KAS KA Sydney - KAM KA Melbourne
Rabbi Gutnick on FIRE
Bravo, Rabbi Gutnick.
Your courageous words hit the sweet spot.
If only we had more rabbis supporting your brave and honourable sentiments.
Rabbi Gutnick is "on fire" explaining that, "An average housewife trying to keep kosher, if told that almost all juices are not kosher, despairs and begins to wonder why should she bother with kashrus at all?"
Rabbi Gutnick continues, "why should I and the KA rule strictly - [just to follow KAM] when I can find absolutely no basis in Shulchan Aruch for doing so?!"
"The Torah was given to bring peace to the world - yet kashrus has too often been used to create machloket. Judaism has become a competition - who is frumer than who."
"Rabbi Twerski explained that he does not keep a popular Chumrah because he doen't want to add another brick to the walls of disrespect we've built to hurt one another."
"Frumkeit is now measured by how many homes one doesn't eat from."
"It is ridiculous that children are instructed not to eat even in the homes of fully observant fellow jews and not even in the homes of Rabbis."
"This is a form of elitism that was not practiced by the Ramo, the Mechaber the Rosh or the Rambam."
"It certainly does not encourage the masses to keep kosher."
"Is this how we want our children raised?"
"Shouldn't we as a community move away from this divisive behaviour?"
this is an edited version of Rabbi Moshe D. Gutnick's 2595 word essay. Unedited version HERE
KAS fully respects KAM's Kashrut policy decisions. Our, KAS's policies are equally legitimate and deserving respect, and I therefore present the following.
I have investigated Berri Fruit Juice, gratis. KAS often do this for the benefit of the Kosher consumers and we accordingly advise that a range of Berri juices are Kosher. This is not a compromised Halacha, in fact, we apply standards that are suitable for a "baal nefesh" ... a scrupulous individual.
In the US, where a Kosher certification adds significantly to the volume of production, non-Kosher ingredients may not be used.
The same is true for Kosher for Passover products, sugar for example. Even if they contain Chametz derived ingredients such as enzymes. Therefore, sugar may be used during Pesach without Kosher certification and without any Kosher investigation.
In order to Kosher certify sugar for Pesach, one may not rely upon Bittul. Nevertheless, foods manufactured with Kosher certification for Pesach may use that same sugar. The OU will certify foods for Pesach that use ordinary sugar as an ingredient.
Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Chapter 114, describes many foods that are Kosher in spite of their inclusion of non-Kosher ingredients since we apply rules of Bittul etc.
Halacha does not offer special "Mehadrin" classifications for those who are extra Frum. Foods are either Kosher or not. Yet there are situations in which the Ramo (end Siman 116) indicates that a "BaAl Nefesh'" should be MachMir, such as where a permission is not known via a clear ruling but understood through analysis and comparison to other similar but not identical Halachos.
Eating non-Kosher food is betrayal of Gd's authority, so too is not eating foods that are permitted by Gd's authority. It is tantamount to declaring, "It may be good enough for Gd but it is NOT good enough for ME"
We see throughout Siman 114, Rabbi Yosef Karo, The Rosh, The Ramo and others, permit all manner of food mixtures that we do not approve as Kosher and that we would certainly not suggest are Mehadrin.
Besides, in Australia we do not have a large selection of juices that have been audited for Kashrus. An average housewife trying to keep kosher, if told that almost all juices are not Kosher, despairs and begins to wonder why should they bother with Kashrus at all?
And why should I and KAS rule strictly - when I can find absolutely no basis in Shulchan Aruch for doing so?!
The Torah was given to bring peace to the world; the commandments were given to refine human beings - yet Kashrus has too often been used to create Machloket and bring out the baser attributes within people. Judaism becomes a competition as to who is Frumer. When Rabbi Twerski was here some years ago he was asked whether he is Machmir in Chodosh/Yoshon. His answer was no. When asked why not his response was - "I don't want to add another reason why someone should not eat in someone else's house".
Sadly the measure of Frumkeit has become - in how many homes does one not eat. I remind all to learn Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 468, and YD 112:15 and find that Shulchan Aruch speaks also about keeping the peace, not embarrassing others - even when the Chumra is legitimate.
We have in our community the ridiculous situation that children are instructed not to eat even in the homes of fully observant fellow Jews and not even in the homes of Rabbis - because the parents have convinced themselves (with arguments that are really contrary to Torah) - that their homes are not Kosher enough! This is a form of elitism that was not practiced by the Ramo, the Mechaber the Rosh or the Rambam. It certainly does not encourage the masses to keep Kosher. Is this how we want our children raised? Shouldn't we as a community move away from this divisive behaviour?
KAS administers Kashrus to the best of its ability with sound Halachic policies that are to the benefit of the entire community - and this means both LeHachmir and LeHokeil - without fear or favour and without looking over our shoulder.
Now to some of the policies and standards that are unique to our community:
* We insist that every meat establishment has a Mashgiach Temidi, full time Mashgiach, whether the owner is observant or not. This is not the case in Melbourne.
* Our Mashgichim are present and responsible for checking vegetables etc.
* It is our policy (but not KAM policy) that our butcheries must have a percentage ownership of a fully Shomer Shabbos etc Jew.
Modern Machmirim seem to have forgotten that we pray to Hashem "not to make the pure impure nor the impure pure, not to permit that which is forbidden nor forbid that which is permitted".
Sincerely Rabbi Moshe D Gutnick