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.