Insights from the Institute: Stable Manners: The Basics of Tzaar Baalei Chayim

The prohibition to gratuitously cause pain to an animal is known as tzaar baalei chayim. The Gemara presents a debate as to whether this is a Torah or a Rabbinic obligation.1 Most Rishonim pasken that it is forbidden mideoraissa,2 although some Rishonim pasken that it only prohibited midrabonon.3 The Nimukei Yosef suggests that the Torah forbids one to cause an animal significant pain, and the rabonnon extended this and forbade causing less substantial pain as well.4

There is some uncertainty as to the view of the Rambam. The Kesef Mishna states that the Rambam considers tzaar baalei chayim to be a Torah command,5 whereas the Ohr Sameach opines that the Rambam regards it to be a Rabbinic prohibition.6 The Netziv offers a unique resolution of the Rambam’s position. He suggests that the Rambam paskens that it is asur mideoraissa to cause […]

הנה לא ינום ולא ישן שומר חלב ישראל The Chaliva Mashgiach Neither Slumbers nor Sleeps!

10:00 AM, 6:00 PM, 2:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 6:00 PM, 2:00 AM – a virtual ‘dairy-go-round’ on an actual carousel for 1700 satisfied participants, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This scenario bears no resemblance to my Mother’s, ע”ה, family cow that she milked in the shtetl about 90 years ago. What do both scenarios have in common? Both produce Cholov Yisroel milk but, oh, how times have changed! There is so much more that must meet the keen eye of a contemporary Cholov Yisroel mashgiach.

When I grew up in Washington, D.C., Cholov Yisroel was a totally unknown term, an unknown entity, and certainly an unknown milk bottle in the refrigerator. But times have changed. Today, Cholov Yisroel is a burgeoning industry, ranging from ice cream novelties to energy bars. However, some things never change. Whether you are milking the […]

On The Tip of Your Tongue

“If there is any doubt, ask!” is a mantra that behooves any pulpit rabbi to convey to his kehila regarding kitchen mix-up issues. This is especially true concerning those shailos that involve the erroneous use of uncertified products whose only kashrus concern is that it contains mysterious “natural and artificial flavors”. However, all too often the food is thrown into the garbage before a shaila is asked. Surprising to most, when consumers in this predicament call into the STAR-K hotline, more often than not we can be the bearer of good news.

Before I delve into why, let me share a watershed story that will carry us to the essence of the matter

Where Is The Beef?

In April, 2001, a high profile article entitled, “Where’s the Beef? It Is In Your Fries!” appeared in India West, a popular newspaper and internet site for the North American Indian […]