Monsey Poultry Close-out

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R Adlerstein makes a big fuss about his non-comment and insinuates that all who comment on the scandal or take a side in it will soon need strong suntan lotion.

Well then, why did he bother to post and allow comments? What did he think would happen? Chacham eiynav b’rosho. Lifnei eever lo seatin michshol. Avak lashon horah b’kulom

Actually, it was machlokes -I was targeting, not lashon hora. We have a different way of handling LH. The folks who moderate the messages know a bit about the laws of LH, and have asked for guidelines from poskim about what should and should not be published. We don’t always notice everything, and we make erroneous decisions as well from time to time, but it is not for lack of trying or sensitivity to the problem.

Looking back at the comments – which I hope we can now put to a close – I don’t think we fared so poorly. With a few exceptions, commenters stayed civil. I learned much from some of the ideas, and I trust others did as well. Contributors made excellent points about the nature of halacha (not expecting absolutes, but willing to base itself on reasonable assumptions); about how things can go wrong without anyone to blame; about how the proper authorities are expected to find better safeguards in the future; how the kashrus organizations in fact did meet to institute those safeguards; how our growing comfort with material pleasure puts a strain of kashrus organizations that cannot easily be met; why selling treif meat is seen as so horrific while others perpetrate financial crimes both within and outside of the community and people do not react with the same horror; how the length and breadth of the Monsey community understood that this was not so much a transgression on their part as a sign of Heavenly displeasure with our behavior; how deeply felt is the commitment to kashrus in all segments of the Orthodox world.

Not an insignificant group of ideas to mull over. Perhaps I am naïve, but I see more value in the exchange than the level of discourse in other places – like during chazoras hashatz, or even screaming matches at the shul kiddush.

To the outsider, it must be abundantly clear that there are no shortage of people in our community – laypeople and clergy – who are willing to scrutinize wrong-doing and not sweep it under the carpet. It is also clear that people who point in every direction but their own are also in abundance.

The crowning accomplishment is that some people understood the intent of my first post. (They didn’t post, but I heard from them nonetheless.) Not every event, not every crisis needs a community debate or vocal response. True, the story about the gold coin is not entirely analogous to the Monsey case. Thousands of people were impacted. This however, as one of my high school rabbeim was wont to say, is not a difference that makes a difference. Those who have good ideas to contribute about kashrus standards should take the time to strategize about implementing them, not trumpet them on the shul steps. People who are serious about getting things done will roll up their sleeves and give it a shot. Even on the very local level, twenty people having a serious and sustained conversation about standards with their rov will be far more effective than a noisy debate over shaleshudes.

Those who are not ready to work towards real change – which is perfectly understandable – should then ask themselves whether they are really parties to the dispute, or participating in someone else’s battle. In many – not all – cases, it will be the latter.

And that still remains treif.

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2 Responses

  1. SephardiLady says:

    How does a person with experience in internal controls and audits that might be able to share ideas even get involved?

  2. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “Those who are not ready to work towards real change – which is perfectly understandable – should then ask themselves whether they are really parties to the dispute, or participating in someone else’s battle”

    There can perhaps be something in between as well. If one wants to discuss an issue which is on people’s minds and put it in perspective, I think that it would be acceptable, even if a person doesn’t get involved in askanus. But the forum is important, and the example of a group meeting with a Rav,even for just discussion, sounds like a more ideal step.

    I thought of similar point when I saw letters going back and forth in a Jewish newspaper a few years ago about “in-towners” saying or not saying “gut Shabbos” to strangers. One extreme letter-writer stereotyped an entire neighborhood of people as being “hypocrites”. I thought that this attitude was worse than not greeting people properly(full disclosure: I live in New York :) ). The writer that made the most sense was the one who mentioned that she started an e-mail campaign to bring the issue to consciousness. But even if one doesn’t get involved to that level, one can still bring a positive perspective to that issue, as well as to similar ones.