April 18, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Many Jewish communities have a Vaad, a rabbinic council that rules on a variety of halachic topics. Does a particular restaurant have a valid and current Teudah (kosher certification)? Ask the Vaad. Does a particular mashgiach have sufficient training and experience? Ask the Vaad. Does the Vaad accept tax-deductible donations? Of course it does. That’s a stupid question.

A Vaad can be an indispensable resource, offering critical guidance and insight on important subjects. That said, not every dispute is Vaad-worthy or even Vaad-appropriate. For this reason, community members should be mindful that there are many issues with which the Vaad should not be burdened or bothered. Discretion is essential so that the Vaad can more effectively address the pressing issues that clearly fall within its wheelhouse. While the Vaad likely is happy to help in all instances, there are limits to its purview and powers.

In case there is any doubt regarding a dispute’s Vaad-worthiness, below are examples of issues that probably should not be submitted to the Vaad:

Your neighbor copies your delicious cholent recipe and then takes all of the credit.

Your wife throws out your precious/peculiar collection of “Schlock Rock” albums signed by founder Lenny Solomon.

Your insensitive dressmaker comments that you have put on a few extra pounds, thus requiring more fabric than usual.

Your conniving dentist self-servingly offers candy in the waiting room with the secret hope that consumption will lead to more cavities and thus more business.

Your tone-deaf chazzan routinely attempts to hit notes that he has no business trying to hit.

Your overly-strict pulpit rabbi, in a super-aggressive attempt to eliminate talking during davening, bans all conversations except those encouraging the extension of his contract.

Your annoying gabbai, as a weekly prank, keeps giving you Hagbah even though you hate it and he knows you hate it.

Your husband hires “Uncle Moishy and his Mitzvah Men” as the entertainment for your daughter’s wedding.

Your sadistic teacher insists on giving exams before teaching the lesson and enjoys surprising students with “pop” in-class term papers.

Your lazy older son hires your gullible younger son to clean the older son’s room and promises payment in the form of “transferable Olam Haba credits.”

Your precocious landscaper shapes your front-yard bushes and shrubs into letters spelling out the word “Farshtunken.”

Your overly-adventurous in-laws book a Pesach vacation in Timbuktu and then ask you to schlep and prepare all of the meals.

Your penny-pinching grandparents throw an epic fit when they found out that you intentionally made a restaurant reservation for a time-slot after the early-bird special.

Many Vaads issue kashrut certifications but that does not mean that a Vaad should offer certifications in other aspects of life. The following are examples of the types of certifications that a Vaad probably should avoid dispensing:

Certification of chocolate rugelach based on whether they contain a sufficient amount of chocolate.

Certification of a blind date based on whether the parties were sufficiently engaged in meaningful conversation without repeatedly checking their phones.

Certification of bar mitzvah candy-throwing based on whether the bar mitzvah boy was pelted in a sufficiently harrowing bombardment.

Certification of a bat mitzvah party based on whether “Coke & Pepsi” was played and whether the game was rigged so that the bat mitzvah girl, no matter how slow or uncoordinated, won the game.

Certification of a Shabbos play-date based on whether the hosting parents were able to complete an uninterrupted epic nap.

Certification of a post-Shabbos kumzitz based on whether the participants partake in a rousing and uber-competitive game of “Zoom, Schwartz, Figliano, No Dice.”

Certification of a rabbi’s Shabbos drasha based on whether it was sufficiently long to almost materially infringe on the time allotted for the post-davening kiddush.

Certification of Shaloch Manos based on whether the theme was sufficiently eye-catching and entertaining without being offensive or inappropriate.

Certification of Chanukah gifts based on whether the recipients cry tears of joy or sadness.

Certification of a Pesach Sheini bash based on whether those celebrating actually know what Pesach Sheini is.

The members of a Vaad normally are chosen based on merit, and not based on their names. That said, a Vaad assembled based entirely on the members’ names would be fun and might look something like this:

Rabbi Solv D. Spute

Rabbi Fayr N. Just

Rabbi P. Ezmaker

Rabbi Wright D. Sishon

Rabbi Bigg Mach Loket

Rabbi I. Noitall

In the interest of completeness, please note that a Vaad is not necessarily the same thing as a Beit Din. A Beit Din is a House of Judgment, which also might describe your parents’ abode whenever you stop by to visit.

Final thought: In Vaad we trust.

By Jon Kranz


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