Rabbi Ralbag and Triangle K Respond To “Defamatory Allegations” Regarding Hebrew National


aryeh-ralbag-1By Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag

Outrageously false and defamatory allegations have been made by anonymous disgruntled individuals against Triangle-K’s strict rabbinical supervision of Hebrew National products in a complaint filed in court against the company that owns Hebrew National. Those who make the false allegations know full well that because their identities are concealed and their false statements are made in a court pleading, Triangle-K and its principals cannot sue them for defamation. The court complaint is filed on behalf of 11 consumers, none of whom claims to keep kosher, and all allege that they buy Hebrew National products only because they are represented to be “a higher quality product.”

If any person making such an allegation against Triangle-K has the integrity to do so in a manner that subjects him to a defamation lawsuit, Triangle-K and its principals will promptly institute proceedings against that person in a rabbinic court (“Beit Din”) and, if authorized by the rabbinic court, will file a defamation lawsuit against the person, company, or organization responsible for such slander and libel.

The fact is that, contrary to the defamatory allegations, Triangle-K has substantially increased and improved the kashrut supervision on Hebrew National products since it began its supervision in 2004.

1. Kashrut of the slaughtering operation – Triangle-K instituted a process under which slaughtering is now done with a team of two or three shochtim constantly in the kill box (depending on each specific plant). Each shochet on the team slaughters not more than a prescribed quota of cattle, and the knife used for the shechitah is examined before and after every slaughter for possible nicks by the shochet or by another member of the team. The team continuously slaughters in rotation. This ensures that no shochet becomes weary and careless and that the knives are always free of nicks. In addition each shochet is required to have numerous knives ready to slaughter with. Contrary to the false anonymous allegation in the court complaint, Hebrew National products are consistently slaughtered in the prescribed manner required to be considered kosher.

2. Examination of cattle before and after shechitah – Only cattle that are free from physical defects and clean enough are slaughtered for kosher consumption. Triangle-K requires an examination of all cattle to insure that the clean cut necessary for kosher slaughter can be made and that the cattle can, after examination, be qualified for kosher consumption. In addition to prescribing a team of shochtim, Triangle-K instituted the requirement that there be two examiners (“bodkim”). One is a bodek pnim, who examines each animal’s lung while it is still in the animal. The other is a bodek chutz, who examines the animal’s lung after it has been removed and who inflates it. In some plants two bodkei pnim and two bodkei chutz are constantly on the line. Triangle-K represents that Hebrew National’s product is stam kosher, not glatt kosher. Its goal in providing the supervision to Hebrew National products is to make 100% stam kosher meat available to general consumers throughout the United States. Triangle-K also places numerous mashgichim at various points on the production line who make specific markings and simanim to ensure the correct labeling on the kosher-approved cattle.

3. Examination of knives – Because of the “team” requirement instituted by Triangle-K, the knives used in the slaughtering process are constantly inspected to ensure that they have no nicks. Knives are checked after each shechitah, and if a nick is found the animal is marked non-kosher. Each evening, all Rabbis and shochtim are also required to present their knives to the Rosh-Tsevet (Crew manager) for inspection to make sure the knives do not have any nicks. In addition, cattle are not certified as kosher if an air compressor gun was used on the animal prior to shechitah.

4. Post-slaughter inspection – All slaughtered cattle are carefully examined by a bodek pnim and by a bodek chutz. It is totally false and defamatory to say, as the court complaint declares anonymously, that the organs of animals used in Hebrew National products are “not consistently inspected after the slaughter.”

5. Removal of blood – Triangle-K drains all slaughtered cattles’ blood and washes it in accordance with the strictest standards of Jewish Law. Allegations that the soaking, salting and washing are inadequate are totally false. Allegations that the carcass is halachically cooked before it is salted are totally false.

6. Disciplining of shochtim – Triangle-K has required the dismissal of shochtim and bodkim who failed to comply with the high standards instituted by Triangle-K. It has never reprimanded or subjected to retaliatory measures any employee who objected to the “slaughter of dirty cows.” Nor has the Triangle-K asked any employee “to look the other way” if he saw a violation of kosher laws. Each plant’s head shochet and bodek reports to the Triangle-K on a weekly basis. The shochtim and bodkim are constantly tested and checked in surprise visits by Triangle-K for their knowledge of the halachic material and for their skills. Some shochtim and bodkim whose employment was terminated because of their failure to adhere to Triangle-K’s high standards may have initiated the false allegations on which the court complaint was based.

We strongly re-affirm that the Triangle-K Kashrus symbol on Hebrew National products guarantees that the product is 100% strictly Kosher.

The Triangle K Rabbinic team is always available to answer specific questions about any part of the process of the shechitah. We base our our strict kosher certification on the writings and decisions of the greatest scholars and poskim of the last few hundred years of Rabbinic Jewish law and literature.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. While I firmly believe there MAY be something more to this lawsuit than meets the eye, there are some statements herein that, with all due respect to R’ Ralbag, aren’t quite kosher.

    Twice in the opening paragraph (and implied eslewhere) the article refers to the plaintiffs as “anonymous” or “identities concealed.” This is not the case. I found their names and a copy of the actual complaint in under 10 minutes on google. (see my post yesterday on the original story for their names)

    Also, The suit does NOT allege that Hebrew National isn’t kosher at all, but rather that it does not meet it’s OWN advertized claim of kosher “as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law.”

    There is no allegation that HN products are not kosher and the suit specifically states that they are NOT asking the government define what is or is not kosher. While this MAY be a back-door attack on kashrus, it appears to be nothing more than deceptive trade practices suit. As stam is, definitionally, LESS stringent than glatt, the claim that HN is the “MOST stingent” is, prima facia, deceptive.

  2. i have know the rabbi for many years he is an eilecha yd a talmud chacham and av bais den i trust him and ask him shaylers when he isnt trravling

  3. #6 – Please be careful when commenting. Hebrew National is kosher, it just isn’t glatt. If R Ralbag’s standards are not for you, this isn’t a reason to disparage him or his kashrus. No one disagrees with the fact that he is a tremendous talmud chacham and an erliche yid.

  4. For all of the readers, and posters, who adhere to a level of kashrus that includes Glatt and have standards of supervision etc for foods that THEY consume, you should know that R Ralbag does not give the hechsher on HN for your benefit, and does not represent that it meets your criteria, and would not recommend it to you. The reason why he DOES give the hechsher, as a y’rai Shomayim and under the guidance of Daas Torah that he subscribes to, is to provide a kosher,not glatt but stam kosher – however nonetheless KOSHER, product to people who are not on your religious level, and who otherwise would be eating nvailos u’traifos. Every time they pick a HN product instead of a different one, he is absolutely, one hundred percent, INARGUABLEY preventing a sin in the world. THIS IS UNDENIABLE! R’ Ralbag probably prevents more chet in this world with this hashgocha that probably every single poster and reader of this article COMBINED!!! ( if you would excuse the hyperbole, it is to make a point…) Yes, he charges a fee, yes it is his business, but also understand that he provides a level of hashgocha to simply make sure the product is KOSHER, not glatt, not for the FFB in Flatbush etc, but for the frei yid in Mississipi it accomplishes 2 things – one is that he just ate a technically kosher product instead of a non-kosher one, undeniabley preventing sin in this world ( now multiply that by MILLIONS and tell me that you can say that the AIBISHTER is not happy with that) and 2, that a totally unafilliated jew has an ability to minutely maintain even a minimal minimal kesher with yidishkeit – because he is buying a product BECAUSE it is kosher – and do we know how many times that hairline connection blossomed slowly into curiosity, into finding out about what kosher is and why we keep it and has certainly led jews closer to the Aibishter? and at what downside? that the LEVEL of the kosher that it is, while technically HALACHICALLY kosher doesnt meet your PERSONAL standards for your own consumption? SO DONT EAT IT! it isnt meant for you!!!!! but show some respect for a G-d fearing talmid chochom as well, because our higher standards of “kosher” should extend to our speech and actions as well. A Gut Chodesh all.

  5. #6 and # 13-

    What you today call “Glatt” is for the most part NOT “Glatt”. The only (real) Glatt is Beit Yosef Glatt Kosher. Most of the others that are labelled “Glatt” are Kosher stam. Now I am not telling you, you need to necessarily only eat Glatt, but that what the vast majority are doing and eating today is not Glatt and is on the exact same level as Hebrew National. In fact HN is honest with its Hechser in labeling it what it is- Kosher Stam. (Which is fine according to the Yerushalmi and the practices of especially Askenasim throughout the ages).