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Shabbat Parashat Haazinu 5782

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Arrangements with a Mashgiach #58,60

Date and Place: Two letters, on the same matter, a week apart in Shevat 5667 (1907), Yafo


Recipient: Mr. Zev Gluskin, one of the founders of the Carmel Wine Company


Body: I am again reminding your honor that it is necessary to pay the mashgiach (kashrut supervisor), R. Shneiur, his past salary. Regarding the arrangement in the future, the relevant people need to seek out a beit din or work out for themselves, how to divide the payment between them.

In regard to the kashrut certificate, I must not connect the matter to the financial disputes about the mashgiach’s salary. I am officially demanding that R. Shneiur stay on at his post, so that the vineyards of the land of our forefathers not be left in a manner that there will be suspicion of the prohibition of orla (fruit within the first three years of growth) – which is forbidden even in benefit. This would be disturbing to all of the nation, for whom Hashem’s Torah and mitzvot are as dear as their lives. I cannot allow this blemish to exist even for a short time in “Hashem’s estate,” in the Holy Land. If the mashgiach will stop doing his job because he is not being paid, especially during the upcoming season, as Pesach approaches, when it becomes necessary to start to remove the orla and determine what is what, horrible confusion could come about.

You should notice that I am writing these words with my full emotions, and I would hope that you will care to calm my stormy and pained spirit by sending a worthy response that will put my spirit at ease.


Letter #2

May blessings rest on your head for calming me with your distinguished letter about the supervision over the issue of orla. Indeed, I was agitated and pained, and with a real basis for it. It was correct of me to think that on a matter of kashrut it is proper to consult also with me before making a decision. Thank G-d, I am very protective of the money of Jews, and if I can find a way to make the burden lighter, I certainly would not make the burden heavier for the masses in order to do a favor for an individual.

It might be possible to arrange separate mashgichim for each settlement. However, I do not know if there will be a lot gained by doing so. The salary that will go to the set individual will have to be given to many individuals. Concerning the matter of being careful, it is definitely better for there to be a mashgiach whose main profession is being a mashgiach. Even if we could appoint private mashgichim, it would require a lot of preparation.

But first of all, I stand behind R. Shneiur, for if he is removed to save money, he should be no worse off than any worker who is fired, who is given a sum of money as severance pay. One who is involved in holy work and upon whom a business is dependent from a material perspective as well, is certainly no worse than other fired workers.

Secondly, R. Shneiur will have to give over his notebook (about when different orchards were planted), for only in this way will it be possible to safely supervise the matter of orla. Then each private mashgiach will have to make up his own list and get used to the work of hashgacha in his own way. Until it will become clear to me that there are such mashgichim that I know I can trust, I will not be able to agree to remove R. Shneiur [and still give my approval to the kashrut]. Therefore, I look forward to meeting with you when you have time to honor me with your visit, and we will clarify matters in the best possible way, as both of us are looking for the same positive result.

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