[Avodah] hechsher question

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Fri Feb 8 10:54:49 PST 2013

On Thu, Feb 07, 2013 at 04:59:17PM -0800, saul newman wrote:
: a  NYC  glatt restaurant  with a  hechsher  'we don't rely on'  is having
: a special  Valentines day  meal service.

: 1]  would the major  'accepted'  hechshers  approve of such a thing?

I'm not sure that's a discussion for Avodah. We can't really discuss
halakhah in an informal forum. Here, the more relevant question would
be more: Do you think they should or shouldn't? (Show all work.)

: 2]  if not , we must delineate what is the line between  'secular'  vs
:  'religious/pagan' .  ie  i assume  that they would not allow  a Halloween
: menu , but would a Memorial/Independence day

And formerly religious. A practice that comes from AZ but since became
secularized is still assur -- bechuqoseihem lo seileikhu. (Which this
time around I will not conflate with darkhei Emori.) The question
of when the origins no longer matter is the topic of a discussion
by RMJBroyde <http://torahmusings.com/2012/02/valentines-day-and-jewish-law>
who ends up permitting Valentines Day although in a discussion of New
Year's <http://torahmusings.com/2011/12/is-new-years-kosher> prohibits

We can generalize: just look at assur vs. mutar. When I was a bachur,
an eatery offering Middle Eastern food in Queens lost its hekhsher when
someone decided he could no longer give a hekhsher to a venue that had
belly dancing. That it was doing more to draw people to belly dancing
than drawing people to a kosher venue.

Just assur vs. mutar. If I were making this kind of decision, my thought
process would go something like this:

1- Who is the target audience? People who wouldn't be marking Valentine's
Day if there weren't this discussion in the O community? Or people
who would go out either way? Or are there even many for whom this is a
motivation to get them to eat at a place with a hekhsher I would trust,
since they will be eating out in a restaurant and aren't as committed
to avoiding stacking on the qulos as I would be? (Since it's my own
imaginary hekhsher, I assume I would think it's relible.)

2- Is it really assur? And if I think it's assur but smeone else is
matir, am I sure enough he's wrong to go to the next step? After all,
my sign is about food, not other activities.

2b- If my answer to #1 is that this is a pretty committed audience, am I
actively helping the decay of lifnim mishuras hadin by enabling it with
my hekhsher? I could see someone deciding that Glatt Yacht is mutar,
but it's so against the obligation to develop histapqus that he wants
no part of it.

3- After thinking about the real issues, what will either statement do
to my ability to continue making statements? If I allow it, will I
lose clientele off the right side, and therefore end up winning the
battle but losing the war? And if I refuse to give the hekhsher under
these conditions, will I lose my ability to reach those on the left?


Micha Berger             I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them,
micha at aishdas.org        I have found myself, my work, and my God.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Helen Keller
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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