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Guide to Ashkenazim Glatt Hehsherim


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Tammuz 4, 5772
After moving to Israel last year from from the US, I found yourself struggling to find reliable Kosher meat certification in Erez Israel. After numerous inquiries with the local Rabbis and also reviewing the current archive, the best advice I could get is: consul your local Rabbi, or: " you have to investigate the Hehsher yourself". In the US I would buy OU Glatt meat and use it. Here, in Erez Israel there are many "Badaz" or "Mehadrin" certificates, but no one would give me the direct answer. As the result, I almost became vegetarian. So, the question is: can you please publish a list with the Glatt Hehsherim, recommended for Litvak Ashkenazim. Toda, Baruch
ב"ה, ד' תמוז תשע"ב First of all let me wish you and your family an easy absorption in Israel. As I can see you are going through pangs of Aliya. Allow me to identify with you, I was also once an Oleh Chadash and we went through the same issues. It was much easier seeing one or two popularly known Hechsherim on our food products as we did in the US, rather than to see a dozen and to choose from. We simply have to adjust ourselves to our new situation no less than we would have to if we were to change our cellphone for example. You have the right to become a vegetarian, but unlike in the US, in Eretz Yisrael there are halachot of Terumot amd Masserot which apply to our fruit and vegetables which have the same Hechsherim as the meat does, so there is no true "escape" there if you can't find your way through the Hechsherim.This does not mean you have to stop eating. Therefore I will try to give you some guidance and I pray that it will be helpful to you. As I have already written in a previous answer on this site, it should be clear that there is no room to doubt the reliability of the Hecsher of the Rabbanut or any other recognized kosher organization. A product which was under the supervision of a Talmid chacham has a "Chazaka" of being kosher. (Pesachim 9a.) Each Mehadrin Hechsher legitimately prides itself with its unique kosher specifications especially when it comes to Shechita. However, hidurim of one Hechsher do not disqualify others and make them less reliable. Also, in order to appreciate these specifications you must be fully learned in the issues the same way you would go about appreciating hidurim in Tefillin, Etrogim and so on. It should be an interesting learning experience if you were to sit with a shochet who would fill you in on the various hiddurim. Some people affiliate themselves socially by the Hechsher they eat. This is already a social issue and not a Halachic one and you have to ask yourself if that is how you see yourself. You can find a list of Mehadrin Hechserim at the following web site. However, this list does not necessarily exclude the existence of other Mehadrin Hechsherim. In addition to all the above, consulting the Rav of your choice who can give you personal guidance should prove to be helpful. Good luck
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