Chalav Yisrael OU
The Gemara [Rosh Hashana 24a] disqualifies the testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon reflected in a pool of water.
[If they saw the moon's reflection, or they saw it through a crystal, or through clouds, they cannot testify about it.]
Rabbi Yaacov Chagiz (1620 – 1674) in Halachos Ketanos deduces that all testimony must be seen directly.
However, Rabbi Shmuel Abuhav in Dvar Shmuel and the Chid”a in Birkai Yosef propose that only new moon testimony is disqualified since the new moon, being only a thin sliver, may easily be distorted in the reflection. However, testimony is acceptable where the reflected image is clear and without fear of distortion.
The Mishpetai Uziel (CM 14) points to the RaMBaM whose plain reading proposes that seeing a reflection ‘is not seeing’, meaning that testimony requires direct observation, not its reflection.
The Gemara and Halacha accepts voice recognition as testimony [a blind wife recognises her husband]. It would seem that here too there is discussion if the voice transmitted electronically can be equally relied upon as testimony.
Chalav Yisrael does not require actual monitoring of the milking [YD 115] it is adequate if the workers know that a supervisor is lurking and can pop in at any moment. This is known as Mirsas, fear, which does not guarantee [R M Feinstien IGM ??] that the farmer will not supplement with non-Kosher milk, in order to fill his usual quota; because it is clear in the Halacha that there are some who are prepared to take the risk.
This of course leads us to the important question - is it at all necessary to view the milking or is it adequate that the workers know that the supervisor is lurking outside, or that there are cameras?
Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch [Tshuvos Vehanhagos 5:255] insists that the videos must be constantly reviewed by a Mashgiach in order for the milk to be Chalav Yisrael. He even speculates that the decree may require a Mashgiach to actually be on-site.
Milk from a Non-Jew
Kosher milk comes from Kosher beasts. Milk from non-Kosher beasts is not Kosher. Nevertheless Jews would purchase milk from non-Jewish farmers until Chazal forbade it unless the milk was supervised at the milking. The Shach Y.D. 118:8 explains milk from a non-Kosher beast is readily differentiated from the milk of a Kosher beast, we therefore know that the milk provided by the non-Jewish farmer is Kosher. The decree was made to safeguard from mixtures of non-kosher and kosher milk, which are also Kosher according to Torah Law, but our Sages were in fact driven by concerns to prevent social intercourse with our non-Jewish neighbours. [Avodah Zarah 35b, Rambam Machalos Asuros 3:13, Tur 115, Bais Yosef, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 115:1, Levush 1, Chochmas Adom 67:1, Aruch Ha'shulchan 1, Kaf Ha'chaim 16]
Milk which has not been supervised is known as cholov akum.
It is suggested by later thinkers [Sharei Halacha U'minhag Y.D. 10:pages 37-38] that cholov akum causes one to become distanced from HKBH. [Tashbatz 1:48, Chasam Sofer O.C. 1:83, Meishiv Dover 1:20. Refer to Maharshag 2:143 and Rav Poalim (Sod Yeshurin) 4:6]
Jew Looking at the Production
If a Jew monitors the production, the milk is considered cholov yisroel. This includes verifying that the container used is not the same one used for non-kosher milk.
It is adequate if the monitoring is not constant but merely by random observation. The non-Jew’s fear of being apprehended whilst doing the wrong thing is adequate to provide Chalav Yisrael. [Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 115:1, Levush 1; Taz 3, Shach 4, 8; Pri Chadash 3, Aruch Ha'shulchan 4] In practice this means the Mashgiach arrives at the farm, inspects the machinery to see that it is empty and clean, goes back to his car and goes to sleep. Simply being available to enter at any moment is adequate.
Even a child will satisfy this requirement. A small boy or girl is considered a watcher in this regard and if a young Jewish boy or girl watches the milking in any way, the milk is considered cholov yisroel. [Rama 115:1, Levush 1, Aruch Ha'shulchan 5, Kaf Ha'chaim 19]
If only Kosher beasts are being milked, we will permit the milk, BeDiOvad – after the fact, even if the supervisor failed to inspect the plant at the start, provided he was there and able to make that initial inspection.
If non-kosher beasts are also being milked in that dairy, the supervisor must be a little closer to the action so to speak, and be able to monitor just be standing up where he is presently located. [Mesechtas Avodah Zarah 39b, Tosafos; Tur 115, Shulchan Aruch 115:1; Chelkes Binyomin 115:12]
Since the foundation for this decree is to create a barrier and prevent social intercourse between us and our non-Jewish neighbours, the decree applies even where the risks are really quite insignificant. Notwithstanding this, the Pri Chadash [Pages 115-116 (old); Darchei Teshuva 115:6; Radvaz 4:75, Tashbatz 4:32, Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 137:18:footnote 39, Chazzon Ish Y.D. 41:4. See Sdei Chemed mareches cholov shel nochri 8:page 45] maintains that if the entire region uses milk from Kosher beasts exclusively, the decree is not applied. Even if milk from non-Kosher beasts is used in the region, if it is more expensive, the decree does not apply.
At the other extreme, the Chasam Sofer [Y.D. 107] argues that in spite of all guarantees, the decree requires that milk is not permitted unless it is supervised
Where government regulations are well enforced and require all ordinary milk be from cows exclusively, this is adequate to satisfy the decree of Chalav Yisrael. The decree was not fashioned to require “seeing” but to confirm that the milk is not combined with non-Kosher milk. [Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:47, 48 and 49] Such milk is commonly referred to as cholov stam.
Nevertheless Harav Moshe Feinstein zt"l encouraged those who are a ba'al nefesh to be be stringent.
Others argue that the decree was indeed that the milk must be “watched”, or that government regulations are not an adequate deterrent. [Minchas Elazar 4:25, Melamed L'hoel Y.D. 36:4, Minchas Yitzchok 1:138, 2:21, 10:31:15, Be'er Moshe 4:52, Chelkes Yaakov 34, Yalkut Yosef 9:pages 90-93]
Most milk products are not made with regular milk, but they are made with milk which is turned into a powder, namely milk powder. Such products include chocolate and baked goods. This is very relevant to those who hold of cholov yisroel and wish to eat such products.
There is consideration that milk powder was not included in the decree. [Har Tzvi Y.D. 103-104 in great depth, Zekan Aron 2:44, Chazzon Ish 41:4] In practice this permits all chocolate and baked commercial goods since they use powdered milk.
Since the decree was created and accepted as a Chumra, the prohibition does not disqualify utensils that have used with and absorbed Chalav Akum flavour. [Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita in the name of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt"l]
Cheese from Cholov Stam
Harav Moshe Feinstein and the Chazzon Ish zt"l [Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:47-49, Chazzon Ish Y.D. 41:4] rule that since cholov yisroel nowadays is only a chumra, even those who are particular to use Chalav Yisrael exclusively, may eat cheese made from Chalav Stam.
A good practice becomes binding if it is adopted and followed three times. However, if one mistakenly adopted a practice, it is not binding. Thus, if someone thought it was forbidden to drink Chalav Stam, and for many years drank only Chalav Yisrael, he may abandon that practice without compunction. However, if it was known and followed as a Chumra, it may not be abandoned without being matir neder.
Remote Surveillance - SEE
Surgery on the Cows
Modern milk production is about economy. Cows are machines that produce merchandise. The objective is to produce as much milk as possible with the least cost. On a farm of 1500 cows, even a slight increase in production or a slight decrease in production costs, can be the difference between success and failure. In Israel, the cows on average produce double the milk, for the same input costs, as cows in Australia. The feed can sometimes upset the cows’ Kishkes causing a buildup of gas that might kill the cow. [displaced abomasum] Farmers often don’t bother calling the vet, but use a kit designed to be used on the farm and by the farmer, which simply punches a hole through which the gas is released. The cow spends some time recovering in isolation whilst on anti-biotics (its milk is banned by legislation) and then goes back into the milk herd.
If the cow is deemed to be a Tereifa, its milk is also Tereif. Although such milk is insignificant in the milk collected from the herd, a Jew is not permitted to include this cow’s milk into the collection. Furthermore, if the milk is knowingly and defiantly included, a Halachic penalty is applied prohibiting that Jew and those for whom the milk was collected, from drinking any of the milk of the entire batch. [oukosher.org gordimer]
The Minchas Yitzchok [10:67] argues that since these-days, milk is not consumed without pasteurisation, it is subject to the laws of Bishul Akkum. However, he is lenient due to two considerations. A) the heating is achieved with steam which according to many does not disqualify the food as Bishul Akkum, and B) the pasteurisation does not occur in a domestic but a commercial setting.
Milk is processed into cheese, during which the curds and whey are separated. Is the whey included in the decree of Chalav Yisrael?
In producing various cheeses, the curd is heated in water during which some proteins, lactose and minerals are leeched from the cheese. This water is often added to the whey and processed to extract whey powder. Cheese is not Kosher even if all the ingredients are Kosher, since it is subject to its own decree requiring Jewish participation in its manufacture. Consequently, the water is not Kosher. What is the status of the whey water mixture and the various fractions extracted from them?
Most Poskim agree that whey is not prohibited as Chalav Akkum nor as Gevinas Akkum. Harav Moshe Feinstein [Y.D. 3:17] even permits the cook water since the decree was limited to actual cheese and not by-products. The Shevet Ha'Levi [4:86] although permitting the whey even from cheese made with non-Kosher rennet, insists that the cook water is made non-Kosher from the cheese.