Wednesday, December 15, 2010

for the last day of Chanuka

I wanted to post this for the Last Day of Chanuka but I was out if the country and not readily computer accessible. So here it is now:

Today is called in Hebrew "Zot Chanuka" meaning "This is Chanuka"
and it has (at least) 2 meanings:

1) THIS is the last chance to take advantage of the Power of Chanuka for this year.

2) This day has ALL the power of Chanuka in it. THIS is Chanuka. THIS day has the power of ALL the lights and, if we try to tap into it, the ability to help us accomplish very much.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blessing and Curse - Parshas Re'ay

There are 2 choices which we are given, a Blessing or a Curse. There is no "in-between" zone. Either our actions (when we are following what Hashem wants) are a blessing or a curse (when we are not following what Hashem wants).
We have to always consider the outcome of our actions. Either it will be for the good or for the bad. There is no neutral territory.
When you get on the train you know where the train is going. Most people do not get on the train "just for the ride" or because they like the seats. Either it is the right train and you'll get to where you want to go or it is not and you will not get there.
You must think ahead to where the train is going.
The same MUST be with our actions. We MUST know the outcome and cause and effect of what we're doing. Everything has an outcome. We must act with foresight and forethought. Before we act we must consider where it will take us and if it is where we want to go.

Kosher Conversation - Checking Vegetables

Dear Rabbi,
I looked at the website, but I could not find any info regarding your policy for checking vegetables and fruits, if they are infested with bugs. What kind of procedure you put in place in the restaurant (especially the veggie ones) that you certify?
Many thanks for your help

Thanks so much for your question.
There are many checks in the vegetable situation. There really is no such thing as "infested" with bugs. First, the produce seller would not be selling vegetables for too long if he sells "infested" product.
Next, all restaurants inspect the produce before accepting an order, and will not accept an infested batch since EVERY restaurant has an incentive NOT to serve bugs. No patron wants to eat bugs. And a bug served could ruin their reputation. Plus a Vegan place has even more of an incentive.
Secondly, I do inspect the way they check and clean for bugs on their own since the way an establishment checks may not be inherently acceptable. But in the places that I certify they were serious about not serving bugs and the method they used was acceptable. I only requested, for those who weren't doing it, a second rinse after checking and they comply. Thanks again and feel free to email or call if you have more questions.

Kosher Conversation - Open on Shabbos

Hi. I was interested in understanding why there are very few hechsherim that certify establishments which are open on shabbos.
Does this create problems with the supervision of the operations at the establishments on shabbos?

Thanks for the question.
Kosher and Shabbos are 2 separate things. Yet there are those certifications who want to appear very strict who combine the two things.
Whereas of course, we want every Jew to keep Shabbos. A Jew being open on Shabbos does not make the food unkosher. There are issues regarding how and when things are made on Shabbos that effect whether a Jew is allowed to eat it or not but it is NOT a Kosher issue and we, in giving our Hashgacha, make sure that all these issues of Kosher and Shabbos are addressed.

Kosher Conversation - Constant Supervision

Dear sir,
I request an answer to several questions. Is there a full time mashgiach at Blank's restaurant? If not, how can it be certified as strictly kosher?

Thanks for your question. I appreciate your respectful words.
Actually according to the Halacha there is no concept of hashgacha tamidis. (Constant Supervision)
The concept of hashgacha is based on trust and a bit of fear.
The very vast majority of people are honest and sincere in how they run their business and according to Halacha we are allowed/supposed to trust them unless we have a clear reason not to. And then no amount of hashgacha can replace trust.
As far as fear goes the Halacha is clear that "Yotzei V'nichnas" (coming in unannounced at any possible time) is enough. And the frequency of visit is NOT delineated by Halacha. All of that frequency of visit is opinion and manufactured.
I believe that Hashgacha Tamidis is an unnecessary and unfair imposition. Actually it is a much bigger sin to extort money from a restaurant owner unnecessarily.
I hope this answers your question. Feel free to contact me further with any other questions.

Friday, May 28, 2010

NEW!!! Under IKC supervision

THE JUICE PRESS (East Village)

70 E. 1st St. (B. First and Second Aves.)

- Rejoice in rejuvenation at this downtown health spot, stocked with fresh juice, raw sandwiches, and live organic produce.



STATUS: Vegan - Pareve, some dairy served not cooked
ADDRESS: 1506 Sansom St. (b 15th St. & 16th St.), Philadelphia, PA 19102
TELEPHONE: (215) 564-1419
FAX: (215) 564-2949

STATUS: Vegan - Pareve
ADDRESS: 1424 South St. (b 15th & Broad), Philadelphia, PA 19146
TELEPHONE: (215) 545-1899

STATUS: Dairy & Pareve (the Challah & Rye Bread are pareve)
ADDRESS: 35 S. 19th St. (b Chestnut & Ludlow), Philadelphia, PA 19103
TELEPHONE: (215) 563-0759
FAX: (215) 563-0760

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Last week was Shavuos, the day commemorating the receiving of the Torah. It is the day to renew our commitment to the Torah. I believe it is the day to take our Torah back. To go back to the real laws of the Halacha. Our Torah has been hijacked. It has been perverted and subverted to the point where it is unrecognizable.
Unfortunately it is the religious and observant who THINK that they are following the Halacha and are so proud of themselves, who actually have disgraced and misrepresented the Torah and shaken up its delicate balance.
(see the Haftorah on Parshas Vayaishev as R' Hirsch explains. All sides of the religious spectrum are not living up to their expectations and claims)
It is quite interesting that in the country today people are saying that we should take our country back. The similarities of the far left of the country to the far right of the religion is striking and chilling. The country is in the process of being taken over by the far left who want to control the people, who they believe have no ability or responsibility for themselves. The individual is being negated.
The far right of the religion believe the SAME!!
They believe that the individual is incapable of making proper, moral and decent decisions on their own. They believe that they have to make the rules for everyone.
The Torah, however, demands just the opposite.
The Torah believes primarily in the responsibility of the individual. Yes there is a power that the community has, but ultimately the responsibility lies with the individual and his honest and true assessment of himself.
We see this perversion of Torah many ways these days and it's time to go back to the truth and proper balance of the Torah.
Dracheha Darcei Noam Its ways are pleasant. But only when we maintain the delicate true balance that was intended.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Now under IKC Supervision

1613 2nd Avenue (bet 83rd and 84th)
New York, NY‎
(212) 988-0090‎
It is now a delicious MEAT restaurant.
AND under our supervision.

some more Kosher updates

Just one change and a couple of new places:
COCOA V of the last update has NOT YET gone kosher as hey have been undergoing some changes.
We will know more soon.

a unique Waffle House and bakery
right in the heart of the West Village
120 West 3 Street
New York, NY 11012
Tel.: 212-982-BITE(2483)
An excerpt from a Yelp review
"Gofra Bite is a new quaint place in the west village, known mostly for their delicious home made Belgian Waffles (with HOME MADE WHIPPED CREAM, YUM), but it doesn't stop there.. they have a variety of amazing desserts....."

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Real Mazel Tov

Yes again it's been a long time.
we had computer trouble and just got a new one.
yes it's a Mazel Tov. Almost like getting a new member of the family.
Meanwhile it's been an exciting few weeks for us B"H as we have a few more new Places under our Hashgacha:

No longer under IKC Kosher supervision.
They are no longer Kosher since they have chosen to serve non-kosher food.
180 3rd Ave. (16th Street)
New York, NY 10003

Cocoa V

Vegan - Pareve
174 9th Avenue (b 20th & 21st)
Telephone: (212) 242-3339
This is a wonderful Cafe/Bakery/Chocolatier/Wine Bar
Delicious and Beautiful

Blossom Restaurant
Vegan - Pareve
187 9th Avenue (b 21st & 22nd)
Telephone: (212) 627-1144

Cafe Blossom
Vegan - Pareve
466 Columbus (b 82nd & 83rd)
Telephone: (212) 875-2600
Yes the famous and elegant Vegan eateries are now under IKC

Hummus Kithchen
768 9th Avenue (b 51st & 52nd)
New York, NY 10019
Telephone: (212) 333-3009
Delicious food in a great environment.

Friday, April 9, 2010


A wonderful new and already very popular Vegan restaurant has become Kosher under our supervision.
It has a very tasty yet healthy quick menu. Perfect for when you want something tasty and healthy on the go.

60 w. 23rd Street (just off 6th Ave. towards 5th Ave)
And look at these hours
Mon thru Fri 6AM - 11PM
Sat & Sun 8AM - 9PM
phone 212-647-8810


Yes IKC now has a website. Finally!
It's been under development for awhile and now here it is!
And we will be constantly evolving.
Check us out and any ideas let me know.

Are We Really Counting the Omer?

I’m sure most of us were very proud of our accomplishment as we are attempting to complete another counting of the Omer with a Bracha, not missing one day.

We probably also said the L’shem Yichud before and all the Prayers afterward. We probably even knew if the day was “Chesed she b’Gvoorah” or “Malchus she b’Hod “. We are truly accomplished people.
But are we really counting the Omer?

For most of us the Omer will probably pass uneventfully. We may even be inconvenienced by some of the restrictions (i.e. not shaving, getting haircuts or going to celebrations). We may even know that the Jewish people in the Desert raised themselves up 50 levels until Shavuos when they received the Torah.

But that "raising up of levels" is so indefinable for us that it makes almost no impression on us. If we read the "Ribono Shel Olam" prayer that we say after the counting, we see mentioned that the Sefiras Ha’omer cleans us from our “Klipas”. But since a “Klipa” is such a vague Kabalistic thing, for most of us we are not too sure what gets cleaned.

Therefore when we mention which level we’re at, Chesed, Gvoorah, etc., we don’t think much into it since we figure those too are something vague and Kabalistic. Then we don't take advantage of these days to actually improve our character and morals step by step as we're meant to do.

However, the truth is that these levels are extremely real and uncomplicated. Each level and sub-level (or noun and adjective) is a real tangible and doable Middah (or character improvement) as we can see when we translate them in future posts. We can see exactly what’s expected of us and use these days to it's fullest to grow and improve.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pasha's Parshas - A thought for the Week

There is a discussion in the Talmud about which laws are the most important to study in order to develop a good moral character.

* Some say the Laws of Ethics and Morals (Pirkei Avos) - self explanatory

* Others say the Laws of Blessings over Food - Which teaches us appreciation. Which is a very fundemental and much lacking moral character trait. It teaches us to value what we receive and appreciate what we have and that we are fortunate to have it. Of course to recognize that it comes from G-D and that we aren't just entitled to things.

* And others say - The Laws of Damages and Monetary Compensation (most of which is in this weeks Parsha)- This teaches us to value property and to respect the possessions of others. To respect even that of the smallest value belonging to someone else.
This too is a fundamental foundation of character that in this day and age is a sorely lacking trait. The lack of which is the cause of much of our troubles today.

I also believe that this week's Parsha shows us another amazing thing. It shows us the genius of the Torah system in an age when so many governments and peoples are still trying to figure out how to devise a fair and proper system the Torah system was in place thousands of years ago.
And to quote myself from an earlier post:
"If the Torah was the law of the land we wouldn't need tort reform because there are no torts allowed. The laws of damages and monetary compensation are so brilliantly formed to allow for just compensation without overreach.
The laws of murder and capital punishment are so cleverly crafted to allow just the right amount of deterrent with the right amount of compassion and humanity for both the criminal and, what we forget these days, the victim.
And there is so so much more.
The impeccable balance which the Torah law follows is so brilliant and it was devised more than 3000 years ago.
And still is the best working thing out there."

Great New Vegan Restaurant under IKC supervision

A great new Vegan restaurant in Brooklyn called "Sun in Bloom" on 460 Bergen Street in Brooklyn (Park Slope) is now Kosher-Pareve under our supervision. They serve a delicious and unique menu which is vegan and mostly raw.
Check it out.
Sun in Bloom has a very nice atmosphere and the people are real nice. It's on a lovely street in a great neighborhood and would make real nice afternoon or evening getaway.