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Groundbreaking Letter by Rav Feinstein Restricts Cholov Stam

An unknown handwritten letter by the great halachic posek, Rav Moshe Feinstein OBM clarifies called his permission to eat Cholov Stam, calling it a "leniency" that should not be relied upon by those who are living "where real Cholov Yisroel is available." Full Story

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February 17, 2020 9:42 pm

It should be known although he did give a heter he once was by a bris and after he ate something he was told that it might have not been cholov yisroel he went outside and threw up even though he permitted it it was a heter bshas hadchak only

Reply to  Dude
February 17, 2020 10:23 pm

The authenticity of this story is disputed by his family. However, this letter is not ‘groundbreaking’ as his opinion as not to rely on his heter when possible was well known, and is written as such in his Teshuva in Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah I, as well as other published letters which appeared in his lifetime. There were earlier poskim who were more lenient than he was as noted in the Teshuva

Cholov Stam vs cholov akum
February 17, 2020 9:44 pm

They are not the same thing as this article purports them to be

Ur wrong
Reply to  Cholov Stam vs cholov akum
February 18, 2020 5:58 pm

The teshuva creates a new concept called chalav Stam. If u disagree with the teshuva then chalav Stam is the same as chalav akum

Reply to  Ur wrong
February 19, 2020 7:52 am

Who invented this name “cholov stam”??
It is not mentioned in the Shulchan aruch or poskim .

Heter Iska? Pruzbul? Kaparos?
Reply to  Stam?
February 19, 2020 6:28 pm

Who invented things like Heter Iska, Pruzbul, Kaparos, Issur Chashmal, etc.?
Who invented the concept that halachic innovation stopped with the Shulchan Aruch? The Shulchan Aruch certainly doesn’t say it anywhere, so anyone else who said it would themselves be violating the principal.

"Ur Wrong" is Wrong
Reply to  Ur wrong
February 24, 2020 10:44 pm

Have you actually read any of the 3 teshuvot? I have. Multiple times. Rav Moshe never used the term Chalav Stam. He used the “chalav ha-companies”, but said it is halakhically equivalent to chalav yisrael since it is “watched” by the FDA for us Jews. He also said to be strict and have milk “watched by a Jew”, but according to Rav Moshe both ‘Chalav Stam’ and milk “watched by a Jew” are Chalav Yisrael. Also, not everyone who allowed regular milk agreed with the reasoning of Rav Moshe. As can be seen within Rav Moshe’s teshuva, many, many Rabbanim… Read more »

There's no such thing
Reply to  Cholov Stam vs cholov akum
February 19, 2020 1:13 am

Its either Cholov Yisroel or its not. How could there be something in the middle??

Cholov Yisroel Historical Context
Reply to  Cholov Stam vs cholov akum
February 19, 2020 9:32 am

When Cholov Yisroel was starting to commercialize here in NYC, Gangster tactics were common. Many Jewish stores keepers were threatened with violence and property damage if they didn’t stock these products (including some Glat-Kosher products). In my opinion, these common extortion tactics, played an important role in Rab. Moishe leniency.

Nothing new here....
February 17, 2020 10:34 pm

Reb Moshe kind of says the same thing with similar qualifications in his Igros. Not exactly groundbreaking. I do believe though this letter is good as an additional warning for folks who have given themselves a pass on this serious issue. Especially we (those) who have been exposed to Chassidus and have learned the effect it has on the body and soul.

February 17, 2020 10:55 pm

It would be interesting to know why R Hoffman never published this letter

why R Hoffman never published this letter
Reply to  Abe
February 19, 2020 10:51 am

he was threatened by the OU not to publish it….

Reply to  why R Hoffman never published this letter
February 19, 2020 6:30 pm

[citation needed]

Why the letter wasn't and shouldn't be published
Reply to  why R Hoffman never published this letter
February 19, 2020 10:13 pm

The letter is of a personal shaila about a public institution, and doesnt prove anything new. The letter states that a hospital or a facility should have chalav yisroel options for those that are makpid.

Reply to  Abe
February 24, 2020 7:16 pm

For sure he published, but they always make sure to vote it down…

Ma Rabbi
February 17, 2020 11:15 pm

I learned in Rav Moshe’s Yeshiva Tiferes Yerushalaim from 1972-74 and can tell you for a fact that all the milk and dairy products served were only
cholov yisroel. Likewise, in his home they only used cholov yisroel.

In his home?
Reply to  Ma Rabbi
February 18, 2020 3:01 am

You might wish to acquaint yourself with the testimony of his son in law and sons. It’s widely available. Reb Moshe was certainly Machmir on himself.

The elephant in the room is the prevalence of cows in parts of America which have a puncture due to their feed type and whether this is still a Miut Sheaino Motzooy. I know of Poskim who have no cows milk because of this

Reply to  Ma Rabbi
February 18, 2020 7:29 am

This isn’t true. His family used chalav Stam at home.

Ma Rabbi
Reply to  Inaccurate
February 18, 2020 8:59 am

Were you in his home?
I was and saw that they used cholov yisroel.

Shluchim near Litvishe community
February 18, 2020 12:05 am

Thank you very much for publishing that letter.It will help us a lot to show many people who bring an excuse, that apparently,
Rabbi Feinstein gave permission to drink chalav akum.

the rebbe said
February 18, 2020 2:39 am

I heard that the rebbe said that drinking cholov stam weakens a person’s emuna in HaShem.
anyone else know from this?

Agendas are unnecessary
February 18, 2020 7:58 am

R‘ Moshe writes extensively about his position on milk in America in Igros Moshe. A private letter to a specific person that he did not include in Igros Moshe doesn’t change any of that. There is a mistaken perception in Chabad that Reb Moshe only allowed chalav stam bshas hadchak etc. His clearly explained position is that chalav Stam is completely kosher, l’chatchila, as the halachic requirements for the milk to be kosher *are satisified* without a mashgiach (“Anan Sahadi”). Not the gezeirah doesn’t apply to American milk, but that the gezeirah does apply and is satisfied without a mashgiach.… Read more »

Reply to  Agendas are unnecessary
February 18, 2020 9:25 am

Just like you could say smoking is against halacha in harming oneself – there is no Psak against it because people won’t follow it. Same here, there is a precedent for them to not eat cholov yisroel and that is their standard. By trying to come and shtech them will not help at all.

Response to "Agendas are Unnecessary"
Reply to  Agendas are unnecessary
February 18, 2020 10:15 am

The author of this response misrepresents the content of this letter from the Igros Moshe. It is not a private letter to a private person (it is not addressed to any individual). Rather it is a public policy statement given to an Askan to publicize. The letter states clearly and unequivocally that the Heter for what people call “Cholov Stam” in Igros Moshe DOES NOT APPLY IN NEW YORK OR ANY PLACE WHERE REAL CHOLOV YISROEL IS AVAILABLE (which nowadays is most places). The letter states clearly that anyone living where real Cholov Yisroel is available MUST be machmir and… Read more »

Reply to  Response to "Agendas are Unnecessary"
February 18, 2020 2:38 pm

Reb Moshe has a public letter(it is printed in one of the late volumes of IG”m)that writes the importance of bringing Cholov Yisroel to a city. I personally heard from a Rov in Flatbush, who was there at the time, that someone asked Reb Moshe why he wrote it if Cholov Companies is fine. Reb Moshe said that he only permitted it when there is no other choice. It is possible that Reb Moshe simply did not have money in the early days to be makpid on his family.

Baal Nefesh
Reply to  Yossi
February 19, 2020 9:05 am

Igros Moshe is full of advice for the Baal Nefesh, including Chalav Stam. To claim that Reb Moshe suggested that all of America should behave in that way us simply false

Reply to  Agendas are unnecessary
February 18, 2020 12:55 pm

I also thought like you but this letter clearly states otherwise. What does it matter if it’s published in igros Moshe or not? This is the opinion of R Moshe that where cholov yisroel is available the heter shouldn’t be relied on. It’s tremendously important that this is published and if a person has intellectual integrity and is yiras shonayim then he will not rely on r moshes heter anymore.

Old News
February 18, 2020 8:00 am

As was pointed out in previous comments, R’ Moshe’s restrictions for “cholov stam” is something that he writes in Igros Moshe a few times. The permission for “cholov stam” was granted for nursing mothers, who are unable to obtain Cholov Yisroel and other suchlike situations. Human nature seized the “heter” for it’s own advantage. In most places, where the Jewish food industry is bustling, there is no need to rely on this heter.

ואפילו מומר לתיאבון שבק איסורא ואכיל התירא בכה”ג, וצע”ג איך נשתרבב ההנהגה בתוך החרדים לדבר ה’, וה’ הטוב יכפר

but big news
Reply to  Old News
February 18, 2020 10:45 pm

to everyone that is buying all kinds of non CY nosh, cakes and cookies

February 18, 2020 8:10 am

R’ Moshe’s opinion that, as initial preference, one should be stringent is well known.

See a responsa from 1970 printed in his Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah vol. 2, responsa 35.

February 18, 2020 8:12 am

This “heter” done ruined everything. With out it by now Hershey’s,snickers,vechuli vechuli would all be CY!what really gets me is the OUD that should never have been…pringles! Are you kidding me….c’mon reb moshe PRINGLES!!! Golus!!!

I was given an answer from the rebbe on this
February 18, 2020 8:22 am

Wrote the rebbe and asked if i have to keep cholov yisroel. The Rebbe answered דאסור מטמטם את המח ואת הלב. The forbidden thing stuffs up the heart and the mind. I asked rabbi hodakov to explain. He said non cholov yisroel is an issur.

Rav Moshe's Opinion
Reply to  I was given an answer from the rebbe on this
February 24, 2020 10:48 pm

Baruch Hashem that Rav Moshe held that all milk in America is on par with Chalav Yisrael. That means that the Jewish people as a whole are mitamtem et halev much, much less.

Chen Yeshai
February 18, 2020 8:26 am

Nu betach, this scam has gone on long enough! If it was not for this Hershey’s, snickers vechuli vechuli would be CY by now. what really gets me is unnecessary chlov akkum things like pringles….are you kidding me, pringles!! Now that this is uncovered, we need to do away chlov “stam” and stick to Akkum, that’s right, milk of idol worship, HA!

Thank you
February 18, 2020 9:25 am

I would like to thank Rabbi Chaim Dalfin for making this available

February 18, 2020 10:49 am

i think everyone is making a mistake.this letter was written in 1963,the letter in the igros was was written before,that was when you had maybe a handfull of jewish stores,nowadays there is no shortage of kosher milk or items in any state of the union,there is no excuse for drinking stam milk.
and by the way if need be you can contact the local Chabad for kosher items

February 18, 2020 11:12 am

Moshiach Now!

From a Lubavitch mashgiach...
February 18, 2020 11:55 am

There is no difference in ‘regular’ OU milk and Golden Flow or other chalav Yisrael brands. Same mashgiach, same cows, same plant. So dont worry.

Ma Rabbi
Reply to  From a Lubavitch mashgiach...
February 18, 2020 1:17 pm

What do you mean “there is no difference between OU and Golden Flow.”
Golden Flow has a mashgiach temidi living on the farm where the cows are.
OU milk does not and is therefore NOT cholov yisroel.
Please be careful what you write and dont mislead people.

Reply to  From a Lubavitch mashgiach...
February 18, 2020 2:32 pm

So you are claiming that all OU dairy products have a Jew watching the cows(or in the room)as they are being milked, or that Golden Flow is also not Cholov Yisroel? Please clarify….

It's either kosher or it's not
February 18, 2020 12:49 pm

I think people need to realize that it’s either kosher or it’s not. If it’s good enough to drink and it has all the same ingredients as chalav Yisrael, it’s made in the same plants, the process is identical but the only real difference is the packaging and price who are we really fooling? If the farms would mix non-kosher milk and try to pass it off as cows milk and someone has an allergic reaction or dies as a result do you think they would stay in business? C’mon people, wake up and smell the 21st century. They would… Read more »

other factors to kashrus
Reply to  It's either kosher or it's not
February 18, 2020 4:22 pm

There are other factors to kashrus than just the ingredients. The Chachamim made special gzeras on certain things (cheese, milk, bread, etc) even when all ingredients are kosher.

Chazal made the gezera not us
Reply to  It's either kosher or it's not
February 18, 2020 10:54 pm

we can’t take chances with something that is in Gemara, Shulchan aruch, etc…

February 18, 2020 2:51 pm

I know their is another such letter,this one was to a particular hospital in new york.

February 18, 2020 7:35 pm

The issue is that Lubavitchers have a very different understanding of psak and lifestyle than other groups of yidden. You all don’t understand how Rav Moshe gave a heter if he clearly believed Chalav Yisroel is preferred. However, this is not the only instance of such a psak. For example, Rav Moshe writes that one may wear a watch on Shabbos but a ‘ben torah’ should be machmir. I am a litvak, and I only eat Chalav Yisroel, and likewise my father does not wear a watch on Shabbos among many other ‘chumros’ we keep. Rav Moshe was a great… Read more »

Reply to  Litvak
February 18, 2020 9:43 pm

rabbi berel levy was asked a similar question how he certified non cholov Yisrael etc,he was told by the lubavitcher rebbe it is better that those who would eat treif otherwise eat a lower standard kosher.

it is important to understand
February 18, 2020 10:51 pm

there are 2 categories of those who are OK with non CY. The litvishe world that relies on Rav Moshe’s psak but the MO world relies on Rav Soloveichik, which is more lenient than Rav Moshe and this letter would not affect their stance.

You’d better read more widely
Reply to  it is important to understand
February 19, 2020 9:11 am

And explain where the Chazon Ish fit in. He also felt Stam was absolutely Muttar

Love your Neighbor as Yourself:)
February 19, 2020 12:50 pm

Don’t create ‘Safek Baal Tosif’ Chutz l’Aretz. Yibum is d’oraitha and Pru u’Vru. How’s that working out for you on your childless couples? Even the Tikkunim say sirchot on Basar is Samech”Mem. Lubavitch shechita is Rema kula like Negia d’Rabannan per Ramban Daf 70 – Sod Practice of Shechita with no Sirchot (lesions).Chassidism follows REMA which allows D’Rabannan leniency (Hilel) like Chalav Don’t judge period. You have areas to improve on. Maybe do a siyum on Bavli like women in Israel. וַחֲמִשָּׁה דְבָרִים הַמַּפְסִידִין אֶת הַשְּׁחִיטָה, (כָּל מָאן דְּאַעֲבַר עֲלַיְיהוּ) כְּאִלּוּ אַעֲבַר בְּה’ מִן יהו”ה, כַּנְפֵי רֵיאָה צָרִיךְ דְּלָא יְהֵא… Read more »

Mystical milk
February 20, 2020 12:08 am

I heard a story that Rav Moshe could not even see a glass of chalov stam milk that someone had put on his desk. It was as if it was not even there.

buba maase
Reply to  Mystical milk
February 21, 2020 12:03 pm

1) why would someone put a glass of milk on his desk? I never put anything other than sefarim on my rosh yeshiva’s desk
2) there is no issur is seeing something that you cannot eat. I see cats, dogs, walk by grocery stores that sell treif, just don’t eat them

Why is Cholov Yisroel so much more expensive,etc.?
February 20, 2020 12:31 am

Why is Cholov Yisroel at times around double the price of Chalav Stam? I see Chalav Stam on sale at a gallon for $3.00 in Brooklyn, and Cholov Yisroel is a) close to double the price, b) some brands often get sour c) it is not available, or not as available, in gallon size?

If the price, quality, etc. differential would be small/er, it would be easier to make a case for Cholov Yisroel.