Technological Tensions

From dishwashers to microwaves to automatic coffee-brewers, technology has revolutionized the modern kitchen. The time- and energy-saving devices are no doubt a boon, given today's hectic lifestyle. Yet for the kosher consumer, every new technology introduced brings with it a host of halachic concerns: According to Jewish law, may I kosherize my dishwasher? May I kosherize the microwave between milk and meat?

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Working in the Trenches

One day, early in my career in kosher supervision, I arrived at a bakery certified by the O.K. and proceeded to inspect the facility. Looking around, I was puzzled by the presence of a certain skid. The product inside was encased so well by the plastic wrapping that I could not identify it. I thought I had discovered something amiss. Clearly the bakery was hiding something from me. Here was my chance to impress my employer at the O.K.!

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About Challah

A select number of Torah commandments are categorized as t’luyos ba’aretz, directly connected with the physical Land of Israel. Challah, the separation of a portion of dough, is among these commandments. The Torah states: “You shall offer up a loaf (challah) from the first of your dough as a gift” (Numbers 15:20). This loaf is among the twenty-four gifts that G-d awarded to the kohanim, the priests.

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The Details

How Much to Separate?

The Torah does not specify an amount that must be separated for challah, bikkurim, or terumah. By contrast, it does specify that one-tenth of the crop is given to a Levi as ma’aser. The Sages determined that a professional baker separates one out of forty-eight parts, while a lay baker separates one out of twenty-four parts.

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