Soul Nutrition – Tishrei 5783

Teshuvah is a movement which is above time and is possible in one moment, with one turn of attention. It is within the grasp of-every Jew. The realization that Teshuvah can have such far-reaching effects, is within our potential and should motivate every Jew towards increased joy in his stuudy of Torah
and performance of mitzvos.

Letter from the Editor – Tishrei 5783

n Israel one can never simply buy fruit without knowing the history of the fruit tree it grew on! One needs to know that the mitzvos HaTeluyos Ba’Aretz were observed (shmitta, terumos and ma’asros, etc.).

Soul Nutrition Pesach 5782

The Pnei Menachem of Gur would also ask Hashem to remove the chometz (Yetzer Hara) within him [and we follow his example], even though Hashem is the one that put it there.

Soul Nutrition Chanukah 5782

The Bais Yosef famously asks why we celebrate Chanukah for 8 days when the actual miracle occurred for 7 days. There are many answers to this question but here are “8” interesting ones…

Editor’s Letter – Chanukah 5782

We are now well into the shmitta year and it’s the perfect time to reflect on the spiritual side of shmitta, a time when we take a break from the daily grind and chaos and strengthen our emunah and bitachon in Hashem.

Soul Nutrition Tishrei 5782

The question is: Why would Moshe Rabbeinu want to be erased from all three books? Why couldn’t he just be left in the book of tzaddikim?

Letter from the Editor Tishrei 5782

Hashem created the world with the asara ma’amaros (ten words) and our world is an upright structure with everything controlled by Hashem, down to the smallest details.

Letter From the Editor – Pesach 5781

Hand in hand with hundreds of rabbinical coordinators and rabbinical field representatives, and with immense siyata d’shmaya and a shared goal of unwavering kashrus standards, the Executive Kashrus Vaad is leading the OK ahead to a very bright future.

Letter From the Editor – Chanukah 5781

Now, more than ever, it’s comforting to know that some things never change. We are committed to doing the job at hand and ensuring that the kosher consumer can rely on us for products that are kosher without compromise.

Soul Nutrition – Tishrei 5781

Sukkos is known as Z’man Simchaseinu (the Festival of Joy) because it shows Hashem’s love for the Jewish people. Sitting in the sukkah is akin to getting a hug from Hashem because one is surrounded from all sides by the sukkah.

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5781

Of course, our offices will never be the same without Rabbi Levy, OB”M; his mere presence, even the way he walked down the hall greeting each staff member with a smile, is sorely missed by all of us. We are comforted by keeping his legacy alive and continuing to uphold his high kashrus standards. We are going to be reprinting some of his past articles on kosher in the pages of the Kosher Spirit. It’s reassuring to see that, slowly but surely, the kosher standards that Rabbi Levy wanted to see become mainstream are becoming part of the standards of many reputable agencies.

Letter from the Editor

As the president of OK Kosher, Rabbi Levy set policies, empowered the staff, and personally approved every initial report and setup, yet he never micromanaged. He led by example, never cutting corners, giving it all he had, and being as transparent as possible. He encouraged and expected the same from all the rabbis and staff he hired.

Editor’s Letter – Pesach 5780

At the OK we take our responsibilities very seriously and as long as factories are producing products with the OK symbol on the label you can rest assured that our rabbis will be visiting and monitoring the productions. 

Soul Nutrition – Chanukah 5780

Our Chachomim tell us that the Chanukah menorah is placed by the door or by the window in a way that it lights up the darkness outside. In the Bais Hamikdosh, the menorah gave light as well, and the light of the Bais Hamikdosh spread out to the world.

Letter from the Editor – Chanukah 5780

At the OK we do our introspection and review all of our checks and balances in the month of Elul. This time of year we reserve to look to the future, and as we enter the month of Kislev, we join together with OK rabbis from across the globe for our Annual Mashgiach Conference.

Soul Nutrition – Chanukah 5780

מחק ברחמיך הרבים שטרי חובותינו… On the Yomim Noraim we ask Hashem, in His mercy, to erase all of our spiritual debts. The Roshei Teivos of the tefillah spell out the word בשמחה , because it is only through joy that the decrees …

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5780

Dear Reader,
As I sit at my desk and reflect on the past year, I cannot help but
feel like it has gone by so quickly, while at the same time, it was one of
the slowest moving years of my life.

Soul Nutrition – Tishrei 5780

Within nature, there are positive potentials that can be used for holiness, and undesirable qualities which must be discarded. Differentiating between these two categories is not easy.

Soul Nutrition – Chanukah 5779

To commemorate Chanukah our chachomim instituted the mitzvos of l’hodos u’l’hallel (to give thanks and praise to Hashem) and to commemorate Purim they instituted mitzvos to eat, drink and be merry. Why do we give thanks and praise on Chanukah, …

Dear Reader – Chanukah 5779

The word “Chanukah” comes from the same root as “chinuch”, meaning to teach, train and educate. There are many ways to teach and learn new skills, but the best tried and proven methods include hands on learning and leading by example.

Soul Nutrition – Pesach 5778

The Bread of Afflication The opening line of Maggid is “Hei lachma anya… (The Bread of Affliction eaten by our ancestors…)” The Aramaic phrase “di achalu avhasana” conventionally translated as “eaten by our ancestors” can also be interpreted as meaning, …

Dear Reader – Pesach 5778

Dear Reader, Every year, around Pesach time, I wonder why almost all kosher consumers put in extra effort to ensure that the food they buy and consume has the most reliable kosher supervision. It’s a bit peculiar how, suddenly, most …

Fire & Light

The topic of Chanukah does not have its own tractate in the Talmud, rather it is included in Maseches Shabbos. Why doesn’t Chanukah have its own complete tractate?

Dear Reader – Chanukah 5778

Dear Reader, Chanukah is all about the “kosher spirit” of Yiddishkeit. It is well known that the Greeks didn’t object to the Torah or the mitzvos per se; it was the “kosher spirit”, the G-dliness behind the Torah and mitzvos, …

The Most Opportune Time for Teshuvah

The Gemara, in tractates Brochos and Eruvin, relates that Rabbi Yochonon says that it is better for a person to walk after (behind) a lion then after a woman… Reb Levik Schneerson, the father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, once gave …

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5778

Dear Reader, As Rosh Hashanah rapidly approaches and we start a new year, I struggle to keep track of all that has transpired in the past year. It was a year full of reevaluations, updates, and improvements to our workflow …

Spreading Light

In the Talmud (Shabbos 23:2), it is written: Omar Rav Huna H’rogil b’ner (he who is used to kindling candles …for Chanukah or Shabbos) …will have children that will be Torah Scholars. H’zohir (he who is carful) b’mezuzah …will have a …

Dear Reader- Chanukah 5777

Dear Reader, Today, kosher consumers are more vigilant and scrupulous than ever; they expect the highest standards and immediate answers to their questions. Gone are the days when the kosher consumer blindly relied on the certifying rabbi and organization without …

Soul Nutrition – Chanukah 5777

It’s interesting to note that on Hoshana Raba we change a word in the reading of the Torah portion of the day. On the other days of Sukkos we say “kamishpot” (as prescribed/like the decree) but on Hoshana Raba we …

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5777

Dear Reader, The days of Elul and the Aseres Yemei Teshuva are times designated to make a cheshbon hanefesh, a stock taking of our spiritual accomplishments and the areas which still need improvement. Some things are easy for us to …

Spreading Light

There is a debate as to how one is to light the Chanukah menorah. Beis Shammai says every day one should light one less, beginning with 8 candles and working down to 1 candle. Beis Hillel says every day one should add one more candle, beginning with 1 and working up to 8.

Soul Nutrition – Tishrei 5776

A king sent his son far away to challenge and better himself. The trip was arduous and the challenges formidable. Sadly, the son forgot who he was and even where he came from; he no longer acted or looked like the king’s son.

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5771

“Absolute justice” is something that belongs only to Hashem, because only Hashem knows and appreciates one’s true intentions. When we look back at this passing year and see the gross abuse of power in the “name of justice”, one starts to appreciate emes – absolute justice.

Dear Reader – Pesach 5770

Successful people know
that it’s all in the details.
Pesach is a time when we
all have different detailed minhagim
handed down from
generation to generation (depending
on where your family
originated and the leader of
your community); it seems that
we are all consumed with
seemingly small details, making
sure things are done just so.

Dear Reader – Chanukah 5770

As the month of Kislev is upon us, I can’t help but think about the horrific atrocities that took place in Mumbai and realize that a year has already passed. The kedoshim that were murdered in the Chabad House, solely because they were Jewish

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5770

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.”

Dear Reader – Pesach 5769

The Pesach Haggadah is perhaps the sefer with the most printed versions of the same text. Thousands of versions of the Haggadah, each featuring different commentaries, have been printed over the years, making Haggados a feature in the collections of many seforim enthusiasts.

A day in the Life of rabbi Levy

My Blackberry is vibrating. I get out of bed to see what it is. It’s an e-mail from Rabbi Levy arriving in my inbox. No, it’s not a major kashrus emergency; it is a typical morning for Rabbi Levy – just checking his e-mail and forwarding relevant e-mails to me.

Dear Reader – Chanukah 5769

As we celebrate Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, the bright light of holiness illuminates our dark world. After Hashem created the Heavens and the Earth, the very first thing He said was, “Let there be light.” Hashem created light right away even though He did not place the sun in the sky until the fourth day.

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5769

There’s something special about a new year, a fresh start – like writing on the first page of a new notebook, or the first day of school, starting new and forgetting the old. This newness holds true to every New Year, but how much more so today.

Dear Reader – Spring 5768

In past generations, when a calamity struck the Jewish community, every effort would be made to bury the town’s shaimos in order to arouse Divine Mercy.

Dear Reader – Tishrei 5768

We all know that the shortest way from point A to point B is a straight line. But, in the world of kosher transport there are many twists and turns along the way

Ins and Outs of Eating Out

Navigating the world of restaurant hechsherim is a tricky business, and it can be quite easy to veer off course and get misled by a hechsher that is a “household name.”

Dear Reader – Pesach 5767

Dear Reader,
A rabbi was once asked a peculiar question: “Is it permitted for me to drink milk instead of wine for the Four Cups at the Pesach Seder?”