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Can one eat in a resturaunt that claims to be kosher, yet does not have a certified kashrut certificate from the local beth din?

Is this a violation of a prohibition by the owner? Does the owner have to abide by the beth din and make sure to pay for a license?

  • 1
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! This seems to be quite particular to your personal case. Can you edit your question to make it less personal? We try to avoid practical halachic questions. You might also want to see "Why is it necessary to ask a rabbi?" for more info. We hope to see you around! – Scimonster Feb 24 '15 at 14:40
  • I have been in a number of cities that have no formal Va'ad or Bet Din, yet are certified kosher by a local rabbi. Likewise, in my neighborhood, there is a Dunkin Donuts that is certified by a "reliable" rabbi, despite that there is a Va'ad. I put "reliable" in quites, because the Va'ad, primarily claims that he is not reliable, and it's highly political, as much of the kashrut industry is. I agree that this may be an opinion-based question, but I'm not voting it as such, for now. – DanF Feb 24 '15 at 15:44
  • I would have thought that the danger was that the owner might be tempted to transgress kashrus laws for financial gain. – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 16 '18 at 10:31
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It would seem to be that this establishment is not to be patronized and or trusted to be serving kosher food unless they have a kosher certification.

This is based on a rule enacted by the Vaad Ha'arba Artzot - The Council of the Four Lands, the central body of Jewish authority in Poland from 1580 to 1764. The Vaad instituted that it is forbidden to eat any food or drink any wine from anyone, even someone who is assumed to be trustworthy, unless the person has a letter from a head of a Rabbinical Court testifying to the Kashruth of the food.

הדרכי תשובה יו"ד סי' קי"ט סע' א' אות ו', הלחם הפנים, ועוד אחרונים: תקנת ועד ארבע ארצות שלא לאכול שום מאכל או לשתות ײן מאדם אחר אפילו ממי שהוא מוחזק בכשרות אלא א״כ יש בידו כתב הכשר מאיזה רב אב״ד שנעשה בהכשר

The predominant opinion is to assume that this enactment only applies to establishments, but a private person can be generally trusted. Although there is a concept in Halacha called עד אחד נאמן באיסורין - that generally people who are trustworthy are believed to verify the kashrus of food, nonetheless the Vaad made this enactment. This is the source for modern day Kashruth Certifications. However, there is a debate if this enactment was for only their times, or if this was an enactment for all generations. However, in the Sefer "B'nesivos Hakashrus" the author writes Vaad did mean in for all generations.

Thus it would appear to be that nowadays if a restaurant were to operate without a certificate attesting to its kasruth from the Beth Din, despite the fact they claim the food is kosher,nonetheless it would seem to be prohibited to procure food that establishment.

Ultimatly this is how the Author cited above concludes:

אבל מוכר שאינו מכיר את המורכבות והמסובכות בכשרות שבזמנינו ואינו יודע מספיק ממה .צריך להזהר, אע״פ שהוא מוחזק בכשרות אין לקנות אצלו כמבואר חילוקי הדינים בפנים.

However, one who is not well versed in the intricacies of the Laws of Kashruth in our times, and does not what of what to be concerned for, even though he is a trustworthy person, nonetheless one should not acquire food from him.

  • By what authority did the va'ad arba aratzos do that? Especially if there were times and places since the enactment when the tzibur as whole did not follow it? – Yitzchak Feb 24 '15 at 19:29
  • The vaad was the defacto head body of rabbinical law at that point. See the wikipedia page as well as the teshuva posted above – Shoel U'Meishiv Feb 24 '15 at 19:31
  • But anyways as I mentioned above its a dispute if it is something nogeah bzman hazeh – Shoel U'Meishiv Feb 24 '15 at 19:32
  • Even if they did intend it to be for all time, who says we have to follow it? Am I bound by local Gezeros of communities I don't live in and don't even exist anymore? – Double AA Apr 30 '15 at 19:25
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    @Mefaresh by whom? in any event, the specific example is irrelevant. – Double AA Apr 30 '15 at 19:36

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