Hebrew National Hot Dogs are Really Truly No-Kidding Kosher

Yes. Hebrew National Hot Dogs have been kosher since 1905. And Target sells them!

I have eaten them. But I know some more-kosher-than-thou types who won't partake. Those are the Jewish folk who answer to an even "higher authority" than Hebrew National.

Kenneth Lasson, writing in a Baltimore Jewish Times cover story in 2009, weaves together reportage about the hot dog industry, the kashrut supervision industry and baseball parks to come up with a fascinating fabric of a story, "Hebrew National and Kosher Politics - What’s kosher about answering to a higher authority?".

For years there have been some super-glatt-orthodox who whisper about whether the supervision of Hebrew National was "reliable." Lasson covers this controversy and says for instance,
...As to Triangle K, Rabbi Abadi wrote on the kashrut.org Web site, “Rabbi Ralbag is a G-d-fearing man and if he says it’s kosher, you sure can eat it. I can’t say the same for many of the other labels out there.”...more...
The Talmudic question is of course, can we trust the writing of Kenneth Lasson. Is he reliable? Is he glatt kosher? /repost from 7-9-09/


Anonymous said...

I know several people who work for the company that shechts for Hebrew National and can tell you with a fair amount of authority that the company in question is FAR more interested in making a quota than it is in making certain that the animals are slaughtered kosher. The shochtim who work there do not, themselves, eat the meat that they slaughter. When they want meat for themselves, they do a "special" slaughtering. Yes, part of it has to do with the fact that some of these folks want glatt meat, but it goes far beyond that. I know for a fact, from several sources, that they have:
1) Allowed non-Jewish plant workers to determine that meat combos were kosher.
2) Have pressured shochtim and bodkim to pass questionable meat.
3) Have pressured in-plant mashgichim not to report problems to the main mashgiach when he's visited the plant.
4) Have fired employees who have been "too scrupulous" in making certain that patently unkosher meat is not passed.
5) Have promoted employees as a reward for being complicit in perpetrating this fraud against the Jewish community.
6) Have told employees outright that it was okay to lie.

If refusing to eat meat that has been slaughtered and processed in this manner constitutes being "holier than thou," then so be it.

Yes, indeed, there was a time when Hebrew National did, in fact "answer to a higher authority," but those days are sadly long gone. The company that provides the kosher slaughtering was taken over from the family that founded it - from what I understand, a family that DID care and DID follow reasonable standards of kashrut - and is now in the hands of people who seemingly worship the dollar more than the Creator of the universe.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Don't we just love 'anonymous' comments that report what 'several people' say. In Talmudic terms a claim based on such double doubt has no validity. Indeed, 'so be it.'

ira0 said...

What ever happened to the talmudic rule "safek d'oraita lechumra" (a doubt concerning a biblical law is resolved by taking the stricter point of view)? That should trump your "doubt" (which is certainly not a double doubt.)

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Indeed. Most of the relevant kosher law is derabanan, rabbinic, hence you would decide the doubts leniently.

Anonymous said...

i would refer to rabbi lopatin's old asbi shul in chicago , before he joined the unorthodox 'orthodox' seminary yct, who made a kashrut guide for his non-orthodox educated congretation, trying to be as liberal as can be , COULD NOT allow Hebrew National...

but for ex-orthodox rabbis it shoudl be jsut fine.....