Sunday, May 18, 2008
From the UOJ Archives - originally published July 20, 2006
There was this restaurant in a very Jewish neighborhood that was owned and run single-handedly by a man with a long beard, and always wore long black clothing and a big black hat even as he stirred the chicken soup.
The entire neighborhood frequented this fleishig (meat) restaurant because they trusted him to serve them kosher food. He certainly looked the part of a religious person; always said baruch Hashem when asked how he was. Everyone was so pleased with this restaurant; it was convenient, well-maintained, housed in a new building, and very upscale. A regular family that was middle-income could not afford to eat there because the prices were very expensive. Yet, everyone wanted to be seen there, and everyone was anxious to tell their friends that they ate there.
So for forty five years people were under the impression that the owner of this restaurant was an upstanding person that they could trust implicitly with kashrus.
One day this person was called to a din Torah for absconding with millions of dollars from his previous employer, and all the proprietary information which was the exclusive property of his previous employer. Not only that, this nice and honest individual used the EXACT same name of his previous employer's restaurant, because his employer's restaurant was considered the finest in New York, was established for fifty years prior, and was frequented by all of the most prominent rabbis.
This restaurant owner, for simplicity purposes, let's call him Lipa. So Lipa hemmed and hawed for years, dragged his feet, delayed and delayed until he could delay no more. Ultimately bais din ruled that he MUST return all the money taken under false pretenses, change the name of his restaurant, and was forbidden to use any and all contacts that he had stolen from his previous employer.
Of course Lipa denied ever doing such terrible things, but in order for him to demonstrate what a nice guy he was, he changed the name of his restaurant. He never returned the stolen money and continued to use ALL the proprietary information that he had stolen from his previous employer. That shrewd devil kept on contacting his previous employer's customer base and insisted that his food was MUCH MORE KOSHER than his previous employer's; in matter of fact that was the reason he left, the food at that restaurant was NOT kosher enough for him.
Time passed and Lipa's restaurant was prospering. Rumors started to surface however that Lipa's employee in charge of the kashrut, was sneaking in non-kosher food into the establishment, because the non-kosher meat was younger and softer, just more pleasant to handle. Let's call this employee Yudi for identification purposes.
Now Yudi used to sneak this non-kosher meat in through the basement when nobody was looking. Yudi loved the excitement of touching this young, tender, non-approved meat.
Since the restaurant was doing so well, Yudi was now in line for a promotion. Yes, Yudi was promoted to handle ALL the youngest of fresh meat and poultry. Lipa was so happy, business was booming.
Now there was a group of people that saw Yudi sneaking in non-kosher meat, so they called the restaurant to bais din. The problem was bais din said the cows and chickens were not reliable witnesses. Moreover a real famous rabbi, you know, like a real life gadol said, that since nobody saw Yudi actually penetrate the cow with his jagged knife, which would render the animal not kosher, the meat must be assumed kosher.
The bais din dismissed without a verdict, rendering Yudi a reliable kosher young meat supervisor. Despite the ugly rumors continuing, Yudi and Lipa were happy as pigs in shit.
But there was one guy in the Jewish neighborhood who knew this was a sham. So he stood on his soapbox on Ocean Parkway and ranted and raved like a lunatic that this bais din was a sham and that Lipa and Yudi were guilty as charged. Everyone dismissed this guy as a nut-case, he just hated rabbis with long beards and black clothing.
Day after day this nut-job pulled out his soapbox and ranted and ranted and ranted......and ranted.............
Then one day people started contacting this crazy and said they saw Yudi sneaking in and touching this forbidden meat. Before you knew it tens of people came forward with exact details how Yudi did this.
A famous attorney - extremely experienced in meat handling illegally, was convinced that the Lipa and Yudi team were guilty as hell. So convinced was he, that he agreed that he would not be paid unless he won the lawsuit. This attorney never lost an improper meat handling case yet.
Dear readers, please comment and tell me if you would trust the kashrus and eat in this restaurant ever again.