“Lubavitcher Shechita”

Ask the Rov: What is the Lubavitch standard for a shochet?

By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin – Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah

The Alter Rebbe notes that the regular chezkas kashrus that applies to every Yid does not suffice for a shochet; rather, he must be known and recognized as an upright and trustworthy Yid. For this reason, the rov who certifies a shochet and grants him “kabalah” must investigate whether the recipient’s ways are proper and that his fear of Hashem is noticeable. The shochet must also know how to independently learn Gemara with Rashi, as the Mishna says, “An ignoramus can’t have fear of sin.”

The Alter Rebbe adds that even if a shochet possesses kabalah, you should not eat from his shechita unless you personally know the shochet, or he is under the jurisdiction of leaders who are yerei Hashem, so one can be certain that they appointed the correct individual.

If the shechita knife has even a small nick, it is not kosher and can disqualify the shechita. It is easy to miss a small nick unless he truly checks it well. Therefore, those overseeing the kashrus must be certain that the shochtim check their knives properly. 1Similarly, the bodek, who checks the animal’s lungs for growths and holes, must be exceptionally yerei Shomayim since it is a careful procedure, and a slight problem can render it a treifa.2

The signs of a yerei Shomayim vary according to the time and place. During the Tzemach Tzedek’s era, a shochet was removed due to wearing galoshes, which were a sign of modernity.3 While a beard and peyos were certainly considered an essential condition,4 the Frierdiker Rebbe noted that shochtim from certain non-chassidic communities were acceptable even without it.5 When a Chabad shochet disgraced a talmid chochom, Reb Hillel Paritcher would not eat from his shechita, and ate from the other shochet instead.6

In many letters, the Rebbe highlights that the function of a shochet is not simply to slaughter the animal (skotobyetz, a slaughterer) but to elevate it.7 This should, of course, be done by someone with a heightened level of spiritual sensitivity (even more so than a rov) whose way of life reflects being the “heart” of the community.8 For these reasons, chassidim were particular that the town shochet should be a chossid who lives by the ideals of Chassidus.

In a yechidus with Harav Yitzchok Hendel, Lubavitcher rov of Montreal, the Rebbe said that while he may eat from and certify any shochet who he knows to be a yerei Shomayim, in order to call a certain shechita “Lubavitcher Shechita,” the shochet must be someone who learns and lives by the ideals of Chassidus Chabad.9 In a letter, the Rebbe adds that since a shochet must be exceptionally yerei Shomayim, he must learn Chassidus that brings to yira tata’a and yira ila’a which can only be achieved through avodas hatefilah.10

See Sources (open PDF)

From The Weekly Farbrengen by Merkaz Anash

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