Meir Gershon Rabi’s latest venture: From Flesh to Milk

I heard about this probably a year ago or longer. The concept is far from new and has appeared in many halachic issues. For example: Dinei Yichud (being alone with someone of the opposite gender (or indeed same gender for someone who is Gay!).

First, an admission. In our family, we only drink mashgiach supervised Chalav Yisrael. Ditto for milk products, with the exception of a chocolate bar that is known to be from Milk powder (see Rav Frank in Har Tzvi, which is also accepted as normative in Israel by the Rabbinate).

The reason my family does this now is because I did it for about 7 years before I got married. Why did it I do it then? It wasn’t because I was a frumak who had returned from learning overseas and overturned his parent’s house and insisted on them making a range of changes because things weren’t “up to scratch”.

Absolutely not. I had and have no doubt so ever about any aspect of Kashrus in my parents’ home, where standard Australian Milk is and was used. Rather, in those days, in the early eighties, there were a group of people who did not accept the permission of the famed Chazon Ish*, R’ Moshe Feinstein, and others, that Milk in the US, and countries like Australia can be assumed as “supervised” as a聽non-Jew would be loath to breach Government regulations and introduce non cow’s milk. In Australia, they are particularly strict, as any visitor to this country trying to bring in an apple will know. Accordingly, I approached my mother, and asked permission聽if she minded that we have one bottle of milk that is humanly supervised by an assumed reputable Mashgiach in the house. I told her that my motive was to be another person who bought such products, so that the nascent business which was trying to produce traditional Chalav Yisrael would survive. I was somewhat altruistic, and even agreed聽to support Hungarians 馃檪 so that an alternative view could also exist from a business perspective by my small gesture. My mother accepted, and would make things Chalav Yisrael as she wanted me to be able to eat them, after I mentioned this.

What started as an altruistic notion, was also expressed explicitly at the time, and even now, in terms of the fact that聽I do not consider, based on reliable world-renowned Poskim, the Government milk (Chalav HaCompanies) as any less Kosher. I did not take a blanket Neder (vow). As such, I never had or have a question of Keilim (vessels). I simply do not consider such vessels聽Treyf in any way or form.

Unfortunately, come companies, such as Cadbury’s do use real milk, so the milk powder view mentioned above loses much value! In Israel the Rabbinate notes when overseas chocolates are made with Milk Powder.

Enter Meir Gershon Rabi (MGR). He wants to produce Chalav that is supervised, using a web cam style supervision. The supposition is that in addition to Government regulation, one could “see” (although technically that can be faked easily enough) that its real milk from a Cow. Now, of course, as is well-known, MGR, runs a private BUSINESS聽 from his Kashrus together with other investors. I would call them business entrepreneurs who use kashrut as their commodity. I have no doubt that MGR聽and his family did not聽rely on the Chazon Ish or R’ Moshe Feinstein, and instead bought the fresh Chalav Yisrael from Adass or the long life version.

So, MGR聽announces that he has put into place a series of cameras for surveillance of a farm or two so that “more” confidence in the source of the milk can be ascertained. I assume he either considers this as more Mirtas or real Hashgocho. Whatever.

I don’t understand the business model. People who are quite comfortable with the Chazon Ish and R’ Moshe Feinstein can buy any milk on the Kosher Australia app or web sites or publications. These are Kosher. They are not mehadrin according to those who don’t follow the Chazon Ish or R’ Moshe. Those who know, make their mind up.

Presumably, MGR聽wants to increase the “confidence” in the mehadrin status of the milk through cameras. My prediction is that those who need a physical set of eyes via a Yotzeh V’Nichnas (surprise occasional visit from Mashgichim) or a full-time Mashgiach (who also examined the cans before milking—ask whether聽MGR’s web cams do that). Those people, and there are many, will not engage in聽MGR’s supervision of anything. They don’t eat from his Hashgacha anyway, and I’d love to know if MGR聽will now bring this new milk (which is used in this way in Israel but not accepted as mehadrin by the OU and others) into his own house for his own wife and children and grandchildren.

The others who are happy with milk as listed in Kosher Australia don’t need to be bothered with his innovation. The milk in the Kosher Australia list is already deemed Kosher Milk. Why聽do they need MGR’s聽Camera Milk suddenly? Did he tell them they needed traditional Chalav Yisroel聽before his got his surveillance by video working?

At the end of the day I am puzzled by this from a business perspective (although there is an initial outlay). Who are the potential buyers of such milk? MGR聽and his business partners must feel there is a new market? 聽At the end of the day MGR’s business is聽a private company, and they will not allow the community to see their books or the money made from his聽Kashrus “innovations”.

I just don’t get it. There seems to be no money in it!

A much more pressing issue is聽the Kashrus of cows in general! One must ascertain that they haven’t had their lungs聽punctured because of stomach problems, by veterinarians, because their Milk would be Treyf even with human eyes. Perhaps MGR聽also uses web cams to scrutinise聽the veterinary procedures聽and records. [I’m told that in Australia these procedures are less likely than in the USA due to the quality and type of feed]

What have I missed?

* There have been revisionists who claim the Chazon Ish wasn’t serious about his view. He most definitely was. The rest is the type of revisionism beautifully described by Marc Shapiro in his “Changing the Immutable” and documented with great precision by HaGaon R’ Dovid Segal.

From Greenberg Art

 

The prepositions 讗值转 vs. 讗侄转

The pronunciation of these two words is the bane of many a Ba’al Koreh. You sense everyone waiting to pounce on the wrong pronunciation (which itself its wrong, because it should come from the Rav or his designated “corrector” on the Bima. Some Parshiyos are a breeze, and others are a nightmare. This is compounded by some Ashkenazit pronunciation where one can barely discern the difference between a Tzeyrey and a Segol.

I was very interested to read, in the newly published Mesoras Moshe, where a particular Ba’al Koreh was layning with R’ Moshe Feinstein in attendance. He had made a few errors between the two words, and yet R’ Moshe declined to correct him.

Afterwards, he approached R’ Moshe and asked for the reason behind the lack of correction. Reb Moshe answered that the difference between the two words in the context of layning, is that one has a musical trope (cantillation) while the other does not. Reb Moshe then viewed the error as being one of trope! As such, according to many opinions, trope errors need not be corrected, let alone re-read.

It was fascinating. Your mileage may vary. Certainly wherever I’ve been, the “vultures” have always been ready to pounce. Reb Moshe’s greatness and individuality shone forth, and I enjoyed his observation!

R’ Moshe (from Eichler’s website)