Kosher Toilet Paper?

Tearing of toilet paper – a concern for the orthodox

We continue with Part 2 of our excerpts from the newly published book “From Kosher to Halal: When greed, politics and the sneaky destruction of Western Civilization intertwine”. This short read covers kosher requirements related to paper products during the Sabbath and Passover. Perhaps President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner knows a thing or two about this!

“Part-Time Kosher” Toilet Paper

The Kashruth Commission, a division of the Chief Rabbinate of Quebec, seems to have occupied the toilet paper market niche! Its stamp KSR figures on the Cascades, Metro Selection and Sobeys Signal brands. But there is a sizeable problem: the toilet paper is not kosher during a 25-hour period each week due to the Sabbath! This is an obligatory weekly day of rest consecrated to God, from twilight on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. Tearing things is a violation of the Torah. By tearing any article, one is in some sense creating two of it.

Kosher Innovations, makers of Shabbos Bathroom Tissue, a pre-cut form of toilet paper, explains why it is forbidden to tear off toilet paper on the Sabbath:

All things connected—whether by pressing, stitching or with a perforated line—must not be detached for use during the Sabbath. This would be to take something in one form and intentionally divide it into something else for certain purposes, thus creating something new. Tearing off toilet paper along a perforated edge creates a square of paper, violating the mechatech prohibition of the Torah. If one tears of a piece any old way (not following the perforation), this may be a violation of the korei’ah prohibition (tearing for constructive purposes).

The pre-cut pieces of Shabbos Bathroom Tissue can be used one-by-one. But nota bene: one must remove the cardboard oval from the top of the package before the Sabbath. And leaving conventional rolls of toilet paper may lead to accidental tearing by inattentive visitors, or those unaware of the Sabbath laws.

We’ve also read somewhere that the glue that holds the toilet paper to the roll can be a Kashrus problem

By the way, there even exists an electric cooker certified kosher for the Sabbath.

Paper Towels: Finally Good to the Last Leaf!

Another part-time kosher paper product bearing the famous COR logo: SpongeTowels Ultra paper towels. An “enormous advance,” if one is to believe Susan Sampson’s article in the Toronto Star:

Just in time for the big pre-Passover cleanup, SpongeTowels Ultra have been certified kosher. Many standard paper towels are glued to the tube with an adhesive containing starch that is not kosher for Passover for Ashkenazi Jews. They would have to avoid at least the last sheet, but now they don’t have to worry about any contamination. No non-kosher animal by-products are used in the manufacturing of the paper towels, either. During Passover, corn, legumes and rice (known as kitniyot) are prohibited for Ashkenazi Jews (from Central and Eastern Europe). They are permissible for Sephardic Jews (Middle Eastern background). The Kashruth Council of Canada inspected the factory in Crabtree, Quebec, and certified the towels kosher. The maker, Kruger Products, says the change is a response to consumer demand.

All this so that during Passover, the Ashkenazis no longer have to waste the last leaf of paper towel stuck to the cardboard roll with a corn-starch-based adhesive! Couldn’t one conclude that it would be enough simply to leave the last leaf of each roll alone for the product to be kosher? What you don’t know won’t hurt you, runs the adage. According to Pierre Anctil, Professor of History at the University of Ottawa, “99% of consumers do not notice whether the products they buy are kosher, since the logos are not publicized.” The result is that the cost of universal kosherization or “kosher logomania” is necessarily borne by them. This situation is confirmed by the very rare references to the subject in the media. The journalist Michel Jean, of TVA, wrote in 2012: “As with the rest of kosher products, the bill is divided among the consumers as a group. Kevin Hart, owner of the bakery Homemade, estimates that this increases the cost of production by 5-7%. A bill which you, as a consumer, must of course pay.” In May 2014, Paul Lungen of The Canadian Jewish News (CJN), quoted an ex-employee of COR, Rabbi Moshe Bensalmon, a founding member of the certification agency Badatz: “He estimates that kosher food produced in Toronto “costs consumers 10 to 15 per cent higher [than it otherwise would be] because of COR.”

Bernie Bellan writes in the Jewish Post & News of Winnipeg: “We have become much more aware, for instance, of the tremendous competition that exists between the COR (Kashrut Council of Canada), which is Toronto based, and MK (Montreal Kosher). Both bodies are certifiers of kosher products and earn very substantial revenues as a result.” NB: nearly 90% of the meat from ritually slaughtered animals ends up in the general [non-kosher] market without the slaughterer or certifier suffering financial loss. No notice of the method of slaughter figures on the package of those meats destined for non-Jewish customers.

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