Rich, Joel JRich at sibson.com
Tue Jan 15 05:33:22 PST 2013

........................................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.
The juxtaposition is ironic - the argument against chalav hacompanies (assumedly chalav stam really means no supervision at all)  is really one to an extent of chadash assur min hatorah (when juxtaposed against "halachic force as a ruling based on a centuries-old tradition".  Is R' Moshe (I guess the author of this piece didn't think it would have halachic import to state that this "controversial ruling" was by the "poseik hador", nor am I sure who was included in the sample of "the vast majority of poskim" and whether it was weighted by minyan or binyan)  really so difficult to rely on?  Given that chalav hacompanies was not available in Europe, is this saying that any new situation must by definition be decided lchumra?  In addition the IIRC the halachic case for chumrah by chadash is much more convincing, maybe there were practical reasons requiring kulah which no longer exist?  There's much to be gleaned about the approach to the halachic process here.

I'd like to raise a separate question - what if one is taking tzedaka (either cash or commodities)  Does one have the right, and does the Gabbai have to comply, to demand chalav yisrael  if it means others will go hungry?  In a macro sense isn't that what happens today (certainly if one includes scholarship funds)?
Joel Rich
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