In the first reference of Daas Torah to the boycott of Angel Bakery, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein said that whoever buys Angel’s products is showing that kavod haTorah is not important to him.
The issue arose in a letter to HaRav Zilberstein by a Chareidi mother whose 11-year-old son is very particular about food. He is used to eating Angel products and every day he takes bread, rugelach and berokas to school and he says he can’t eat baked goods from other companies. The mother wanted Daas Torah on whether she can allow her son to eat Angel products since he simply won’t eat if he doesn’t have the food he likes.
HaRav Zilberstein’s response was published in a monthly booklet published by the Beis Dovid kollel in Holon.
“As is known, there were no orders from Gedolei Yisrael to boycott the company and the Rosh Yeshivah (HaGaon HaRav Edelstein) even gave instructions [to the Yated Neeman] not to relate to that עוכר ישראל and not to respond,” HaRav Zilberstein wrote. “However, after people felt that it was impossible to remain silent about such a thing, to allow those עוכרי ישראל to open their mouths against the yeshivos hakedoshos and then make money off of them – and a protest by those who were pained by it was launched – now whoever buys these products, he’s considered a bit to be separating himself from the tzibur and is showing that the [affront to] kavod haTorah doesn’t hurt him, that [the affront to] kavod Shamayim doesn’t hurt him.”
“Therefore, it can’t be said that it’s forbidden to purchase these products but it can be said that there’s a reason for the protest and whoever doesn’t participate in the protest needs to introspect about why [the affront] to kavod Shamayim doesn’t pain him and why [the affront] to kavod HaTorah doesn’t pain him.”
HaRav Zilberstein then referred specifically to the son’s issue, that he’ll only eat specific food, writing at length about the terrible issues in recent generations of children being spoiled because parents give them whatever their hearts desire, quoting the Steipler, z’tl, as saying that this is the reason for the many mental crises in recent generations.
Rav Zilberstein concluded: “And therefore, the mother should clearly and unequivocally tell her son that Kavod HaTorah is at stake here and we’re not bringing this product into our home and if you don’t want to eat, you are welcome to fast. And the boy will benefit in multiple ways – he’ll receive a lesson in kavod haTorah and will also be more prepared for life.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)