Cholov Isreal (חלב ישראל) Milk

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Tuesday, December 31st 2019
Cholov Yisroel (חלב ישראל) is milk which mainly consumed by religious Jews around the world who are careful to follow the Rabbinical prohibition of drinking and consuming dairy products under the certification of Cholov Yisroel. The kashrut (Kosher) certificate is issued when a dairy producer applies for his licence and can demonstrate a commitment to uphold certain standards stipulated by the Kashrut division of a Beit Din (Jewish Rabbinical Court). What makes the kosher milk any different than regular milk? Many people believe that any product which has a kosher certificate was blessed by a rabi, this is not the case. Religious Jews do keep to a strict code with regards to food consumption known as Kosher food. While the subject is both vast and fascinating I would like to concentrate on one aspect of it, milk production. Generally, Jews has been misunderstood and persecuted as a race and religion for the last two thousand years. Jewish communities around the world learned to adapt and build independent institutions who had taken care of Jewish life and satisfied the need of the Kehila (Community) on a daily and regular basis. Food production and milk, in particular, has become an issue when facing the outside world. While it’s generally a common practice mixing two or three types of milk together, cow milk & pigs milk in many European regions and in the middle east with camel milk, kosher milk has to be 100% Cows milk. Jews would not consume camel or pig’s milk under no circumstances and mixing the two makes the milk Trehif (Unkosher). For that reason, the rabbinical rule of guarding the milk came to be. For a dairy producer or farmer to gain the trust of the Kashrut Board, he must agree to have an employee of the Board present on the farm from the moment the cows were milked to the point where the milk is packed and sealed in bottles or cartons ready to be supplied to the shops for sale. Although these rules are thousands of years old, Jews continue to observe it to the letter. One may argue that in today’s age, we no longer need to have this level of control levied on our food production and governmental rules and regulations are sufficient in protecting the public. Nonetheless, we still have cases of greed and profits put before public health and morality such as the Mad Cow disease saga in the 80’s and recent events where beef was substituted with horse meat at 2013. Furthermore, Jewish traditions dictated that once a custom was established and accepted by the community, it is very hard to change it. The Jewish faith is based on a connection between man and G-d, between the realm of spirituality and the physical life we all share. The metaphor of kings comes often in Jewish teachings where the commentator asks his readers how would they behave in front of a king? A certain dress code should be applied, mannerism and rules. The connection of a man with his creator is very similar, G-d had instructed mankind to connect themselves in a particular manner. To eat, drink and live in a style which would allow for connection to G-d. In the eyes of many Jews, continuing to observe these laws and rules create this connection which is so desired. Like it or not, it’s always helpful to have a second pair of eyes on the production of food and especially at commercial operations.