Observance of Kashrut and Niddah are equal??!!

I was horrifed at the story told in a comment on my guest post on DovBear’s blog.

I was talking with some friends in the community and they mentioned the rabbi was coming to them for Shabbat lunch. I replied that I thought it was well-known the rabbi doesn’t eat at other people’s houses as a blanket rule because he doesn’t want to embarrass anyone over kashrut issues. The person then tells me that that is the “public reason” and that in reality the rabbi eats by people all the time. He decides if a person is trustworthy enough based on whether the wife asks niddah shailas to him.

Nice, huh?

JS | 10.22.09 – 1:51 pm | #

I have the utmost respect for Rabbis, especially those who I know to live their life the way they preach. My Rabbi is one of those leaders who does everything in life in the name of God. To think that a Rabbi out there has the reputation of basing his trust of a woman’s kashrus on whether or not she asks him niddah questions – the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Some devout women will go through life NEVER having a niddah question, and their house is just as kosher, or perhaps more so, than a woman who asks the rabbi niddah questions 12 times a year. I am incensed that this Rabbi has been given this reputation, either deservedly or not. There are women who observe taharat hamishpacha kehilchatah but eat out at non kosher restaurants. But if one of these women asked this rabbi a niddah question would he eat at her house – I doubt it. I think this story has to be looked into more, because it makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

Steaming over here……

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46 responses to “Observance of Kashrut and Niddah are equal??!!

  1. perhaps ppl ask their niddah questions to another rabbi but i guess that would render their kashrus questionable?!!

  2. I agree this is an odd way to cull the herd, but you know if that is how he wants it, he better keep his own ways pure too.
    One mitzvah doesn’t equal another but many see it this way sometimes.
    Like explaining to your kids that people that drive on shabbat are not good or bad people just people that drive on shabbat.
    There are worse things in the world.

  3. I was happy to be part of community where the Rabbi from the pulpit said he trusted every single member to bring kosher food to shul

    The context was a large shul. The new kashrus guidelines (by the major agencies) would mandate a 250USD fee if the kitchen was ever permitted outside food. Outside did NOT include any recognized hasgacha (OU, OK, Star-K, …..)

    The Rabbi’s sermon focused on how Kashrus keeps us together and should not separate us and if someone wanted to make a shalom zachor in shul and bring homemade cake, the Rabbi was all for that.

    PS Regarding the 250USD fee, he said that was a board issue not a rabbinic issue. They said they, since the board said they did not want the extra fee potentially several times a month, no outside food was permitted.

  4. Lady Lock and Load

    Hadassah, why are you getting yourself riled up about this? Who knows if this really is true. It could be that if you asked the Rabbi about this you would get a much different story. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read. take it from your older sista pal!

  5. Pingback: Observance of Kashrut and Niddah are equal??!! | JewPI

  6. How many times do I have to say rabbis are the creepiest things alive?

  7. This is all heresay. Judging from the last response, publicating this without proof is like saying we believe in the blood libel- “it could be that there is a Rav somewhere doing this….”
    It makes all of us look terrible.

  8. Lady Lock and Load

    Hadassah, please take this entry off your blog as I think it is Loshon Horah. It may not even be true and that is even worse.

    • Why do you say it is lashon harah?

      If it is, then so is talking about kashrut lashon harah because some people don’t keep kosher.

      What is wrong about talking about people (Rabbi in this case, but still part of “people”) who choose whose house to eat at based on taharat hamishpacha observance rather than based on kosher observance?

      If the name of this Rabbi were mentioned, then perhaps it could be considered LH, but if a general discussion about anything “wrong” is LH, we would hardly have much to talk about at all! 🙂

  9. Considering that many OJs will not trust the kashrut of a person who is not shomer shabbat, even if it is an immediate relative that they know full well keeps a kosher kitchen, I don’t know how you choose to draw your line in the sand and exclaim, “but that is crazy!”.

    On that note, I see that you update the social networking world about many things in your life. Things that if it were my life, especially when using my own name, I would never dream of sharing. I ask myself when you and others do, why do they want people to know all this about them? So when you talk about the super secret mikveh night, all it seems to me is you drawing yet another line in the sand that makes sense to you but is in no way a universal “so this is the appropriate line” kind of thing.

    • Lady Lock and Load

      If you don’t like it, tikunolam, don’t read it. I love Hadassah’s writing, just this particular post “shmecks” loshon horah, in my opinion.

    • Considering that many OJs will not trust the kashrut of a person who is not shomer shabbat, even if it is an immediate relative that they know full well keeps a kosher kitchen

      The reason for this is that a person not shomer shabbos is not considered a “yarei shamayim” and therefore not trustworthy in certain halacha areas.
      Not because keeping shabbos has any direct effect on the kashrut.

      • But not keeping shabbat sometimes has a direct effect on kashrut. When a person provides food for others, meaning that the food and preparation is supervised (“hashgacha”), if the person is not shomer shabbat, non-kosher items could be brought into the kitchen in question on shabbat while the supervisor (“mashgiach”) can’t check (randomly or regularly).

        Of course, I’ve always responded to this reasoning with “yeah, but a dishonest shomer shabbat person could simply hire someone else to bring the non-kosher items into the kitchen!”

        And the response is invariably “but a shomer shabbat person is honest”.

        And my reply is “Nonsense! That’s not always true.” 🙂

  10. I find your website such a learning experience for me. I am not OR and many of the words, phrases, you use, I do not know, such as niddah shailas. Please give me a definition.

  11. What I find even more disturbing is that the Rav in question is violating his own official line. If he tells everyone that he doesn’t eat at people’s houses, but does so in reality, he stands to lose credibility. Such a Rav would have a hard time keeping his community on the derech.

    • >Such a Rav would have a hard time keeping his community on the derech.

      If rabbis were what kept people on the derech, we’d all be off the d.

      Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) there are plenty of other factors keeping people trapped.

      • Lady Lock and Load

        Off the Derech…what made you go off the derech? What specifically do Rabbanim do that makes people go off the derech? Additionally, what keeps people “trapped”?

        • The rabbi in the shul I went to all my life contributed to me going off the derech…my parents asked him what they should do about me dating a convert when I was 18(which they did not approve of) and he told them to send me off to israel for a year, which did not sit right with me and made me begin to question his judgment (you don’t like your legally adult daughter’s BF, who halachically is a jew, so you ship her off to a foreign country for some religious brainwashing? That was exactly the wrong thing to say to me at that time).

          He also never had a good answer for any of my questions during my entire journey off the derech. I approached him several times with different questions and was always given the brush off. I think in part it was because I am a woman, and my rabbi never really talked to many women (at least not adolescents, not sure if he talked to the adult women in my shul).

          Later my parent’s friend who was using fertility drugs got pregnant with multiples and was told she needed a selective abortion in order for any of her kids to survive (She was originally pregnant with 5 or 6 I think), and she asked the rabbi a shaila about it. He hemmed and hawed and NEVER got back to her about it…after a few weeks she went to talk to another rabbi because she needed to make a decision. I thought that was horrific and it further undermined my trust in my rabbi.

          Anyway those 3 factors definitely contributed to me going off the derech…among many others of course, but it did make a difference.

          (I might add that this rabbi is very well known and has a huge following and has been leading my parents’ community for over 40 years…this was not some shmuck straight out of rabbinical school).

          • Ouch! I definitely didn’t mean to provoke that! What I did want to say is that integrity should be at the top of any rabbi’s list of qualities and if he lacks that, it’ll be difficult to garner the respect of his community.

    • It’s just not possible. He has a policy, and he’ll be seen and talked about should he ever deviate from it. And in two seconds flat the entire community will know his policy is not a policy.

      This was probably one of those go into McDonalds for the bathroom things – the Rabbi was probably stopping at someone’s house for social reasons but not staying for a home cooked meal. And people made up one more detail after another.

      Either that or the Rabbi is really new, and in another 2 weeks his cover will be blown and he’ll have to eat by everyone after all….

  12. Ah, it’s a long story.

    But I’ll tell you what keeps people trapped: family and community.

  13. please note that this is not a place where i encourage bashing religious or non-religious, rabbis or men of the cloth, or anything of that nature. we all need to be more tolerant of others, especially those with different viewpoints. let’s try not to tar everyone with the same brush and let’s stay away from generalizations.

  14. I understand niddah, but if a woman does not ask questions of the Rabbi, then her home is not fit for the Rabbi to eat there? What happens if the woman is shy and afraid to ask questions? Also, what if a woman, is during her cycle and she goes into a store and touches something, and puts it back, and a man comes in and touches the same thing. Because the man did not know about the woman does that negate her cycle?

    • that whole thing tying niddah and kashrut is false. there is no connection, which was the whole point of my post. they are two very different commandments and no mitzvah is equal to another. all the rabbis i know personally do not operate like this.

      in this day and age when a woman is niddah, her “impurity” (for lack of a better word) isn’t transferred to inanimate objects or people. i have been informed that in the time of the Temple this was not the case.

      • Wow, since the word Rabbi means “teacher”, I appreciate your taking the time to teach me. I enjoy this very much.

        • I love learning – and i love being able to teach what I know. I am also not ashamed to admit when I don’t know something. I would encourage you to keep asking questions, for it is the only way we learn.

  15. My wife was either pregnant or nursing for the first 10 years of our marriage. Hardly a single shaylah to be asked, despite scrupulous adherence to all halachos.

    • excellent point, ged.

    • That’s exactly how our 2’nd through 9’th year of marriage were! Also, if you err on the side of caution (as we do), there is hardly any questions that need to be asked. Not to mention the fact that my wife would feel rather uncomfortable asking our Rabbi such questions and opts to ask a different Rabbi (outside our community) instead.

      • I don’t want to preach or anything, but I was taught time and time again, that in hilchos nidda, one should never as you say “err on the side of caution”, rather, one should always ask a shayla.

        • Um, the *entire* concept of taharat hamishpacha rests on “erring on the side of caution” (checking, rechecking, etc). Do you know what that phrase means?

          Ok, enough about this in this forum.

          • No, we do not check and recheck in order to invalidate the previous checks, days, whatever.
            The reason we check is just that – to CHECK. to see what’s happening . If it’s clearly good- ok. If it’s clearly not – ok.
            But if there is any question , we do not decide to “err on the side of caution” (yes, I know what that means). We ASK.
            I can tell you of countless times (after birth especially) I was very surprised at the psak “kosher”. ’nuff said.

            • I really shouldn’t have started discussing it. It’s my wife’s domain (and generally the woman’s domain) and I know little to nothing about it!

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