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What do you think of Hechshers on raw fruit?

I know it sounds insane, but my father gave me a peach today, a white fleshed peach for that matter and made sure to note that the little sticker telling me it was from New Jersey or Mexico, with the little code on it also had a OU symbol. I was completely taken aback, then again water has a hechsher on it so we always knew the chumra patrol would put hechshers on fruit and veggies, but I figured it would be on things like spinach or lettuce which is clearly not kosher because washing it takes too much time and therefore its bittul z’man.

When does kasharus go to far? Or does it not?

When is something natural enough to be considered kosher? Does this mean that nothing is safe from the wrath of the charedi chumrsa patrol? Soon we may not be able to breath in certain places because treife smells are wafting through the air. Soon we may have to wear gas masks when we walk through a public place, and goggles to block out any pritzus or other triefe things.

I just hope they don’t ban berry picking- that would royally stink. Imagine going berry picking and it being like sport fishing where you have to dump all your berries out because they are treife.

{ 45 comments… add one }
  • Left Brooklyn July 27, 2008, 9:17 PM

    Hesh, you must of missed the Chumrahgram. There may be something sprayed on the fruit that is not kosher. Better safe then sorry, right??

    BTW, berry picking may lead to mixed dancing. So you had better be careful. Preitzus can creep on on you anywhere.


  • Mikeinmidwood July 27, 2008, 9:28 PM

    Did you write berry picking because apple picking is already banned?

  • Mikeinmidwood July 27, 2008, 9:29 PM

    Did you write berry picking because apple picking is already banned ?I guess they keep on coming.

  • Left Brooklyn July 27, 2008, 9:30 PM

    Mikeinmidwood, you got me on that one. Now that’s a chumrah gram I missed 🙁

  • Tamara July 27, 2008, 9:44 PM

    To Left Brooklyn:

    You said: “BTW, berry picking may lead to mixed dancing. ”

    That cracked me up because it reminded me of something that happened to me. First, I am an OBSERVANT conservative Jew. We keep kosher, don’t cook on Shabbat, etc. etc. We are not cholov Yisroel.

    So, one day I realized my milk wasn’t hekshered. I went to the Chabad’s “Ask the rabbi” site. I was told by a Chabad rabbi that technically the milk is fine; however, drinking non hekshered milk can lead to agnosticism.

    OY, here we go….

  • TRS July 27, 2008, 9:58 PM

    It’s funny, because in America, the fruits and veggies are generally fine, while the processed foods need Hechsherim. In Israel, the fruits and veggies need Hechsherim, while most of the processed foods are fine.
    Back in the day, even the Frummies in America would eat most things; only the truly OCD were, well, OCD about Kashrus. As things progressed, it became clear that a higher standard could be attained, and that became the new standard for everyone.
    Now that we’ve solved all the rest of the Chareidi world’s problems, BH, we can go back and start certifying things which have until now been considered acceptable.
    It doesn’t surprise me that someone certified a peach; it does surprise me that the OU did so. I always thought that they were relatively sane. Oh well, I guess it’s good for business.

  • Left Brooklyn July 27, 2008, 10:18 PM

    So do you have to maser salt?

  • TRS July 27, 2008, 10:22 PM

    Esau! Sinner! Killer of Christ!
    Oh, whoops, sorry ’bout that last one.

  • Left Brooklyn July 27, 2008, 10:24 PM

    That’s ok, I’m not Roman.

  • TRS July 27, 2008, 10:32 PM

    You mean the Romans killed Christ? The Jews don’t use Christian blood for Matza?
    Man, all these preconceptions of mine floating away in the wind with the answers.

  • TRS July 27, 2008, 10:33 PM

    Man, all these preconceptions of mine ARE floating away in the wind with the answers.

  • Left Brooklyn July 27, 2008, 10:35 PM

    You are so silly. Two reasons why we don’t use blood in matza;
    1) Can’t get a hashgacha on blood
    2) it may be construed as g’broktz*

    * Don’t want to start on the g’broktz issue for at least 6 more month 🙂

  • Child Ish Behavior July 27, 2008, 10:37 PM

    I think that what ever it takes to make the food that we eat more expensive I am all for it.

  • TRS July 27, 2008, 10:37 PM

    No Hashgacha? Check, I think Weissmandel has just started one.
    Now I know that Sephardim use Arab blood; presumably they don’t hold of gebrokts, right?

  • berry picker July 27, 2008, 11:19 PM

    As someone who frequents pick-your-own farms (and annually makes a devilishly good cherry liqueur from the early July crop): I have gone berry picking without much success. After a day of picking luscious raspberries and blackberries, we didn’t find a single one that wasn’t infested with tiny worms under/in the berry. We had to throw out the lot since it was impossible to clean properly. We have had no problems with blueberries, so we look forward to the August crop.

  • Chris_B July 28, 2008, 5:22 AM

    You will know it has gone too far when crickets and locusts have kosher stickers on em.

  • Mikeinmidwood July 28, 2008, 6:26 AM

    Berry Picker

    If you cant properly clean berries I guess you cant even eat it and now you throw it in the category of strawberries. What has come to this world. G-d said I could eat them, So why cant I?

  • s(b.) July 28, 2008, 6:46 AM

    TRS you’re not funny, nor are you accurate. Would you stand in the middle of a Catholic Sunday school class or on main st. of a refugee camp and say those things? There is no such thing as privacy on the internet. As someone who calls himself a shaliach, surely you understand the responsibility of representing am yisrael well. It’s not like this site isn’t open to the general public. No need to perpetuate lies. 1300 people may realize you’re joking; it’s the 1 who doesn’t who can do all of us harm.

    That said, I know from experience that strawberry-banana smoothies can lead to mixed dancing. Talk about a gateway!

  • s(b.) July 28, 2008, 6:51 AM

    You may think that Christ-killer s___ is funny — my family was killed for not converting, back in Spain. Somewhere in my grandmother’s house, there are keys to the old house (not that we’ll ever go back). Just ’cause it happened to sfardim doesn’t make it any less real.

    This is way too serious for a Monday morning. You get my point.

  • TRS July 28, 2008, 8:35 AM

    You are correct. My bad. Not that this is an excuse or anything, but I guess this is what comes from staying up 48 hours straight and then trying to comment humorously and intelligently.

  • chanief July 28, 2008, 8:39 AM

    Fruit with a hechsher. Really? I mean I believe it but still, REALLY? Somehow I don’t think this is what God had in mind (if she exists ;o)

    I’m sure you all know the old joke about Moses and kosher? If not… God’s teaching Moses the Torah so he can pass it on. He says to Moses “Do not cook a kid in it’s mother’s milk.” Moses responds “Ok, so We shouldn’t ever mix milk and meat?” God: “No, I said not to cook a kid in it’s mother’s milk.” Moses: “Ok, so we should have separate dishes, utensils and pots for milk and meat?” God: “No, I said don’t cook a kid in it’s mother’s milk.” Moses: “So you mean we should wait six hours after meat to eat milk and a half hour to do the opposite?” God, with a sigh: ” Fine Moses. You win. Do whatever you want…”

    As my sister says, when I go up to heaven and I am asked if I ate kosher I’ll answer “I’m not sure, but I sure paid for kosher!”

  • chanief July 28, 2008, 8:40 AM

    That should say “I’m not sure but I know I paid for kosher”

  • s(b.) July 28, 2008, 8:56 AM

    I hear you, TRS. I’ve pulled double-all-nighters (and made my share of d’oh!) before.

    chanie, your sister’s got a point. my grandmother gave me a package of kosher chicken to take home with me the other day. you’d think it was made out of gold! it was certainly delicious.

  • Akiva July 28, 2008, 9:47 AM

    Only 1 hechsher on your peach? Here in Israel, we won’t eat anything with less that 3 hechsherim, 5 being the proper amount.

    Seriously, my toilet bowl cleaner has 1 hechsher. The floor cleaner has 2, Windex 2, and my wine has 7. The only edibles with less than 3 are imports. You silly chutzniks think you can get by with 1, hah!

    Funny, meat here is the only thing with 1 hechsher, because however it’s being done, it’s never the right way for another hechsher.

    Even my toilet paper has a hechsher, beat that!

  • Meg July 28, 2008, 10:31 AM

    I think there might be another explanation. Non-Jews frequently seek out kosher foods because they believe them to be cleaner or better supervised. Since it is a food manufacturer who seeks out kosher certification, a business owner may feel that getting a hescher is a way to tap into the large kosher market–most of whose members are not Jewish and wouldn’t understand the strangeness of heschering a peach.

  • Frum Satire July 28, 2008, 10:54 AM

    These comments rock and its a shame I don’t have internet, and therefore cannot respond.

  • Olie July 28, 2008, 4:29 PM

    I think apart from lettuce it’s just absurd, and even then it’s just for the sake of laziness.

  • suitepotato July 28, 2008, 4:47 PM

    My local supermarket actually has a booklet every year of all the items in store that carry a hechsher of any kind.

    To question the value of one rabbi’s hechsher over another is like slapping any given rabbi in the face and saying, “well my rabbi says you’re an idiot!” which I won’t do.

    The whole reason for it is fear. G-d is not going to punish you because you took a rabbi’s word for the food being lawful and he was less than accurate. G-d works on best effort. Did you try to follow the laws? Yes? Fine. He’s not going to look askance at you because of someone else’s mistake or your not being obsessed over it. Spiritual contamination doesn’t come from food, it comes from weak thinking.

  • Eddy July 29, 2008, 1:24 AM

    I noticed a few weeks ago that Ziploc bags have an OU on the box. Explain that one.

  • heimish in bp July 29, 2008, 11:31 AM

    If you put hot food into a bag, and the bag has non-koshher ingredients that sometimes get sprayed onto the bag to keep it from sticking with another bag can make the food you put in there not kosher. It is probably “butel” (diluted halachacly) but i guess if you can avoid it, why not.

    Fruits and vegetables get sprayed with a very thin layer of wax to give it a shine. The poxy used to stick the wax onto the fruit is glycerol, which really needs a hashgacha.

  • m00kie July 29, 2008, 12:44 PM

    shmitta issues??

  • chanief July 29, 2008, 1:51 PM

    Heimish! “The poxy used to stick the wax onto the fruit is glycerol, which really needs a hashgacha.” Fruit wash anyone? I was raised in a very kosher home, in a very kosher community – for god’s sake I live in Monsey now and I have NEVER heard that fruit needs a hechsher.

    It’s a wonder people in the shtetle way back when had anything to eat without the OU, OK and Badatz (or whatever other hechsheirim there are.)

    It really, really, REALLY bugs me that a religious tenet has become such a huge money making industry. The reality, meaning and intention of the religious tenet often become muddied and obscured when it becomes all about the benjamins.

    This is making me think though, I better go get some kosher cleaning spray so that the next time my super kosher guests want to lick my counters or floors they won’t encounter anything treif. Sheesh, the ridiculousness and the waste of time and money in putting hechsherim on inedible products just disgusts me.

  • heimish in bp July 29, 2008, 2:21 PM

    Hey, Chanief, I am just repeating what I have been told by a Rav Hamachsher from the OU, who all agree knows his stuff. Harav Yisroel Belsky. He actually claims that most is really not a problem. But if you do some baking and cooking, and use lime, lemon or orange zest, you might have a problem, since you are using a concentrated amount. So just ask your local rabbi who KNOWS. Not just some shteeble rabbi.


  • s(b.) July 29, 2008, 4:00 PM

    On behalf of the local union of some shteeble rabbonim and rebbetzins (of which I am not a member, nor am I a representative), I take offense at your inference that a local rabbi KNOWS and some shteeble reb/’zins (might/do not know).

    fwiw, my dad got some good advice from “some shteeble rabbi” when he was a recently divorced single father. Just ’cause your shul’s made of folding tables and chairs doesn’t mean the rav’s ignorant. (and I realize you weren’t making a blanket statement, I just like sticking up for the shteeble ravs who are wise)

  • s(b.) July 29, 2008, 4:01 PM

    and I’m not offended. gevalt! I’ll be gone for a few days, later this week. please don’t miss me. lol

  • heimish in bp July 29, 2008, 4:19 PM

    Oh we will. I was hoping you would show to the open mic.

    Not sure how serious you were, but I meant the rav you trust, and who knows a bit about hechsherim.

    fwiw = what?

  • s(b.) July 29, 2008, 4:47 PM

    I totally wanted to go to the open mic! Workplace politics turned that evening into a higher-up’s birthday party for me, unfortunately.
    fwiw = for what it’s worth

  • heimish in bp July 29, 2008, 5:01 PM

    will have to wait for the picnic, ahem! ahem!

  • Frum Satire July 29, 2008, 5:16 PM

    I’m late top the party- but Heimishe we should have a picnic- you know like a meetup for all the commenters and fans. It would be fun.

  • Nate July 29, 2008, 6:23 PM

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it above, but it could be so you know it’s not from Israel. During Shmitta, anything that’s Kedushat Shiviit, is asur to remove from Eretz HaKodesh.

    Then again you could call the OU and ask.

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