The Sefer 1מענה לאגרות (page 221) argues on R. Moshe Feinshtein's leniency allowing industrially produced milk to not be watched by a Jew during the milking. His basic argument is that the Ramo says in Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 115) that if a Jew walks in after the milking started, since nowadays non-Kosher milk isn't found at all, it can be permitted. The Shach and the Taz take it even further, that this only applies if the cow belongs to the Jew.

So his question (nicely restated) seems to be: If a non-Jewish worker, working for a Jew and for the Jew's milk with the Jew's cow, still needs to be actually watched at least most of the time even though he has no financial incentive to improve the milk supply, how is that different than industrial milk production that we should say that a Jew doesn't need to see it at all? Even the Ramo seems to require some direct supervision, even if he is allowing the cow to be owned by the non-Jew.

I'm wondering what answers are proposed to that question?

1 - A very controversial book in its time (1973). The purpose of it was to argue with R. Moshe Feinshtein's Teshuvos which were, in the author's opinion, too lenient. The author uses very nasty language (lies, ignorant words, etc.) against its target, and thus while it's content is viewed as making some good points, its language against its antagonist was regarded as unacceptable and thus the book widely ignored.

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    i am under the impression that because of its tone, people in general don't read and respond to it. and so, while an excellent and obvious answer might well be at hand by a competent posek for this and any other argument in the sefer, it may be that it simply wasn't addressed. just writing this to counter argument from absence of responses as to the weight of the argument. Jan 15 '14 at 23:58
  • @joshwaxman, Certainly true. However the book was ignored at the time to keep the author from profiting and gaining notoriety. Perhaps at some point someone will take up the work and write an אגרות מלחמת ה once that issue has passed.
    – Yishai
    Jan 16 '14 at 4:11
  • Is this Rabbi considered a Gadol B'Torah(never heard of this sefer before)?
    – sam
    Jan 16 '14 at 17:49
  • @sam, just because of his tone in this sefer - no. Through some link around here I saw that he could barely get a minyan in his shul. However, it is clear from the Sefer that he could learn. Either way, I think the question stands on its own as a reasonable question, regardless of the source. He was certainly never on the level of a R. Moshe Feinstein in anyone's regard, before or after.
    – Yishai
    Jan 16 '14 at 18:15
  • I did not mean tzaddik I meant lamdin.I also just saw a whole story about him over here ravaviner.com/2013_10_01_archive.html
    – sam
    Jan 16 '14 at 18:22

I do not think every question requires an answer. however this author obviously did not pay attention to Harav Moshe Zatzal's reasoning. The simple reason why HaRav Moshe allowed this was due to the severe financial penalties a company would incur if they lied and passed off something else as cows milk.

  • I don't know who went down voting, but that doesn't explain why this is more of a financial burden than a worker putting in non-Kosher milk for no benefit of his own. Both are financial burdens. The author argues with the financial penalty aspect, but I'm not asking that question because it is his own idea, and not really new territory on what everyone argues about in this - is the financial penalty enough? That isn't a clear thing as facts constantly change there, and it is ultimately a judgement call of the Rov, unlike the Y.D. 115.
    – Yishai
    Jan 16 '14 at 4:07
  • The gain or loss of a worker switching is a lot less than the penalties incurred by the government. Jan 16 '14 at 13:57
  • I guess. So it is an answer, +1. Not sure it is a very strong answer, though.
    – Yishai
    Jan 16 '14 at 14:21

According to Hirhurim, quoting the OU (http://torahmusings.com/2010/12/update-on-cholov-stam/) the milk itself is tested before it can be packaged and marketed.

"Even one pail of milk from other species intermingled in a silo sample of cow milk would show up in the results and indicate that the milk is not pure cow milk."

Additionally, milk in each tanker can be traced back to the farms it came from, by samples and a paper trail.

In effect, the milk in the milk supply is certified by multiple competent professionals, with additional proof. That is a higher standard than trusting a single worker.

  • that could be. But I don't think that was true then, and R. Moshe doesn't mention it at all as a consideration. Also, as far as I know, that isn't regarded as enough. In other words, theoretically you could perform such tests on any milk from any source and not require supervision, but in fact government laws, etc. are still regarded as important here. See the answers here. But +1 anyway. It is an answer.
    – Yishai
    Jan 16 '14 at 16:02
  • @Yishai actually he does. matzav.com/rav-moshe-feinsteins-heter-of-cholov-stam-revisited and see the actual Teshuva (YD 1:49). Jan 1 '15 at 4:24
  • @ShmuelBrin, Can't go and re-read the Teshvah now, but I don't think there were chemical content tests, otherwise the whole "haba lyad yisroel" would be superfluous.
    – Yishai
    Jan 1 '15 at 11:17
  • @Yishai No. It could be that once it's assur it stays that way Jan 1 '15 at 21:17

I listened to this shiur and a questioner (about half way through) asks almost exactly the same question (without referencing or meaning מענה לאגרות, and directly from the Mechaber).

To explain the answer, basically Rav Reisman explains two points.

1) R. Moshe holds, not like the Pri Chodosh and others, that Cholov Yisroel is a Takkanah and the estimation of there being no treif animals milked, it just isn't economical, etc. doesn't create a heter.

2) That R. Moshe has an opinion (he called this R. Moshe's own Chiddush) that witnesses don't have to see something, they have to know it (עדי ידעה ולא עדי ראיה). As distinguished from deducing it. With the exception of capital cases. This doesn't apply to just Cholov Yisroel, but in general.

So he answers that here in S"A, the case is one of deduction. There are no non-Kosher animals as far as we know, so we deduce that he isn't hiding one somewhere, or hiding other milk somewhere, so by being there we know. However, if no Jew shows up at the milking, it is only a deduction, not knowledge.

However, in the case of government inspection, it creates, according to R. Moshe, a knowledge, not merely a deduction.

I won't pretend to understand where and how you make that distinction (and Rav Reisman doesn't really elaborate much on how you apply such a determination here, rather he just says that R. Moshe says it), but it answers the question that this is the distinction being made.


Rav Moshe simply redefines "seeing" as "ascertaining." Our level of ascertainment on American industrial milk today is on par with that of the Krakow dairy farmer of 1550 who would occasionally step out for a break. In effect, it is chalav yisrael.

  • I don't know who went and down voted, but anyway, that doesn't address the question. How is it more "ascertained" than the Ramo's case in Y.D. 115?
    – Yishai
    Jan 16 '14 at 3:59

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