A chabura of Baltimore’s Yeshivas Ner Yisroel’s Kollel Avodas Levi, recently had the unique opportunity of having the hilchos toloyim they were learning about in Shulchan Aruch come to life-literally! The chabura’s attendance at a STAR-K sponsored seminar on bug checking, provided an extremely eye-opening experience for the Kollel yungerleit.


         STAR-K kashrus administrator, Rabbi Zvi Goldberg, began the session, covering such topics as the halachic basis for certifying bagged lettuce; the halachic basis for STAR-K’s particular policy in checking fruits and vegetables; and the various opinions and proofs regarding the definition of miut hamatzui.


         After viewing STAR-K-produced videos teaching the art of insect checking, the chabura was treated to a hands-on insect-checking workshop. With jewelers loupes in hand, and, in some cases, the aid of a light box, STAR-K kashrus administrator, Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld, instructed the yungerleit how to find the quick moving thrips, aphids, and worms that dwell on fruits and vegetables, such as artichokes, broccoli, romaine lettuce, parsley, dill, strawberries, and raspberries.


         Rabbi Eitan Allen was among the chabura participants who found the seminar most informative. “Rabbi Kurcfeld puts in tremendous effort, energy, and exuberance, to teach his talmidim halacha l’maasa,” said Rabbi Allen.


         It was R’ Shragi Rothman’s second time attending such a seminar, and he couldn’t agree more. “There used to be a mesorah; everyone knew how to check for insects,” he said. “There was a break in the mesorah when the Yidden started moving from country to country. Now, we really have to learn this art from others. I am glad I had the opportunity to learn this art from STAR-K.”


         To learn more about STAR-K methods for insect checking, and view its collection of insect checking videos, visit www.star-k.org. The STAR-K video checking videos, and a limited number of light boxes, are available for purchase through the STAR-K office. Call 410-484-4110 for more information.


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