What is Glatt?

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To contemporary kosher consumers, the term “glatt” connotes much more than its specific technical definition regarding lumbar adhesions to a cow’s lungs. However, exactly what it means is unclear. Does it mean “very kosher,” adhering to a standard stricter than bare minimum requirements, similar to the “mehadrin” label used frequently in Israel? Or does it have a more halakhic definition?

R. J. David Bleich recently revisited the issue of force-fed veal, which R. Moshe Feinstein declared non-kosher decades ago but was largely ignored. R. Bleich dismissed R. Feinstein’s objections as counter-factual but expressed concern over animals that are fed non-kosher food their entire lives. While the majority of authorities permit such an animal, a significant minority forbid. Can such an animal be considered “glatt“?

R. J. David Bleich writes: (Contemporary Halakhic Problems, vol. 6 pp. 321-322):

Assuming that there is no problem of issur hana’ah [an item forbidden from benefit] resulting from biblically prohibited cooked milk and meat [which the animal ate all its life], a kashrut supervisory authority would be justified in relying upon the position of Shakh since it appears to be accepted by the majority of latter-day authorities. However, certification of veal raised under such conditions as glatt kosher is more problematic.

The term glatt, or the Hebrew halak, in its literal meaning refers to the fact that the lungs have been found to be “smooth,” i.e., no adhesions are present that might compromise the kashrut of the animal. The reason for that standard is that the presence of an adhesion requires a determination that the adhesion is not of a nature that would render the animal non-kosher. Such a determination usually requires adjudication between conflicting halakhic opinions and also presents issues with regard to the method employed in removal of the adhesions prior to examination for a possible perforation.

The Gemara, Hullin 37b, cites Ezekiel 4:14; “…I have not eaten of neveilah or treifah from my youth until now,” and offers a remarkable interpretation. Neveilah and treifah are forbidden to all Jews. It would have been unthinkable for Ezekiel to have violated those prohibitions. Hence, his almost boastful comment would have been entirely superfluous. Accordingly, the Gemara understands Ezekiel to have exclaimed, “I have not eaten of an animal with regard to which a scholar ruled,” i.e., Ezekiel, as an act of piety, refused to eat meat whose kashrut was the subject of any doubt even if it was ruled to be kosher by a competent scholar.

The term glatt in common parlance has acquired the connotation that food described in that manner is not in the category of behemah she-horah bah hakham, i.e., it is not foodstuff whose kashrut was subject to question and whose acceptability is contingent upon a permissive determination by a scholar. That expanded connotation of the term glatt is entirely understandable since the piety adopted by Ezekiel and emulated by others was assuredly not limited to lumbar adhesions. Adhesions of the lungs are simply the most common problem requiring an opinion of a scholar with regard to the kashrut of the animal. Adjudication of a controversy between Rema and Shakh certainly entails a “ruling of a scholar” which those who adopt a glatt standard of kashrut would be unwilling to entertain.

Perhaps this also explains the existence of glatt kosher chicken and turkey. The fowl must be so unquestionably kosher that such a determination does not require the ruling of a scholar. It still leaves me puzzled over glatt kosher pizza and sushi. However, I suspect that this definition of “glatt” is R. Bleich’s own and not that of the major kosher supervision agencies. Personally, I find it an elegant expansion of the term’s original meaning and more halakhically based than the alternative “very kosher.” I am not aware of any other attempts to define the term’s contemporary meaning. Of course, non-glatt meat is perfectly kosher, assuming it is produced properly. However, it must be appropriately labeled to avoid misleading consumers.

(See also this article: What’s the Truth About… Glatt Kosher by R. Ari Zivotofsky)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

98 comments

  1. The issue I have is with the elite who demand accuracy and precision for any number of other halachic issues, but aid and abet in the inaccurate morphing of glatt beyond any halachic meaning. To be specific, if some shop-owner puts up a sign that his product is “Glatt Kosher” that is one thing; but, when a Kashrut agency stamps a package of Sliced Turkey Breast, as part of its certification, as Glatt (see: http://tinyurl.com/6pzhmx2 for an example) that is quite a different matter.

  2. The article uses the expression “lumbar” adhesions.
    The adjective “lumbar” does not, to the best of my knowledge, have any anatomic relevance to adhesions connecting the smooth glistening membrane covering the lung called the “visceral pleura” and the smooth glistening membrane covering the inner lining of the chest wall cavity called the “pareital pleura”. I suggest the term “lumbar adhesions” is being used mistakenly and the the correct term should be “pleural adhesions”.

  3. IH: I think you have the impression that the Orthodox “elite” are one monolithic group. That isn’t the case.

  4. Gil — I was being polite. Look at the example.

  5. IH: I’m not sure if you think R. Bleich works for the OU. He doesn’t.

    Mair Zvi: Beyond my area of expertise but I give R. Bleich the benefit of the doubt since he’s been teaching Hilkhos Shechitah for many years.

  6. Nope, didn’t think he did. Nor does he address turkey, which was your addition (and, yes, I know you no longer work at OU and didn’t work for OU Kosher).

  7. Have you asked anyone at the OU? It’s really not hard. They even have a kosher hotline you can call during regular business hours.

  8. Nope, nor have I asked the URJ to explain their use of “Tikkun Olam” 🙂

  9. I don’t believe the OU ever criticized the URJ for using the term.

  10. Gil — seriously, do you really defend the use of “Glatt” on that hechsher for sliced turkey breast?

  11. And why, pray tell, should the kosher consumer be burdened with the cost of 3 certifications on the same product (which is not unusual these days)?

  12. It depends what you mean by glatt.

    Multiple hechsherim is good for business and doesn’t cost much extra because the hechsherim work with each other to make sure the standards meet all of the different requirements.

  13. It depends what you mean by glatt.

    Gil — I didn’t know you were a Reconstructionist 🙂

    Multiple hechsherim is good for business and doesn’t cost much extra because the hechsherim work with each other to make sure the standards meet all of the different requirements.

    So OU is just surfing on the Rabbanut’s hechsher for Ma’adaney Yechiam, which is neither Glatt nor Mehardin?

  14. “To contemporary kosher consumers, the term “glatt” connotes much more than its specific technical definition regarding lumbar adhesions to a cow’s lungs”

    I dispute this. It’s not the consumers who believe this. It’s the producers and the kosher certifiers. The consumer still thinks it means lungs and nothing more or less, unless the consumer has already become educated and knows that the producers and the certifiers changed it. But public demand to fudge the definition (and be deceived in the process) never happened.

  15. MiMedinat HaYam

    its an interesting opinion of r bleich (not necessarily supported by the gemara, which i just checked; its just a stmt, with no real halachic implications; nevertheless, we often have halachot that are based on such minimal conjecture. even tosafot acceptd this reasoning only as a second opinoin. the rosh and the rif (and ran) completely ignore this.)

    but will the o-u give such a statement? (short of a non commital phone call to the hotline.)

    according to this article, glatt meat is more than just no adhesions (however defined). is this true? (veal, nothwithstanding.)

    2. what about the local schechitsa meat i often eat overseas? i defer to the local rav, but do not ask him his standards (if he is acceptable) is he giving me beef without a “ruling of a scholar”, and should we abide by that standard, that no one really abid by in europe (even in now machmir lita.)

    3. BTW, my father told me in his town in hungary, they checked the necks (and i presume lungs) of geese that were force fed corn (nisht far pesach geredt — not for passover discussion) to make pate (which was mixed with lard, leading to another series of tshuvot during the war, when the jews were forced to process it this way, till they eventually …)

    thus glatt ducks (but not pate.)

    4. “assuming it is produced properly.” — it may be produced properly, but it is often not transported, butchered, restaurated properly; i.e., under SS supervision.

    5. almost all commercial shechita in america is under the o-u and another agency. it really adds little to the cost, and satisfies travellers (and oversaes markets) that dont know who some name is, or even who the crc (for example) is. and the o-u relies on the other hashgacha’s shochtim, subject to some sort of oversight. and a few times a year airplane ride.

  16. MiMedinat HaYam

    nachum’s argument re: nikur diffs between israel and us / rest of world would make a good followup post.

  17. Some of the extended use of the term glatt makes sense. For instance “glatt” fowl which has undergone an examination of “tzomet ha giddim” since there is a machloket on whether or not to do the examination (meut hamatzui and other considerations) similar to the Mechaber ReMA machloket on adhesions. Fowl whose tendons have been checked and are whole are called “glatt” In any case in Israel the terms glatt and mehadrin have become interchangeable

  18. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Then there’s the practical definition of glatt as it became used in America — a nice term for the dramatic improvements in kosher standards from earlier in the century, such as demanding shomer shabbos employees. (I’ve heard this from Rabbis Genack and/or Schachter.)

  19. Glatt some questions

    Of course, non-glatt meat is perfectly kosher, assuming it is produced properly.
    ————-
    This is the real problem. I don’t think many who only eat “glatt” truly believe this.

  20. Actually what it meant in my youth, practically speaking, was produced by (what we would call today) Chareidim. The Rav zt”l used to joke how the glatt shlachthausen had such amazingly healthy cows as their bodekim approved a higher fraction of the animals than did the Rav’s (nonglatt) bodekim. And when I moved to LA in the late 1970’s some of the Rabbonim had just organized a new, local, agency to supervise glatt meat. When I asked one of them why, I was told that one of them had discovered a treife among the meat that had been shipped to them; when he called the mashgiach to complain he was told “it’s kosher enough for California.” So you will, I hope, forgive me for being skeptical that it represents an improvement in standards; to me it is just a part of the “I am frummer than you” mentality that is such a destructive force in Jewish life.

  21. IH: So OU is just surfing on the Rabbanut’s hechsher for Ma’adaney Yechiam, which is neither Glatt nor Mehardin?

    Or vice versa. One of the hechsherim is making sure that the other follows it’s standards and procedures (the OU is not considered mehadrin in Israel). That is particularly valuable because the different local rabbinates have varying standards while the OU has one that most (but certainly not all) trust. It makes a difference to me that the OU approves the standards of production of such a product. I would not otherwise buy it.

    S: The consumer still thinks it means lungs and nothing more or less, unless the consumer has already become educated and knows that the producers and the certifiers changed it.

    The vast majority of kosher consumers have no idea of the connection between glatt and lungs. They just think it means “very kosher”.

    MMHY: but will the o-u give such a statement?

    The OU has published a number of booklets with its standards for various industries. They haven’t gotten to meat and have generally hit the easier industries first. This is understandably not the primary job for their biggest subject matter experts so it is taking time. I’m not sure why a phone call is so hard.

    it really adds little to the cost, and satisfies travellers (and oversaes markets) that dont know who some name is

    And Chasidim and other Charedim want other hechsherim (KAJ, Satmar, etc.) because they don’t trust the OU.

  22. The vast majority of kosher consumers have no idea of the connection between glatt and lungs. They just think it means “very kosher”.

    The vast majority of kosher consumers are not halachic Jews. If you contend that the vast majority of halachic Jews have no idea of the connection between glatt and lungs, that is a telling statement.

  23. “Only about 15 percent of people who buy kosher do it for religious reasons, according to Mintel, a research group that last year produced a report on the kosher food explosion.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/dining/13kosh.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

  24. I can’t speak for the vast majority of halachic Jews (or, indeed, for the vast majority of anything), but speaking for myself, while I know, of course, the historical connection between glatt and lungs, I am also aware that it has been used for many years to connote “very kosher,” and that is what I take it to mean in those circumstances where lungs don’t figure into the picture.

  25. Joseph — Many years? I’m younger than you and I clearly remember the “Glatt” butcher on one block and the “non-Glatt” butcher on the next.

    Perhaps the dullening of the “historical connection” is a result of the elimination of non-Glatt certification by the OU — and, thereby, its effective erasure from the scene; indeed making it historical.

  26. Taka. The OU withdraws non-Glatt beef from supply and then seems to re-appropriate its use on Turkey. An interesting way of looking at it that never crossed my mind before — shame, I’m not big on conspiracy theories…

  27. r’ih
    one could write what i hope is a fiction novel on business competition using a brand (glatt) extension (similar to making a less expensive line of cadillacs and denigrating one who drives a chevy) to drive out a competitive product with a lesser cachet.
    ML

  28. “Joseph — Many years? I’m younger than you and I clearly remember the “Glatt” butcher on one block and the “non-Glatt” butcher on the next.”

    I remember that too. But I think that when I got married and moved to the UWS in the early 70s, there were only glatt butchers there (but I could be wrong; my wife would probably remember better than I).

    “Perhaps the dullening of the “historical connection” is a result of the elimination of non-Glatt certification by the OU — and, thereby, its effective erasure from the scene; indeed making it historical.”

    I think that’s right, and while there may be some benefits to that, I would agree here with what I assume Mycroft would say that the resulting increase in expense for members of the Orthodox community is a detrimental effect of this policy. On balance, I think it would be better to have true glatt in the original sense and just plain kosher for those who are happy to eat what their parents ate, with the OU giving hashgachot on both.

  29. As already discussed, the OU is not the only hechsher in town — not by far. There is still non-glatt meat (Triangle K) and there would be more if there was enough demand. But there isn’t any demand other than a few complaining voices.

  30. As Joseph wrote: But I think that when I got married and moved to the UWS in the early 70s, there were only glatt butchers there

    Clearly that was not the OU’s fault.

  31. It seems to me that Glatt refers not to the item of food, but to the certification. X Glatt Kosher (on any food) = this food is certified by X at the level of strictness which would require glatt for animals to which the term applies.

  32. Gil — there is no Modern Orthodox Rabbi on the UWS who thinks Triangle-K meets the community standards for Kashrut. They have been blackballed for some reason that no one will say.

    Joseph — there definitely were non-Glatt butchers on the UWS in the ’70s. The two I was thinking of was the non-Glatt one between 99th and 100th on West side of Broadway (next to a fishmonger) and the smalled (dirtier) Glatt one just off the West side of B’way on 101st Street. My memory was that non-Glatt was the norm, but I was not the one buying in those days so I don’t trust my memory beyond the 2 above.

  33. IH — I take your word for it. We bought from one of the two on Broadway near 100th — Stern I think was the name. Do you remember if he was glatt or not?

  34. Lawrence Kaplan

    Maybe I am missing something, but in the standard case of glatt where the animal has an adhesion to its lungs, the question (shaylah) arises with reference to that particular animal, while in the case of forced fed veal, the question is about the category as a whole. The verse in Yehezkel, as interpreted by Hazal, seems to refer only to the first type of case. What about Zebu? Could it be adverstised as glatt kosher given that the Hazon Ish forbade it? Or am I simply wrong?

  35. Joseph — Stern was the Glatt one, as memory serves. I can’t remember the name of the non-Glatt one where we bought. The fishmonger was Harold who had a huge tank of carp, one of which became our gefillte fish! Thanks for the memories…

    I wonder if the JC has any of bulletins from that era digitized. It would be interesting to see the adverts.

  36. Ah. Katz was the non-Glatt butcher (tel: UN4-4760)

  37. 1. This is a discussion of advertising and not halacha.

    2. I do not understand how R’ Bleich’s definition applies anyway. Isn’t neit yosef a higher standard concerning the lungs then Ashkenasi glatt? If I am right, then how can “glatt” mean indisputably kosher when strict Sephardim will not eat it?

    3. Gil, how can you say Triangle K is a viable hecsher to the majority of the Orthodox world, when that hechser is essentially blackballed by the majority of rabbis? I don’t understand why non-glatt meat has been removed from the market, unless – as Gil posited about a year ago when looking at the % of cows declared kosher – glatt meat’s definition has been pushed so thin that it essentially now includes old-style non-glatt meat as well. Which would make even “halachic” glatt nothing more than an advertising gimmic.

    4. Expanding the definition of glatt beyond what it originally was, so it applies to turkey and such, seems to me is a mistake. (Aside from the fact that someone who wants to protect themselves from any leniency wouldn’t eat turkey in the first place.) What is someone was stricter than communal norms today about tzar balei chayim and gave the animal a luxurious life prior to slaughter. And lets say the slaughter was not halachically glatt. According to all of this – like “glatt” Turkey – the meat could still be marked as glatt, since it did not follow every leniency.

  38. a mashgiach friend told me that today glatt also refers to when the meat was salted? is this true?

    S:

    “The consumer still thinks it means lungs and nothing more or less”

    i’m not sure if this is true

    GIL:

    “As already discussed, the OU is not the only hechsher in town — not by far. There is still non-glatt meat (Triangle K)”

    which rav that you know will publicly permit the consumption of triangle-K meat? or are there other non-glatt hashgachas we are unaware of?

    “there would be more if there was enough demand”

    well there will never be enough demand because today non-glatt is considered (even if only popularly) non-kosher

    “But there isn’t any demand other . . .”

    if it’s true that 85% of kosher consumers don’t do it for religious reasons, well that’s a lot of potential demand if they knew they could have “kosher” meat at a cheaper price. (for those who remember when non-glatt was available, was it cheaper? it triangle-k today cheaper?)

    “Clearly that was not the OU’s fault.”

    the UWS may not have been the OU’s fault, but when the OU did stop certifying non-glatt, it said something that the largest kosher certifier did so.

    “doesn’t cost much extra because the hechsherim work with each other to make sure the standards meet all of the different requirements.”

    this wans’t true when i worked in a meat factory in israel. one day a week was badatz day. that day that badatz mashgiach came and only that day’s production had the extra hashgacha. but this was a while ago and perhaps unique to this factory (or to israel?)

  39. r’abba,
    As far as I know there isn’t any non-glatt meat that a lor will allow. I’ve told my kids that our family minhag is that non-glatt is fine, if any acceptable such meat ever becomes available.
    ML

  40. Rather interestingly, this year the OU certified certain brands of regular Rabbanut matzos for Pesach. Is there a large cadre of people who would not normally eat regular Rabbanut certified products who will now eat these?

  41. ” It’s not the consumers who believe this.” – s. has pointed out but i think its not the “educated consumer” but why isn’t this lifnei eiver for those that don’t know – glatt fish? more stringent… i find this more on the apologetics side of misusing a word to connote something which it is not. but the meaning of words do change over time.

    “The term glatt in common parlance….. i.e., it is not foodstuff whose kashrut was subject to question and whose acceptability is contingent upon a permissive determination by a scholar.’
    does r’ bleich mean that when glatt is stamped on a product that no kulas are used? does that mean going all the way back to the talmud and misnah that we take the most stringent view? can anyone verify this statement as true or even partially true in today’s use of kashrut. can one produce such meat?

  42. So what I’ve gotten from this conversation so far is that to some Glatt means “for people who want to cosider themselves or be considered frum”

    ML

  43. Hirhurim: “There is still non-glatt meat (Triangle K) and there would be more if there was enough demand. But there isn’t any demand other than a few complaining voices.”

    I don’t disagree with you on this. I’m fine with the hechsherim we currently have. But I don’t think this is quite right. The reason there’s no demand probably has a lot to do with the fact that, as you point out, most people don’t know that “glatt” means something other than “very kosher.” If they did know, and there really was a price difference, it’s highly likely that demand would be much higher.

  44. The statement “it is not foodstuff whose kashrut was subject to question” is nonsense. Everything can be questioned if someone wants to question it. Hence this interpretation of what glatt means is in itself meaningless.

  45. “Everything can be questioned if someone wants to question it.”

    yes! anyone who doesn’t rely on a kula along the way will likely die of starvation.

  46. r’ gil – “Perhaps this also explains the existence of glatt kosher chicken and turkey. The fowl must be so unquestionably kosher that such a determination does not require the ruling of a scholar.”

    is this empirically true with regard to meat and fowl? and “does not require the ruling of a scholar” goes back in time till when? and why till then?

  47. MiMedinat HaYam

    triangle k is hebrew national referring to hot dogs only. not reg meat.

    empire national and similar names are also hot dogs etc.

    there are a few slaughterhouses that are non glatt. with pretty prestigious names behind them. including one who runs a big five kashrut agency under another name.

    is “david” ( = rubashkin non glatt; refused in many many towns due to lor issues.)

    bet yosef is a whole other story i would like the article to discuss. obviously, it didnt really discuss glatt, so it didnt discuss bet yosef.

  48. Abba's Rantings

    MMY:

    “there are a few slaughterhouses that are non glatt. with pretty prestigious names behind them. including one who runs a big five kashrut agency under another name.”

    so prestigious you can’t name them?
    what is their market?

    “triangle k is hebrew national referring to hot dogs only. not reg meat.”

    i thought i remember reading that hebrew ntnl is the largest “kosher” meat company. is this all hot dogs? (they also make salamis)

  49. Trader Joes brand kosher meats (which is regular meat it seems to me) is triangle K. I believe Hebrew National probably are the actual prducers. Hebrew National’s website says it sells franks, deli meats, sausage and knockwurst.

  50. Lawrence Kaplan

    Again, if I might return to Rav Bleich: Am I right in suggesting that he elides the difference between rendering a decision with regard to an individual animal, concerning whose lungs a question has arisen, and a debate about the kashrut of an entire category of animals? Rabbi Spira, where are you when we need you!

  51. I agree with those who scoff at the near universal labeling of kosher meat products as “Glatt”. I, too, remember the days when ‘reliably kosher’ (as opposed to ‘nominally’ kosher) sufficed and was not easy to obtain. I can add to the reported skepticism of RYBS about Chasidish glatt since I heard the same many years ago from a prominent rav extremely close to Rav P.M. Teitz. Rav Teitz was not only the rav of the city (Elizabeth, NJ), he also owned a slaughterhouse. According to the above source, Rav Teitz confronted the Satmar Rav with the observation that only 20% of the cattle processed in his plant were found to be glatt, while 80% of those having Chasidish (Satmar) shechita were reportedly sold as glatt. No satisfactory answer was obtained. I don’t imagine that the condition of beef cattle has changed that much over the decades.

    As was noted, the definition of glatt relative to lung examination appears to be quite flexible in practice. Surely the term should not be confused with ‘Bais Yosef glat’, which is supposed to mean a total absence of lung adhesions. I note also that if Rav Bleich’s definition of glatt is used, then turkey can’t be so labeled given the fact that some poskim have questioned the kashrut of this ‘new world’ bird since there could not be a legitimate mesorah of its status – despite the fact that it has all the talmudic simanim of a kosher bird.

    I don’t understand Rav Bleich’s objection to the prohibition of veal by Rav Moshe Feinstein. Does he know of contrary facts that can be independently verified? I recollect that Rav Y. Belsky, who was in a better position to establish the facts of raising veal, also disapproved of its consumption. To my knowledge, veal calfs are still raised under abominable conditions. The issue of ‘tzar ba’alei chayim’ has therefore been raised. While some appear to hold that human ‘need’ overrides such considerations (after all, we are permitted to slaughter living things), I, for one, have not bought veal since the issue first came to public attention. In any case, using Rav Bleich’s definition of glatt, I fail to see why veal should be given such a label. To my knowledge, there is no such thing as a distinction between kosher and glatt with veal since any adhesion renders the animal a treifa.

  52. L Kaplan: Am I right in suggesting that he elides the difference between rendering a decision with regard to an individual animal, concerning whose lungs a question has arisen, and a debate about the kashrut of an entire category of animals?

    I think this is an in-between case. It isn’t like a species because individual animals can, in theory, differ. This is about what each animal was fed throughout its entire life. However, it is a global question, not like whether this animal’s lung was punctured.

  53. Y Aharon: I don’t understand Rav Bleich’s objection to the prohibition of veal by Rav Moshe Feinstein. Does he know of contrary facts that can be independently verified?

    Did you read R. Bleich’s article? He does not object to the fact of animal cruelty. He claims that it produces a detectable benefit to consumers and is therefore permissible.

    I note also that if Rav Bleich’s definition of glatt is used, then turkey can’t be so labeled given the fact that some poskim have questioned the kashrut of this ‘new world’ bird since there could not be a legitimate mesorah of its status – despite the fact that it has all the talmudic simanim of a kosher bird

    I believe he means a question on this specific animal, not in general or on the process or preparation.

  54. There seems to be a sense amongst many that standards of kashrut (and not just availability) has improved since the Glatt revolution. Is there any objective evidence of this beyond the PR from those involved, directly or indirectly, in the business?

    The kashrut industry’s favorite scientist, Prof. Temple Grandin, wrote last year in The Forward:

    Over the years, I have become disgusted by the frequency with which procedures in a given plant seem perfect when I am visiting, but as soon as I have left an undercover video surfaces that reveals bad practices. This has happened in both conventional and religious slaughter plants.

    Is it really credible to believe that the procedures required for kashrut (Glatt or not) in these industrialized plants do not suffer from the same corner cutting as Grandin writes about in terms of cruelty to animals?

  55. An image to think about over Chag: If the Mechaber visited a modern kosher slaughterhouse/plant, he would be like Moshe in Rabbi Akiva’s Beit Midrash.

  56. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba and hagbtb — by hot dogs, i meant cold cuts, etc. not regular cuts of beef. sorry.

    regarding prestigious — rabbi teitz, as mentioned (though here its his son, and presumably does not have ownership interests), still certifies a couple of slaughterhouses, as does r gedalia dov schwartz, outside of his crc activities.

    the market is non glatt butchers (and caterers) that do not have SS mashgichim (often open on shabat, etc issues.) the meat is kosher, but the retail of it isnt.

  57. “If the Mechaber visited a modern kosher slaughterhouse/plant, he would be like Moshe in Rabbi Akiva’s Beit Midrash.”

    More like Moshe next to Rabbi Eliezer’s aqueduct. The point of the Rabbi Akiva story is that halachic exegetical methods have changed, not that the circumstances of life are unfamiliar.

  58. I was curious to see if there were any ads for the butchers Joseph and I were discussing above and happened on http://archive.org/details/elchanitenewyork1968unse that many of you will find of interest.

    There are 7 sponsor ads from meat product businesses, of which only one is listed as “Glatt” and an additional 3 sponsor ads from butchers of which only one is listed as “Glatt”. So: 2 of 10, or 20% of that sample – but given the domain that is most telling about “Glatt” in 1968 New York. I don’t believe it was any different 10 years later.

    Erratum: Stern, the Glatt butcher I said was on 101st Street, was on 100th Street.

    A few other things of note in a quick spin through: the zodiac floor previously discussed can be seen, I think, on p. 6. Among other people of interest, a special callout for p. 56. And I wonder if the photo of the swim team on p. 146 would pass muster today.

  59. MiMedinat HaYam

    page 56 — “in the belief that one should
    support what one feels is important”

    p 6 — wasn’t there a recent comment here approving of that zodiac? (which is found in almost all big shuls today?)

    p 146 — its a drawing! now you’re challenging an attempt at todays values? (of course, they trounced hili, so someone else will oppose, anyway.)

  60. MMhY — Tzniyut applies to males as well. The photo on the top right of p. 146 drew my comment. Would that be allowed in a YU yearbook today?

  61. On the Prof. vs. Rabbi debate, see: http://thetalmudblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/prof-avraham-goldberg-%d7%96%d7%9c/

    Where he is referred to as Prof. from an academic perspective, but from a kavod perspective is ha’Rav Professor (Emeritus).

  62. Wrong thread, sorry.

  63. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — yes, tzniut applies. but was that the diff standards of the time?

    2. noticed no one from teaneck, but two ppl from monsey. (yes, it was a different monsey then.) and almost no brooklyn (of course, there was BTA in those days. (go yugars, go!)

    also noticed ad re breslov seforim. with a campus rep. but (mis)spelled “breslau”. i’m pretty sure its misspelled (or perhaps an “in” joke, of which there are several. as in any other yearbook.)

  64. IH wrote:

    “An image to think about over Chag: If the Mechaber visited a modern kosher slaughterhouse/plant, he would be like Moshe in Rabbi Akiva’s Beit Midrash.”

    I suspect that the same reaction might result from the Mchaber or the Rema visiting any of our communities or homes. Like it or not, Halacha and Halachic standards are not static in nature.

  65. The question in the Glatt versus Non Glatt discussion boils down to what is a communally acceptable common denominator, with Non glatt such as Hebrew National having long been viewed by many with knowledged as to the inside details of the shecitah process as having the same reliability as Boars Head, and the resulting question being that even if the same might have been acceptable for one’s parents, the issue is whether the same should be acceptable for a far more educated Orthodox community as a communally acceptable baseline, with those who wish to adhere to a stricter standard free to do so in their communities. I agree with R Gil’s comments re multiple hechsherim

  66. R Gil noted in part:

    “R. J. David Bleich recently revisited the issue of force-fed veal, which R. Moshe Feinstein declared non-kosher decades ago but was largely ignored. R. Bleich dismissed R. Feinstein’s objections as counter-factual but expressed concern over animals that are fed non-kosher food their entire lives”

    I am surprised that noone has commented on the halachic issues and practical consequences raised by this issue.

  67. Obviously, Glatt originally meant free from lesions in the lungs, and in the absence of a universally acceptable standard, means a baseline standard of communal acceptability.Like it or not, none of the non-glatt brands mentioned by the posters on this thread have ever reached a standard of being an acceptable communally acceptable baseline standard.

  68. R Shalom Rosenfeld commented on this very important issue, which seems to have gotten lost in all of the discussion re Glatt and non-Glatt:

    “Then there’s the practical definition of glatt as it became used in America — a nice term for the dramatic improvements in kosher standards from earlier in the century, such as demanding shomer shabbos employees. (I’ve heard this from Rabbis Genack and/or Schachter.)”

    I agree-I know of at least one prominent rav who is now in the Olam HaEemes who was run out of a small town when he tried to improve Kashrus standards therein.

  69. “Everything can be questioned if someone wants to question it. Hence this interpretation of what glatt means is in itself meaningless.”

    Dr Levine’s question would seem to be more on the Gemara and Yechezkel Hanavi than on R Gil or Rav Bleich.

  70. Elazar M. Teitz

    Just to set the record straight: neither my father, HaRav Pinchas Teitz z”l, nor I (ebadeil l’chayim tovim) have ever had a proprietary interest in any slaughterhouse. He did give kosher supervision to a plant in Elizabeth, as part of his rabbinical duties, and after it closed, he supervised one in the neighboring community of Newark, when that city no longer had any rabbis willing and capable of giving supervision; when that plant moved to Erie, Pa., whose distance made frequent visits difficult, he withdrew his supervision.

    I do not now, nor did I ever, serve as a paid supervisor of a slaughterhouse, nor will I, unless the highly unlikely occurs and shechita is resumed in Elizabeth.

  71. existentialist

    glatt:kosher::Lexus:Toyota

    it is human nature. some people think a luxury brand is better… and want to spend more…

  72. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b — “who was run out of a small town when he tried to improve Kashrus standards therein.”

    several / many such cases. in big big towns.

  73. R’ Shlomo,
    Ye’yasher kochakha and thank you for your insight regarding the Rabbi Akiva episode in Menachot 29b. That passage must be elucidated with careful precision in order to be harmonized with the Ikkar Emunah of Torah Min Ha-Shamayim, as the Artscroll excellently explains there. What I find surprising, however, is that Artscroll does not provide (what seems to me to be) the most straightforward interpretation to Menachot 29b that emerges from Rashi. It seems to me that Rashi (s.v. nit’yashvah da’ato) indicates that – at the particular point in time on Mount Sinai that Mosheh Rabbeinu experienced the vision of time travel to Rabbi Akiva’s beit midrash – Mosheh Rabbeinu had not *yet* received the teaching that Rabbi Akiva was expounding, but that later on Mosheh Rabbeinu would, in fact, receive it.

  74. Lawrence Kaplan

    Rabbi Spira: If so, why halsha Daato?

  75. R’ Spira – that assumes that everything past and future was taught to moshe in those 40 days – a view of the gaonim but not that of the rambam and others ( see chavot yair). But it doesn’t answer zu torah zu secharo issue.

  76. R’ Spira – your rendering as rashi as pshat does not read well with the gemera itself- otherwise, how was r’ akiva be the first one l’drosh Kol kootz?

  77. I thank Mori ve-Rebbi R. Kaplan and R’ Ruvie for the excellent questions they have raised. In light of these questions, I can understand why Artscroll was not satisfied with Rashi’s approach, and decided to elucidate further. My apologies to Artscroll for overlooking this. Nevertheless, since I have raised the subject of Rashi’s approach (-or what I perceive to be Rashi’s approach), I will now endeavour to answer the questions that have been raised on it:

    1. I would hypothesize that – according to Rashi – Mosheh Rabbeinu felt weak because he could not understand Rabbi Akiva’s highly complicted lecture, but later when Mosheh Rabbeinu heard his own name being cited by Rabbi Akiva as the authoritative source, Mosheh Rabbeinu realized that he will be told this information in a few days on Har Sinai. E.g. this time travel episode occurred on Day 5 (out of 40) on Mount Sinai, whereas Mosheh Rabbeinu would ultimately get his “calligraphic crown exegesis 101 crashcourse” on Day 35 on Mount Sinai.

    2. R’ Ruvie, could you provide me with the reference source of Rambam and Chavot Ya’ir?

    3. The gemara does not necessarily say that Rabbi Akiva was the *first* to expound upon the crowns. The gemara only says that Rabbi Akiva expounded upon the crowns. That does not necessarily preclude the possibility of it being previously revealed to Mosheh Rabbeinu.

  78. Lawrence Kaplan

    Rabbi Spira: I am surprised you do not know the Rambam’s view on this, as found in 1) the Intro to his Commentary on the Mishnah; 2) (and most clearly) Sefer-ha Mitzvot, second shoresh; 3) the Intro to the MT; and 4) Hilhkot Mamrim. There is an entire literature on this.

  79. R’ Spira- see Rambam’s introduction to misneh Torah and his commentary to the Mishnah where he describes the laws that are not derived via tradition but by 13 midot. See also I. Twersky’s introduction to the code of Maimonides pp. 62-74. R’ Yair Bakhrakh’s responsa Chavot yair – p.192 – he discusses 3 viewpoints – including the rambam’s -of what was given to moshe at sinai plus his own take on the subject.
    Please take note there is also the views of ramban, ritva,and derashot ha-ran. For a brief summary of the 3 major viewpoints on this issue please read: Moshe Harbertal’s The History of Halakhah, Views from Within: Three Medieval Approaches to Tradition and Controversy – linked here-

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/Gruss/halbert.html

  80. R’ Spira – now withe the aggadita in menachot 29b – it will depend on what you will read into the gemera what is not there.there is no indication that moshe will be taught this but someone I the future will be derash it – that is why Hashem busying himself with the crowns – for r’ akiva not moshe to learn laws from it.

    The word in rashi is that “adayin lo kiblah” may be translated as “yet” which assumes he will be told eventually. Or it came by translated as “still” has not received – must he ever receive it? It still does not work with the literally meaning of the text – moshe is confused in the shiur from the fact he cannot follow the discussion because r’ Akiva states “heaps and heaps” of laws that are unknown to him. The gemera acknowledges that the laws of r’ Akiva from torat moshe is unintelligible to moshe himself. The key for moshe being relieved is that r’ Akiva is not making it up but is grounded and somehow adheres to the original Torah revealed to him – continuity exists. That r’ akiva’s laws are Moshe’s laws. Since the crowns are part of the original revelation the laws are connected to moshe. What is novel in the story is the crowns are not placed for the rabbis to generate new laws but enables them to expand the the Torah she b’al peh that Hashem knows will happen. That’s why the Torah wasn’t ready for moshe and Hashem is busy with the finishing touches. Since Hashem has no past present or future – he transcends time – he knows he has to do this for the future rabbis. Hashem sees the future and is compelled – makev- to produce a Torah that will also accommodate rabbi Akiva.

    “There is a certain man in the future… Who will..in the future derive heaps and heaps….” it says Hashem is doing the crowns for r’ Akiva – how explicit do you need this to be- one can drey a kop on anything you know.

  81. R’ Spira – “Mosheh Rabbeinu realized that he will be told this information in a few days on Har Sinai” sorry that is not in rashi. Btw, why day 5 ? It says b’sheah – the hour that moshe ascended he saw Hashem sitting…. Where do you get day 5 and he learns it on day 35 in his crash course?

  82. I thank Mori ve-Rebbi R. Kaplan and R’ Ruvie for the many references.

    1. The reference in footnote 6 of Moshe Harbertal’s essay is a teacher at the Jewish Institute of Religion. The latter is not exactly an academy of Orthodox Judaism. [However, there is always hope for repentance…]

    2. Day 5 vs. Day 35 were mere speculative examples on my part. But I concede to R’ Ruvie that (even according to my claim) it is more like Day 1 vs. Day 35, since the gemara does say “be-sha’ah”, as R’ Ruvie correctly observes.

  83. Am late to the party, but wanted to add a few (hopefully salient) points.
    Don’t know the current situation under new owners, but Agri used to have multiple lines: kosher and non kosher, within the former (under OU), both glatt and non-glatt. All slaughter was under the OU. Once the animal was deemed kosher (and hence the front not sent with the rear to the non-kosher line, a determination was made as to whether it was “glatt” under the OU definition. If yes, it was sold under the “Aaron’s” label with an OU. If not, it was sold under the David’s label with the UMK hechsher. Thus the meat was deemed kosher by the OU, but OU policy prohibits the labelling of non-glatt meat with an OU. UMK is the ONLY widely accepted national hashgacha in the US that permits non-glatt meat and so their logo was used by Agri. Note that while UMK is accepted and found on most lists, it is usually with the note that they permit non-glatt meat while the “community standard” is glatt.

    The question is why does the OU do this and not treat meat like milk (allowing both chalav ysirael and chalav stam so long as it is labelled correctly). I suspect that there are 2 reasons. One is that I suspect that caterers and the chareidi community are more particular about meat standards than dairy, and to get their business, the OU feels it needs to adhere to a higher standard. The second is less charitable. For years, YU-rabbis were told, and hence told their congregants, that the only reliably kosher meat was glatt, due to many problems with mass market kosher and local butcher practices (mostly in on=premises salting/soaking and grinding non-salted meat). THis created an artifical demand that persists to this day for glatt and a zero-demand for non-glatt. This is confused disingenuously by the OU, local rabbis/hechshers and their defenders who now claim that the community standard and preference is for the stringency of glatt, when this is not at all the truth. We want kosher and few of us care if it is glatt or not. If the OU would approve non-glatt meat and YU trained Rabbis said that this was fine, there would be demand. Whether it would prove cheaper or not is not clear (there is reason to believe it would be). But the OU refuses, claiming there is no demand (just as they no longer approve peanut oil for passover because of confusion and lack of demand, both of which they caused themselves when they ignored history, minhag and a cogent argument by Rav M Feinstein about peanuts).

    I have not seen non-glatt meat under a national hechsher other than UMK (for Davids and Nathan Kosher hot dogs, made by Agri) and Triangle -K for Trader Joe’s Beef and Hebrew National deli meats (as noted, the latter hechsher rejected for most products by nearly everyone.

  84. My Zeidy was a schochet,on Friday afternoon women would come with chickens for him to slaughter. I remember the first time Bubbie came across a label on something marked “Glatt”. She laughed and laughed, and said, “Look, they found a new way to charge more for something people are already eating.”

  85. lynne arons .. ur grandmother z”l said it best
    thank u for sharing her with us

  86. to anonymous best summary(halacha limaysa) yet
    thanks for taking the time to post

  87. Lawrence Kaplan

    Ruvie: My take on Menchot 29b is this. First, R. Akiva is deriving many laws through exegetical methods–an extra vav, an exra word,etc.–and Moshe is astounded. Then R. Akiva comes to ANOTHER law, and the students ask him “What is your source for this law?” R. Akiva answers, “This law I did NOT derive by means of a derashah, but know only directly Halakhah le-Moshe Mi-Sinai. Moshe is comforted that at least there is one law which R. Akiva cannot derive on his own through exegesis, but for which he relies upon a direct tradition going back to him, Moshe, himself.

  88. MiMedinat HaYam

    try explain glatt and non glatt to moshe rabbenu. and kitniyot, and “mei kitniyot”, and peanuts (a new world product, i believe). and why shechita / kashrut is not a respectable field for any of the biggest yeshivot in the world.

  89. Lawrence Kaplan. yes. but you need to spell out what is THE issue which the author of the aggidita is trying to address and how (or if ) he resolves it. why he could not follow the shiur…what has changed since his time… the fact the author says that moshe would not recognize his on torah is quite remarkable – questionable why he was comforted – that rabbi akiva said halacha moshe m’sinai or he recognized the law.

    to me more interestingly is why the torah is not ready that hashem has to busy himself with the crowns and what “stays” his hand. again, much ink and scholarship has been expended on this gemera over the centuries. thank you for your take but would appreciate a take on the theological issues involved.

    also, i find it interesting that hashem has to put the crowns because future rabbis like r’ akiva forces him to do so – astounding thought, no?

  90. MMY – “it prob failed cause — peanut oil burns too easily / is not good for cooking, gives too strong a taste in the cooked product”

    peanut oil has a very high temp burning point- so no it doesn’t burn easily. it great for cooking and does not give a strong taste – it has a neutral taste and often used in high temp. frying – like french fries and fried chicken.

  91. MiMedinat HaYam

    ruvie — youre right about the high burning temp, but it definitely gives a peanuty taste to food. as for friolater oil, everyone uses the standard soy or veg oil (the cheapskates use shortening — beware of that). no one really uses peanut oil commercially, except for gourmands.

  92. MMY – well i guess i am a fineschmeker. le marais uses peanut oil for their french fries (twice fried of course).
    its considered a neutral oil but has a nutty taste. soy? i assume you mean canola as a sub for peanut oil but soybean oil is very low grade in general and most good restaurants don’t use it.

  93. Lawrence Kaplan

    Ruvie: There is an article by S. Z. Havlin on this Gemara in the Rackman Jubilee volume. One point he makes is that kosher ketarim does not mean attaching ornamental designs or tagim to the letters, but refers to God’s endowing each letter with spiritual significance. After all, there is no place in Rabbinic literature where R. Akiba interprets the ornamantal designs. Indeed, Prof. Jordan Penkower informs me they were not even in existence at the time.

  94. Lawrence Kaplan – “they were not even in existence at the time.” – interesting. At the time – I assume you mean when the gemera was redacted in approx. 8 th century. Are the words used elsewhere in the gemera referring to the crowns or tagim? And what would there meaning be elsewhere? I happen to lke jeffrey rubenstein’s literary analysis.

  95. Michael Rogovin

    For the record, I am the Anonymous poster from last night. Didn’t realize my name was not on the post. Though many on this blog probably recognized me due to its length and ranting. 🙂

    Peanut oil is great for frying, esp. Asian food. I used to buy it every year at Pesach time since that was the only time I found it with a reliable hechsher (Planters now has an OU). The OU now claims that grapeseed oil needs a pesach hechsher due to chametz concerns. I am no expert but I find this highly suspect. Along with Sunflower and Canola oils being kitniyot (the latter is not even from a food – rapeseed). But I digress…

  96. I thank Mori ve-Rebbi R. Kaplan and R’ Ruvie for the additional insights regarding Menachot 29b. Parenthetically, I just noticed last night that Ramban, in the introduction to his Pentateuch commentary, offers a suggestion how to interpret this gemara, as well. Ramban relates it to his hypothesis that all the sciences are contained within the Torah (which, interestingly enough, relates to the R. Slifkin – R. Bleich conversation in the most recent edition of Tradition).

  97. r’ spira – “Ramban relates it to his hypothesis that all the sciences are contained within the Torah ”

    i am sure maybe that could have been possible in his day but today i doubt if anyone really bel;ieves that – or what even does that mean – its contained but hidden

  98. Does glatt apply to veal bechlal ?
    I asked an israeli rav about glatt chickens and he said it meant chickens that wer enot given any “shots” and injections and hormones.
    In many places in East Europe glatt was known as chalak.

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