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Every year before Rosh Hashana, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy OBM, prepared a message to OK Kosher’s Rabbinic Coordinators and staff worldwide. Those messages always included uplifting thoughts intended to inspire us in our mission of עבודת הקודש and to describe what he hoped to accomplish in the coming year.

In last year’s message Rabbi Levy wrote: “Everything we do potentially can bring Moshiach. Especially if we follow the [Lubavitcher] Rebbe’s ob’m directive that he always encouraged one to go the extra mile and not to be satisfied with what one did until now. As he instructed we should always make a geometric progression rather than an arithmetic progression. So whatever we were successful in accomplishing last year just means that we still have so much more to accomplish next year. Our accomplishments give us the capabilities to continuing the great accomplishments of last year in a much larger qualitative and quantitative manner.”

His thoughts are especially poignant now and provides us with his clear instructions for going forward. Rabbi Levy’s words will inspire us to maintain and perpetuate his vision and continue his unshakeable standards. As shared in the previous issue, our Vaad HaKashrus, comprised of Rabbi Chaim Fogelman, Rabbi Kalman Weinfeld, Rabbi Sholom Ber Hendel and myself, has been established to bear ultimate responsibility for administering, maintaining and furthering the kashrus standards that govern OK Kosher.

My close relationship with Rabbi Levy had a profound impact on me. With Siyata Dishmaya, OK Kosher will strive to perpetuate Rabbi Levy’s many accomplishments in a geometric progression by leading the way in strengthening kosher supervision standards.

As the Vaad Administrator, I am blessed to work alongside my colleagues on the Vaad, and to have the tremendous support of our New York headquarters and regional affiliate offices in Europe and Israel. Our staff’s widespread expertise and collective years of experience will be the foundation for the Vaad’s work now and in the future. Additionally, OK Kosher has amassed a tremendous record of teshuvos from our esteemed Poskim, which are the basis for all OK certification policies and guidelines.

The upcoming year is the sixth in the shmittah cycle. As a kashrus organization we are preparing to use this year to institute all the requirements that will be necessary during shmittah. Just as sufficient preparation is necessary b’gashmiyus, so too b’ruchniyus we must prepare for this holy time. Shmittah is a year when a Jew devotes his fullest to learning and ruchniyus. Learning was an essential part of Rabbi Levy’s time and focus, as evidenced by the time he spent on his own learning and the many shiurim he gave.

The past year has presented many different challenges for the world and Klal Yisroel. The Torah promises, “וצויתי את ברכתי לכם בשנה השישית”. We are certainly guaranteed that Hashem will bless each and every Yid, wherever he may be, with the power and ability to continue our mission in this world, and bring us closer to the coming of Moshiach.

Wishing everyone a טובה וחתימה כתיבה – a healthy sweet New Year.
Rabbi Shlomo Weinfeld
Administrator, OK Kosher Vaad HaKashrus