Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Discussion" with wife about being attacked this morning for Triangle-K blog post.


I had an argument with my wife this morning where I felt that she wasn't playing fair. The conversation started out about the discussions about the Rubashkin hechure where her butcher (a.k.a. pundit) told her that some of the people at Rubashkin were going to jail. I explained to her that there was an issue where Rubashkin hired bochurim to work there who were illegal immigrants, and that they got caught with them. She told me her butcher thought it was a kashrus issue with them, and I told her that the whole Crown Heights community still uses Rubashkin as their primary hechure. I also told her to be careful rumors because there is a lot of evidence that there is corruption among the major hechures where they bully customers and start rumors about other hechures. I gave MealMart as an example where as far as I know, that's a Satmar hechure and they've been known to badmouth Rubashkin, and vice versa based on what happened almost twenty years ago where a bunch of Satmar chassidim beat up a bunch of Lubavichers, and the Satmar Rebbe refused to renounce their actions when the Lubavicher Rebbe confronted him and asked him to renounce it to stop further hatred. As a result, each said not to trust the other's meat. Hence, Lubavichers don't eat Satmar hechures (e.g. I believe MealMart) and Satmars don't eat Lubavich hechures.

Then the conversation moved to Triangle-K. I told her that many of the problems with the hechure might be based on rumors, and that Rav Ralberg has not openly fought against them confirming them or denying them as opposed to Rubashkin who has fought against most rumors that come their way. ...At that point, my wife accused me of not keeping kosher and accusing me of regularly eating Triangle-K, which makes me think that she has been reading my blog, this blog, behind my back. She then went so far as to forbid me from eating triangle-k (as if I eat it just as readily as I eat OU or OK etc.) and said that if I eat potato chips from triangle-K, then she's going to go and eat Little Debbie's. I thought that was not playing fair. Our conversation is below:

(7:51:47 AM) Wife: hello what?
(7:54:51 AM) Zoe Strickman: Tell me the truth, have you been reading my blog?
(7:56:44 AM) Wife: what???? no
(7:56:52 AM) Wife: why what did you write
(7:56:58 AM) Zoe Strickman: do you even know the blog address?
(7:57:06 AM) Wife: no
(7:57:12 AM) Wife: :S
(7:57:36 AM) Zoe Strickman: I thought your comments this morning were unfair and you accused me of things that you shouldn't have.
(7:58:12 AM) Zoe Strickman: I've been very careful to keep our standards of yiddishkeit very high... brb
(7:58:38 AM) Wife: ok good
(7:58:40 AM) Wife: im glad
(7:57:06 AM) Wife: you just said that you eat tringle K after i explained to you that no orthodox person eats that
(7:57:15 AM) Wife: its just a fact
(7:57:33 AM) Wife: anyways im doing something nice for you now
(7:57:33 AM) Zoe Strickman: ok, I'm back. Joanne walked in about the litigation project
(7:57:44 AM) Wife: ok
(7:57:53 AM) Zoe Strickman: anyway, as I was saying...
(8:00:26 AM) Zoe Strickman: I've been very careful to keep our standards of yiddishkeit very high, and that includes things that neither of us kept 100% before the marriage, like cholov yisroel, etc.
(8:01:39 AM) Zoe Strickman: Early in our marriage, we had a conversation where you realized that I thought triangle-K was okay and I was oblivious to the fact that it was not okay because I saw Rabbi Friedman using it (yes, for apple juice) at the time.
(8:02:49 AM) Wife: listen i dont think you are not relgious and if you do do something that you are not suppose to I know it is because you just didnt realize so i was restating to help you realize the extent of how unkosher ppl view it
(8:03:17 AM) Wife: i dont think chas veshalom you dont care or that you are lax
(8:03:27 AM) Zoe Strickman: That's why I asked if you've read my blog lately which I consider to be private...
(8:03:42 AM) Wife: now i want to read it
(8:04:00 AM) Zoe Strickman: You and I had a conversation about triangle-k a few weeks ago which sparked my interest in learning what was the real story with the hechure.
(8:04:31 AM) Zoe Strickman: I put it on my list of things to do, and I did some research and wrote my findings.
(8:05:58 AM) Zoe Strickman: Hence, I found the issues I told you about this morning, namely that they had the reputation of being too small and unable to regularly check the hechures they gave out, and there was also the issue with the non-kosher oil tanker from a number of years ago that caused many to doubt the validity of the hechures.
(8:06:01 AM) Zoe Strickman: hechure.
(8:07:18 AM) Wife: ok
(8:07:23 AM) Zoe Strickman: These were my findings. So in my blog, I wrote that Rav Ralberg should not rely on the stupid fact that he's "a talmid chochom" which in my opinion is idiocy and misnogdishe stupidity, but that like Rubashkin, he should fight against the rumors and should open admit the things he did wrong or fight against them.
(8:07:41 AM) Zoe Strickman: Here's where I felt you fought dirty --->
(8:08:19 AM) Zoe Strickman: This morning you brought up the topic, and I wanted to share my findings about corruption and rumors with you because its an interesting topic in my mind.
(8:08:58 AM) Zoe Strickman: You immediately went from me telling you why I thought that triangle-K might be the victim of rumors to you accusing me of eating non-kosher.
(8:07:47 AM) Wife: well you said you eat it once in a while outside the home
(8:07:52 AM) Zoe Strickman: when did I say that?
(8:07:53 AM) Wife: you said it i didnt accuse you
(8:8:05 AM) Wife: you said you buy chips and stuff
(8:8:16 AM) Zoe Strickman: I said that anyone who eats it SHOULD NOT BRING IT INTO THE HOME.
(8:11:00 AM) Wife: ok anyways i dont feel so hotly about this i apologize for jumping on you incorrectly and jumping to wrong conclutions
(8:11:18 AM) Wife: again i dont doubt you are a relgious caring man
(8:12:32 AM) Zoe Strickman: You should know that I *do* feel hotly about the issue and I DON'T eat triangle-K because my research back in law school, and then my more recent research suggests that triangle-K *MAY* be a victim of rumors, where the rumors won the battle and they were too stupid not to fight against the rumors, unless the rumors were true.
(8:12:55 AM) Zoe Strickman: sorry, I mixed 2 thoughts.
(8:15:04 AM) Zoe Strickman: 1) I don't consider triangle-K as a good hechure and hence I don't eat it. That being said, for full disclosure because I don't lie to you, I have a number of times during our marriage had moments of weakness and I have purchased Sun Chips which are triangle-K, and I felt very bad as I did it.
(8:15:36 AM) Zoe Strickman: but NO, I don't eat triangle-K.
(8:17:35 AM) Zoe Strickman: That being said, WHY I don't eat triangle-K is the hot topic. This is one of the things I do because I am Lubavich and I follow things they say even though I don't understand their reasons... e.g. pas yisroel.
(8:17:56 AM) Zoe Strickman: I honestly don't understand the pas yisroel issue.
(8:17:02 AM) Wife: right but we never took time to understand it
(8:17:06 AM) Zoe Strickman: I know it's a bad example because you and I don't officially keep pas yisroel, but we try as hard as we can to keep it.
(8:17:20 AM) Zoe Strickman: what, pas yisroel?
(8:17:25 AM) Wife: yeah
(8:20:23 AM) Zoe Strickman: I tried. I couldn't figure out why it was a problem, especially when OU and OK and chof-K and all the others give hechures to certain breads that are not pas yisroel and pretty much ALL orthodox jews eat those breads WITHOUT feeling bad.
(8:22:41 AM) Zoe Strickman: ...anyway, this is a totally different topic than triangle-k. My opinion of the hechure is that it POTENTIALLY has issues because of the person giving the hechure and his ego and talmid chochom status. However, that's not the reason I don't eat triangle-k. The reason I don't eat triangle-k is because most of the orthodox world doesn't eat triangle-k, not because it is treif, chos v'sholom.
(8:23:44 AM) Zoe Strickman: Hence, I felt it was unfair of you to immediately twist my words into saying that it is okay to eat it, and that you'll go so far as to eat little debbies which is NOT EVEN CHOLOV YISROEL!
(8:24:04 AM) Zoe Strickman: That's where I felt you fought dirty.
(8:27:22 AM) Wife: ok, im sorry
(8:27:26 AM) Zoe Strickman: ...because if you ask my opinion, I don't think triangle-K food is not kosher as a rule, however there are enough questions not to rely on it, such as why a food company would go for that hechure and not OU if they had the choice. (with those exceptions of moment of weakness which I told you about) I'm just being careful about kashrut and holding to the level we are expected to hold to.
(8:28:22 AM) Zoe Strickman: so as you see, I *am* hot about this topic, just as I am hot about other topics of kashrus that I don't quite understand, even though I do understand the halachas about those topics.
(8:27:20 AM) Zoe Strickman: it's just one of those things about being chassidic versus joe the plummer orthodox that I am not happy about, but I go along with and trust the majority.
(8:32:46 AM) Wife: yes ok i understand
(8:33:07 AM) Wife: i think we analyzed and reanalyzed and spoke to death about the issue
(8:33:37 AM) Zoe Strickman: that's because it's not a hot topic for you.
(8:34:04 AM) Zoe Strickman: anyway, yes, I feel like we talked this issue to death and I need to get back to work.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

do chips need to be bishul yisroel?

Frumpter (at work) said...

The halacha for bishul yisroel as I understand it is: "If the food is the kind of food that would be served at the table of a king, then YES, it has to be bishul yisroel."

The argument of potato chips is -- are potato chips 1) a potato? or are they 2) chips? If they are a potato, then yes, the food has to be bishul yisroel. If they are "chips," a.k.a. a snack, then NO, they do NOT have to be bishul yisroel.

The consensus in my Lubavich circles is consistent. They usually start off saying "while there are two opinions" ...potato chips are likely not the kind of food that would be served at the table of a king. Hence, they likely don't need to be bishul yisroel.

That being said, ask your rav. Mine says they're ok and don't need to be bishul yisroel.

Anonymous said...

So, just to be clear: The issue of bishul Yisrael is important, and being extra-machmir on foods is important, but openly expressing disdain for a "misnogdishe talmid chochom" and spreading lashon hara about him is okay?
And all of this while you obviously know so little that you mis-spell his name every time you use it?
Honestly, you think anyone's having nachas from your behavior?

Yossi

Anonymous said...

Yossi's right
you come off as very naive and ignorant.

Meir B said...

I consider myself very much Orthodox and never knew triangle K was a problem growing up. And even when I heard there was a problem it was always from people who didn't quite know what the problem was.

I still will drink Minute Maid orange juice and other triangle K items without even the slightest guilt feelings. After reading the interview on the blog you linked to, I am even more certain that triangle k is okay. I haven't taken a poll of the Orthodox world but I'm sure I'm not alone.

Ahuva said...

On the east coast, people tend not to eat triangle-k except for foods (like apple juice) that don't need a hechsher.

My understanding is that triangle-k does not check the status of the oil tankers. If you hold that this is an issue, and most of the communities I'm familiar with do, then triangle-k is a problem for foods that require a hechsher. It would be easy enough to call up triangle-k and ask if they check the tankers or not.

As for Rubashkin, the PETA video shows them doing things that are contrary to halacha. Whether or not you want to believe they've cleaned up their act is a different story, but it is DEFINITELY more than a case of hiring illegal workers. Personally, I'm side-stepping the issue entirely and have switched to a local hechsher for my meat; I don't know if you have that possibility or not.

As a side note, do you really want to be IMing your wife on company time if you're worried about losing your job? Why give them extra ammunition if you're worried about them "gathering evidence"

Zoe Strickman said...

It has been many years since I wrote this post, but in the end, I came to the consensus that Triangle-K is not a hechure that the orthodox world eats. Thus, while there was a time when I didn't know better, after this article I never relied on the hechure.