Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Rav Plony has opened my eyes to some things in kashrus that I was unaware of. He tends to be machmir (strict), but I am making an effort to adhere to his rulings.
One thing I never knew is that certain canned vegetables need to be bishul yisroel (cooked by a Jew). Now here's something interesting: according to the OU, everything they certify that needs to be bishul yisroel is. But there are different opinions, and not all rabbonim agree with their certification criteria.
As I understand Rav Plony, only vegetables that cannot be eaten raw need to be bishul/pas yisroel. For example, carrots don't need to be, but beans do. We always ate Heinz vegetarian beans. And since I don't know all the factory-kashrus-halacha questions to ask, I am not calling up the OU or Heinz. I will switch to a heimishe company's beans - that's just easier for me.
Rav Plony also feels that cereals must be pas (baked) or bishul yisroel. Many rabbonim feel otherwise, even Lubavitchers. But since I'm striving to follow Rav Plony, we've stopped eating wheat or rice cereals and are only eating corn cereal (since corn can be eaten raw, that's acceptable). Again, I don't know all the questions to ask so I'm not calling up Kashi, General Mills, or Publix.
And here's something else: Potatoes. Foods that are considered suitable for "shulchan hamelech" - a king's table - have to be pas or bishul yisroel (unless they can be eaten raw, as stated above). Many people feel (like the Irish, ha ha) that potatoes are "poor man's food" and therefore do not fall into the category of "shulchan hamelech." But not Rav Plony. I'm flying JetBlue on Friday, and all I can think is; "Bye Bye, Terra Blues." The one damn snack I could eat on the plane!
Another thing I never knew is that re-usable plastic kitchenware requires tevila. I always relied on a more lenient opinion, which is that it didn't. But Rav Plony says it should be. My mind spins...baby bottles? I looked on the OK website, and their official take on the matter is that it's "preferable." So I told Rav Plony, "I was taught that plastic did not require tevila, but now I'm trying to hold by your opinion. What should I do about the plasticware already in my kitchen?" He told me to toivel it.
Don't even get me started on the apple juice. Suffice to say, no more "regular kosher" apple juice. Only heimishe brands. There's a bottle of Kedem apple juice in my refrigerator right now.
I know this is a long rant. Some of you may not know what I'm talking about. (Hell, I don't know what I'm talking about!) I do know that I'm conflicted about taking on these new things. I don't want to get so strict that I end up resenting the whole thing, or resenting Rav Plony. And then there's a part of me that feels like a faker. Who do I think I'm fooling? I was talking it over with G-d the other day - I told Him I didn't feel like I was holy enough to be so strict in my kashrus. And then I answered myself, "Well, I'm a Jew, right? I guess that's holy enough."
p.s. Check out the OK's vegetable checking guide. SCARY.