Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ethics and Kashrut Panel

Tonight at Yeshiva University, a new student group called TEIQU: A Torah Exploration of Ideas, Questions and Understanding had a panel discussion about Ethics and Kashrut, ultimately precipitated by the Agriprocessors scandals of the last few years.

The speakers were:
Rabbi Avi Shafran of the Agudah
Rabbi Menachem Genack of the OU Kashrut Division
Rabbi Basil Herring of the RCA
Shmuly Yanklowitz, RIT*, of Uri L'Tzedek

It was very interesting — the speakers were fairly diplomatic most of the time, and there were a few funny points, such as jokes that various speakers made, and when R' Shafran tried talking to the mostly Modern Orthodox audience about "gedolim". Rav Soloveitchik was invoked on numerous occasions (including R' Genack talking about how before he makes major decisions, he thinks "What Would The Rav Do?"). But the most impressive part of the evening was listening to Shmuly Yanklowitz. The other speakers mostly talked in general terms about halakha and Jewish ethics — Mr. Yanklowitz, though, was like a machine-gun of Torah, rapid-firing and saturating everything he said with an unending stream of heavy-hitting halakhic sources about our moral-legal obligations to care about other human beings and ensure that our economic acts do not strengthen the hands of evildoers and oppressors. It was shocking, but awe-inspiring.

At one point, R' Shafran said “we are all rabbis — or rabbinical students, which is just as good.” Guess I never need to actually get semikha, then... ;-)

* RIT stands for Rabbi In Training, i.e. Rabbinical Student

3 Comments:

Anonymous brother er said...

Is there a recording anywhere online?

12/10/2008 10:35 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

“we are all rabbis — or rabbinical students, which is just as good.”

That's one helluva chezkas kashrus.

12/15/2008 5:40 PM  
Blogger BS"D said...

The most amazing thing was that I even was grudgingly forced to admit that Shmuly had a point.

12/16/2008 11:06 PM  

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