It is very hard to imagine the OK without Rabbi Levy at the head.
I vividly recall a call I had, over 10 years ago, with Rabbi Hanoka about a very large client who was not cooperating fully with the OK requirements. Rabbi Hanoka had Rabbi Levy zt”l join the call with me. When Rabbi Levy heard my account as the visiting mashgiach, he immediately responded, without hesitation, “If that is the case, call the client and tell them that if they don’t cooperate immediately, we will drop the hechsher.” I felt reassured by the fact that Rabbi Levy himself fully backed me as the mashgiach.
Over the course of my work at the OK , I had the merit to observe a giant in kashrus, who was extremely focused, with a clear sense of mission, and a great role model to people like me, who were trying to learn the delicate balance between real kashrus standards and good customer service.
As a halachic researcher for the OK , under Rabbi Hanoka, I had the privilege to be in touch with Rabbi Levy on very sensitive issues, related to
halachic policy at the OK. Although he was a Talmid Chacham par excellence, he was always mevatel his opinion to one of the OK Poskim (usually it was Rabbi M.M. Weissmandl shlit”a). Many of these issues would have a major financial impact, yet Rabbi Levy never pressured us to present the question in a way that brought finances into consideration. I even remember times that the posek allowed the OK to be lenient, and Rabbi Levy still wanted to take the more stringent approach.
Recently, I was privileged to dance with Rabbi Levy at his grandson’s wedding. It was so special to see the immense joy radiating off his face as a proud grandfather. In truth, when he danced with me and other OK Kosher staff, I felt that he had such joy from dancing with us. In general, he always greeted us with a smile and was interested in our wellbeing.
I feel very lucky to have worked for Rabbi Levy and I hope to do my part to continue Rabbi Levy’s legacy. I know that when a kashrus issue comes up, I will try to ask myself – would this make Rabbi Levy proud? I owe my gratitude to Rabbi Levy and the Levy Family, may they be blessed, for providing me with a respectable parnassah. May Hashem give strength to Mrs Levy, and the Levy entire family, during this
I daven that Moshiach comes very soon, and that we reunite with Rabbi Levy! Moshiach now!
Rabbi Yosef D. Chanowitz is a Halachic Researcher at OK Kosher Certification