Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tosfos-Need for a Mashgiach (Jewish Watchman Over Food)

A Mashgiach is someone that is hired by a kashrus organization that watches over food to make sure it is all kosher. This means that the mashgiach watches so no non-kosher food is mixed into the kosher food and that all the laws of kashrus are followed.

In the top Tosfos in Kiddushin on daf 76A it talks about being able to eat Matza made by a Samaritan. The Gemorah states that it is allowed. However, Tosfos presents the following problem. He says, "It says (in Pirkei DiRebbe Eliezer chapter 38) that anyone who eats the bread of a Samaritan, it is as if they ate pig." This seems to contradict the idea in the Gemorah so how can we reconcile these two ideas?

The Gemorah previously discussed that the Samaritans were a group of people that existed in the northern part of Israel after the ten tribes were removed. The Gemorah discusses that the Samaritans converted to Judaism, but their conversion is questioned. There are differing opinions as to why they converted. Mainly, they converted so that lions would stop attacking them, making them false converts. This is the opinion the Gemorah is dealing with here. The opinion here is that the Samaritans are the same as any other non-Jew, except in the few laws that are known among the Jews that the Samaritans follow. However, these laws they follow do not include kashrus.

With this in mind we can now discuss the answer that Tosfos presents in order to reconcile this problem. He says, " We can answer this question by stating that a Samaritans bread is like pork only when he makes the bread in his own house [seemingly with no one watching]. However, if the Samaritan makes the bread in a Jews house, [seemingly being watched by the Jew], then this bread is completely kosher.

I am not sure, but this might be one of the earliest sources for the possibility of having a mashgiach. Allowing food to be made by a non-Jew is very convenient for the Jews of today. What with all the different certificates of kashrus.

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