Is Barkan Wine Kosher?

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10 Responses

  1. Josh Wander says:

    What makes you think that this issue is only with Barkan and not other wineries?

  2. Sam says:

    Rav Ovadia Yosef isn’t your local posek. He was a gadol Hador. It is totally understandable that the rabanut follows his psakim as the Sephardic chief rabbis were the Rav’s students.
    And this article sound incredulous about a hechsher going according the a daas yachid posek hador. Might I remind you that the ou holds like Rav Moshe in regards to Chalav stam.

  3. Reb Yid says:

    The question is not whether the rabbanut should rely on Rav Ovadia but whether the OK should. I’m not sure how many American ashkenazim are in the habit of relying on Rav Ovadia’s kulos. Probably about as many as Sephardic Israelis who drink chalav stam.

  4. Shmilu says:

    To sam
    1. Rav moshe was not a daas yachid
    Rav henkin poskened the same and i have heard that the chida did as well
    2. Chalav stam products are clearly identified by having ( ou)d on the label those who do not rely on rav moshes heter know not to buy such products. Noone buyong wine knows that there is a question
    3. As for expecting ok to be relying on rav ovadya. Ii wouldnt expect an israeli sefardi hashgacha to rely on an americsn ashkenazi daas yachid psak even if he was the posek hador if their own poskm disagree. The same goes for ok in america

  5. Yaakov Hoffman says:

    Josh–There may well be other wineries where this is a problem. However, I know that some hechsherim, such as OU, Rav Rubin, and Eidah Chareidis are makpid that Ethiopian workers must convert.

    Sam–Rav Ovadia was undeniably a Gadol Ha-Dor. However, the community at large expects mehadrin products to adhere to the consensus of major Poskim, which in this case is at variance with Rav Ovadia’s opinion. The truth is I would have less of a problem if a hechsher were open and up-front about the fact that they rely on Rav Ovadia. the main issue here was the lack of transparency.

    Rav Moshe was very far from a da’as yachid about government-supervised milk. That was the normative practice in the US before WWII (although of course there were individuals who were stringent). “Cholov Yisroel” only really took off with the arrival of Germans and Hungarians who demanded this. There may be other areas where the OU does have certain leniencies, but at least they are straightforward about it.

  6. Steve says:

    The OU would label the product “D” so consumers who are makpid could stay away from it
    On something so controversial , transparency should be the choice of the consumer not the manufacturer

  7. Tal Benschar says:

    Sam, we are talking about the Badatz of the Eidah Chaerdis, and whether they are racist for not following Rav Yosef’s psak.

    Your point about the OU actually proves the opposite. The OU is above board that their dairy products follow Rav Moshe’s psak. It is up to the consumer to decide, based on his rav or community how to act. And many other hasgochas do not follow Rav Moshe on this one, and make that clear.

    (I remember years ago that Rabbi Genack from the OU spoke at YU and said that the OU’s policy is not to rely on hetter mechirah for shemitta products. Even though the Rabbanut obviously does. So not every American hasgocho follows the Rabbanut.)

    That is really Rabbi Hoffman’s point. If an American hasgocha’s policy is to follow Rav Yosef on this, even though virtually all other poskim disagree, then they should say so, explicitly. Then, like the issue of Chalov Stam, each rav or community can decide how to act.

  8. Avi says:

    @Sam: Rav Ovadia Z”L had tremendous shoulders, and was able to be meikil all over the place (and had some notable places where he was machmir). Indeed, the rabbanut’s mandate is to make halacha a Davar hashaveh lechol nefesh and pick and choose kulas on purpose for this important reason. Rav Ovadia is thus an important resource for rabbanut standards all over halacha, and indeed for his myriad of talmidim. On the other hand, Mehadrin batei din pride themselves in following halachik standards that uphold to the traditions our how halacha developed for the past millennia, where we follow consensus from multiple mainstream poskim on halachik issues. It’s incredulous that 4 Mehadrin hechsherim would have nothing intelligent to say about a question that makes their wine not-so-mehadrin. Now that you know about the issue, would you marry an Ethiopian woman without inquiring? Having Ethiopians all over the country in all sorts of positions is fine for a public policy, but when you’re making kiddish on it at your own Shabbos table, or going to live with the person for the rest of your life, I think we get to choose our own standards, no?

    Certainly, if you point out this great kula to the average Mehadrin eater, they wouldn’t be so excited. On the other hand, if you tell people that OU-D marked products aren’t Chalav Yisrael, I think OU-D eaters are ok with that. If you want to compare the cases, the OK should have full disclosure and write OK-E for “Ethiopian”. But that’d actually look terribly racist… Regrettably, it sounds like the OK and these other mashgichim haven’t even thought about the issue, let alone have a policy about it. Why is the Mehadrin world in Israel and abroad relegated to reading an article in English by a confused young American Rabbi who actually cares?

  9. David F says:

    Thank you for an informative and troubling article.

    One point –
    “While most Jews disagree with the Eidah Ha-Haredit on many issues, we must be cautious about assuming they are to blame when they are involved in a dispute.”

    If by “most” you refer to secular Jews, that would be true of you and me as well. If you mean by Torah-observant Jews, I’m not sure most Torah-observant do or don’t disagree with the Eidah on many issues. One thing however is certain – when it comes to Kashrus, the Eidah has earned the highest respect from Jews across the spectrum and it’s Kashrus that we’re talking about here.

  10. Baruch Nissonovich says:

    And takes pains to be transparent about it. What would we say if the OU relied on R Moshe regarding chalav yisrael but withheld that fact from the public?

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