A couple of days ago I bumped into some old friends from South Africa who told me that yet again a popular kosher caterer in the community who had been doing business for many years was found selling non-kosher chicken…
The obvious reaction we all have is: What?! How can a regular community member do such a thing?
In the late 1940s, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote my grandfather a letter wishing him success in his meat business in Paris which included a strongly-worded caution. He reminded my grandfather that we have a tradition that even the most stringent individual and yerei shamayim still needs a mashgiach temidi in the store so that he can withstand the huge temptation to use the always available and cheaper non-kosher products. The test is inevitable.
Think about it. My grandfather had a beard, davened three times a day and kept kosher very stringently. Yet was told that he must have a constant supervisor in his new store.
The truth is, having been brought up in a family heavily involved in the meat business, we were never allowed to eat in a restaurant if my father didn’t trust the owner personally. It could possess the best hashgachah, but if he didn’t think the owner cared enough about kashrus and would be ready to incur serious losses at times, we couldn’t eat there. (He pointed out plenty of times that certain restaurants claiming to have a specific cut from this or that company couldn’t possibly be telling the truth…)
Bottom line? Each of us has to think seriously about the decisions we make and not just go along with what everyone is doing. Binafsheinu hu.
Wishing you an inspiring Shabbos Hagadol,