Late in January 2016, in response to a severe illness that threatened the life of its posek (halachic decisor) Rav Chaim Yisroel Belsky, OU Kosher announced a new program, Halacha Yomis, in which a kashrus halacha would be emailed to subscribers each working day. The program was organized, as OU Kosher noted, with the hope “that by uniting and connecting through learning a halacha a day, Rav Belsky Shlita will merit a full recovery.
Shortly after the announcement, Moreinu Virabeinu, Harav Hagoan, Rav Chaim Yisroel Belsky, zt”l, passed away.
Rather than cancel the program before it even started, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of OU Kosher, and Rabbis Yaakov Luban, Yosef Grossman, Eli Gersten and Moshe Zywica, the developers of the original initiative, determined to go ahead with the program, now with a different aim.
“It is with great excitement that we present to the general public, OU Kosher Halacha Yomis,” they said in a statement. “We believe that this feature will be of great value and importance to Klal Yisroel. “We launch this new endeavor during a week of shiva, as we mourn the passing of the Rav. Our joy and pride is now intertwined with sadness and sorrow.”
As the rabbis explained, “The original impetus for this project was a desire to disseminate short halachic tidbits as a zechus for Rabbi Belsky, with the hope he would have a refuah shelaima from his illness. As halachic consultant for the OU for more than 28 years, the imprint of Rabbi Belsky is felt in all areas of OU halachic policy. Many of the selections of the Halacha Yomis are based on psokim of Rabbi Belsky. With the passing of Rabbi Belsky, we are now dedicating this program in his memory. We are certain that OU Kosher Halacha Yomis will bring an aliyas neshama (elevation of the soul) of this great gadol, whose past contributions to OU Kashrus will continue for years to come.”
The program, now with over 11,000 subscribers, has received many expressions of admiration and delight from the OU Kosher constituency. And these statements don’t come just from Brooklyn, or other traditional locations of Orthodox Judaism. “I would like to tell you how much I enjoy these short daily halachos,” wrote a resident of Hong Kong. “This Halacha Yomis is such a great invention,” a follower composed in an email from Antwerp, Belgium.
Closer to home, that is, OU Kosher’s home in lower Manhattan, came this comment from Passaic, NJ: “I have suggested this to numerous friends of ours and EVERYONE is very excited to have this in their email. YASHER KOACH TO ALL INVOLVED!” And from Brooklyn, “My deepest thanks for this daily email. I love starting my day with it.”
To receive the OU Kosher Halacha Yomis each workday, subscribe at oukosher.org/halacha-yomis-email. OU Kosher has archived past issues there on its website as well.
Subscribers can ask their own questions on kashrus issues and send them to Rabbi Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.613.8212 or 914.391.9470. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis. The above contact information can be used for any difficulty in subscribing as well.