In Times of Difficulty: A Question of Meaning, a Meditation on Kashrut

These are difficult times. Editorial pages, news and financial reporters bemoan the dramatic loss of wealth in the country and around the world. Trillions of dollars of net worth – lost. Homes – foreclosed. Businesses – shut down. Charities – struggling. Unemployment nearing record levels. Even those who have secure employment feel the anxiety. There […]

Mechiras Chametz

Mechiras chametz accomplishes two functions. It prevents the owners of the chametz from violating the issurim d’oraisah of ba’al yiraeh uba’al yimatzey and it saves the chametz from becoming chametz she’avar alav hapesach (mid’rabanan). Ideally we try to arrange all sales in the most lichatchila manner so as not only to protect the kashrus of the products but also to prevent the owners from violating issurim.

Mechiras Chametz today is typically arranged by authorizing a Rabbi to act as the legal agent on behalf of the one selling the chametz. This same procedure is utilized in regards to mechiras chametz for companies. However the question arises, who may authorize the sale of chametz on behalf of a Jewish owned company?

Mowed Lawn Aroma

A flavor, like a musical chord, is made of a set of notes. The fullness of a flavor is the result of the interplay between the numerous chemical components that constitute the flavor’s profile.

A flavorist creating a fruity flavor – let’s say, peach flavor for an ice cream –will usually need a “green” or botanical note to round out the flavor. One of the popular chemicals used by flavorists to impart “greenness” is called cis-3-hexenol. A whiff of pure cis-3-hexenol reminds one of a freshly mowed lawn.

Milui V’irui

The Gemara Avoda Zara 33a teaches us that one can kasher a barrel that was used to store non-kosher wine with milui v’irui. This is accomplished by filling the barrel with water, letting it sit for at least 24 hours, emptying the barrel, and then repeating this process two more times. There is no need for the 3 days to be consecutive.

There are two explanations in the Rishonim as to why milui v’irui is effective.

K’bolo kach polto – Some Rishonim1 understand that since the issur was absorbed through kevisha it can be purged with kevisha.

OU Kosher to Recommend Organic Certification Agency to OU Clients

As part of its practice of providing a full range of services to its certified companies, OU Kosher has announced that it will recommend Organic National & International Certifiers (ON & IC) of Lincolnwood, IL to its client companies who are seeking certification that their products are not only kosher, but organic as well.

Rice Protein Concentrate

Is rice protein concentrate derived from cooked rice? If so, rice protein concentrate is potentially bishul akum and should not be a group one.


The OU has made great strides in the last several years towards ensuring that kosher products are transported only in kosher approved tanker trucks. To this end, we now certify fleets of kosher dedicated tankers and kosher truck wash stations throughout the country.

When Kosher and Allergen Issues do not Converge

Rabbi Dovid Polsky, the remarkably patient and knowledgeable managing attendant of the OU’s ever-ringing Kosher Consumer Hotline, does not see a day go by – or even a morning — without receiving a call that touches on the overlap between kosher certification and allergen concerns.

“I see that Miller’s Heavenly Chocolate is labeled OU-pareve. Yet I also see a declaration of ‘may contain dairy.’ How could this be?”

“The soy milk I just bought states that there is no dairy or lactose in the product. And yet the kosher label says OUD. I’m confused.”

The answer to both of these questions, of course, is that although kosher and allergen considerations often converge, they are not identical.

Aish M’aish: Bishul Yisroel

In many companies the method for dealing with the issue of bishul akum is to have the mashgiach light the pilot light of the boiler. This is based on the ruling of the Rama (Y.D. 113:7) that if a non-Jew lit his fire from a fire that was lit by a Yisroel, then the food cooked with that fire would not be subject to the issur of bishul akum.

Rav Moshe zt”l’s Heter of Cholov Stam Revisited

Halacha states that milk which is produced without hashgacha (r’iyah of a Yisroel) is non-kosher; such milk is termed “cholov akum”. This rule is a gezeirah, lest milk from non-kosher animals be mixed into what otherwise could be assumed to be kosher milk. Milk is only permissible when a Yisroel watches the milking, verifying that milk from non-kosher animal species is not incorporated. (Yoreh Deah 115:1, from Maseches Avodah Zarah daf 35b)