Cholov Stam

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    Chalav Yisroel is not an ends in and of itself. It is a means to the end of ensuring that the milk is from a cow (or another kosher animal, as it were). The question is if Chalav Stam is halachically considered reliably cows milk, not if it is considered CY.


    Rav Moshe’s heter is that it is possible that American milk is not cholov stam but cholov yisroel. If you hold that it is permitted, you don’t need a heter. CY is not a chumrah, it is a l’chatchilah, and there is a big difference.

    The Gezeirah was that a Jew has to supervise the milk, not that you have to have some kind of insurance that it is Kosher. Rav Moshe’s heter – however far one takes it – is to interpret the Gezeirah that any kind of insurance is sufficient to fulfill Chazal’s gezeirah, which would make American milk cholov yisroel. But that itself is a matter of interpretation. If the Gezeirah was simply that you need a Jew supervising the milk, then even Rav Moshe would concede that even if you have reason to be comfortable that the milk is kosher, you still did not fulfill the gezeirah. In addition, even if you will accept Rav Moshe’s interpretation that the gezeirah is only that you need insurance not specifically Jewish supervision, who says that the laws are sufficient insurance that would satisfy Chazal? If the legal penalty for violaitng the government’s milk laws is a fine, but the company will make more profit by violating the law, then how do we know that law is insurance? Very very often stores violate the Kosher Consumer laws. They put treif meat in the Kosher section etc, and they get fines that do not deter them from being repeat offenders. Then there is the question as to who says the laws are being honestly enforced? As a certain godol said about the heter of the inspectors: “You give me two hundred dollars and I’ll give you four inspectors.” What halachic basis is there to believe the inspectors are doing their jobs, being that Akum have no ne’emanus halachicly?



    That is essentially the difference between the FDA and the USDA.


    volvie –

    One can argue that the fact remains that the stam store-owner is afraid to violate the law, and even if you find exceptions to the rule, halachically you don’t have to worry about it because in halacha we never say you need to be absolutely sure, only reasonably sure, especially with an issur d’rabbanan, and that much we are.

    Also, please clarify that which you say c.y. is not a chumra but rather a lechatchila, because in this case there should be no difference.


    So if there is no difference, isn’t that like saying those who keep only cholov Yisroael, are “going overboard” with being “to machmir”?


    The fact that something is a chumra doesn’t mean that by keeping it one is being “too machmir”. If one’s rav holds it’s proper to be machmir, than one should be machmir, and if not not. There are plenty of things we keep which are only chumros. The important thing is that even when it is proper to be machmir you know that it is only a chumra and not the ikkar hadin.


    What if someone does not have a particular rav that they follow, they did not grow up frum, and they move from town to town for example, over the course of their lives.


    They need to find a rav they can trust and rely on him. Otherwise they will have to pasken everything for themselves, and if they are not qualified to do that they will have a hard time following halacha properly.


    But will they have a hard time following (or not following) chumras, properly?


    volvie – “In addition, even if you will accept Rav Moshe’s interpretation that the gezeirah is only that you need insurance not specifically Jewish supervision, who says that the laws are sufficient insurance that would satisfy Chazal?”

    Who says,.. Who Says? Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Posek Hador says.


    Did Rav Feinstein really say in those exact words; That the laws are sufficient insurance to even though there probably have been cases of milk producers putting in pigs milk to increrase production, that the laws were nevertheless enough to guarantee kashrus and thus that there was no difference halachichly speaking, between Cholov Stam and Cholov Yisroael?


    There is no milk produced in the US from non-kosher animals, period. Almost all is from cows but a small fraction comes from sheep or goats. So there is zero chance that your C.S. milk will be from a non-kosher animal if it is from the US.


    You mean there is no milk produced from non Kosher animals LEGALLY.

    You cannot …..PROVE…. Every milk producer, follows the law.



    There is no need for “proof”. Halacha, that is issur v’heter never requires proof, only reasonable assumptions. We follow rov and chazaka even though we know for a fact that there are exceptions to the rule, because the Torah says we aren’t responsible to clarify the matter more than that.

    You ask if someone who follows a rav will have an easier time keeping chumras properly than one who does not. The answer is that if you have rav who really knows halacha and understands you and your strengths and weaknesses he will not tell you to keep a chumra that is to hard for you. Finding a real rav with those qualifications takes work, but it is certainly worth the effort. Otherwise, if you aren’t qualified to make halachic decisions yourself, you’re like a blind man groping in the dark, and you are likely to make many mistakes. Just like if you wanted to build your muscles it would make sense to hire a personal trainer, especially if you don’t know much about working out; similarly if you want to build your observance properly you’ll want to get a rav who can guide you how to do it right.


    “One can argue that the fact remains that the stam store-owner is afraid to violate the law, and even if you find exceptions to the rule, halachically you don’t have to worry about it because in halacha we never say you need to be absolutely sure, only reasonably sure, especially with an issur d’rabbanan, and that much we are.”

    yitayningwut –

    Being that Akum have no ne’emanus halachicly, on what halachic basis can you assume “reasonably sure” is sufficient?

    “Who Says? Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Posek Hador says.”

    cherrybim –

    Rav Bick ZTL, Rav Henkin ZTL and others all disagreed with Rav Moshe on many occasion, and they were entitled. But unless you are qualified to agree with one psak over another, and in the base sense of a prevailing halachic behavior in your family or community, you should follow whoever is the bigger posek (or poskim), and that often would mean Rav Moshe. However, that having been said, there is no such Halachic status as “Posek Hador”. Rav Moshe ZTL was great beyond great, but there is no reason to consider his psakim more authoratative than let’s say Rav Aharon Kotler or the Chazon Ish. There would be no reason, let’s say, to follow Rav Moshe’s shiurim for the Pesach seder than those of the Chazon Ish. In fact, Roshei Yeshiva and Poskim, such as Rav Hutner, Rav Eli Meyer Bloch of Telz, the Debreciner Rav, the Chelkas Yaakov and others, sided with the Satmar Rebbe over Rav Moshe regarding the obligatory size of a mechitzah in a shul, and/or the permissibility of artificial insemination, which were the two big disagreements that those Gedoim had in halachah. It was indeed Rav Hutner who approached the Satmar Rav asking him to write a refutation to Rav Moshe’s psak about the Mechitzos. You will not find the phrse “posek hador” anywhere in any meaningful way. The Tzitz Eliezer uses it all over the place in his titles, and, I believe, either the Teshuvos Maharshal writes it among the titles to the Ramah, or the Teshuvos Ramah about the Maharshal. But in any case, the title connotes no halachic status.

    Unfortunately, many of those who use Rav Moshe’s psakim do so only when he is maikel. He permitted Cholov Stam (only b’shas hadchak – though they don’t pay attention to that part of the psak); he lowered the height of the Mechitzos — psakim such as these made life much easier for the Modern Orthodox, and even the out-of-town Orthodox communities. They believe they need Rav Moshe’s psakim to facilitate their mission as Modern Orthodox rabbis, or to be able to cater to the not-so-frum and do Kiruv. That is not a bad thing. A psak is a psak. However, when the same Rav Moshe prohibits Shabbos clocks (in most cases), or prohibits going to college, or paskens unequivocally that boys are prohibited m’doraisa to be “just friends” with girls, the same rabbonim with “Rav Moshe’s mechotzos” and cholov stam suddenly rely on “other poskim” (though in the case of boys being friends with girls, there are no poskim of anywhere near that stature who disagree with Rav Moshe). Part of it is due, too, to the fact that, at least in America, the other two personalities who were considered Gedolei Hador of that caliber were Rav Aharon Kotler and the Satmar Rav ZTL. Because of Rav Aharon’s stance on college and secularism in general, and the Satmar Rav’s stance on Zionism, there was no way in the world that those two Torah giants were going to be considered authoratative in what constituted the Orthodox community in America in those days. Instead, Rav Aharon was largley ignored, as it was predicted the followers of his hashkafa would become “mere tourist attractions” (thats a quote from Rav Y.B. Soloveichik in his “Five Addresses” about who he refers to as “separatist Orthodox”. Rav Aharon was the leader of that Hashkafa), and the Satmar Rav was passed off as extreme by these people. In other words, it was “safe” for people to accept Rav Moshe and ONLY Rav Moshe because once you accept someone’s psakim in hilchos shabbos and kashrus, for example, you are forced to at least think about considering the fact that their stance against college or Zionism comes with as least as much authority. Of course, Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT”L deserved all the honor and respect that he received. He was a Gaon among Geonim and a Tzadik among Tzadikim, and one of the great Halachic authorities of our times. Thats not the issue. The issue is the fact that people pick and choose which Gaon-among-Geonim to follow when and because it is comfortable for them to do so.

    The Gedolim in the days of the Shulchan Aruch and shortly thereafter have agreed to accept the psakim of the mechaber (and the Rema) as authoritative. The Shach writes that one cannot even claim “kim li” against a psak of the Shulchan Aruch. This is akin to accepting someone as your “Rebbi”, where you follow his psakim. This is the same thing that happened when, let’s say, Klal Yisroel decided that the period of Chazal has ended after the 7th generation of Amorayim (Mar Zutra, Mar bar Rav Ashi, etc), and nobody from here on in can add to the Gemora. There was no “halachah lmoshe misinai” that told us that the Gemora was sealed; it was the accepted reality told to us by our Gedolim. The same thing applies to accepting the Shulchan Aruch and Rema.


    A Couple of points:

    1: An open container of milk, even if the container is from a CY brand, if not watched by a Ne’eman, is very questionable if it continues to be “Chalav Yisroel”.

    2: To volvie’s point of only holding by One posek: Rav Moshe Wolfson is known to disagree, but I have heard this argument from others as well. Even if you are correct (questionable), if your Rav Paskens like one in one example and one in the other, you should follow your Rav (and he has the right to do his own research and decide to whom he is Noyte).

    3: Proof is not the issue. You don’t need proof, you have Rov (Think Teisha Mochrim Basar Kasher). The only question is does the milk fulfill the Gezairah of the Rabbanon to only drink milk that requires a Yid watching the milking (which has nothing to do with Rov).

    4: This ignores the issue of surgical Traifos.

    (Disclosure: I strongly believe in CY, even though it really is inferior to “Chalov HaCompanies”, as others point out)


    Bottom line is: If your Rav allows to drink chalov stam; you can. If he doesn’t; don’t.


    To those who are concerned that US dairy farmers may be skirting the laws and slipping in some pigs milk:

    It is not only that they are forbidden by law, it is also nearly impossible to pull off from a logistical point of view. If you want to worry about something, you can worry about all the goyishe workers in the kosher restaurants you patronize. Despite having multiple reliable hashgochos and a mashgiach t’middi, it is much more likely that something gets slipped in there. Visit a dairy farm, then visit a restaurant kitchen, and rest your own case.


    cherrybim – “Bottom line is: If your Rav allows to drink chalov stam; you can. If he doesn’t; don’t.”

    This is not what I posted nor exactly what I had in mind; but it’s close enough. Thanks mods.

    I’m pretty sure no one changed your wording. Go ahead and restate it.


    But what’s even worse are the catering/take out establishments; once the food leaves the place, no one is in charge…both in terms of kashrus and also chillul Shabbos. I am in a position to know and can back this up with numerous first hand observations. Hashgacha/mashgiach makes little difference. I don’t know if it’s the same out of New York.

    Cholov Yisroel versus Stam is the least of our problems but the easiest to criticize.


    Mod – “I’m pretty sure no one changed your wording. Go ahead and restate it.”

    Actually, it was changed, but I don’t want to get into that now nor am I going to restate. This topic has been discussed in depth previously in the CR.

    But the big thing today is perceptions. Many products don’t need hashgacha, but once you have a hashgacha on a product; ipso facto the same product without hashgacha is considered treif in the consumer world, but not in the hashgacha world. There are people who will only use heimeshe hashgachos and put down the OU as not being a good hashgacha. But heimeshe hashgachos do rely on the OU for many of their hashgachas.

    Feif Un

    Volvie, R’ Moshe never wrote a universal teshuva where he said it’s only b’shas hadchak. That wording was in a letter to a yeshiva, which was one specific case. It does not apply to the general public. In the Igros Moshe, it says nothing about only b’shas hadchak.


    feifun, he meant only beshas hadchak

    Feif Un

    Here’s the teshuva (Igros Moshe YD 1:53):

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    There are 2 more teshuvos. I’ll try to post them. This one says clearly that it’s completely muttar.



    We aren’t relying on the non-Jew’s nemanus. We are relying on what is reasonable to assume. There is no need for eidus, so nemanus is irrelevant. This is commonplace in halacha.

    That which you and others claim that R’ Moshe’s psak was only b’shaas hadchak is something both of his own sons, R’ Dovid and R’ Reuven disagree with. They both hold, besheim their father, that c.s. is lechatchila.


    And btw, R’ Aharon Kotler held c.s. was not just b’shas hadchak too.


    Re: b’shas hadchak, besides the Igros Moshe YD:5 see Rav Moshe’s letter to Rav Weinfeld from Monsey (the letter is printed in “Hilchos Kashrus” by Rabbi B. Forst of Far Rockaway) where he explained what he meant with his “heter” for cholov stam. Rav Moshe wrote that even though there are rationales for saying that nowadays all dairy processed under government supervision has the status of cholov yisroel, it is still not proper to drink milk except under Jewish supervision, even if it is a bit more expensive or difficult to acquire.


    B’shas Hadchak means if you want to put milk in your coffee and there is only Clolov Stam on the table, so you can use C.S.; or if you want a Hershey Bar and there are only C.S. Hershey Bars, so B’shas Hadchak you can eat the C.S. Hershey Bar. Or if you are shopping at the A&P and they only have C.S. products and not C.Y. so B’shas Hadchak you can buy the C.S.

    But, if when you want milk in your coffee and there are both C.S. and C.Y. milk on the table, you should use the C.Y.



    The fact is that R’ Moshe’s sons say he held it was fine, even lechatchila. You can ask them and that’s what they’ll tell you. And I’m sure even you will agree that they have nemanus…

    Feif Un

    volvie, that letter was meant for a yeshiva that had only been using cholov yisrael milk for years, and was thinking of switching to cholov stam. R’ Moshe’s letter to them said only b’shas hadchak. That is clearly not the everyday case that applies to everyone. Additionally, it’s been said by many poskim in E”Y now that a psak should only be followed by the general public when it’s written down as a teshuva, and a psak directed at a specific person or group applies only to that person/group. Therefore, R’ Moshe’s letter does not apply to the general public, it only applied to that yeshiva.

    The OU also has an article about this. R’ Belsky gives a psak that allows cholov stam for a different reason than R’ Moshe did. You can read it on the OU website:


    About restaurants, there are big problems even besides kashrus.

    It could be Pikuach Nefesh becauise many of these workers come from outside the country and bring in all kinds of diseases like T.B. and Hep A, and B, and C, and Leprosy (not Tzaras like mentioned in Torah, but a far more insidious version that may not be curable and causes limbs to wither away and literally fall off).

    All these diseases are on the rise because of who works in restaurants and what they bring in with them.


    There seems to be a few issues that have not been addressed. Firstly, what exactly IS a chumra? When is one allowed to be machmir, and when is it assur to be machmir?

    What does when do when he does not have a rov to consult for psak?

    And lastly, how can Reb Moshe Zatzuk”l say that Cholov Stam is halachically permitted – i.e. 100% ok, while simultaneously recommending that a baal nefesh be machmir?

    I’ll leave it to my fellow CR members to address these issues.


    Ich Vais Shoin Alles –

    A chumra is a geder that chazal did not require us to make.

    One is allowed, and should be machmir, when he knows that this chumra will be healthy for his growth in halacha and will not stifle him or other people in this or other areas. One has to know him/herself very well to make such a judgment.

    A rav is not merely someone you consult for psak. A rav is someone who from his end knows you and your capabilities, and has the capacity and the qualifications to make sound judgments about how you should be living your life. From your end he is someone who you trust as such, and you consult him whenever you are unsure about any matter that concerned your yiddishkeit. That being said, if you don’t have a rav you are like a blind man groping in the dark. Find one, even if it takes a lot of work, because unless you are qualified yourself it’s the only way to do it right.

    Saying a ba’al nefesh should be machmir means that halachically there’s nothing wrong, and most people are not holding by making themselves this geder that the halacha does not require, but a ba’al nefesh is holding there and therefore should.

    Shoin du vaist alles…


    CY is a l’chatchila, not a chumra.


    No it is not. I don’t know how much you know, but from what I know l’chatchila is a completely irrelevant term here, and if you want to make such a statement please explain it.


    On what basis do you deny it is a l’chatchila? How did you differentiate between a l’chatchila and chumra, and why do you maintain in the case of CY it is not a l’chatchila?


    CY is normally a l’chatchila, but in America it’s a chumra since CS in America is c’mo CY.


    Assuming that’s correct that CY is really a l’chatchila – but becomes a chumra in America… What about Belgium? France? Other countries?


    qa – Good question. What do the poskim of Europe hold concerning Chalav Stam? It may be on a product by product basis rather than a general p’sak.


    And, furthermore, if someone’s posek doesn’t hold like Rav Moshe’s heter for CS, for him CY is a l’chatchila even in America according to your explanation.


    Yes, but the vast majority of posekim do not say that says CS in America is treif.


    Well, if the majority of poskim hold CS is a b’dieved, than that still doesn’t make CS treif…


    to be continued…good shabbos.


    Chumra is any stringency that goes beyond the letter of the law.

    The ‘organic’ term lechatchila has no place here. l’chatchila means you shouldn’t do it but if you do it it works, for example, l’chatchila you shouldn’t write x in a shtar but b’dieved if you did it it still works. How is that noge’a to c.s.? l’chatchila you shouldn’t eat it but b’dieved you still ate it? It doesn’t make sense.

    It happens to be that the term l’chatchila evolved and now every chumra people call l’chatchila. But in truth we’re dealing with a chumra, and the term l’chatchila is irrelevant.


    It makes sense if you present it correctly. “L’chatchila you shouldn’t eat CS, but if you ate it already b’dieved you were not over a lav.”

    And I beg to differ with your closing. Au contraire. In fact, it happens to be that the term chumra evolved and now every l’chatchila people call a chumra.


    At most it’s an issur d’rabbanan, so obviously you weren’t over a lav b’dieved. According to you, why use the term l’chatchila? Just say it’s assur mid’rabbanan.


    Besides, the terms l’chatchila and b’dieved are never used in that context. As I said, they are employed when there is more than one way to reach a certain outcome, we can say that one is l’chatchila and one is b’dieved. The terms are really not relevant here.


    Cholov Yisroel is a gezeira from the Gemorah.


    Seems like there is a bit of confusion here.

    The Gemara does not invent a new heter of cholov yisroel. It simply forbids chalav akum. Thus, anything which does not fall in that category, such as CY and, as Reb Moshe held, Chalav Stam is permitted medina d’gemara. This is because we can rely on the companies and the supervising agencies to ensure that the milk is from cows.

    Reb Moshe writes that although Chalav Stam is not chalav akum, and thus 100% mutar, there is still room for one who is a baal nefesh to be machmir and require a Jew to supervise the milking. This cannot be due to the unreliability of the companies and the supervising government agencies, for then Reb Moshe could not have permitted it. It is safe to conclude that relying on these parties is a 100% valid fulfillment of Chazal’s guidelines. The reason for this possible chumra, which again is only for ‘baalei nefesh’ (not those who want to be baalei nefesh) must be in order to actually be proactive in making your milk kosher, and not becoming kosher by default.

    Now, if one actually has a rav that he/she consults on a regular basis, there would be no need for them to guide their life based on postings in the CR. So the audience here looking for guidance must be from the majority of people that pasken their own shailos and rely on the ever popular Reb Alle (alle teeyen azoy, alle feerin azoy, etc.). Being that the question here is one of a d’rabannan, and there are those that permit and those that prohibit, one may rely on the more lenient opinion based on the rule that safek d’rabanna lekula.

    One who has a rav, and was told that CS is permitted is otherwise, must follow the psak that they received.

    For one to decide that he is enough of a baal nefesh to be machmir on Reb Moshe’s chumra, he must do some serious self analysis whether he is being truthful and honest with yourself.

    One final point. Despite the abundance of Cholov Yisroel, the current price of a gallon of CS milk is approximately half that of Cholov Yisroel. So what Reb Moshe wrote to the school that it is worthwhile to teach the students a concept of being machmir, since the price difference is only very slight – seemingly does not apply to today’s market prices.

    Now, let me get back to my white milk chocolate KitKats…..


    To rely on government regulation rather than a Jewish eyewitness (as described in the Gemorah) is a “heter”.

    According to Reb Moshe, one must determine if they are a baalei nefesh before eating non-CY. If they are not a baalei nefesh they can eat non-CY; if they are a baalei nefesh, Reb Moshe tells them to not eat non-CY.

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