Late this past January, in response to a severe illness that threatened the life of its posek (halachic decisor) Rav Chaim Yisroel Belsky, OU Kosher announced a new program, Halacha Yomis, in which a kashrus halacha would be emailed to subscribers each working day. The program was organized, as OU Kosher noted, with the hope “that by uniting and connecting through learning a halacha a day, Rav Belsky Shlita will merit a full recovery.
Shortly after the announcement, Moreinu Virabeinu, Harav Hagoan, Rav Chaim Yisroel Belsky, zt”l, passed away.
Rather than cancel the program before it even started, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of OU Kosher, and Rabbis Yaakov Luban, Yosef Grossman, Eli Gersten and Moshe Zywica, the developers of the original initiative, determined to go ahead with the program, now with a different aim.
“It is with great excitement that we present to the general public, OU Kosher Halacha Yomis,” they said in a statement. “We believe that this feature will be of great value and importance to Klal Yisroel. “We launch this new endeavor during a week of shiva, as we mourn the passing of the Rav. Our joy and pride is now intertwined with sadness and sorrow.”
As the rabbis explained, “The original impetus for this project was a desire to disseminate short halachic tidbits as a zechus for Rabbi Belsky, with the hope he would have a refuah shelaima from his illness. As halachic consultant for the OU for more than 28 years, the imprint of Rabbi Belsky is felt in all areas of OU halachic policy. Many of the selections of the Halacha Yomis are based on psokim of Rabbi Belsky. With the passing of Rabbi Belsky, we are now dedicating this program in his memory. We are certain that OU Kosher Halacha Yomis will bring an aliyas neshama (elevation of the soul) of this great gadol, whose past contributions to OU Kashrus will continue for years to come.”
The program, though just weeks old, has already received many expressions of admiration and delight from the OU Kosher constituency. And these statements don’t come just from Brooklyn, or other traditional locations of Orthodox Judaism. “I would like to tell you how much I enjoy these short daily halachos,” wrote a resident of Hong Kong. “This Halacha Yomis is such a great invention,” a follower composed in an email from Antwerp, Belgium.
Closer to home, that is, OU Kosher’s home in lower Manhattan, came this comment from Passaic, NJ: “I have suggested this to numerous friends of ours and EVERYONE is very excited to have this in their email. YASHER KOACH TO ALL INVOLVED!” And from Brooklyn, “My deepest thanks for this daily email. I love starting my day with it.”
Here are a variety of other comments, with non-New York area locations noted:
- Once again thank you for a great column. Not only I’m enjoying it but I’m also gaining from it.
- Yasher kochachem for this new initiative. You transmit the halachos in bite-sized segments (no pun intended), easily digestible and germane.
- I just wanted to say how nice this Halacha Yomis initiative is – all our boys went to Torah Vodaath (where Rav Belsky was Rosh Yeshiva), and of course we signed up for this as a zichus in the last days of Rav Belsky’s life. He would certainly be very proud of this program – may it be an Aliyah for his precious Neshama.
- Thank you for the Halacha Yomis. They are concise yet very informative.
- They are excellent. I am really enjoying them. Exactly what people like. Short to the point, nogeah Perfect to start the day.
- I think this program is a terrific idea! I have forwarded the link to many of my friends
- Thank you for this new daily short kashrus halachic topic. I feel it’s good to keep people always on the lookout and alert to kashrus issues so they live it more.
- These daily emails are really amazing. I think the OU has got it exactly right –Toronto
- Just wanted to say how much I enjoy the Halacha Yomis. I can’t imagine how much work goes into creating such a clear and concise daily halacha. May it be a zichus for Rabbi Belsky Zatzal. I forwarded the email to three other family members and encouraged others to subscribe. –Cleveland
Here is a sampling of the questions that have already been answered, with an average of five to ten a day coming in to OU Kosher, according to Rabbi Grossman, OU Kosher’s Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator. Some of these questions were posed by people following the program, others by OU Kosher staff. Answers are formulated by OU Rabbonim and reviewed by Rabbis Gersten, Luban and Grossman.
- My young daughter cracked open an egg and mixed it into the batter before I had a chance to check it for bloodspots. Must the batter be thrown out?
- I have noticed that brown eggs often have brown spots. Are these the same as bloodspots?
- I have heard that scrambled eggs, omelets, and hard boiled eggs can be made in a microwave by an eino Yehudi, as this process mitigates the prohibition of eating bishul akum. Is that correct?
- Is it permissible to make sushi on Shabbos? Is it muktza?
- I cut a raw onion with a fleishig knife, but the knife was clean and had previously not been used for several days. Can I eat this onion with dairy or cook it in a dairy pot?
- I ate a salad that contained onions that were cut with a fleishig Must I now wait six hours before eating dairy?
To receive the OU Kosher Halacha Yomis each workday, visit oukosher.org/halacha-yomis-email. At present the Halacha Yomis is only available to subscribers by email. OU Kosher hopes to archive past issues on its website.
Subscribers can ask their own questions on kashrus issues and send them to Rabbi Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis.