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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Boycott Those Who Boycott Us, Take a Shot of Something Else

Due to the banning of Israeli books in  West Dunbartonshire, Scotland libraries, there's a call to boycott Scotch WhiskyJameel of the Mukata has blogged about it.

Scotch Whisky is an expensive item, a popular duty free purchase.  It can easily range from $40-$400 per bottle.

Personally, I can't stand the taste, but other people either love it or the effect on their bodies and minds.  And some just like the idea that the ounce (or ounce plus) in their shot glass is worth a lot of money.

Whisky is a staple, required drink, for many men at Jewish eating events, like a kiddush, or wedding or Bar Mitzvah feast. Bragging about the price paid is part of the "ceremony."  Now, will these traditional Jewish men give up their whisky for the sake of Jewish pride?

15 comments:

Shy Guy said...

Now, will these traditional Jewish men give up their whisky for the sake of Jewish pride?
----------------------------------

As an avid whiskey drinker, let me give you an honest answer.

No.

However, I will burn my kilt.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
Is the stuff even really kosher? What about "hadash"?
The fuss that some otherwise extremely honorable Jews make over their whiskey for and at events is deplorable.

Hadassa said...

P.S. Being as your kilt is probably shatnez, yes, you should burn it immediately.

Shy Guy said...

No, no! Pure polyester.

And it clings!

And before you go accusing anyone of being over an issur of Chadash, read this article.

As for kashrut, consult your rabbi, read articles like this one and be aware that many of us have long ago accepted the opinions of R' Moshe Feinstein z"l.

Batya said...

I always find it interesting re: what people make efforts to prove kosher.

Shy Guy said...

Is that a slight against Rav Feinstein?

I can just as easily say I always find it frightening what people make efforts to be stringent on or rule as forbidden.

Batya said...

It's just priorities, Rav Feinstein had to research to give an answer, because he was being questioned by important people. Maybe I should blog my food coloring story.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
For many months I attended weekly classes given by Rav Moshe Katz, founder of Kosharot. Please note that I ASKED if the whiskey was kosher and ASKED if there was a problem with "hadash". That's what the question marks indicated.
Before I read the articles to which Shy Guy linked and for the benefit of those who don't have the time to read them I would like to make a few points:
The heterim given for "hadash" that were necessary to keep Jews from literally starving are not always applicable today. Some are not applicable in Israel. Some of the heterim that Rav Moshe Feinstein gave were due to the situation at the time and are no longer valid today, anywhere. Some are not valid in Israel. Should we be using heterim for something completely nonessential like whiskey?

Batya said...

Hadassa, I'm with you, but these men are blinded by some emotional addiction to whisky.

Shy Guy said...

Wow, Haddassa. You've just maligned a whole world of Jews who disagree with the opinion you just gave. Congrats!

Hadassa said...

Shalom and shavua tov!
I don't consider questioning the priorities of people who go to long lengths to allow a beverage that is a luxury item maligning. We're not dealing with grain used for bread here.
I couldn't find an article clearly stating Rav Moshe Feinstein's ruling on "hadash", but found many including his ruling of "cholov Yisroel". This is one of them: http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-issues-cholovYisroel.htm . I wonder what Rav Moshe would think about people drinking non-cholov Yisroel today. Is the situation with "hadash" similar? I really would like to read Rav Moshe's ruling on "hadash". Can anyone give a link in either Hebrew or English?
I found a very interesting PDF file dealing with whiskey and sherry casks. Rav Moshe's opinions are included. I'm adding it to the articles to which Shy Guy linked because of the conclusion. The conclusion, Part V, concisely lists the five "kulos", leniencies, that are necessary to allow whiskey aged in sherry casks. Google "Sherry Casks 2.indd", for the PDF file.
With the wide variety of excellent wine and beer produced in Israel, some with all Jewish labor (Arak is a choice if you want something stronger), wouldn't it be better to support our own people, without leniences?

Reb Mordechai said...

Hadassa, I think you may be confused about something. Chadash as far as whisky is concerned is a non issue. The only hashrus issue is whether the casks have previously contained yayin stam. Some distilleries pour their spirits into casks which still contain a few liters of yayin stam.

The isur of Chadash grain is only applicable on eating (or drinking) grain before the next 2nd day Pesach which can be up to 12 months after the grain begins to grow.

Shulchan Aruch (YD 293:2) poskins that we are meikel when it comes to Beer Nochri which might have been brewed with barley less than 12 months old. This hether has nothing to do with starvation!

Whisky however doesn’t even need a hehter as according to United Kingdom law, whisky cannot be bottled until the spirit is at least 3 years old!

Now, what's all this hostility towards Jewish men all about?

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
Reb Mordechai, I wasn't confusing the issues, although I do understand how it may seem that way. The issue of "hadash" and whiskey transformed into two separate issues: leniencies for "hadash", and leniencies for whiskey.
Quote from an article by R. Eli Gersten on the OU site: http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/yoshon1/
"While all agree that the laws of chadash still apply for the grains grown in Israel, there is much discussion whether one may eat chadash from the Diaspora. Historically, it was very difficult for European Jewry to avoid eating chadash wheat. Although the Vilna Gaon wrote very strongly against being lenient even in chutz l’aretz, the minhag among Ashkenazi Jews has certainly been to be lenient."
R. Gersten mentions that it was very difficult to avoid eating chadash wheat. What I learned, and I am trying to find the source, is that not only was it difficult to avoid eating chadash wheat, the Jews risked starvation if they didn't eat chadash wheat.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
One last question:
Does the Y.D. 293:2 apply only to a strong safek? Y.D. 293:1 seems quite strong against eating hadash.

R. Eli Mansour brings this Q and A:
http://www.mishnaberura.com/Default.asp?PageIndex=24&ChelekID=5&SeifID=239&Version=Short
Q: Does the prohibition of Chadash, which forbids eating before the eighteenth of Nissan products made from grain that had taken root since the sixteenth of Nissan of the previous year, apply in the Diaspora?
A: The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 489:10, Y.D. 293:1) rules that this prohibition applies even in the Diaspora, and even to grain owned by gentiles. Although various grounds of justification have been proposed for those who are not careful not to partake of Chadash, a person should be stringent in this regard (Mishna Berura 489:45).

Reb Mordechai said...

Dear Hadassa,

All that you say is 100% true but irrelevant when it comes to whisky.

Yes, Shulchan Aruch paskens that Chadash does apply to produce in Chutz LaAretz and does apply to produce of goyim (although most say that this is DeRabanan).

Rabbanim have been meikel when it was difficult to find Pas Yisroel in the past and they issued hehterim based upon the position that it is an isur DeRabanan and the principle of "Sefek DeRabanon - LeCooler".

The isur is however specific to eating Mezonos foods produced from grains that have a safek that they are less than 12 months old. When it comes to beer, Chazal were always meikel though. (See The Bach amongst others).

As regards Scotch whisky, as I stated earlier, there is no Sheila what so ever as Scotch whisky by legal definition (enforced by British Customs and Excise law) must be at least 3 years old in the cask before it can be bottled.

Therefore, to best of my knowledge, a bottle of whisky cannot possibly be chadash.

Reb Mordechai