Why the sudden fuss about “it’s kosher”?

I noticed the following issued by the Rabbinic Council of Victoria

It has recently been brought to the attention of The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) that claims made by the local business ‘It’s Kosher’ on its website that its hechsher is endorsed by the Chief Rabbanut of Israel are both false and misleading.

The Rabbanut has clarified that no such endorsement has been issued, and while it did approve one specific product some four years ago, this does not constitute an endorsement of the “It’s Kosher” hechsher.

The Rabbanut further clarified that it has a policy not to approve any products under the supervision of this Hechsher.

“Leaving aside the concerns expressed to the RCV relating to the Halachic standards adopted by the said business,” RCV President Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant said, “this misleading statement about the Israeli Rabbanut is deeply concerning to the RCV. If it is the case that the false statement was made to mislead and deceive the public by claiming that its Hechsher is supported by the Israeli Rabbinate, this would call into question the integrity of those running the ‘It’s Kosher’ business”.

Anyone who visits the “it’s kosher” website knows that it is chock full of controversial attempts to convince the public into respecting the rulings of its halachic authority. We are told that this authority was “compelled” to undertake his work by Rabbi Rudzki ז’ל for the benefit of us all.

Perhaps we can hear a little but about the separation? of finances and kashrus in his organisation. Does the supervising Rabbi/authority receive a wage which varies with the number of hechsherim/products for which he gives the nod? Where are the books? Are they open for all to see? Is there a lay board with no financial interest? Who are the financial beneficiaries of this business? Did R’ Rudzki also run his own supervision business this way?

This gives new meaning to the term השגחה פרטית.

There is more to be said about this business. Did its halachic authority seek (unwittingly?) to give a financial boost to Jews who have a half treyf shop which is also open on shabbos when simple yashrus would have dictated that this is a basic unfair advantage over Jews who try to provide a similar product which is kosher and only kosher and is not profiting from Trayf on Shabbos. Is this the meaning of “Yosher”?

Remember, the website for that authority claims in the FAQ that there are no Divine Laws, only Divine Principles.

PS. There is no halachic difference that I can understand between writing God, Gd and G-d. I am not sure why people persist on doing that (eg on their kashrus business website)? Enlighten me.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

65 thoughts on “Why the sudden fuss about “it’s kosher”?”

  1. I asked a shayla about whether one can write “God” in online publications and was advised that it’s fine. Am not sure about a situation where you could reasonably expect the person to print it out rather than just read it online.

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    1. I just don’t understand the difference between God and Gd

      They are the SAME thing … both are just a different version of the other. If the first is forbidden then so is the second!

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  2. “God” has the halachic status of a kinnuy. More than that, as the proper name of the Deity in the English language, it has a special status higher than other kinnuyim; for instance, when davening in English one must davka use “God”, and it’s questionable whether “Lord” is also acceptable, but other means of referring to Him are not acceptable.

    It is permitted to erase a kinuy, but it must be treated with respect, so it’s forbidden to just throw it in the rubbish. If it’s printed on a sheet one may put it in the paper recycling, or one may put it in a bag and then put that in the rubbish, or one may go through it crossing out all instances of this kinnuy, and then throw it out.

    “G-d” and “Gd” are not anything. They’re a remez to a kinuy, but they are not kinuyim themseves.

    On all this, have a look in Hilchos Shevuos (not Shovuos!).

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        1. On what basis do you say that “Gd” or “G-d” or “G*d” are kinnuyim, or anything at all? They do not exist in any English dictionary, and have no meaning at all in the English language. They are merely a hint that evokes in the reader’s mind the actual kinnuy, like a hey with an apostrophe that evokes in ones mind the kinnuy “Hashem”.

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            1. But we don’t use them as kinnuyim. I have never heard anyone say “Thank Jee Dash Dee”, or “May Jee Dash Dee be with you”, or even “I swear to Jee Dash Dee”. They are merely remazim: we use these meaningless marks on paper to evoke in the reader’s mind the actual kinnuy.

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            2. Funny you mention that. Yesterday we got an invitation from someone who used the dash after the yud in
              אוסטרליה
              But their name was written as

              ירמיהו

              Wow … the end if that name has 3 of the four letters of Hashems name!

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            3. You: Zil bosar ta’ame
              Me: What do you think is the “ta’ame” here?
              You: A Kinnuy

              Sorry, you’ll have to elaborate; I have no idea what you mean by this cryptic answer.

              Re writing אוסטרלי׳ with an apostrophe but ירמיהו in full, I doubt there was any principle involved; I’m sure it was just a matter of not thinking. Either one worries about the name, and abbreviates it ירמי׳, or one spells “Australia” in full (though one might do so with an alef at the end; just because the lords of Ivrit decided it’s a hei doesn’t mean we should follow suit).

              Actually there are good grounds for abbreviating ירמי׳ but not אוסטרליה, since the letters at the end of ירמי׳ actually do refer to Hashem, while the יה at the end of אוסטרליה does not. See R Chayim Chizkiyah Medini’s “Kuntres Ba’er Bisdei”, in which he shows that the word שדי has no kedusha at all, so long as the writer meant “fields of” rather than the Almighty.

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  3. You use Gd to refer to Hashem … That’s a Kinnuy surely

    No, I use “God” to refer to Hashem; I use “Gd” or “G-d” or “G*d”, when writing on a piece of paper that is likely to end up in the rubbish, to represent that kinnuy, rather than use it explicitly. It is bedavka not the kinnuy itself, but only something that evokes the kinnuy in the reader’s mind without actually using it. I never refer to him as “Jee Dee”, and I don’t believe you ever do either. So how is “Gd” a kinnuy?

    Again, I ask you what is the status of a hei with an apostrophe?

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    1. That doesn’t grok.
      You write Gd as two letters which you map to God which you map to Hashem and because you use two letters rather than three or another indirection that becomes different? This IS what we mean by a Kinnuy. It’s a word for the same essence which isn’t the real name!

      Not sure what you want with the heh?

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      1. “Gd” is not a word. Nobody uses it as a word. As I have asked you many times, and have not yet received even an attempt at an answer, when have you ever heard anyone refer to Hashem as “Jee Dee”, or “Jee Dash Dee”? So how can it be a kinnuy?

        And I ask you again what you think is the status of a plain hei with an apostrophe. According to your logic it, too, should be a kinnuy!

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        1. It is a word, once you make it one! How do you think words come to be?
          When Jews start using it as a substitute for God then Gd is God!
          As to the Heh, what do you want, to write an abbreviation without an apostrophe?
          As to Jee Dee, nobody uses it. They do use G-d they do use Gd.

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          1. No, it is not a word, because nobody uses it. You have never heard anyone say “jee dee” so how can you say “Gd” is a word? It’s no more a word than “hei apostrophe” is a word. “Hei apostrophe” stands for “Hashem”, but it is not “Hashem”. That’s why we write it that way. According to your logic, there would be no point, because it would become a kinnuy too. But it doesn’t, because your logic is wrong. Nobody calls Hashem “hei apostrophe” so it is not a kinnuy. So when one writes it to signify the kinnuy “Hashem”, it has no kedusha and may be disposed of in the rubbish.

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            1. When they are used as words they become words. Ask Mr Oxford. In Judauc circles G-d IS God is a lower level kinnuy. Have you seen people write A-lmighty I’ve started to see that meshugass too

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            2. Again, will you answer the #@%# question? I’ve only asked it about three times, why are you evading it? What do you think “hei apostrophe” is? Do you imagine it’s a kinnuy?!

              “G-d” is not used as a word. Have you ever heard anyone say “jee dash dee”? No, you haven’t, any more than you’ve heard anyone say “hei apostrophe”. So where are you getting this nonsense?

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            3. Really? You still can’t tell me whether you’ve ever heard anyone refer to Him as “Jee dash dee”. So how can you claim that it’s “a VERY common word used for God by Jews”? You live among Jews and you’ve never heard it, I live among Jews and I’ve never heard it, so which Jews exactly use it?

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            4. Hey on its own means nothing at all. But “hey apostrophe” is universally recognised as a way of representing the kinnuy “Hashem”, exactly as “jee dash dee” is recognised as a way of representing the kinnuy “God”. If you claim that the latter is itself a kinnuy, then how can the former not be?

              For that matter, how about the “shvo yud komatz yud” that printers adopted as a way of representing the Sheim in print. Do you think that’s a kinnuy too?

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            5. Not at all

              You are arguing without logic. People seek minimalist solutions like Gd and God and an apostrophe and they DO mean the say as God. One is simply a discriminant (the apostrophe) so you know context the other is according to some (like you and other Gedolim) a new fake name and to me and other Gedolim something whose ORIGINS may have intended to ameliorate its connection but by now is no less than God which is another term, albeit one that is older

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            6. Excuse me? I’m arguing without logic?! You’re the one who’s making nonsensical distinctions, relying on ten-dollar words like “discriminant” to obfuscate your illogic. I challenge you to draw a logical distinction between “hey apostrophe” and “jee dash dee”. Both represent kinnuyim. They are both instantly recognised as representing kinnuyim. And yet you illogically insist that the first is not a kinnuy but the second is,

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            7. Now you’re making even less sense. You’re the one claiming that “jee dash dee” is a kinnuy! I’m the one saying it isn’t. Are you trying that childish trick where you suddenly agree with your opponent in the hope of tricking him into reversing his position?!

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            8. No, I’m advising you that if your rather obtuse and unbelievable suggestion ever got up I’d agree its no different.
              Look, you’ve surely seen the halacha seforim write גאט. Did they have a worry? Nope. My point is they would have been no worse or better if they had written גא-ט … You think the latter is less heilig. It’s a machlokes as I told you. The LR contends you keep the neuvo-masoretic G-d and the Rav says there is no practice difference lehalacha

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            9. What suggestion have I made? You’re just resorting to making things up. You are the one who insists that “jee dash dee” is a kinnuy, even though you’ve never heard anybody ever use it!

              What sort of proof is this idiocy you’re citing now? A sefer has “God”? Of course it does. Why on earth wouldn’t it? Who suggests it shouldn’t? What conceivable reason would it have not to use kinnuyim? What conclusion can you draw from a sefer to the topic, which is things that are going to be thrown out? Not to write “God” on something that will be thrown out is an open din in the Kitzur Shulchon Oruch, and you have no basis at all for disputing it. I don’t believe you that the Rav said otherwise, but if he did then he was wrong.

              There is no machlokes at all. And it’s got nothing at all to do with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I have no idea why you insist on dragging him into this, when he has no connection with it at all.

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            10. Leaving your excitement aside

              The Shulchan Aruch HoRav’s position is stricter than his contemporaries
              And the LR says it should be followed with G-D as the common practice

              The Rav held that G-D is the same as God

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            11. Sigh I will send mekoros
              From memory the Shulchan Aruch HoRav is choshesh for a Bach but I can’t be 100% sure it was the Bach

              As I recall his loshon is different to the Mishna Brura again from memory

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  4. Would that be the rationale behind why some prefer to write BS”D ( in Hebrew ) to B”H ( in Hebrew, when they send emails, notes or even letters”? Hei is part of Hashem’s name, whereas the BS”D doesn’t have a letter of the NAME.?
    Much is written about all this, which maybe nimchak and which may not etc.

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      1. It’s an abbreviation of Hashem surely. If you wrote השם that’s your business, isn’t it, but if you wrote השם יתברך people would know the context and would they have a problem with writing that?

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      2. By the way, I heard that the Lubavitcher Rebbe זי’’ע wrote somewhere that you shouldn’t write God but rather G-d. I’m going to chase up where, but if you know, do advise. This would explain, of course, why I grew up thinking it unspeakable (or should I say unwriteable 🙂 to write anything but G-d.

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  5. It is mostly accepted that any name other than a loshon kodesh oneת ends with an aleph rather than a hei when there is the option of either.
    Therefore it should be אסטרליא

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    1. That’s not clear. I’ve seen people who write their name as שלום and others write it as ‘שלו
      When I say “people” I mean Rabonim who have that name.

      Either way, I would have thought that on the internet, “deletion” of a post/article is materially different to throwing out a name into the trash?

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    2. Would you suggest a new Hebrew language with names like:
      מנשא, חיא, מיכא, יונא עובדיא וכדומה – או וכדומא

      Should we change the Alphabeth and delete some of the letters?

      Yes, there is one name that sometimes adopts the end letter ALEF instead the HEY, it is יודא. You say “it is mostly accepted”. Is it? I never saw another one replacing the HEY with an ALEF.

      What do you mean by “when there is an option of either?

      There is a townsip of Beth El in Eretz Israel. It is divided to Alef and Beth. One is called Beth El, the other Beth Kel.

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      1. They should have called the Charedi one Luz …. poor Ya’akov Avinu such a michshol calling Yehuda by such a ‘dangerous’ name

        Rav Waldenberg (and many others) wrote יהודא

        I guess they weren’t as frum as the יודאים (sic)

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        1. Have seen hand writing of a prominent personality, writing in capital letters, who wrote ALEPH, LAMED, HEY, YOD with a combined ALEF LAMED (Ligature Glyph) like they used to write it, up to the middle of the twentieth century in SIDURIM. They stopped doing it, I wonder why. It would solve a lot of problems. The rest of that writing was without Ligature letters. He probably wanted to solve a problem, not writing the NAME out, but still let the readers be able to read it.
          Unfortunately they do not have that font on my computer, and printers today do not have it either. I wanted to use it in my writings, and was told that it does not exist anymore. The editor tried to “build” something similar but without success.
          Just for history’s sake: Does anyone really know who invented it (there are no other letters that were written combined), and for what purpose? The answers on the Net do not really give an explanation, and no history.
          Here is one – http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2002-July/013510.html :
          (Note: There was an extensive discussion on the possible halachic
          “origins” of “alef-lamed” ligature about 1 year ago on a Sephardic
          Discussion List that was moderated by Scott Alfassa Marks vis-a-vis
          its possible connection to prohibition against writing “sacred” names, one
          of which is a 2-letter sequence of alef and lamed. Reason for this
          speculation: as you pointed out this letter is often used in a prayer
          book. The reason often offered is to “save space” But why, then, aren’t
          other letter combinations joined in ligatures in prayer books to save even
          more space?”. The speculation on not writing a “sacred” name was not
          widely accepted by participants in that discussion. Also no one at the
          time had a name or a better “raison-d’etre” (explanation) for that
          letter.)

          They also used to fold down the “antenna” of the LAMED. This was done to keep the letter within the frame of the row.

          MOADIM L’SIMCHA

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      2. Those are all names in Loshon Kodesh, so why would you want to end them with alef?

        And yes, it is mostly accepted. This is not a free-for-all, it’s a matter of fixed halacha, and the rule that non-Hebrew names end in alef rather than hei is not iron-clad, but it is the general rule.

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          1. What have internet posts or paper got to do with it? It’s the same language regardless of the medium, and the spellings of names is a matter of halacha, not something one is free to just make up as one chooses. It is a general rule that Hebrew names end in hei, and non-Hebrew ones in alef. That’s not iron-clad, there are exceptions, but it is the general rule. So Australia should be spelt with an alef at the end, and the contrary Ivrit usage is wrong.

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            1. Huh? What were we just talking about? It is a general rule that non-Hebrew names end in alef, not in hei. So why are you the very next minute suggesting writing it with a hei?

              And why are you bringing disposal into it? Who mentioned disposal? What has it got to do with the price of fish?

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            2. What on earth do you mean by that? Please speak English.

              By the way, even if it weren’t Aramaic, what exactly is your point? How can you refute a general rule by giving a single counterexample? This happens not to be one, but if it were how would it affect the rule’s validity?

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  6. [edited by me]
    Regarding your question on why the sudden fuss about it’s kosher:
    It’s not really so sudden. This rabbi rears his head every so often and posts questionable comments on blogs and elsewhere.
    If he is proven to be a liar then he needs to be exposed and the community needs to be advised that he can’t be trusted.
    I don’t care how many pictures of rabbis and Gedolei Yisroel he has posted next to him.
    There have been many great imposters in the past.
    One may be a talmid chochom and yet not a chochom at all.

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  7. Isaac
    Rabbi rabi is a Talmud chochim and not like a lot of rabbies he eats all the products he gives a hechsher to
    I remember at my brothers bar mitzvah at the diplomat rabbi gutnick wouldn’t eat even though he gave a hechsher there

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    1. The issue of eating your own hechsher really is no determinant of anything. I’d be more concerned about the allegation that he has had no shimush in kashrus and that there is no evidence that Rabbi Rudzki “compelled” him to do anything, and that he ignored Rabbi Abraham’s request to remove the letter on his webpage, and that magically someone took a picture of him with R’ Belsky. I wonder how that all happened?

      Also, R’ Gutnick did eat his own hechsher. That he didn’t eat at the Diplomat back then, I can’t ask him to find out. Perhaps it was the butcher they used. R’ Gutnick MAY have had his own chumras for meat. A Rabbi IS entitled to have his Chumros.

      I wonder if the Rabi household eat his laffas on Pesach? If not, I guess it means they don’t trust Dad using your logic?

      PS. There are plenty of people who know how to learn but don’t give Hechsherim or run a Hechsher Business.

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    1. R’ Dovid,
      You know lots more than me. I dabble in Halacha very much part time. The Lubavitcher Rebbe quotes Shulchan Aruch HoRav based on a Taz. I looked at the Taz and i don’t merit to understand.
      Rav Soloveitchik says if you are disrespectful with the name God, then you are equally disrespectful with Gd or G-d. They all represent letters for the same entity.

      Personally I’m not sure what Bizayon is involved in deleting a file with either on them.

      What is your learned view?

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