Weekly Story: It Cannot Be Brought to the Table

by Rabbi Sholom Avtzon

One year, a businessman wanted to make kosher l’Pesach whiskey and he asked reliable rabbonim for a hechsher. One of the prominent rabbonim visited the factory where it was going to be produced and after verifying that everything is proper gave his stamp of approval for the production.

Somehow word of this new product reached the ears of Reb Akiva Eiger, who at that time was one of the elder and leading Rabbonim in the region and he wrote his psak, “For reasons known to me, it is forbidden to have a kosher l’Pesach whiskey.

That year in Lubavitch a person who has been making kosher L’Pesach whiskey for private use during the past some years made it again. As was his custom, he brought one bottle as a present for Beis Harav. However, to his bewilderment, The Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek refused to accept it, saying Kosher l”Pesach whiskey, will not be allowed to be brought to the table, and in fact not even into the house.

Turning to the Rebbe he said, Rebbe I promise you it was made this year exactly as I made it in previous years. There is no possibility of chometz in it. The Rebbe’s family can accept it, just as he allowed them to accept it in previous years.

The Tzemach Tzedek replied, I never said it was chometz. However, being that the great halachic authority Reb Akiva Eiger wrote this year that it is prohibited, I and indeed everyone must adhere to his decision. Had he written his reasons for this conclusion, it may have been possible that I wouldn’t agree with his conclusion and I could argue that his proofs are not so persuasive. In essence one Rov can argue with the reasoning and decision of another Rov. However, here he wrote for reasons that I have and don’t care to announce; on such a  reason, it is impossible to argue and therefore I must accept it.

Dear reader that was when a known Rov stated he is certifying it and the Rebbe allowed it in his house in previous years, but never-the-less, one has to accept Re Akiva Eiger’s decision based on these personal unpublicized reasons. How much more so, when…..

And a word to the wise is sufficient.

The author can be contacted as avtzonbooks@gmail.com


  • 1. nice story wrote:

    I understand from the story that in a case of TAAM KAMUS we cannot argue halachakly and has nothing to do with halacha
    I just have a question
    why is there an eruv in kfar chabad and other chabad yshuvim ( and a lot of chassidishe people use it)??

    • 2. Sholom Avtzon wrote:

      I am not a Rov so I am not getting into the halachic aspects.
      However, perhaps this is exactly the taam kamus as you correctly stated, that there is a difference.between here and eretz yisroel.

      My thoughts on the reason follows that in eretz yisroel there is a certain enviroment and therefore the Rebbe didn’t instruct the Rabbonim to fight the eruv battle. However, in chutz l’eretz there is a different air blowing and for the people living there this way is better.
      This is just my personal thoughts. and I may be completely wrong But that is the fact, that the Rebbe instructed Rabbonei Anash in various cities to try to stop it. Why you ask, I can’t say and that is exactly what taam kamus is, a reason that Reb Akiva Eiger, or in our case the Rebbe was saying, I know the reason and for whatever reason I am not revealing it.
      Concerning the second point, no one said a mother of young children must stay in her small apartment the entire Shabbos, her husband can and should definitely take care of the children so she can relax.
      But even if that is not possible is that a reason to state publicly that the words of the Rebbe aren’t relevant to you, in his community.

    • 4. troll wrote:

      yes as they have for generations, what makes you think that your wife is so special that she can’t? this whole eirev issue comes from ego
      I want to go out
      I don’t want to be stuck at home
      I want to carry
      I …. Ve Chuleu Ve Chulei

      Get a life and fall in line

  • 5. for reason know to me wrote:

    in that case no chabad eruv should be built ANYWHERE
    so what about every city in israel? including kfar chabad????!!

  • 6. Avraham wrote:

    Nice story. never happened. This is why there is no source. The Tzemech Tzedek had no connection with Rav Eiger.

    • 7. Milhouse wrote:

      Excuse me? The Tzemach Tzedek and Reb Akiva Eger were two of the major poskim of their time, operating in the same general area; how can you even imagine tey were not in touch with each other? They were both constantly being consulted about major shaylos, and wrote to each other about them.

      In any case, the story doesn’t say they had a connection, so even if you were right about them not having one that would not affect the story’s credibility at all. Surely even you are not claiming that the TzTz never heard of RAE, or that he would not have been aware of any psokim RAE issued!

    • 8. Avraham wrote:

      y are you so sure it never happened ?

      its does not say there was a connection only that the tzemach tzedek heard that R A E passkend

    • 9. Sholom Avtzon wrote:

      The Tzemach Tzedek did live in the time of Reb Akiva Eiger. There is the letter that the Mitteler Rebbe wrote to the Tzemach Tzedek describing his meeting with Reb Akiva Eiger and praising his greatness.
      Furthermore how can you say that they had no connection when Reb Akiva Eiger was the main Rov in the dispute between the Slavita press and Vilna press and the Tzemach Tzedek wrote a teshuvah (responsa) on that case.
      Concerning the source, this is a story I had heard over twenty years ago and not something that I made up to illustrate a point.
      So please don’t dismiss it in order not to be influenced by its message

  • 10. Milhouse wrote:

    There is no comparison. Nobody claims that because R Akiva Eger assered mashkeh on Pesach, therefore anyone who drinks mashkeh is sinning. Since the Tzemach Tzedek accepted R Akiva Eger’s issur, Lubavitchers to this day don’t drink mashkeh on Pesach — but they do sell it to other Jews to drink! If we held it was chometz we could not do that.

    Furthermore, even if we did hold it was chometz, and therefore we did not sell it to others, we still would not and could not regard those who drink it as chometz-eaters. We would still acknowledge their right not to follow this issur — and we could buy the mashkeh from them after Pesach, because they kept it beheter.

    Here, however, we are not dealing with gezeros made for secret reasons. We’re dealing with rabbonim who insist on finding every chumra available, and putting them all together to create an issur that almost no poskim would agree with, and using this to cast aspersions on other people’s yiddishkeit. They are accusing a rov whose name they don’t know, but whom they have been told is a mumche in the subject — which they are not — of malpractise, of being machshil yidden in chilul shabbos.

    And for all their protestations that they do beleive in eruvin in theory, if someone has never met an eruv he actually does believe in then he gives the impression that he doesn’t really beleive in them after all, chas vesholom.

    • 11. took the words outta my mouth. wrote:

      not saying the eruv is a gr8 idea c”v.
      but making a comparison from this story to eruv id like compering a shvartze to a veise.

  • 12. Sholom Avtzon wrote:

    I am not saying don’t use the eruv because the Rabbonim said so.
    I am saying we know that the Rebbe didn’t want it for whatever his reason is and therefore out of respect for the Rebbe in his shchunah don’t use it.
    I am not telling anyone who lives in other neighborhoods what to do,There you should ask your Rov and or mashpia. But in the Rebbe’s daled amos respect his opinion, even if you think it is a chumra (and especially since some Rabbonim state it is not a chumra but the halacha).

    • 13. Milhouse wrote:

      1. The Rebbe didn’t want an eruv made in Crown Heights. Therefore no Lubavitcher should be making one. However this does not bind non-Lubavichers, who have every right to make an eruv for themselves, of any size they like.

      2. The Rebbe didn’t say that if an eruv is made against his wishes, people shouldn’t carry. If someone were to put up a solid eruv in Crown Heights, Lubavitchers would have to consult their own consciences and mashpi’im about whether the Rebbe would want them to refrain from using it as a form of protest, or to accept that it exists and can be used.

      3. In this case it’s irrelevant, because the new eruv is not kosher according to the Rambam, and every Lubavitcher ought to be machmir like his opinion because the Alter Rebbe says so.

  • 14. Sholom wrote:

    I am not speaking to the non Lubavitchers, we are speaking to the men and women who graduated from our mosdos.
    Call them what you want but they are the Rebbe’s children. Who asked the Rabbi to extend it to encompass the entire crown heights if not our own.

    Whatever their conduct is they still go to the ohel and still have a connection to the Rebbe and I should add that by many of them it is a real and powerful connection.

    So thank you for agreeing with the message.


Comments are closed.