Would milk be considered cholov yisroel if someone was watching via webcam?

  • Just a thought: if it's a video feed, someone who really wanted to mess things up could edit the video.
    – DonielF
    Jun 26, 2016 at 18:27

3 Answers 3


I believe that this Gemara AZ 70., Rambam Ahavah, MA 12,21, and SA, YD 128,3 should be a starting point for anyone who wishes to investigate this she'ailah from original sources.

From these sources you can see that a webcam would at least be enough to create a situation of fear (looking over the shoulder) on the part of the gentile regarding anything that is within view of the camera(s).

Would this be enough that when the Jew is watching via the webcam we would consider the milking to having been witnessed by the Jew is the next step in the sh'eilah.

What is the definition of "re'eeyah" with regard to חלב ישראל is an issue that was taken up by far greater people than us on mi.yodeya!


In Yalkut Yoesf Yoreh Deah 81:9 seems relevant:

גוי החולב חלב מעדר שיש שם רק בהמות טהורות, אף שאין בעדר בהמה טמאה, יש לאסור את החלב כל שאין הישראל רואהו, או שאינו נכנס ויוצא באמצע החליבה. ואם הישראל יושב בחוץ לשמור על הגוי החולב שלא יביא חלב טמא ממקום אחר, מותר, ובלבד שיראה את כלי החליבה לפני החליבה שיהיו נקיים.

A non-jew who milks animals in a herd that only has tahor animals, the milk is assur unless a Jew watched, or was at least yotzae v'nichnas. If a Jew was sat outside to make sure that no tamei animals (or tamei milk) were brought from somewhere else, the milk is mutar on condition that the Jew checked the kelim (that would receive the milk) to be sure they were clean (and empty) before milking started.

My guess is that according to him, a camera wouldn't be sufficient, because it can't check the inside of the milking kelim (and generally because there are other blind spots not covered by cameras).

  • 1
    What if the only devices involved are fixed milking equipment, the Jew inspects the equipment as part of the procedures for starting supervision, and the cameras are either set up to include all interfaces to the equipment or all entrances to the room? That would seem to me to be very analogous to RO"Y's last case.
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 21, 2010 at 18:54
  • Then you'd need a real posek to answer that question.
    – Chanoch
    Oct 21, 2010 at 20:16
  • Again -- some Israeli hechsherim today allow it. Currently the American ones don't.
    – Shalom
    Oct 22, 2010 at 12:08
  • 1
    @Chanoch I certainly hope that anyone intending to actually set up kashrut supervision of milk would consult a real posek, regardless of the setup.
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 22, 2010 at 14:01

From an answer to your question earlier:

Chalav Yisrael requires that a Jew watch the milking (though he can step in and out every few minutes); R' Moshe Feinstein feels that "knowing for sure" is as good as watching, so I think he'd allow a video camera. I don't know if other rabbis require actual watching, or if video would count too.

I strongly suspect it would be up to individual hechsherim at that point. It wouldn't surprise me if those who accept R' Moshe's premise as the base halacha would allow the cameras to satisfy the chumra of having a mashgiach watching. For those who require literal Jewish eyeballs watching as the basic halacha, I'm not sure.

UPDATE: Thanks Isaac! In the shiur linked below, a rabbi from the OU said that some Israeli hechsherim will allow video-cameras for chalav yisrael; none of the American hechsherim do though. My impression is that if the OU will mark something "chalav yisrael", they'll keep the standards of other American chalav yisrael hechshers (e.g. requiring a Jew to pour in the cultures, not just the rennet), so I doubt the OU would mark something video-camera'd as "chalavy yisrael."

  • 1
    I think I recall the OU's R' Avrohom Gordimer discussing this question at some point in 'How Do We A“cow”nt for Kosher Dairy Products?', a generally interesting lecture he recently gave on dairy kashrut. (ouradio.org/ouradio/channel/C301). Maybe I or another reader can [re-]listen to the shiur and pull out what he said.
    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 27, 2010 at 18:41
  • I think that appealing to R' Moshe Feinstein on a question of Chalav Yisrael is an incorrect approach to any such question since he permits one to drink non-CY milk. You would need to discuss the opinion of poskim who forbid non-CY milk, such as R' Ovadia Yosef (there's a whole chapter on the halachot of milk in his son's Yalkut Yosef), or Chabad poskim.
    – Chanoch
    Oct 7, 2010 at 14:36
  • Chanoch, you are wrong in your assertion that Rav Moshe permits non-CY milk. He says very clearly that the situation in the U.S. establishes the milk to be as if the milking was seen by us. Although he did not call it Cholov Yisrael his point is that it fulfills the requirements of the decree of Cholov Yisrael.
    – Yahu
    Oct 24, 2010 at 17:32
  • Chanoch, I saw your response to Shalom at mi.yodeya.com/questions/1482/in-a-room-watched-by-cameras/… and although I agree that for those who do no go like Rav Moshe this question should be dealt with from that perspective I disagree with your automatic assumption that we should marginalize Rav Moshe's approach. The overwhelming majority of communities in the U.S. rely on Rav Moshe's psak. Although the New York and other large areas have the luxury of being machmir, many of us do not have that option and many of us hold like Rav Moshe.
    – Yahu
    Oct 24, 2010 at 17:39

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