If There is No Hechsher, You Mustn’t Eat!

10 Tammuz 5770
June 22, 2010

kosher-report1Like it or not, if an event is being hosted and it lacks a hechsher, you simply have no right to eat, even if those partaking exhibit a ‘more Orthodox’ look in your mind.

Their religiosity [or the lack of it] should in no way be a factor in your effort to determine if there is a kosher certificate for the event. Not everyone sporting a beard and a fedora is a kashrut expert!

We must demand that caterers comply with the acceptable American standard, and every event MUST display a valid original kosher certificate as described below, a certificate specifically for the event.

The kashrut agencies must start getting tough, demanding a mashgiach is present, and yes, it costs money as do the band, flowers, makeup, and all the trimmings.

The time has come to use our consumer muscle.

You must include this in the contract upon signing with the caterer, and s/he must understand without an appropriate kashrut certificate for the event, not one from a commissary somewhere, no deal!

In many/most cases, the caterer shows you photocopies from the commissary of a caterer under a great hechsher, which is wonderful advertisement, but it does NOTHING to ensure the kosher integrity of your event. When he tells you “don’t worry”, start to worry!


I made up a sample certificate and the format must be followed, that is to say, you are not looking for a certificate from the commissary, but for that hall, on that day, at that time, with the names filled in, signed and sealed, and the mashgiach MUST be present.

There is no excuse for not having a mashgiach on location for an event serving hundreds of portions.

Anything less does not represent proper kosher and for certain there cannot be anything mehadrin about it.

Stop permitting caterers to dupe you!



  • Mrs. K
    June 23, 2010 - 15:41 | Permalink

    If the caterer is shomer Shabbos and trustworthy, why does the event need a hechsher? Can’t I rely on the Shomer Shabbos caterer who is at the event himself and is in charge? When I make a do-it-yourself seuda for a bris or a bar mitzva, nobody expects a hechsher for the event.

  • Mr. Q
    June 23, 2010 - 23:53 | Permalink

    Do you have sources in halacha for this? Or is this just exaggerated wording to get us all fired up? Just as Mrs. K. asked, I’d like to know, what halacha tells me I must have such a contract written up or else I may not have a simcha at this event. What halacha tells me I may not trust a shomer shabbos caterer? Would that same halacha tell me I may not eat at my friends house for shabbos lunch because they don’t have a mashgiach for that meal? If you say, “well that’s a small meal” – how about being invited to a sheva brochos where a few families all contributed, each preparing a different course, side dish, cake or salad, etc. Am I not allowed to go to such a sheva brochos?

  • e. t.
    June 24, 2010 - 00:12 | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could trust everyone?

    I am no Poseik.
    I believe Chezkas Kashrus, basic trust, doesn’t apply in commercial situations as such and you’d need proper supervision. Ask a Rabbi.

  • Milhouse
    June 24, 2010 - 04:33 | Permalink

    Sorry, you are making up halachos, and are in danger of crossing the line into apikorsus. You are entitled to be machmir on yourself and adopt all kinds of harchokos and hiddurim. You are NOT entitled to pretend that they are binding halacha on others. There is a shulchan aruch, there are rishonim and acharonim, and they all tell us that we MAY eat food provided by Jews who appear observant WITHOUT ASKING ANY QUESTIONS. If you don’t acknowledge that halacha then YOUR food is treif, because you are an apikores.

  • Yakov
    June 24, 2010 - 09:51 | Permalink

    It seems everyone here is looking for the source so here it is: Yorah Deah 119:1 in the RM”A. It says there something along the lines of ‘one may not buy any food items from an individual which they do not recognize to be G-d fearing.’ One can assume that receiving such an item from such an individual where that individual stands to receive monetary benefit by dispersing the item would likewise be prohibited.

    On the other hand one may receive an item from an individual who claims the item to be kosher if the giver is not receiving any monetary benefit. (This answers Mrs. K’s Mr. Q’s questions.)

    One may also buy a product fro someone who they recognize to be G-d fearing. (This also answers Mrs. K’s Mr. Q’s questions.) What standards may be used to make such a recognition is a matter of discussion which is not for this forum and on may ask his Local Orthodox Rabbi.

    (I have also heard that for someone to sell something to someone who doesn’t know him without certification may be a transgression of ‘before a blind person do not place a stumbling block’ since many people aren’t aware of this Halacha.)

  • Simon
    June 27, 2010 - 15:40 | Permalink

    I worry about the interpretation of “shomer Shabbos and trustworthy”, and how it applies to Israeli society. I agree with the webmaster, that no certificate means there are big questionmarks over the food. maybe if it’s something like a certified caterer operating out of a yeshiva or kosher restaurant kitchen, then that might be OK. or maybe not, unless there is a mashgiach present and documentation to prove it.

    Question – what has your response been from caterers, the rabbanute and the mehadrin agencys? (I assume the hall is not a stakeholder to the kashrut – they just provide the venue and not the food).

  • Moshe
    June 28, 2010 - 10:17 | Permalink

    I believe some of the people leaving comments have not read a previous article which speaks about the problem of the food being unsupervised once it leaves the caterers kitchen.
    So even if the caterer who prepared the food is reliable, who says he is there supervising everything? That article spoke about a growing minhag of just getting the food prepared from the caterer and then nothing from the time it leaves his kitchen until it arrives at the table.
    It seems to me that this article is in direct relationship to that.

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