Mere weeks after being elected Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau surprised store managers and workers during a visit to a fruit and vegetable market in Tzrifin, an industrial area near Rishon LeZion.
Accompanied by Chief RabbinateDirector General Oded Weiner and Rabbi Mordechai Biderman, Rabbi Lau and others inspected how the market handles the system of terumah and maaser, the act dictated by Torah law of separating donations and tithes from produce grown in Israel.
The Chief Rabbi closely followed as they separated the tithes and also inspected other aspects of kosher supervision at the wholesale market, which deals with large volumes of goods every night.
The operations manager of the market said to Rabbi Lau that the whole market is open for him to comprehensively check, saying: “the entire market is under our authority, if there are any problems we will take care of them.”
The Rabbis listened to store managers and workers to discuss the problems they encounter during their work, Halachic [Jewish law] solutions, and the general issues they face as they eliminate portions of their produce in order to keep the Jewish law of terumah and maaser.
Rabbi Lau praised the store owners and workers kashrut supervisors on what he called important activities on behalf of the Israeli public in ensure that all Torah precepts were followed.
“Each of you has a part in the success of the supervision for the general public’s consumption of the fruits and vegetables they eat, according to Torah law. With your cooperation, the traders, you have merited to be a part of the Kashrut supervision.”
The visit ended at about 2:00AM, a time when many fruit and vegetable market workers are still on duty. The Chief Rabbi thanked them for their late night work as well.