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Beit Midrash-Tevuot Shor-Balancing Concerns Print E-mail

Beit-Midrash-Tevuos-Shor-YahrtzeitThe 28th of Shevat is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Alexander Sender (ben Ephraim Zalman) of Zholkov, (~1660-1737). He was the son of the Magid of Lvov and was orphaned as an infant. In 1704, Rav Alexander Sender went to live in Zholkov (Zolkiew) where he remained for the rest of his life, devoting himself to study and writing and earning his living working in a distillery. He was the author of Simlah Chadashah and Tevuos Shor, first published in 1733, on shechita and treifos. He was a great-grandnephew of Rav Ephraim Zalman Shor, the author of a sefer by the same name, Tevuos Shor, a condensation of the Beis Yosef. [27 Shvat, according Hamodia 2006 and 2011] Rav Aleksander Sender also author Bechor Shor on Shas.


“We should favorably judge the custom of paying a supervising Rabbi for the time spent monitoring the slaughtering process. We should not be concerned or suspicious that he will take money and declare something to be kosher even if it is not, for it is unlikely that he will cause many people to sin just to earn a few dollars.” (Simlah Chadashah)

The Maharshal was critical of the custom to pay the supervising Rabbi because of the slightest suspicion that people will believe that he will take money to declare something that is not kosher to be kosher. I myself have not seen anyone in our generation who is worried about this. There is no prohibition. The only concern is to prevent people from sinning by suspecting an innocent man. (Tevuot Shor)

It is fascinating to observe how great rabbinic authorities had to balance different communal concerns. They had to worry about having people who could supervise the slaughtering process, and yet, they were equally concerned of the impression that a salary, no matter how insignificant, would make on the community. Different communities, in different times, had to take  different approaches. The Rabbi of a town had to always consider all the different issues before making his ruling.

Although the generally accepted ruling is that we may pay a salary to a supervising Rabbi, it is important for us to know that even such arrangements are permitted only with the greatest concern for the perception of the community. Theoretically, at least, this should impact the behavior of any rabbi or organization that offers kosher supervision.

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