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Le Marais Mashgiach writes Yeshivaworld

The following email was written to YW Editor: In response to the recent allegations in regard to the Kashrus at Le Marais, as the Mashgiach representing the OU I would like to share my position on this issue.I have been employed as a Mashgiach for close to 11 years, I have been at Le Marais for close to 4 years. I have a good relationship with the chef and do not believe that he is the type of person to want to inflict harm – spiritual or physical – on anyone, including Jewish people.  I find him to be a decent man trying to make a living like the rest of us, and he is as shocked at the allegations being raised as I am.  Many of the issues raised also can hurt the chef’s ability to get another job even in a treif restaurant, so it doesn’t make sense that he would have done these things to purposely hurt anyone.
My job as Mashgiach is not to be the Rav HaMachshir, hence my position is to enforce the policies of the Rav HaMachshir and the Kashrus agency. Therefore, whenever I have presumed that there is an issue which has to be addressed I would report it to my superiors at the Kashrus Agency which I was working for at the time. At times my concerns were issues where the RC or Rav HaMachshir did not feel any action has to be taken, and at other times I would take action under the guidelines of the OU  or any other Kashrus certification organization that I worked for.  At Le Marais, the problems of sneaking in treif, mixing milk and meat and placing bugs in the food did not happen.
When an individual comes out in public to undermine his colleagues, superiors, and businesses, great consideration has to be taken regarding the damage and effects which his action can cause.  I am not sure that consideration was given here.  In my situation for instance, if tomorrow, I would have to start pursuing a new job in Kashrus or in any other field it would likely be a great challenge due to the publicity which the blogs and e-mail circulation generated and the way my work and attention has been characterized.
I hope this clarifies my position that I know this chef and know that he is a decent man, and that at all time I make it my priority to enforce the policies and regulations of the Kashrus agency which I am working for, and not to enforce my personal opinions or code of restrictions relating to rules of Kashrus.  Additionally, I believe that I needed to speak out in order to defend myself and my reputation which is being damaged by the erroneous publicity.
All the best,
Chag HaPesach Kosher Vesomeiach

24 Responses

  1. Well written and heartfelt letter. Although who do you believe in a situation like this? It seems like this mashgiach is genuinely trying to defend his kovod. The letter the first mashgiach wrote in was written very harshly and it seemed that he was really out to prove something and did it in a nice so nice kind of way.

    Yeshiva World should have the cook himself write in now. This whole this is disturbing and worrysome but quite entertaining.

  2. the ex-mashgiach claims he has tapes backing up his story – if he has tapes, he should upload them to his blog and let the world hear them.

  3. I truly believe the Mashgiach, and recommend him for not getting flustered and speaking out the truth. Kudos to him!
    And as an afterthought, Le Marais is a great resteraunt!

  4. Md – tapes wouldn’t prove anything; audio bits can be just as false and fictitious as a disgruntled employee’s letter. As several readers have already pointed out, it all boils down to one thing:

    Do you trust the Orthodox Union(OU) or not?

    Let’s throw down some facts here which may help you decide:

    1. The original allegations made by this fellow, as serious as they are, are definitely considered to be Lashon Harah or Motzi Shaim Rah, and should never have been published by the Y.W. editor until truthfully verified by other sources. Love your site,YWE, but for someone who claims to be so careful about such things, you were asleep at the wheel for this one.

    2. The OU is the largest and most recognized kashrus organization in the world, with THOUSANDS of private and corporate accounts,and multi-millions in revenue. They would have nothing to gain and everything to lose by covering up such a high profile incident. If these allegations were ever proven true, the OU’s reputation (and much of their business) would go down the drain.

    3. Therefore, when such allegations are made, the OU has every reason to launch a full-blown investigation to ascertain the true facts. Again, they can’t survive without their reputation.

    4. When kashrus errors or scandals happen,Lo aleynu, the OU has never been gun-shy: They have daily kashrus updates on their web site, many times admitting their own mistakes and mislabeled products.

    So what do you taineh now??

    Wishing all of you a Chag KOSHER V’sameach.

  5. The mashgiach gets paid by the Kashrus organization and the Kashrus organization gets paid by the restaurant. But if the kashrus organization wont trust their mashgichim, then THEY are the ones who are nogea badovo, as they are being paid by the restaurant, so can never be trusted.

    There are hundreds of stories any/every mashgiach can tell, of where kashrus HAS been compromised – usually for the sake of a few bucks. This is not the first time, and unfortunately wont be the last.

    This is surely a dark era for Kashrus.

    I would suggest an independent investigation, but who would be objective? As did the Monsey incident last year, perhaps we need a higher independent Kashrus Vaad who keeps the Kashrus authorities in check – perhaps knowledgeable Mashgichim & Rabbonim who work for various organizations.

  6. Zero Tolerance:

    When there allegations in EVERY newspaper, blogs and websites opened publicly discussing these allegations, and COURT DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC… is NOT Lashon Hara.

    Sorry to give you this bad news……

  7. zero_tolerance Says:

    March 29th, 2007 at 1:35 am

    Md – tapes wouldn’t prove anything;

    Please do not get my point wrong – What I am saying is, if this fellow has all these tape recordings that he claims to have, play them for the public!

    He should have brought them to court with him.

    it is easy to claim proof – written, audio, video, dna… (you get the point) – but to actually produce the proof, that isn’t always as easy.

    my post was directed at the ex-mashgiach telling him basically to put up – or – shut up.

  8. Who knows what or who to believe/trust anymore. As I once heard from big rabbi, when you say by maariv “V’hu Rachum Yichaper Avon” have extra Kavana. Wishing all a Guten Yom Tov.

  9. Y.W. Editor-

    sorry— When “Everyone know it” It is still Loshon Hora-. Just because EVERYYONE Knows it doesn’t make it right!

    How can you pasken based on Goyishe Court Documents and other loshon Hora citings?

    sorry to give YOU the bad news….

  10. TO ZERO ,

  11. YW Editor: Which part of Sefer Chofetz Chaim did you get that from?

    Last I remember is that even if something is widely known, there is no heter to speak about it.

    Maybe you are splitting hairs between loshon horah, motzei shem rah, and rechilis. I stand to be corrected if wrong. Also, I am not discussing the particulars of the restaurant case, but in general (as you made a general statement.)

  12. To zero tolerance: You say that the OU is a multi- million dollar operation and that they have nothing to gain by covering this up etc..
    Remeber Monsey? No one in a million years would have dreamed that the nice man in shul who lains and gives daf yomi would be selling treif meat, but he was! Go figure!
    Reputations are useless.
    At the end of the day, its all about the money. Always was and always will be. Believe it!

  13. YW Editor:

    Just because its all over doesnt mean its not loshon hora.

    Because everyone does something wrong doesnt mean its ok

  14. YW editor
    FrumLogic writes:
    ‘Looks like it was written by OU department as damage control’

    Why is a’chishas’ on OU considered less LH then the credibility of the first Mashgiach as I pointed out in my post which was omitted?

  15. YWE I regularly ask people to state their sources and this is no exception. Just because something is all over the place does not make everything permissible. C”C l”h2:10 clearly says not to rely on this at all as although the Rambam permits in such a case it is unclear that the halacha is like his opinion or those who disagree. Even according to him it is only permitted derech akrai and not when said in order to further publicize it. There are those who say that even then it can only be said if it came up as an aside to something he was saying already and not when only saying this (2:3). It could possibly be permitted as having been said litoeles (assuming that this was the intention). This is only so if we consider this publicity to have been seen first hand. (This is with the assumption that it is done lshem shomayim.) I only see this as a possibility since I am as of now unsure how to deal with this in regard to ed echad neman bi’isurim. My safek is based on Avnei Nezer Ch”M 40 and beyond the scope of this post. There also is a difference between what was written about the chef and the OU.

  16. To all critcizers of YW…
    Firstly let us state the restuarant owner is a goy so there is no motzi shem rah re: the restaurant.
    Secondly, re: the OU – If they hire a mashgiach , they should check him out first to make sure that he is 100% good so to speak. If he passes their litmus test then they should rely on his information 100%. If for any reason the mashgiach believes that kashrut is being compromised and he FIRST brings it to the OUs attn, which he DID, and they still dont respond and take care of the problem then he has a CHIYUB to bring it to the publics attn. It is not motzi shem rah. If he is lying its a great sin on his part. However, dont start telling us its motzi shem rah and lashon hara – if an establishment is unkosher and you want to eat there all the power to you , but I surely dont.

  17. This thread is being closed.

    YW has consulted with TWO different Rabbonim, one Rosh Yeshiva, and another Choshuver Talmid Chochom.

    All of them concluded that it is NOT Lashon Hara.

    People SHOULD be informed so they can decide if they want to eat there or not.

    YW posted the story from the beginning by printing what the Mashgiach in question had to say, and then the OU’s response.

    People can take that information and discuss it with their local Rov.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Chag KOSHER V’sameyach!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    YW Editor.

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