The Tzeilemer Rav’s Fascinating Responsum on Front Line Mashgichim by R. Yair Hoffman


by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

They are the unsung heroes of Kashrus. They are often not given the respect that is due to them. We are discussing the front-line mashgichim, who are there so that the rest of us can eat kosher. They take their responsibilities seriously, and are often looked down upon by the people of whom they interact. Often, they are not understood by them.

Indeed, within their own communities, they are often not so appreciated either. There may not be a minyan where they work and this can cause others to look down upon them.

The following responsum was written by Reb Levi Yitzchok Greenwald, the Tzehlimer Rav. He was the son of Rav Moshe Grunvald, father of the Puppa Chassidic dynasty and author of the famed sefer, the Arugas HaBosem. Let us also remember that a favorite student of Rav Moshe Grunvald, and a person who was uniquely inspired by him was none other than Reb Shraga Feivel Mendelevich. It can be said: No Rav Moshe Grunvald – no infrastructure of Torah in America.

As a parenthetic note, the name “Arugas HaBosem” is from Shir HaShirim (5:13) where Shlomo HaMelech is describing the dveikus Hashem that one should have comparing the dveikus to a bed of spices – Arugas HaBosem. His son, the Tzailemer Rav, named his sefer “Mig’dlos Merkachim” after the same pasuk – wherein the dveikus is described as “growths of aromatic plants.”

But let’s get back to the actual content of the Tzailemer Rav’s fascinating responsum (Mig’dlos Merkachim #27):

The question asked: Is it permitted for a community to hire a Mashgiach to oversee Cholov Yisroel in a village far removed from Jews and, consequently, the Mashgiach will be forced to daven without a minyan?

Rav Greenwald’s response [written, in this author’s estimation, on Erev Rosh haShana, 1959]:

Milk that was milked by a gentile, and no Jew oversees it – is considered treif. In order to save even one Jew from consuming treif – it is permitted to daven one’s entire life without a minyan.. For HaOsek baMitzvah patur min haMitzvah – one who is involved in a Mitzvah is exempt from a Mitzvah. There is no greater Mitzvah than saving a Jew from eating treif and certainly to save a community of a few hundred souls. Therefore, it is an complete obligation for a community to spend sums to hire a Jew there to oversee the milking and the pasteurization process.

The two take home messages?

1] Let us appreciate the front line mashgichim who sacrifice much for the rest of us.

2] Let us appreciate the keeping of the halachos of our Torah tradition and of the takanos of Chazal – chalav yisroel.

It should also be noted that the author of the Divrei Shalom (YD Vol. I #68) took issue with the Tzeilemer Rav’s ruling based upon the notion that we do not tell one person to sin so that a friend with avoid sin. However, Rabbi Boruch Oberlander of Budapest, Hungary writing in the Torah Journal Ohr Yisroel (#46 page 80) distinguishes between actively doing an aveirah and a shaiv v’al taaseh combined with an ones – justifying the Tzeilemer Rav’s ruling.

The author can be reached at [email protected]


  1. The Arugas Habosem was not the father of the Pupa chassidic dynasty.

    He was the the Ruv in Chust, Hungary.

    Her had five sons, one of whom, Yaakov Yechizkiya, became Ruv in Pupa.

    The Arugas Habosem’s oldest son, Yehoshua (Shia), took over in Chust when he passed. But Chust was decimated in in the Holocaust and does not exist today.

    After the war Yaakov Yechizkiya moved to Williamsburg and rebuilt the Pupa Chassidus.

    Would you say that Rav Chananya Yom Tov Teitelbaum, was the father of the Satmar Chassidic Dynasty because his son Reb Yoilish was the Satmar Ruv??

    Additionally, Pupa of today is a far right wing Chassidus in line with the Satmar shitta. The Arugas Habosem was a Hungarian Ruv, far more moderate thay the Pupa chassidim of today, and none of his big talmidim nor his son’s had the hashkafos of today’s Pupa chassidim.

  2. Problem I know of since I worked in Kashrus not only is there no respect; but the pay does not give them enough to live on. It makes them all schnorrers unfortunately

  3. Thank you Rabbi Hoffman for bringing thought provoking articles such as this, to light . In today’s day and age, we all-too-often descend into “frumkeit” as we trample right over the foundations of our Torah. Hopefully, this psak will help our minds refocus on what’s truly important.

  4. I recently heard an Irgun Shurei Torah question and answers with Rav Belsky ztz”l The question was if you should daven beyichdus on a plane if making a minyon may bother other passengers. Rav Belsky compared it to masgichim and specifically mentioned shochtim who do their avodas hakodesh and frequently can’t daven with a miniyon.