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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Bava Metzia’

For The Sake Of His Name

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

When Rabbi Berel Wein began working for the O.U. kashrus division, he shared an office with Rabbi Alexander Rosenberg a’h, the founder of the kashrus division and its administrator for thirty years.

Whenever a proprietor would propose a new idea to Rabbi Rosenberg he would quietly listen without uttering a word. When the person finished, he would always ask, “Und vos zugt Gott – And what does G-d say?” Rabbi Wein would impress upon his students that a Jew should always live his life asking himself that question, “Und vos zugt Gott?” Ironically, we often don’t take G-d into the equation.

In Rabbi Wein’s words, “While he was training me for the job before his retirement, he had impressed upon me the importance of our work. ‘Kashrus is more than checking chickens,’he used to say, ‘The job of the O.U. is to pay attention to G-d. “Und vos zugt Gott” is the main concern. “What would G-d say about this?” That is the question that must always be answered before making any decision.”

The conclusion of parshas Shemini discusses how to distinguish kosher animals from non-kosher animals. The Torah offers a detailed list of the credentials an animal requires to render it permissible for consumption.

At the conclusion of those laws the Torah writes, “…And you shall not contaminate your souls through any teeming thing that creeps on the earth. For I am Hashem Who elevated you from the land of Egypt to be a G-d unto you; you shall be holy, for I am holy.” (11:44-45)

The Gemara (Bava Metzia 61b) states: The academy of Rabi Yishmael taught, G-d said, “Had I not brought the people of Israel up from Egypt except for this thing, that they do not contaminate themselves via creeping insects, it would have been sufficient.” The Gemara then asks, “Is the reward for refraining from impurity of creeping insects greater than that of refraining from usury, false weights, or wearing Tzitzis? The Gemara answers, “Even though the reward is not greater, they are exceedingly disgusting to eat.”

What is the added merit of refraining from eating something because it is repulsive and disgusting?

The Ksav Sofer explains that ideally the reason why a Torah Jew refrains from eating crawling insects should not be because they are abhorrent, but because G-d commanded us not to eat them since they contaminate and enervate our souls. The goal of a Jew is to live his entire life as G-d commanded, because G-d commanded. In other words, the motive and driving force behind all of ones actions, even those actions that one would perform without the Torah instructing, should be because it is the Will of G-d. Ultimately, one must honor his parents, maintain his integrity in his business dealings, and seek to be a moral person, not because it makes sense, but because that is what the Torah demands. If one adheres to the Torah’s rulings only when he can comprehend the logic in doing so, he is perilously hovering atop a slippery slope.

The reason why we practice the laws of kashrus has nothing to do with physical health. We keep kosher simply because the Torah instructs us to do so.

In a similar vein, our Sages state, “One should not say I could never eat the meat of a pig (i.e. because it is disgusting to me)… Rather he should say, ‘I would eat it. But what can I do? For my Father in heaven has instructed me not to’… Thus, one who separates himself from sin accepts upon himself the yoke of heaven.”

I often think about this statement during the summer, when I accompany my campers to a theme park on Trip Day. As the day wears on and hunger pangs set in, one inevitably notices the tantalizing aromas of the hot dog stands wafting through the air. I am always reminded of the words, “I would eat it. But what can I do? For my Father in heaven has instructed me not to.”

It is for this reason that there is (potentially) more reward for refraining from consuming insects then from refraining from usury, faulty weights, or in the wearing of tzitzis. Most people would not entertain the notion of eating insects because the idea is utterly loathsome. But one who is able to instill within himself the notion that he doesn’t eat insects because that is G-d’s Will, has reached a far greater level.

The holiday of Pesach is called, ”Chag HaEmunah- the holiday of faith, and matzah is termed, “מיכלא דמהימנותא – the food of faith.” The holiday which celebrates the revelations, miracles, and plagues that G-d demonstrated in Egypt at the time of the exodus, impresses upon us the Divinity, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence of Hashem, the One G-d.

Seder night is the jovial celebration of the transformation that occurred within us at that time. We were no longer slaves to Pharaoh and his tyranny. We became free men; free to be slaves to G-d.

Chametz Credit Card

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

It’s 1 p.m. on Friday, Erev Pesach. The rabbi had already sold the chametz at 10 a.m. But I forgot to sell mine. Now the synagogue office is closed and I can’t get hold of the form the rabbi uses to sell the chametz. The Torah requires me to remove all chametz from my house on Pesach. But I just cannot bring myself to throw out that Glenfiddich. Is there a way the whisky can remain in my house during Pesach, and would I be able to drink it after Pesach?

The Torah prohibits the consumption and possession of chametz by a Jew after the seventh hour on Erev Pesach and the rabbis prohibit the consumption after Pesach of chametz possessed by a Jew during Pesachchametz she’avar alav haPesach. In order to create a safety zone and avoid the inadvertent consumption of chametz on Erev Pesach after noon, the rabbis prohibit the eating of chametz after the fourth halachic hour of the day. A halachic hour is the unit of time derived by dividing the period of time between sunrise and sunset by 12, and it can be more or less than 60 minutes depending on the time of the year. Between the fourth and the fifth halachic hour of the day one may not eat chametz, but one may still derive benefit from it or sell it to a non-Jew. By the end of the fifth halachic hour of the day, the chametz must be burned – biyur chametz – and legally nullified – bitul chametz – by reciting the nullifying declaration known as kol chamirah. At the same time, the sale of chametz to a non-Jew takes effect.

If the chametz has already been legally nullified and physically burned, so that it is neither owned nor possessed by a Jew, why is it necessary to sell it to a non-Jew? The answer is that the intent to nullify one’s ownership may not have been sincere (that bottle of Glenfiddich) or one may have entertained the thought during the bitul declaration to sell certain chametz rather than nullify it. Furthermore, one may have neglected to destroy all one’s chametz, such as certain brands of deodorants and colognes etc. So, if the chametz is sold, why is it necessary to burn it? The answer is that there is a positive commandment to destroy chametz called hashbata. While it is unnecessary to incur severe financial loss by destroying all chametz, a token amount of chametz should be burned to fulfill the mitzvah of hashbata.

Are you kidding? You know the non-Jew is not going to consume your chametz. He is not really paying you for it; neither is he taking possession of it. He does not even know where it is. Even if he did, how is he going to gain access to your house on Pesach? And what happens if, after Pesach, he refuses to sell it back to you?

If properly done, the sale of chametz is indeed an effective sale. Such a sale should cause as little skepticism on our part as other everyday legal structures such as the sale and lease back of machinery where the equipment never leaves the premises of the purchaser and little money initially changes hands. The fact that the non-Jew chooses not to exercise his right of ownership does not mean he does not have this right. Neither does it render the sale fictitious. In fact, if the non-Jew paid the full value of the chametz and refuses to transfer ownership of the chametz back to the Jew after Pesach, there is no way, under Jewish law, that one can compel him to do so. The sale is irrevocable, unless the non-Jew chooses to rescind it after Pesach.

The origins of this sale can be found in the Tosefta. A Jew and a non-Jew were traveling together on a ship on a business trip. It was Erev Pesach and the Jew had chametz in his possession. He did not want to throw it overboard nor did he want to give it away. The Tosefta permits the Jew to sell it to the non-Jew with the intention in mind of buying it back after Pesach. As long as the transaction is not structured as a conditional sale, it works. Later, the rabbis of the Jewish whisky merchants of medieval Europe further refined the legal structure. Because taking possession of the whisky by the non-Jew often resulted in damage and because few non-Jews were able to afford the full purchase price, the rabbis devised halachic ways to leave the chametz in the possession of the Jew during Pesach even after the sale and to effect the sale for a token up front payment.

“If you cannot remove the chametz,” said the rabbis, “sell or rent the room or space in which the chametz resides.” And based on the concept of a credit sale, already known to the Talmud sages (Bava Metzia 77b), they permitted a token payment to be made up front and the rest to be deferred as an IOU, to be repaid by the non-Jew after Pesach.

Dear Dr. Yael

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael: As a husband and longtime admirer of your column, I respectfully submit that your answer to A Sleep-Deprived Wife (The Magazine, 12-23-2011) missed the mark. Your response begins as follows:

“The easy answer to your tough predicament is to tell your husband that he cannot continue to do this to you, and that he needs to daven in a later minyan. However, I am not a rav and thus cannot give you such a response.”

I do not understand why one would need to consult a rav in order to be able to address the husband in a much firmer fashion. Major poskim have ruled that a minyan on a plane should be dispensed with when it causes a disturbance to other passengers (see www.torahweb.org). Is a wife less of a human being than fellow airplane passengers?

Moreover, the very fact that this husband sleeps through the first alarm and disturbs his wife a second time when the snooze alarm goes off; bangs cabinets and drawers while getting ready for minyan; and occasionally wakes up the baby demonstrates a much more fundamental problem of religious hubris. Does Mr. Holiness think that he can trample all over his wife’s feelings and health just because he gets up to daven vasikin? Does he really think G-d is listening to any of his tefillos while his wife is suffering all day long?

The husband should be advised in no uncertain terms that the onus is entirely on him to fix the problem in a way that is painless for his wife, and that if this means finding a different time and place to daven – so be it. If this “tzaddik” is so intent on performing mitzvos, let him start with the midrash that states that a man is supposed to forever be vigilant in matters involving his wife’s wellbeing (Bava Metzia 59a).

Sincerely, T.F.

Dear T.F.: I appreciate your knowledgeable letter and admit that I have often been accused of saying, “Consult daas Torah.” I felt the same as you do about this situation, but not knowing the couple and fearing the possibility of causing shalom bayis problems, I thought that some practical suggestions would elucidate to the husband the importance of respecting his wife’s sleep. Furthermore, you can never go wrong when asking daas Torah, as we never know the best action to take. Something that may seem to have an easy solution may not, in fact, be the correct one. Perhaps a rav, especially one who knows the husband, will have a way of addressing the issue that could make both spouses happy. Either way, as I said, it does not hurt to speak to a rav, especially if the letter writer’s husband will listen to what the rav says.

If you regularly read my column, you may sense that my nature is to avoid conflict whenever possible. I think the healthiest derech for people in any relationship is to find a peaceful solution. The critical letters I often receive to my responses have the same theme: “Dr. Respler, you missed the mark.” It is not that I am missing the mark, but rather choose to try to answer – in a diplomatic manner – the often challenging and difficult questions and issues presented.

Without knowing any further details, I agree with your view and hope that the husband in question reads your words of wisdom, studies the laws of geneivas sheinah (stealing sleep), and realizes that his behavior reflects poor middos. It is said that Hashem treats us the way we treat other people. Therefore, we should attempt to never hurt others and to treat other people well.

I really appreciate your astute letter that reflects that you are a talmid chacham. We hope that your letter will inspire others to – in all ways – be considerate to their spouses, children and all of their loved ones. Unfortunately, we often treat those that we love in a more painful manner than we treat strangers.

In my public speeches or in treating my clients, I say, “Treat your spouse and children like guests, and I am sure you will have more shalom bayis.” Think about this: if a guest comes to your house uninvited at an inconvenient time, somehow you will put on a smile and greet them nicely – even offering them drink or food. But too often that is not the way in which we greet our spouses and children. If your spouse calls when you are in a lousy mood, you will say, “Oh, it’s you,” in a disappointed tone or maybe “I am busy now,” or “I have work to do.” But if a potential customer, friend or acquaintance calls and you are in the same awful mood or situation, you will likely greet them with enthusiasm.

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part III)

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it?

Ben Glassman

(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Rambam (Hilchot Gezela v’Aveidah 13:11) and the Mechaber (Choshen Mishpat 267:18) write that one who finds a garment must periodically air it out, but not when there are guests around. This halacha is based on Bava Metzia 29b, where the gemara mentions two reasons for avoiding displaying a found garment before guests – either because of ayin hara or because of possible theft. Neither the Rambam nor the Mechaber mention the ayin hara concern. The Aruch Hashulchan (Choshen Mishpat, Hilchos Hashavat Aveidah 267:11) records the same halacha but adds that the finder may air out the garment before guests if he is sure they are people of integrity, in which case, there is no concern of theft or the evil eye. The Bach, to the Tur (C.M. ad loc.), argues that the Rambam and the Mechaber only mention theft and not ayin hara because the concern of theft is easier for the general populace to understand. (The Rosh and the Rif mention both reasons.)

    We find that our forefathers’ and mothers’ actions at times have been influenced by the evil eye. According to the Midrash Rabbah, Hagar miscarried due to the ayin hara that Sarah cast upon her. And the Talmud (Ta’anit 10b, see Rashi) states that the only reason Jacob sent his sons to go down to Egypt to buy food was to ward off the evil eye (Jacob, in fact, had enough food to eat). According to Bereishit Rabbah 91:6, he also instructed them enter Egypt through separate gates for the same reason (they were all tall and handsome).

* * * *     We have discussed instances referring to the power of ayin hara. There are also sources, though, pointing to its inefficacy. Thus Berachot 20a states that R. Yochanan (who was famous for his good looks) was accustomed to go and sit at the gates of the mikveh. He said, “When the daughters of Israel come up from their immersion they look at me and have children as handsome as I am.” The Rabbis said to him, “Is not the Master afraid of the evil eye?” to which he retorted, “I am of the seed of Joseph over whom the evil eye has no power, as it is written (Bereishit 49:22), ‘Ben porat Yosef, ben porat alei ayin.’ ” The Gemara continues, “And R. Abbahu said in regard to this verse: Do not read ‘alei ayin’ but ‘olei ayin’ ” (literally, “rising above the eye,” i.e., above the power of the evil eye).

Berachot (ad loc.) also states: “R. Yossi son of R. Chanina derived [proof that the evil eye has no power over the descendants of Joseph] from the verse [containing Jacob's blessing to Joseph's sons]: ‘Ve’yid’gu larov bekerev ha’aretz – And let them multiply like fish throughout the land.’ Just as the fish in the sea are covered by water and the evil eye has no power over them, so, too, the evil eye has no power over the seed of Joseph. Or, if you prefer [namely, another reason], I can say: The evil eye has no power over the eye that chose not to partake of that which did not belong to it [Joseph resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife].”

Berachot (55b) also discusses various remedies for bad dreams and other matters: “If a man entering a town is afraid of the evil eye, let him take the thumb of his right hand in his left hand and the thumb of his left hand in his right hand, and say: I [inserting his name], son of [his father's name], am of the seed of Joseph over whom the evil eye has no effect, as it is written, ‘Ben porat Yosef, ben porat alei ayin.’ ”

The Maharsha (ad loc.) points out that R. Yochanan (ibid. 20a) clearly stated that he was Joseph’s descendant. Tractate Sotah (36b) also refers specifically to “bnei Yosef.” But this Gemara seems to be talking about a remedy for all Jews entering a city, many of whom obviously do not descend from Joseph! Some argue that, indeed, the suggested remedy is effective only for those who turn out to be descendants of Joseph. Others, however, maintain that all Jews are considered the children of Joseph, as it says (Tehillim 80:2), “Ro’eh Yisrael ha’azinah, noheg katzon Yosef – Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, who leads Joseph like a flock.” Rashi and Metzudat David explain that since Joseph sustained his brothers and their families in Egypt, they are referred to by his name.

This last explanation implies that since we are all immune to the destructive power of the evil eye, it is impossible to cast an ayin hara upon another Jew. How, then, do we explain the statement in Tractate Bava Metzia attributed to Rav (107b): “Ninety-nine [of the dead in the cemetery where he was standing] died as a result of the evil eye, and [only] one from natural causes” as well as the other statements and examples mentioned above?

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part II)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it?

Ben Glassman

(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Rambam (Hilchot Gezela v’Aveidah 13:11) and the Mechaber (Choshen Mishpat 267:18) write that one who finds a garment must periodically air it out, but not when there are guests around. This halacha is based on Bava Metzia 29b, where the gemara mentions two reasons for avoiding displaying a found garment before guests – either because of ayin hara or because of possible theft. Neither the Rambam nor the Mechaber mention the ayin hara concern. The Aruch Hashulchan (Choshen Mishpat, Hilchos Hashavat Aveidah 267:11) records the same halacha but adds that the finder may air out the garment before guests if he is sure they are people of integrity, in which case, there is no concern of theft or the evil eye. The Bach, to the Tur (C.M. ad loc.), mentions that the Rambam and the Mechaber only mention theft and not ayin hara because the concern of theft is easier for the general populace to understand. (The Rosh and the Rif mention both reasons.)

* * * * *

Let us delve into the biblical source for ayin hara (since there would be no halachic basis for being concerned about the evil eye if our sages did not find this concept grounded in scripture). We read in Parshat Lech Lecha that our Matriarch Sarah, childless after many years of marriage to Abraham, gives her maidservant Hagar to Abraham as a wife in order that she bear him children. Hagar immediately conceives and becomes so enamored of her pregnancy that she becomes disrespectful to her mistress. Sarah then confronts her husband, “Chamasi alecha; anochi natati shifchati becheikecha, vateirei ki harata va’ekal be’eineha. Yishpot Hashem beini u’veinecha! – The wrong done to me is due to you; I gave my maidservant to you, and now that she sees that she has conceived, I became lowered in her esteem. Let G-d judge between you and me!” (Genesis 16:5).

Sarah subsequently deals harshly with her maidservant, and Hagar flees. An angel of G-d finds her near a spring in the desert and asks her where she is headed. She tells him that she is fleeing from her mistress. The angel exhorts her to return to the servitude of her mistress, promising her a multitude of descendants from Abraham. He tells Hagar, “Hinach harah veyoladt ben, vekarat shemo Yishmael ki shama Hashem el onyech – You are [will be] with child and will give birth to a son, and you shall name him Ishmael because G-d heard your affliction” (ibid., 16:11).

The term “hinach harah” can be understood to indicate the future tense as well as the present. In his commentary to the two verses quoted above, Rashi understands the term to indicate the future tense. Based on the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 48:8), Rashi explains that Hagar had suffered a miscarriage and the angel was promising her another pregnancy. The Midrash deduces that Hagar miscarried due to the ayin hara that Sarah had cast upon her.

The power of the evil eye is also alluded to in connection with the famine in the land of Canaan in the days of our Patriarch Jacob. Jacob sent his sons to Egypt (which had a huge storehouse of food thanks to the astute planning of Joseph) to acquire wheat. Jacob said to his sons, “Why should you show yourselves?” (Genesis 42:1). The Talmud (Ta’anit 10b, see Rashi) points out that Jacob’s family had enough wheat to eat. Jacob, however, was cautioning them not to appear sated before the families of Esau and Ishmael because if they did, they would envy them. Thus, the whole mission to buy food in Egypt was primarily intended to ward off the evil eye.

Scripture also tells us, “Va’yavo’u bnei Yisrael lishbor betoch haba’im – And Jacob’s sons came to buy provisions among the arrivals” (ibid., 42:5). Rashi quotes a Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 91:6) that Jacob had also warned his sons not to all enter Egypt via the same gate since they were men of stature and pleasant features, and he wanted to stave off the evil eye of those who might look at them. Thus, he was clearly concerned about an ayin hara.

 

(To be continued)

 

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is the Torah editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part I)

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it?

Ben Glassman

(Via E-Mail)

The Halacha: The Mechaber (Choshen Mishpat 267:18) rules: “If one found a wool garment he is to shake it once in 30 days [as long as it is in his safekeeping pending its eventual return to its rightful owner], but he should not shake it by means of a stick [i.e. by hitting it] nor should it be done with two people holding it. He should spread it on a bed only for its own need but not for its need and his need. Should he happen to have guests, he should not spread it, even for its own need, for perhaps it will be stolen.”

The Discussion: The above halacha is based on a mishnah (Bava Metzia 29b). The mishnah states: If one found a garment, he should shake it once in 30 days. He should shake it for its own need but not for his honor (benefiting from both its beauty and utility – to use it as a bedspread or even a wall hanging). The Gemara (infra 30a) states that if shaking it helps the garment and him at the same time, it is permitted. Indeed, the Gemara notes that if he spreads it on a bed or on a frame, it is prohibited if he does so solely for his own need but permitted if he does so for its need (in order that it be aired out properly). However, if houseguests arrive, it is prohibited because of ayin hara or possible theft.

The Rambam (Hilchot Gezela v’Aveidah 13:11) codifies this halacha and explains that someone who finds a lost object is required to examine it in order that it not become destroyed due to lack of use, as the verse states in Parshat Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 22:2): “Ve’im lo karov achicha elecha velo yedato va’asafto el toch beitecha ve’haya imcha ad drosh achicha oto va’hashevoto lo – If your brother is not near you and unknown to you, then you are to gather it into your house and it shall remain with you until your brother inquires after it and you return it to him.” It states “and you return it to him,” which means take care of it and keep it in returnable condition. How so? If one found a garment of wool, he should shake it once every 30 days but not with a stick nor together with someone else. He may place it on a bed for its need but not for its need and his need. If houseguests arrive he is not to spread it out before them lest it be stolen.

We see that both the Rambam and the Mechaber cite only the Gemara’s second reason – fear of theft – and make no mention of the Gemara’s first reason – fear of the evil eye.

The Aruch Hashulchan (Choshen Mishpat, Hilchos Hashavat Aveidah 267:11) similarly cites the halacha, but he adds that the founder may leave it spread out when guests come if he knows they are people of integrity since there is no concern for theft or an evil eye. Thus, we see that an evil eye is perhaps a matter of concern.

Indeed, the Bach to the Tur (C.M. ad loc.) explains that the Rambam and the Mechaber only mention theft and not ayin hara because the former concern is easier for the general populace to understand. (The Rif and the Rosh mention both reasons of the Gemara in their codification of the halacha.)

A Jewish Call For Employee Rights

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Last May, our organization, Uri L’Tzedek, officially launched the Tav HaYosher – “ethical seal” – to certify kosher restaurants that uphold three basic employee rights: the right to fair time, the right to fair pay, and the right to a safe work environment.

As an Orthodox organization guided by Torah and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression, we are motivated by the Torah’s prohibition “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is of your brothers, or of your strangers who are in your land inside your gates.”

We hear the call in Tractate Bava Metzia that “all who withhold an employee’s wages, are as if they have taken a life.” We are inspired by the example of the Amora Rav, who instructed another sage to pay his employees even though they negligently broke a barrel of wine.

In America today, employee rights are egregiously violated; current enforcement structures simply do not work. Consider the results of a recent study of employees in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles: 76 percent did not receive overtime as required by federal law; 26 percent received below minimum wage; 86 percent of workers did not receive full meal breaks, and a full 69 percent received no breaks whatsoever or had their breaks shortened by their employer.

When trying to stand up for these rights, nearly half, 43 percent, were the victims of illegal retaliatory measures: their employers fired or suspended them, cut their wages, or threatened to call immigration authorities.

The Jewish community cannot sit idly by pretending it is not our responsibility to uphold employee rights. In his landmark responsa, Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, permitted drinking milk produced under the government’s watch since we can rely on the government to ensure no milk from a non-kosher animal is mixed with cow’s milk. Certainly Rav Moshe would never have done so if government oversight were seen as ineffective.

Since we cannot rely on the government to ensure restaurant employees aren’t oppressed we must find alternative mechanisms to guarantee that we aren’t mesayei l’yidei ovrei aveirah – assisting moral misconduct – when purchasing our food. The Tav HaYosher provides such a mechanism.

The Tav HaYosher’s mission, though, is to help all sides of the restaurant business. In these difficult economic times, employees and employers alike are struggling to find financial security. We work with restaurant owners as partners, because we recognize that abuse of rights has become such common practice that many owners fail to view their treatment of workers as unethical.

Moreover, paying all employees minimum wage and overtime can be expensive. For this reason, we work to publicize those restaurants with our Tav HaYosher ethical seal and encourage members of our community to patronize these restaurants. A positive campaign, we say absolutely nothing about restaurants we don’t certify.

A growing number of Jewish organizations are committing to having their lunch meetings and conferences catered by restaurants with our seals. As one kosher restaurant owner in New York reported back to us, “The Tav HaYosher is a tremendously effective marketing campaign. Since joining the Tav, we have received close to ten catering jobs we otherwise wouldn’t have had.” And as the popularity of the Tav HaYosher seal continues to grow, the added business generated by having the certification will only continue to increase.

In addition to bringing about practical change, another one of our goals is to publicly reaffirm the Jewish community’s understanding that ethical practices, in addition to ritual, are at the heart of Torah. Keeping kosher is one of the most public of Jewish actions. Through the Tav HaYosher, we proclaim, in an act of Kiddush Hashem, that worker treatment is also a core Jewish value, and we fulfill our Jewish obligation to abide by the law of the land (dina d’malchuta dina).

Since its inception less than a year ago, the Tav HaYosher has expanded exponentially. We’ve signed establishments in five states: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and Pennsylvania, certifying more than 35 restaurants. In New York City alone we currently certify 23 eating establishments. We’ve received overwhelming support from many Jewish organizations, activists, and thousands of individuals who are committed either to buying exclusively from Tav-certified restaurants or to convincing their restaurants of choice to join the Tav.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-jewish-call-for-employee-rights/2010/03/11/

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