The legitimacy and trustworthiness of the Triangle-K kosher supervision agency are often maligned in the kosher-keeping community, for reasons that are most often not clear at all (1, 2, 3, 4). One thing that’s been pushing a re-evaluation of Triangle-K, particularly in liberal Orthodox areas, is the fact that it’s been certifying Hebrew National’s meat for a few years now, with Hebrew National using particularly-humane methods of slaughter — something the liberal Orthodox are especially eager to find, in light of the Agriprocessors situation.
Before Shabbat I have to ask charata: I mentioned that someone told me that Rabbi Ralbag said not to eat Hebrew National. However, this week I had a long conversation with Rav Aryeh Ralbag, and he told me that you can rely on Hebrew National 100%, that he follows all the p’sakim of the Aruch HaShulchan, the Posek Acharon for Lita, and that he does eat Hebrew National products himself. In his home he buys only ‘glatt’, but he is happy to eat Hebrew National outside his home, and he tells his congregants that they can eat it also.
There is a lot more to discuss, but I was impressed on the phone. Rav Aryeh Ralbag is also the chief rabbi and posek for the Jewish community in Holland. He also assured me that his meat is not shackled and hoisted, but, rather, follows the suggestions of animal expert Temple Grandin – she was praised in the Orthodox Israeli magazine, “Mishpacha” – in shechting in a way that is least painful and traumatic for the animals. He also assured me that all his foreign mashgichim, bodkim and shochtim have R1 visas issued by the govt. He says the shochtim are given regular b’chinos every few months, and that implied to me, that they are well supervised.
I realize that many in the hashgacha world have questions about the Triangle K, but, I wanted to correct and error that I had about Rav Ralbag’s attitude towards his products.
Note how even here, the rumor-mill of kosher plays a huge role, with someone falsely informing Lopatin that Ralbag thinks the meat isn’t kosher, and Lopatin initially acting on that. If most people would actually go to the source for real answers, like Lopatin eventually did, there’d be a lot less confusion, distrust and finger-pointing in the world of kosher.