The Mishna teaches us, “Appoint for yourself a rav” – a Torah guide, from whom you can acquire clarity through wisdom.
But, what happens when you do not have a personal rav, because you live in Fargo, North Dakota? Or, if you live in a large Jewish community and have a rav, but time is of the essence for your halachic query? How often have you exasperatingly attempted to contact your rav, only to find out that he was unreachable because he was in the middle of giving a shiur, attending a bris, or officiating at a wedding or a funeral?
STAR-K Certification realizes that there is no substitute for a person’s own rav, however, to help remedy such situations it has launched the Institute of Halacha, as a public service.
Through the years, the agency’s Kashrus Hotline has answered generic halachic questions, in addition to inquiries about the kosher status of foods and its certified Sabbath mode appliances, from kosher consumers the world over. The formation of a separate, official division within STAR-K, testifies to the overwhelming need of such an institute.
The director of the Institute of Halacha will be Harav Mordechai Frankel, who will serve under the guidance of Harav Moshe Heinemann, STAR-K’s rabbinic administrator. The Institute will also serve as a resource for rabbanim, who may call Harav Frankel to discuss general halachic matters.
“Harav Frankel is particularly suited for such a position,” Rav Heinemann stated,” with his years of experience, acting as a posek in the absence of both myself and Rav Yaakov Hopfer.”
When one’s own rav is not available, shailos may be called into the Institute of Halacha, 410-484-4110, Monday-Thursday, 2-5 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., or e-mailed to: Halacha@star-k.org.