Dear Reader – Tishrei 5770

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Dear Reader,
The concept of kashrus is not just applicable to food. As a matter of fact, the only time the word kosher is mentioned in Tanach is in Megillas Esther when Esther speaks to Achashverosh and says, “V’kasher hadavor l’fnay hamelech.”

We all know that a sukkah and schach need to be kosher, and an esrog, lulav, Sefer Torah, and mikveh need to be kosher as well. Even music can fall under the category of kosher or non-kosher. The music of the Yomim Noroim is the pinnacle of kosher music.

Kosher music is close to my heart since I have been writing music and have been a Baal Tefillah for the Yomim Noroim for over 20 years, davening in shuls across the world, from Arizona to Brazil and many places in between. It is interesting to note that quite a few of the rabbonim at OK headquarters are Baalei Tefillah and chazzanim as well!

In a way, the kosher requirements for food and Shluchei Tzibbur are quite similar. At first glance, all a chazzan needs is a good voice; however, the Shulchan Oruch says that a Shliach Tzibbur needs to have many qualifications. It has been told that the Maharsha once applied to be a chazzan in order to earn a parnossah, but he was not chosen for the job. He wondered why he did not get the job – after all, he had 9 of the 10 requirements for a chazzan. He only lacked a good voice! Giving kosher certification to food can be quite complicated as well. Much work goes on behind the scenes with many safeguards and protocols to certify even a seemingly simple product. Learn more about kosher music with Cantor Sherwood Goffin’s fascinating article about the origins of the most kosher music of all, the music of the Nusach HaTefillah.

While you are enjoying the first few days of your sweet new year, get another taste of sweetness when you read Rabbi Yitzchak Gornish’s article on the secrets of certifying sweeteners, from the original sweetener, honey to modern day artificial sweeteners.

A great Yankee baseball legend once said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” A kosher certifying agency has to work as a team and share their knowledge and experience with each other. Read how the OK has stepped up to the plate in the new Yankee Stadium…and what a grand slam! Get the latest stats and find out what it took to set up and maintain a fresh, hot kosher menu at the new Yankee ballpark.

Finally, looking your best on Shabbos and Yom Tov isn’t always easy. Find out about the intricacies and halachic issues with “Shabbos makeup” with an in depth look by Rabbi Don Yoel Levy.

Wishing you and your family a K’sivah v’chasimah tovah, l’shanah tovah u’mesukah. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and KOSHER, sweet new year!

Rabbi Chaim Fogelman

Rabbi Chaim Fogelman is a member of the OK Kosher Vaad HaKashrus.