Often we are hired by the Host to give a Hashgocha at an affair, wedding, Bar-Mitzvah, Sheva Brochos, etc. We were hired for a wedding in a hall in Monsey, NY. We have worked with that caterer in the past, so they knew our protocol, not to open any of the boxes of the meat prior to us inspecting them. This was a Bais Yosef criteria affair.
Every affair that I undertake to give my Hashgocha is on the explicit condition that I have the right to remove any item, make any changes in the menu, etc.
I inspected the closed meat boxes at the caterers kitchen. I asked where are the tongues? The caterer says it’s in that box in the black garbage bag. I asked, why it’s not sealed? he said the Butcher brought it himself and he’s a Frum shomer Shabbos.
I asked, is it Bais Yosef, it’s not marked, not sealed? I called the butcher, and he assured me that the 12 tongues are all Bais Yosef tongues. I called the three Glatt kosher meat distributors, and all of them told me they have not delivered to that butcher any Bais Yosef tongues in the past two months, and for that matter we haven’t sold him any tongues in the past year.
I took the box of tongues in the black bag and went to the butcher to inspect the paperwork from the distributor. The was not able to find any of the documents. He told me that he has a lot of S’fardik customers, so he always orders only Bais Yosef meat, sometimes one or two boxes are not Bais Yosef.
He opened a cabinet desk drawer and showed me a box panel from Alle Company and showed me that it’s marked Bais Yosef. I noticed the date code in very small lettering and it was almost a year old. I didn’t sit right with me. I checked his walk-in refrigerator and walk-in Freezer, there were about 70 boxes of meat and not one was marked as Bais Yosef. I told him; I can’t use these tongues as you can’t assure me that it’s actually Bais Yosef. I had the tongues removed from the menu, and the host made the corrective financial adjustments with the caterer.
The Butcher was also the sole supplier to the butcher department of the Hatzlocha Supermarket next door. I visited them, and I asked the manager “do you ever run out of tongues, flanken, cheek meat, ribs, etc.?” He said, “this butcher is great and never is short on any cut of meat”. At that point I realized that he is selling “treif” as well. I notified the caterer and others in the Monsey area not to use any caterer that gets from him their meat. I told Hatzlocha supermarket that he is supplying them with non-kosher as well.
The caterer was curious why this time I made a whole investigation re: the tongues, all other times there didn’t seem to be an issue, what tipped me off that something is wrong? I told him that the most expensive cut of meat by the Frum Oilum is tongues. They are sold as one or two in a package, even on a wholesale level. But to put 12 tongues into a garbage bag, he’s hiding something. That’s called “Si’yata Di’shmaya.
I called the Rav Hamachshir, his Mashgiach and Monsey Rabbonim to apprise them of the serious concerns I have about this butcher. No one wanted to sit with me to listen to the proofs that I had. I notified the State of New York kosher enforcement Division to look into this butcher.
They came down to check the butchers records, the Rav Hamachshir asked them to leave as this butcher is a very religious upstanding individual. This butcher was also the president of the Yeshiva where the Rav Hamachshir and his Mashgiach were employed as Rebbeim, the president decided on everyone’s raises.
Some eight years later, the entire Monsey discovered that this butcher has been selling them non-kosher for some eight and a half years. He started just a few months before I caught him. It would have saved the people of Monsey much grief and would have avoided eating non-kosher for eight years.
The Rabbonim made a fast day in Monsey and the surrounding area. They told everyone to kasher their utensils. There is an organization “She’aris Ha’plate” based in Monsey, NY that go to caterers and take the untouched left-over food and distribute them to poor families. I called the one in charge and asked if he fasted, etc.? He said, no as he never took any food from any caterer that bought their meat from this butcher as he never trusted him.,
Some Red flags: When a butcher’s prices are somewhat lower than others, a butcher that always has every cut of meat, i.e., tongues, flanken, french roast, etc. his weights are sometimes suspect, he has wholesale accounts i.e., nursing homes, etc.
Posted by Yudel Shain- [email protected] – He had shimush in Kashrus and Halacha by Reb Moshe Feinstein, Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, Rav Neuschloss, Debreciner Rav, Rav Pam, Rav Eliyashev, Reb Shlomo Zalman, Rav Shmuel Wosner, Z”L. He was appointed by Reb Shnuer Kotler as the kitchen Mashgiach in Bais Medrash Govoha (BMG), He is the only ISO Certified Inspector in Kashrus .