A Note About Badatz Beit Yosef

A Note About Badatz Beit Yosef

Tuesday, 23 Elul 5768 (September 23, 2008)
For reasons that may not be relevant, I have received numerous
inquiries regarding supervisions, with many or even most referring to
the Beit Yosef supervision.

Rather than responding individually, I will address all the questions
in this short post.

1.      The hechsher (Beit Yosef) is under the supervision of HaRav Ovadia
Yosef Shlita, the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi and world renowned
Torah authority.
2.      For those of you able to navigate the Hebrew, the organization
(Beit Yosef) has a wonderful website with much information for the
public (http://www.badatz.biz/).
3.      All eateries under the supervision of Badatz Beit Yosef are shmitah
l’chumra, with produce coming from abroad. There is NO heter mechira
whatsoever as per my conversation with a representative of Beit Yosef
today, 23 Sept. 2008.
4.      As far as Beit Yosef meat being acceptable for Ashkenazim, i
decided to just ‘cut and paste’ a post sent to this list on February
3, 2008. I think it addresses many of the questions.

“A few moments ago, I spoke with Rav Eliyahu Yefet. The Rav is the
supervisor of all schita (ritual slaughter) for the Badatz Beit Yosef
under the supervision of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

“I explained that I am aware that Beit Yosef meat is slaughtered
taking into consideration all of the stringencies of the Beit Yosef,
but as an Ashkenazi, I am concerned the meat may be problematic for me
as per the stringencies of the Rama, [whom Ashkenazim are compelled to
follow in such halachic matters].

“His response was clear and succinct, stating that the slaughter of
the Beit Yosef hechsher also takes into account many other
stringencies, including the Rama, Prei Megadim and others, and is
therefore permitted to Ashkenazim seeking glatt meat l’chatchila. He
stressed  there is no problem for me as an Observant Ashkenazi Jew
using Beit Yosef as my first choice.

“I also spoke with noted Jerusalem posek Rabbi Moshe Geldtzhaler of
Har Nof, asking the same question.

“He stated that it is preferable for Ashkenazim to refrain from using
Sephardi meat, adding that Rabbi Machpud for example has an impeccable
reputation, but nonetheless, l’chatchila, it is preferable to use
meats  slaughtered and supervised by an Ashkenazi kashrut
organization.

On February 7, 2008, I posted a question to the OU’s Webbe Rebbe and
was told “Beit Yosef meat may be used by Ashkenazim”.

On February 4, 2008, Rabbi Tzvi Goldberg, the Kashrus Administrator of
the Star-K in the United States also responded to my query regarding
Beit Yosef meats for Ashkenazim.

His response;
“Even though Beit Yosef has Chumras, there are also some Kulas and it
depends on the hechsher. If you want to discuss it further, best call
here to speak to Rabbi Kurcfeld, he should be in later in the
week.” (I did not by the way. Hope to in the future however).

I included some of the responses to ‘open your eyes’ to the
realization that the world of kashrus is not necessarily ‘cut-and-dry’
and one must eventually make a decision, usually based on family
minhag and/or a rabbinical ruling. Rabbis do legitimately disagree in
the process of formulating Jewish Law, and that is fine, but what is
edible for some may not necessarily be suited for others, but that
does not make something any less kosher, just unsuited. There is a
major league difference. There are major differences between the Laws
and Customs of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews and one must find one’s
place and go with it. It is not always an issue of right and wrong,
although at times, it is indeed that simple.

BEWARE: Many kosher certificates say “Beit Yosef” but one must read
carefully, on the top center of the document, inside a majestic crown,
that it states “Under the Supervision of Beit Yosef” (in Hebrew or
course). Rabbi Machpud’s certificate says “Yoreh Deah” on it.

Keter HaKashrut for example looks deceptively like Beit Yosef, and
mentions “Beit Yosef” meat numerous times, but it is at the end of the
day, not Beit Yosef, and not even an authorized certification, but it
is more commonly found in Yerushalayim. Many unauthorized organization
[in my opinion] rely on the fact that most people cannot/do not read
the entire certificate, and therefore, they highlight the buzzwords
such as “Beit Yosef”, “mehadrin” and so-forth.

REMINDER: I am just trying to be an accurate conduit for information,
doing research, so we may all become increasingly kashrut-wise. One
must consult with one’s rabbi for a decision on questionable matters
but being armed with what we are learning, permits us to make a
decision based on knowledge and ot assumptions and speculation.

PS: Unlikely that any new reports will be published on eateries before
Rosh Hashanah, or perhaps not until after the Yomim Tovim. I will
continue doing my best to find accurate information to respond to the
growing number of questions, but it does take time since I will not
respond without checking facts first to ensure you receive accurate
information.

Wishing you all a Shana Tova!!
Yechiel Spira

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