If You Think All Butter is Kosher, You’re Whey out of Line

“Fair words butter no parsnips”. This out-of-use phrase, which the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to at least 1639, means that words without action are of no use.

Off the Beaten Track: In a Visit to Armenia, an OU RFR Finds Pleasant People and Excellent Products

Bordered by Georgia (the one Stalin came from, not the one Scarlett O’Hara came from), Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran, and located between the Black and Caspian Seas, the former Soviet republic of Armenia, independent since 1991, has become the latest country to produce kosher products certified by the Orthodox Union.

Lo Basi Ella L’orer: Chumra d’Pischa

The term Chumra d’Pesach usually brings to mind Pesach minhagim that go beyond the letter of the law such as whitewashing walls or kashering leichter. However, there are also various halachos brought in Shulchan Aruch that are attributed to chumra d’Pesach as well.

ASK OU Outreach Brings Its Kashrus Experts to Brooklyn, April 18, 25 During Sefirah, for Shiurim

Rav Belsky, Rabbi Elefant to Answer Halacha and Policy Questions:
The Orthodox Union will present its popular OU Kosher program, ASK OU OUTREACH, in Brooklyn by holding a series of kashrus shiurim on two Sundays in April – April 18 and April 25. Both days fall during the period of sefirah, a perfect time for introspection and Jewish education.

The Tempering of Grains and its Chametz and Hafrashas Challah Implications

The milling of grains has been going on for millennia, and in all that time, the process has not changed dramatically. Milling is still done by simply grinding kernels, albeit with rollers instead of stones. Sifting is still done with sifters, although by automated machines instead of by hand. There is another part of milling known as tempering. Tempering refers to spraying grain kernels with water before they are milled. This makes the bran tougher and less brittle. If the wheat kernel has not been tempered, the bran may shatter and leave brown flecks (“ash”) in the flour when the kernel is milled. This is undesirable in regular white flour. Tempering strengthens the bran so that it is removed from the endosperm easily and does not cause brown flecks in the flour.

Kli Rishon and Kli Sheni

Both a kli sheini and a kli rishon shelo al ha’aish are pots of hot water that will gradually cool down. Since it is difficult to distinguish between them, we require Tosafos’s help to properly understand the distinction. Although they look almost identical, a kli sheini has difanos mikareros (walls that cool down the product) while a kli rishon shelo al ha’aish has difanos michamemos (walls that maintain the heat of the product). An extended irui is none of the above, for the simple reason that the walls of this pot will not cool down. So long as the irui continues, there is a heat source that is preventing the kli from cooling. For this reason it is most similar to a kli rishon al ha’aish.

Shaking up Your Passover Menu, or Have Some Fun in the Pesach Kitchen: It’s not Just Matzah

On Passover, we’re all looking for those new and different appetizers and entrees that aren’t the same old same old recycled boring ones. This year, shake up your Pesach menus with the following extra special and fun recipes by Eileen Goltz.

Lo Basi Ella L’orer: Glass

The laws regarding kashering glass are especially confusing, because the opinions range from one extreme to the other מקצה לקצה.
• Rashba (Teshuva 1:233), Ran (Pesachim 9a) – glass is smooth, hard and does not absorb (or absorbs very little) and therefore does not need to be kashered. דשיעי וקשים ובליעתם מעוטה מכל הכלים
• Ra’ah (Brought by Ritva Pesachim 30b) – Glass is boleya and is polet like metal, but may not be kashered with hagalah because we are concerned that it might crack, משום דחייס שמא פקעה.
• Mordechai – Glass has the status of cheres, הואיל ותחלת ברייתו מן החול.

Lo Basi Ella L’orer: Cheres

In the times of Chazal, cheres was made from various baked clays. In modern times common examples of cheres include earthenware and stoneware. The Gemara Pesachim (30b) tells us that a cheres utensil cannot be kashered with hagalah התורה העידה על כלי חרס שאינו יוצא מידי דופיו לעולם. Even libun gamur is not permitted in situations where there is a concern that one might not be milaben properly for fear of cracking. Therefore, one may not kasher china by putting it through a self cleaning cycle of the oven. In such cases, the only permissible kashering is to place the utensil into a potter’s kiln which gets much hotter than libun chamur. This demonstrates that one is not concerned about potential damage.

Lo Basi Ella L’orer: Tata’ah Gavar

When a cold item is placed onto a hot surface, Halacha tells us to view the cold item as though it were hot, even though the item remains cold. Conversely, if a hot item is placed on a cold surface, we view the hot item as becoming cooled down. However, in this case we say that until it cools down, there is a kdei klipa transfer of ta’am. This concept is brought in the Gemara Pesachim (76a) and referred to as ta’tah gavar (the bottom surface overpowers).
The Shach (92:36) brings two criteria for deciding which surface is considered the “ta’tah”.
• The bottom surface because heat rises or because the top item weighs down upon the bottom.
• The stationary surface because the item that remains in its place is considered dominant.