Prof. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Tue Jan 15 02:46:38 PST 2013

>From today's Hakhel Emial Bulletin



The following questions were posed to Rav Shmuel Fuerst, Dayan of Agudath
Israel in Chicago at a kashrus symposium in Detroit on December 30,
2012. Some of the answers below have been edited and modified to reflect
the position of the Vaad Harabbonim of Greater Detroit.

Which stringency is more important to observe­the stringency of eating
only chalav Yisrael products, or the stringency of eating only pas
Yisrael products?

Eating only chalav Yisrael products and avoiding chalav stam is more
important. Pas palter, as opposed to pas Yisrael which is baked by a Jew,
refers to bread and other baked goods that are kosher but were baked
in a non-Jewish bakery. Pas palter is permitted to be eaten according
to the Shulchan Aruch and most major poskim. While it is certainly
meritorious to partake of pas Yisrael only, it is only a chumrah,
above and beyond the strict letter of the law. The permissibility of
drinking chalav stam, on the other hand, which is milk that was milked
by non-Jews without Jewish supervision but under government regulation,
is a subject hotly debated among the poskim. While there are prominent
poskim who allow drinking chalav stam in the United States and one is
permitted to rely on their ruling, the vast majority of poskim do not
agree with this leniency. According to the majority opinion, therefore,
chalav stam is not merely a chumrah but is strictly forbidden.

Which stringency is more important to observe -- the stringency of eating
only yashan products and refraining from chadash or the stringency of
eating only chalav Yisrael products and refraining from chalav stam?

Eating only chalav Yisrael and avoiding chalav stam is more important,
even though chadash is a biblical prohibition while chalav akum is not.
Whether or not chadash is forbidden nowadays outside of Eretz Yisrael
where the fields are owned by non-Jews, is an age-old dispute among
the early authorities with no clear consensus reached. Indeed, most
European Jews did not refrain from eating chadash, in keeping with
the ruling of the more lenient opinions concerning chadash outside
of Eretz Yisrael. Those who are lenient about chadash, therefore,
are following a long-standing tradition based on the opinion of early,
classic poskim. The leniency to drink chalav stam, on the other hand,
is different. There is no long-standing tradition to permit it, as
chalav stam was not available in Europe. It was always assumed and
accepted by all poskim that unless a Jew was present at the milking,
the milk was forbidden. It is only recently in the United States,
where some prominent poskim ruled that we may rely on U.S. government
regulation to permit milk that was not supervised by a Jew, that chalav
stam became an option. This controversial ruling does not have the same
halachic force as a ruling based on a centuries-old tradition, and thus
chalav Yisrael is the more important stringency to observe.

Should a seven-year-old child be forced to wait six hours between meat
and dairy?

Using force is the wrong approach, but at the same time the child should
be taught that this is the correct thing to do. The child should be
trained to observe this halachah gradually, taking into consideration his
level of maturity and physical development. By the age of nine or ten,
the child should be ready to understand and accept that this is what
the halachah demands of him.

What procedure should be followed when baking an uncovered pareve liquid
cake batter or dough in a meaty or dairy oven?

The oven should be thoroughly cleaned from any meat or dairy particles
and residue, preferably with an abrasive cleaning agent. Some Poskim
are of the opinion that the oven should then be heated to its highest
setting for an hour and the racks should be covered with a fresh piece
of foil. [You may poke holes in the foil to allow the hot air in the
oven to circulate freely.] The oven is now ready to be used and anything
baked in it will be considered pareve. Many Poskim are of the opinion
are more stringent and wait 24 hours before using the oven for pareve.

An open bottle of non-mevushal wine was left in the fridge door, and a
non-Jew opened the door and cleaned the fridge. Is the wine permitted?

When leaving a non-Jew alone in a house, all non-mevushal wine should be
sealed with a tamper-proof seal. If the bottle is unsealed, it should
be put away under lock and key. Bedieved, however, we do not prohibit
drinking the wine from the unsealed bottle unless we have reason to
believe that the cleaning lady either drank from the bottle directly,
poured herself a drink from the bottle into a glass, touched the wine
itself (not merely the bottle), or picked up the bottle, opened or
uncorked it, and shook the wine. If we have no reason to believe that
any of the above occurred, we do not forbid drinking the wine. If an
unsealed bottle of wine was left in the refrigerator door, and the
non-Jewish cleaning lady opened the door of the refrigerator but did
not remove the bottle of wine from its place, the wine may be drunk.

All of the above halachos apply to non-mevushal grape juice as well.

Note: Contemporary poskim are divided as to whether or not the mevushal
wines and grape juices on the market today are cooked enough to be
exempt from the halachos of stam yeinam and permitted to be handled by
a non-Jew or not. In the United States it is customary to rely on the
more lenient views.

Is Challah taken from dough that is made out of six pounds of flour,
half of which will be used for challah and half for cinnamon buns? Is
the bracha recited?

Challah should be taken but the blessing for hafrashas challah should
not be recited. Although the original dough contained six pounds of
flour which is sufficient to require hafrashas challah with a blessing,
in this case it is questionable whether or not the divided dough­which
will be used for two different types of baked goods and will not be
combined­is considered as one dough or as two separate batches, each one
containing only 3 pounds of flour. Since the halachah remains unresolved,
we fulfill the mitzvah but we do not recite the blessing.

Is a kosher pizza store required to double tape pizza being delivered
by a non-Jew?

It is strongly recommended that they do so, and the kashrus agency
supervising the pizza shop should insist on it. Bedieved, if an unsealed
box of pizza was delivered by a non-Jew (or a Jew who does not keep
kosher) a Rav should be consulted. It may still be permissible to eat
the pizza depending upon the particulars of the case.

More information about the Avodah mailing list