When a Rabbi Declares It’s Kosher, It’s Kosher

I have summarised HaRav Aviner thoughts here

Question:
You have stridently insisted that all Hechsherim [Kosher certifications] are acceptable. I am sure that you just don’t know how many foul-ups occur in food factories, and in restaurants.
Answer:
I am well aware of the realities and nevertheless insist, that if a Torah scholar authorises a food or service to be kosher, then it is indeed kosher. Let no one dare say that Rabbis are feeding the Jewish People non-kosher food. Restaurants and small factories do require constant vigilance, however, large factories follow very precise production processes and require less vigilance.

Question:
How are we supposed to know if the Hechsher is provided by a Torah scholar?
Answer:
Check it out. If the Rabbi is the Rabbi of a city, or part of a recognized Kashrut organization or a city rabbinate, then he is certainly a genuine Torah scholar.

Question:
But there have been many cases where the supervising Rabbi was incompetent or lazy or even corrupt. Is this not cause for concern?
Answer:
I didn’t say that mistakes never happen. Nevertheless, the Torah instructs us to use the principles of “Rov” [the majority factor] and “Chazakah” [the presumption that a previous state continues]. Torah scholars are reputable until proven otherwise. Rumors must be investigated. If one has dealings with a Rabbi and he behaves questionably, the situation changes.

If a Rabbi is unethical, a thief, a cheat or an adulterer; do all rabbis forfeit their Chazakah as a result? Torah decrees that we rely on certain presumptions, we will execute on the basis of a Chazakah. Likewise, a Torah scholar has a Chazakah so long as there is no proof otherwise.

Question:
Sometimes even great Torah scholars have been deceived or err in their rulings. In such cases, is the Hechsher still kosher?
Answer:
The Tractate Horiyot describes where the Sanhedrin errs and misleads people by ruling that a certain food is kosher. Does their ruling make the food Kosher? No. However, the Shulchan Aruch rules that we can eat in the home of any Jew who has a Chazakah of observance.

Question:
Sometimes the Rabbi who gives the Hechsher himself says that he is dissatisfied with the situation but that he cannot improve it due to lack of manpower.
Answer:
Quite the contrary, since he is aware of the problematic situation yet still puts his stamp on the food it is a sign that it is kosher.

Question:
Is it wrong to pursue additional stringencies?
Answer:
G-d forbid! In every realm, we encourage people to be more particular; Shabbat, prayer, Tzitzit, business ethics, interpersonal relations, treating one’s wife with respect, educating one’s children, etc.
But there are dangers to be wary of: that it not denigrate others, such as the atrocious libels suggesting that Rabbis are feeding people non-kosher food.

Certainly we must be scrupulous regarding kashrut. Certainly the consumer must exert pressure. After all, most of the factories agree to kashrut supervision only for commercial reasons. Hence the more the public’s demands increase, the more the Hechsherim will improve. Yet, all this must be done with real respect shown for Rabbis. Those Rabbis in fact will be the first to rejoice over each additional stricture.

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