“Better the open criticism …” Seeing Kosher VeYosher from a different perspective

It is always interesting to see oneself through the eyes of another, particularly if it is through the eyes of  a critic. As our prophet says, “Better the open criticism than the love that conceals”
So I present here the profile we seem to have created for our Kosher activity

  • the Rabbis in Melbourne make oodles of money from Kashrus [I presume this is inferred from this http://galusaustralis.com/2012/03/5743/the-cost-of-kosher/]
  • the organisations in Melbourne make oodles of money from Kashrus [as above but an indication of my critic’s fertile imagination]
  • the standards of Kashrus in Melbourne are too extreme and designed to support a monopoly and those standards cost us money and are unnecessary anyway [as above]
  • some kosher good suppliers are making a fortune from profiteering on kashrus. [as above]

Enter the proverbial iconoclast, clad in fire-proof armour: [This part I like best]

  • I will assume standards of kashrus which are different [Yes]
  • I will market my standards incessantly across the internet and elsewhere [pretty close]
  • My motive is to bring the price of Kosher food down because I believe (anecdotally) that there are people who eat Treyf because they can’t afford the price of Kosher goods (meat?) that have assumed an OU-like standard [as well as lack of suitable variety and ease of availability. Standards are set by Halacha.]
  • My finances and business dealings with partners on these matters are none of anyone’s business [whose business should it be?]
  • My financial books are closed [If the suggestion is that a Rav should not receive remuneration, refer to http://www.kosherveyosher.com/lone-rabbis.html]
  • I am answerable to nobody but Hashem [We must all answer to HaShem]
  • London bridge is falling down. [?]

Assuming the motives are earnest and with honourable intent, the line of argument used is rather straw man like.
Yes, we would like to see all Kashrus under a central body. [Not I, nor most others who have experienced the fiasco of single, all powerful Kashrus organisations]
Yes, we like to see a collegiate Rabbinate and not isolated breakaways running their own kashrus supervisions/business. [Variety in Halachic opinion is a critical and elementary aspect of Jewish Life and HaShem’s will]
Yes, we would like to see the financial aspects of Kashrus provision (where relevant) under the financial supervision of a communal laybody. [Why place such a serious and powerful consideration in the hands of a laybody?]
Yes, we would like to see Rabbis and Chemists and Mashgichim paid properly for their professional hard work. [Yes, but who is to decide what is proper? And why should free market principles not apply to this arena of community activity]
Yes, we would like to see shysters purporting to offer a kashrus service outed. [Yes, but we might disagree about who is the shyster]

I assume my erstwhile colleague is serious about his concerns about the price of chickens and more, so I suggest that he invite Rabbis and owners to an independent Dayan. I’d recommend R’ Hershel Schachter. [A Free market is the only device that can successfully provide relief from the distortions created by monopolies and oligopolies]

Vacillating on the internet is okay for people like me, but I’d suggest it isn’t a productive path for a Rabbi attempting to convince his colleagues through earnest debate. Some would say it’s a populist agenda like the socialists who put up “Viva La Revolution posters” near my office and all around RMIT. I don’t think they achieve much thereby. [Our achievements include Lord of the Fries, the first Kosher food service of its kind in Melbourne; Nestle Peters Ice confections, Sanitarium Health Food Company see more http://www.kosherveyosher.com/products-and-services1.html]

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