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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Our Kosher Army

Inspired by Galilee This, I'm going to write a little bit about being a religious soldier in the IDF.

Thank G-d, questions of how to be a religious Jew in a Jewish Army in the land of Israel are being asked and dealt with by rabbis for the first time since the Bar Kochba revolt. A whole genre of army halacha books has come about. The books that accompanied me during my service in the army were "Dinei Tzava VeMilchama" by Rabbi Shlomo Min-HaHar and "Hilchot Tzava" by Rabbi Zechariah Ben-Shlomo.

In "Hilchot Tzava"(second edition p. 390), some of the Army's orders concerning kashrut are listed. Like I wrote previously, if all of the orders concerning kashrut were followed, the army kitchens would be just fine. I still remember the signs in the Army's kitchens, "Shmor Al HaKashrut - Bifkudah!" meaning "Guard the laws of kashhrut - and that's an order!" But in practice, knowingly and unknowingly, these orders were trampled upon by the soldiers and commanders who were commanded to uphold them. I hope to blog about some concrete examples in future posts.

5 comments:

rockofgalilee said...

I guess you're always going to have people who do things out of spite. But the people who are ignorant you really have to watch out for.
Is there some sort of a mashgiach system? What rank would the mashgiach have? Obviously, he would have to be of higher rank then anyone who might be messign around in the kitchen.

menachem said...

as far as my experience goes, the official army rules put gader on gader on gader on the chance that anything might actually become treif, and pretty much the only way that could happen was if somebody decided to maliciously make something not-kosher, but that could happen even in a mehadrin minamehadrin place.

other than the occasional milky fork found in the fleishig silbverware, we really didnt too many problems with kashrut.

Cosmic X said...

Rock.

On a decent sized base sometimes there was a reserve duty soldier who was the mashgiach or a regular soldier who was in charge of religious issues(mashaq dat). Sometimes the cook himself was religious.

Menachem,

You are correct regarding the army's orders: very machmir! The problem is that these orders are not always followed. In a mehadrin restaurant, if the rules are not followed the restaurant loses its hechsher(which means that it will go out of business or seek clientele that do not care about kashrut). In the army, a kitchen may be closed temporarily. After all the soldiers have to eat. Someone caught treifing up an army kitchen could face a military court.

Litvshe said...

It used to be that all the Chassidim who went into the army ran the kitchens. At one point all the large/medium sized kitchens in the army were run by Viznitzer chassidim and you could eat off the floor.
Especially when Rav Goren was running the show. Nobody dared treif up a kitchen then. One word and he'd fly to the base in his helicopter and give the base commander a dressing down in public.

Cosmic X said...

"Especially when Rav Goren was running the show. Nobody dared treif up a kitchen then. One word and he'd fly to the base in his helicopter and give the base commander a dressing down in public."

Wow! I wish that things were like that when I served!

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