Kashrus Stories Part 2

A woman in the community once told me this story:

As you may know there was a time when we ate leafy green vegetables and the like in the United States without checking for insects. It is not because we were not as stringent then, but because the pesticides did a near perfect job. With time and government regulations (?) the pesticides did not kill all the intruders and the need arose to begin washing and checking again. Some foods such as broccoli must be purchased from the Jewish companies that use greenhouse methods and the like.

Well, there was a time when we went from not-checking to checking. And there was a day that these new circumstances were revealed.

The day that this came out there was a sheva brachos planned in 90 Bennett for a grandchild of Rav Schwab. One of the women involved in the preparation had prepared several broccoli kugels for the event. She called the Rav frantically that afternoon and he told her, “Mrs. ———, you may serve them- and I will take the first piece!” 

This heter may have been based on the principle of “Chazakah”. At the time she prepared these, the status of this vegetable was known to be free of insects. Since she had baked it into a kugel, making it impossible to check, the original status perhaps would determine its permissibility. 

There may have been other factors such as the use of a blender or the fact that originally it was suggested that frozen vegetables needed no checking. 

The important part of the story is that the Rav did not just allow it, but promised to eat the first piece.

A similar story was once published in the old magazine of record “The Jewish Observer”. Rav Schwab was told by his doctors that he must refrain from eating meat. Nevertheless, at the Yeshivah dinner he ordered the meat and ate just a small piece of it. When asked why he did this, he explained that since he gives the hashgocho on the meat, if he were to order chicken or fish, people might assume that he does not personally rely on his own hechsher. He therefore sacrificed his meal to affirm the reliability of his kashrus.

To digress, maybe some of you remember when the need to check vegetables became known. The kehilla arranged the viewing of a video on the subject in 90 Bennett. In the video there was an awkward scene where some young bochurim are given to look at a leaf through a microscope. One of them said, “OOoooh, there it is!” People laughed at the spaced-out comment…

Kashrus Stories Part 2

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