Haredim Rule Organic Products Not Kosher

A kibbutz adopts the philosophy of Anthroposophy, a cult (or cult-like group) that follows the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, and early 20th century social philosopher and occultist. The kibbutz goes into the organic produce business and is successful. Tnuva then buys out the kibbutz and employs the kibbutzniks. The produce and foodstuffs get kosher certification from the Rabbinute. Time passes. Yad L’Achim, the haredi anti-cult organization, goes to the haredi rabbinic court Edah Charedis in Jerusalem. Edah Charedis issues a statement banning the produce from the kibbutz and labeling it non-kosher.

Questions:

1. If the food is inherently kosher, how can it become “treife” due to the beliefs of the growers?

2. Outside of wine, which would be kosher without supervision if not for a specific rabbinic enactment made at the time of the Mishna to forbid non-Jewish wine, are there any other foods that have been banned because of who produces them?

[Cheese needs supervision because of the coagulating agents used, but others assert the reason for this rabbinic enactment from Mishnaic times was to separate Jews from non-Jews. Milk also has a kashrut reason, although some also hold this ancient rabbinic enactment was made to prevent intermarriage. Meat needs supervision because kosher meat and treife meat are indistinguishable and the incentive for cheating is high because of the price disparity between the two.]

3. Halakha does not ban the produce of idol worshippers, even Jewish idol worshippers, and does not question its kashrut status. Indeed, even prepared foods of idol worshippers are kosher, as long as the ingredients are kosher. What basis is there in Jewish law for Edah Charedis to declare Harduf foods non-kosher?

Readers?

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26 Comments

Filed under Bans, Haredim, Israel, Kosher Business?, Religion

26 responses to “Haredim Rule Organic Products Not Kosher

  1. Anonymous

    The law is not stone.

  2. Schneur

    Does anyone out there recall the liquoer favored by the late Lubavitcher rebbe made in a monastery in France with a cross on the bottle’s label.This potion was not wine. The name skips me right now . That too was called treife as some claimed wine was a background ingrediant., but the rebbe insisted it was kasher.As there was no wine in it. Later investigations by the office of the Bnai Brak rabbinate (Rabbi Moshe leib Landau )confirmed the Rebbe’s position. But I doubt few Frun Jews would use any bottle with a hristian cross on it. I admit I would not .

  3. Of course, there is no basis for much of anything involving “belief” in Jewish law. It’s all about action. Not that the Orthodoxy has noticed (in its short life) its amazing overreaction to Christianity which has resulted in essentially playing by Christian rules which put belief ahead of behavior.

    For me personally keeping kosher and becoming progressively more outraged, it seems I have three options:

    1) remain “loose” about it, enforcing the separation and the ban on pork and shellfish without doing anything about the kosher status of the meat itself, which is rather hypocritical,
    2) buy organic/free range meats which are ethically slaughtered and drain the blood myself, or
    3) become a vegetarian, which satisfies all of the ethical constraints of Judaism while being attainable and relatively inexpensive compared to the other options.

    I can tell you this as an American: it should be no surprise that American Jews are as unobservant of kashrut as we are.

  4. Schneur –

    It was Benetictine, and several kashrut agencies have ruled it unkosher, not because of the cross, but because its base is wine brandy.

    http://www.star-k.org/cons-appr-liquor.htm

    Remember, R. Landau is a hasid of the Rebbe.

  5. D

    Shmarya,

    You are referring to B and B (Benedictine and Brandy) which contains, obviously, brandy. Straight Benedictine does not.

    Nevertheless, yes, no major Kashrus organization has allowed it although, to be fair, it is merely called “not recommended”. Nobody has, to my knowledge, called it “treif” or similar save the ignorant.

  6. Harbona

    it all boils down to politics.
    haredi rabbis behave with middot sdom.
    as in the famous agadic description of sodomites and fitting in their beds.
    if one is too tall, they cut his legs, if he is too short they stretch him.
    next will be banning all non frum food producers?
    meaning most kibbutzniks?
    of course with twisted logic, and to avoid problems of reliability of observance of laws pertaining to the Land, a Gd fearing person nowadays in Israel, is better off procuring his produce from a non jew. (though i find nothing wrong with that in itself, the direction is weird).
    things are so weird, that for exemple factories that produce pickles, will buy their produce abroad (olives from greece is one exemple) to be able to obtain the label “lelo chashash shmita tevel and sheviit” -or thereabout.
    add to this, the organised crime like turf wars between the inspection bodies.
    it is fast becoming a religion of exclusion. nobody is good enough.
    on the other hand, here in north america, one will have a hard time finding a thing like parve margarine without transfat, cakes, cookies, crackers etc….
    we are to use heimish parve margarine without transfat, cakes, cookies, crackers etc…. , for more money at a risk to one’s health.
    the non heimish manufacturer (read gentiles most often), does produce parve margarine, cakes, cookies, crackers etc…. without transfat, but invariably, his will be labelled dairy or de.
    very often it is parve and nothing but. the unsuspecting mfr, will pay for and get the dairy hechsher, not knowing that for a large segment, this hechsher means nothing, as the milk is deemed by many to be unacceptable, and therefore, the very crowd that requires hechsher, will not touch his product.
    it’s like the dairy label is a hint to our frum crowd: don’t touch this! which is really the oposite of why mfrs seek aproval.

  7. B & B is Benedictine mixed with brandy. In other words, a BRANDY-based liquer mixed with MORE brandy. Maybe you can do a Google search and find some articles on this. I remember reading about this several years ago …

  8. D

    I looked around and saw numerous repetitions of this article, leading with the assertion “Bénédictine is a brandy-based herbal liqueur beverage produced in France. Its recipe contains 27 plants and spices, and has a cognac base.”

    I am not sure of the article’s provenance or accuracy and Wiki, for all of its usefulness, is not a final definitive source.

    Then there’s this:

    From the website alone it seemed already pretty clear that there was no wine but I wrote to the company via email saying that I had an allergy to grapes and wine and grape alcohol – and does Bénédictine DOM have these in it ? The company responded unequivocally that there are no grape derived ingredients or wine in Benedictine DOM.! Allergy concerns makes the answer of the company even stronger than masiach lefi tumo.

    Make of that what you will but it does seem that “brandy based” Bénédictine may be something of an urban legend. Of course, in fairness, we have this as well:

    [a] yungerman visited the benedicitine plant, after the ownership was changed, and they showed him clearly that there are 2 types of benedictine, one has 3 1/2 % wine, the other 7 % wine.
    . This was not the case before the chnage of ownership a few yrs. (sic. -D)

    So, this report seems to confirm that there is wine in either formulation. Interestingly, in both cases the wine is botul by more than 1/6 so, technically, is no longer “wine”. That is the basis on which R. Moshe Feinstein allowed “blenders” in whiskey.

    FWIW, I have never drunk Bénédictine and have no intention of ever trying it.

  9. Ma. Rabbi

    “Prepared food of idol worshippers is kosher” Did you ever hear of Bishul Akum? Stop paskening on the web. You do not have Semicha and you are just plain wrong.

  10. Thanks!

    I would just add that blenders are not added for taste. The brandy and wine in Benedictine IS added for taste. In the same way a spice is added for taste, and which you would notice its absence (or presence), is not (generally) battel, neither is wine if added for taste and where its absence (or presence) is clearly noted.

    By the way, there is no “new formula.” Benedictine bases itself on a 500 year old recipe. Make of that what you will.

    [Shmais, of course, is a Chabad-Lubavitch website.]

  11. Bishul akum is a Mishnaic gezera, like gevinat akum. It is similar to gevinat akum or halav yisrael.

    [For those not familiar with the history of these gezerot, check out the Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat 1:4. You’ll see that Beit Hillel opposed them, and that Beit Shammai passed them illegally, using force.]

    Again, a Mishnaic gezera – especially one with a checkered pedigree – is not a legal model for a beit din today. No beit din has the power the hakhmei mishna had. You know this.

  12. Chaim

    Ma Rabbi wrote:

    “Prepared food of idol worshippers is kosher” Did you ever hear of Bishul Akum? Stop paskening on the web. You do not have Semicha and you are just plain wrong…”

    No worse than any other chiloni factory run by non shomrei shabbos where the Badatz mashgiach would go in and turn on the ovens etc to avoid that problem.

  13. Ma rabbi –

    Why not explain to our readers how you were correct and I was wrong with regard to our latest kashrut quiz?

  14. Ma. Rabbi

    To Chaim:
    There is a big difference. The Shulchan Aruch paskens that if a Jew turns on the fires it is NOT bishul Akum

  15. Ma. Rabbi

    To Shmarya:
    The Shulchan Aruch paskens that we are not allowed to eat Bishul Akum. The halacha is that it is forbidden. Any rabbi with a real Semicha will verify this.

  16. Sigh. What foods come under the gezera? You’ll note a wide discrepency in defining that. Why? Because halakha recognizes the problems with the ORIGIN of the gezera, and deals with those problems accordingly. The Mechaber is more strict than standard Ashkenazi practice.

    But none of this answers the fundamental question–can a potato be non-kosher because of WHO grew it?

  17. D

    “can a potato be non-kosher because of WHO grew it?” Well, not because of any particular gezera. However, what of a potato grown during Shmittah? If it was from a Jewish farmer it is assur because of Sheviis. If an Arab grew it, however, pass the fries!

  18. Ma. Rabbi

    Its easier to answer which foods are not under the Gezerah:
    1 A food which is not Lefes Lepas such as a piece of candy
    2 Something which is not found on Shulchn Malochim such as a can of sardines.
    3 Something which is normally eaten raw such as a tomatoe.

  19. Potato chips? Popcorn? Crackers? Toast? Pancakes? Waffles? Hot dogs? Burgers? Beef jerky? Hard salami? Bologna?

    There are poskim who hold all come under bishul akum and there are poskim who hold none come under bishul akum. And of course, there are poskim who say yes to some and no to others.

    Why? As I wrote above. Bad policy makes bad law. These 18 gezerot are the best examples of that.

  20. Chaim

    Ma Rabbi wrote:

    “To Chaim:
    There is a big difference. The Shulchan Aruch paskens that if a Jew turns on the fires it is NOT bishul Akum”

    You COMPLETELY missed my point. The point is that the factory has a hechsher. In other words there is a mashgiach coming in and turning on the fires just as there would be if the factory were run by chilonim. The fact they are some sort of cult is completely irrelevant.

  21. PishPosh

    Again, all proves is that we desperatley need the Sanhedrin re-established in earnest and fully deprive these crooks and speculators any more power to cheat and decieve. But I have a feeling that more Rabbis in this world fear a unified halachic voice as support it.

  22. C-Girl

    Actually, Harduf manufactures a range of products, including cheeses and pasta. Their attitude is that they have hashgacha from the Chief Rabbinate, so they’re going to ignore this ruling from a court they consider illegitimate and non-binding.

  23. Neo-Conservaguy

    With respect to cheese, there is a clear text history of a debate between more stringent and more lenient positions. Currently, Orthodoxy favors the more strict position; as recently as 50 years ago, there was more widespread disagreement. Many modern “frum Yidden” would be shocked to know some of the foods eaten by major rabbinic figures in the 1950’s.

    With respect to wine, one can argue it’s all stam except for that specifically made for idol worship. Now, find me, if you can, such a wine in modern times. Rashi ruled clearly in a case involving the opening of a barrel of wine by an Xtian worker; the wine was stam because the Xtians knew as much about their faith as a baby on its first day of life. Tell me: how in the world can the grapes mechanically harvested and processed without being touched by human hands possibly fail under the original prohibition? And yet, most claim that jelly needs an “OU” to be kosher? Narishkeit!

  24. yachne

    “Potato chips? Popcorn? Crackers? Toast? Pancakes? Waffles? Hot dogs? Burgers? Beef jerky? Hard salami? Bologna?”

    how about matza ball soup?

  25. I received the following email from Benedictine® this morning:

    Hello from Bénédictine ,

    Many thanks for your interest in our Bénédictine Liqueur ,and ,definitely
    we can reassure you ……..

    Bénédictine contains exclusively Beet-root alcohol,Water,Sugar,Caramel and
    Botanicals ( no colouring added)
    No wine,no brandy so, no grape origin, no dairy and no animal derivatives

    Kind Regards,

    A.Pierre Cousin
    Bénédictine and Noilly Prat Marketing Team

    What could be non-kosher about this? Does the B & B processing take place using the same utensils as Benedictine? Is that the kashrut problem? Can any of you check into this?

  26. nachos

    I think I should start labeling some of my farm produce “not for Jewish consumption.” I know that sounds antisemitic, but I would not want to be accused of having a haredim eat a non kosher tomatoe from me.

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