dishes served. Does a mashgiach supervise cleaning the broccoli, which definitely is an arduous task (as I've been told by a mashgiach at a kosher Chinese place on LI). And is the status of rice regarding bishul akum the same as that of beans? I don’t know who owns this establishment, so we won’t go into those particulars here. Bottom line, I want to know if its kashrus is reliable.

  15. If an individual buys ice cream at one of your stores, and the same ice cream scoop is used for all ice cream, what about the few exceptions? What if an individual wants to eat the ice cream on his own kosher dishes>

  16. My daughter invited us for a Shabbat meal and my girlfriend wanted to bring some Vegan desert pastries from a restaurant certified by the International Kosher Council, Since my girlfriend knows my daughter keeps a kosher home she sent the restaurant link to my daughter for approval. My daughter had never heard of this certification and said she would ask her Rabbi! I suggest to all you haters to do the same rather than trying to publicly discredit Rabbi Zen with your fanatical mumbo jumbo. Our kosher laws are simple people make them complicated and furthermore regarding bugs it is not in any restaurants interest to have them present in their restaurant or food and a Mashgiach cannot assure the absence of bugs he can only do his best at finding them before you do.

    1. I did ask my Rabbi. I did my homework. And I interviewed Rabbi Zev Schwarcz on the phone. He is definitely unconventional. To this date the only Orthodox Rabbi I have ever met willing to certify an establishment owned by Jews that is opened on Shabbos. I would never eat there. The store in question I was researching was "sweet freedom" in Philly. My non-jewish co worker specifically bought cupcakes there so I could participate in the office party. In this case my Rabbi's approval for eating the cupcake is simply because the store is literally: gluten free, vegan, dairy free, egg free, soy free, corn free, peanut free, and refined free. So theoretically they don't even need hashgacha - there are no ingredients! Which is good news because the hashgacha they have only has a Rabbi visiting the store once a month, sometimes less often than that. I confirmed that with the store and with Rabbi Schwarcz. I personally have no "desire to be contentious rather than a desire to really know what the Law is" although I do agree that yet this does "happens to be a big problem in the Jewish world today." I am pretty familiar with Jewish Law as well as standard customs. This agencies standards are definitely far off from any other mainstream organization such as the OU, Chaf-K, and so on. So although IKC advertises "over 20 years experience with Kashrus supervision with major kosher certifying agencies" they definitely have broken away from the standards those organizations adhere to. I ate the cupcakes but only because of the "eiva" considerations involved at my office. I would never bring my family there lichatchila.

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