Rabbi Levy o.b.m. was a giant in kashrus. The slogan “Kashrus without Compromise” is a perfect description of Rabbi Levy and his life.
The first time that I submitted a report from a chocolate factory to Rabbi Levy, he replied, “What are the temperatures of the 3rd and 4th roller?” During manufacturing, the chocolate is typically refined between 5 rollers and the friction causes heat. Between the 3rd and 4th roller, the heat is usually higher than “yad soledes” and requires kosherization. This left an impression on me. Rabbi Levy was very well versed in the details of modern food manufacturing technology.
On a different occasion, I traveled to visit a new manufacturing facility for one of our largest customers who wanted to obtain certification for a new product. During the visit I found out that non-kosher is occasionally processed on the line. But the plant was not willing to comply with the OK kosherization requirements, because the line was in high demand and they could not afford for it to be down for too long. When I discussed the details with Rabbi Levy, it was clear that despite the fact that there were certain leniencies that could be applied, the OK certifies products “lechatchila” and we will not be certifying this product. When another hechsher reached out to them, willing to certify based on the leniencies, the company said no. The company recognized and appreciated the high standards of the OK.
I dealt with Rabbi Levy a few times when there was a mislabeling of a dairy product as pareve, or non-kosher as kosher. The first thing I noticed was how painful each instance was for him. Rabbi Levy always sought solutions for the case at hand, but did not rest until we found the root cause for the company’s mistake and implemented measures to avoid them in the future.
I wish Rabbi Levy’s family a true nechama and they should be comforted by all his tremendous accomplishments.
Rabbi Sholom Ber Hendel is a member of the Kashrus Committee and a Rabbinic Coordinator at OK Kosher Certification