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What Hashgocha Does the Best Job with Bishul?

by Craig Winchell » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:50 pm

Hi all! The recent side-issue on the Dalton thread (in which I received an award), about the different shittas for mevushal wine, got me to thinking. What hashgochas seem to do the best job with bishul from the perspective of producing wine which are probably little different from before the heating took place? Of course, since the wine before the heating was not tasted by the consumer, it is up to us to imagine it. Certainly, some wineries are more careful and some are less careful with the heating/cooling, but some difference must be attributable to the different criteria of the hashgocha organizations. The OU is found on many multiple-hechsher wines, so it might in that case be ignored in favor of the other hechshers.
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Elie Poltorak

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Re: What Hashgocha Does the Best Job with Bishul?

by Elie Poltorak » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:07 am

I can't figure out how to get the quote to work right while cutting and pasting from the other thread, but this post is Craig's post in its entirety. My response is in the following post.

Craig Winchell wrote:My apologies to all, and my last word on the subject. And I accept the award, walking down the runway, crying tears of joy while clutching my award.

Elie:

Interesting discussion here, and interesting that it has morphed into this machlokes. The fact is, I think, that we have no machlokes, and that we're saying vaery much the same thing in different ways:

1. The OU does in fact rely on Rav Moshe's shita:
"Contemporary poskim address two major questions about Yayin Mevushal (cooked wine). The first is: To what temperature must the wine have been heated to classify it as “cooked”? This is a subject of dispute. The OU’s policy is to follow the opinion of Rav Moshe Feinstein and require a cooking temperature of 175 degrees F. The second question is: Can we consider pasteurized wine to be Mevushal? Maran Hagaon Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and [l’havdil bein chayyim l’chayyim] Rav Elyashiv maintain (for different reasons) that wine is not to be considered Mevushal merely by dint of being pasteurized. The prevalent practice in America is to follow the opinion of Rav Moshe Feinstein, who maintains that pasteurized wine is indeed Mevushal."
http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/commo ... sekeepers/


Yes, but the lechatchila position is 185. At least, that is what has always been required of me and those I know in the California wine industry.

[quote2. I'm pretty sure that the Tzelemer Rav's shita of 90C/194F applies to grape juice. For wine, presumably it would be lower. In any event, your observation about wine having to be 14.85% alcohol is misplaced.
]


The physical chemistry is well known. Solutes raise the actual boiling point. Grape juice would have a significantly higher boiling point than water, by virtue of the fact that there is so much dissolved sugar. Therefore, if the 90 degree C temperature is specifically for grape juice (with a higher boiling point than water), and the same relationship is maintained with wine (the temperature required decreases [alcohol/water is a mixture of liquids, as opposed to a lovent/solute relationship], as the boiling point decreases to below the boiling point of water), then it tends to prove my point-- and the temperature the Tzelemer requires may actually be no different than the 185 the OU seems to require in fact (as opposed to the the lower temperature they require as stated in the literature). If at 194, only alcohol/water at higher than 14.85% will boil at standard pressure, then at lower temperatures still, only progressively higher alcohol mixtures will boil.

This is a serious machlokes with the gedolei haposkim having weighed in with various opinions. I'm not aware of any shita that wine must reach a rolling boil (ma'ale ababuos) to be considered mevushal. The question is, how hot is considered "cooked." The majority opinion of rishonim is that it must be nechsar--some must be lost to evaporation. (The minority opinion is that any "heated" wine is mevushal even if it's not nechsar.) Rav Moshe's opinion is a big chidush as he extrapolates from hilchos shabos where yad soledes is considered mevushal to wine, where it must be nechsar. Most poskim require that it reach a point where it begins to simmer--i.e., evaporate rapidly. The debate among poskim (aside from Rav Moshe and those--like Rav Auerebach and Rav Elyashiv--who hold that the color and/or taste of the wine must be affected) is at what temperature is there sufficient evaporation to be considered nechsar.


Again, the physical chemistry is clear. A "simmer" occurs in a vessel when the heated layer of liquid reaches the boiling point, when the liquid above may or may not be quite there yet (it must be really close or the bubbles will not get near the top surface. At the boiling point, increased heat increases the rate of boiling, not the temperature of the liquid. We're therefore talking about the boiling point when we talk about a simmer. The wine evaporates rapidly at temperatures leading up to a simmer as well. The definition of a temperature lower than the boiling point at which wine evaporates rapidly vs. slowly indeed is arbitrary. When one sees steam rising off a pot, it is not the vapor but rather the condensate which one sees. Aqueous liquids evaporate even at room temperature , but more as the temperature rises. If one placed a condenser over a pot, one would see the condensation of the vapor. Since we know this the point at which we define loss to evaporation, or evaporating rapidly, is arbitrary. Since it was well known even in Rav Moshe's time, there would presumably be no machlokes between Rav Moshe and the other poskim, except the question of simmering. And as I said earlier, the simmering occurs very close to or identically to the time when the entire pot is in thermal equilibrium at the boiling point. Any point along the way could theoretically be considered cooking.

(Regarding what you said about l'chatchila/b'dieved, Rav Moshe cites 3 different temperatures for yad soledes l'chumra: 160, 165, and 175. Interestingly, OU follows the most stringent when it comes to wine even though OU follows 165 for shabos and kashering through iruy.)


I stand corrected. I thought 160 was a bedieved position, you say it is lechatchila.

[quoteThus, contrary to your conclusion, the choices that should be made are 1) temperature and 2) duration/effect on wine's taste and color--with longer cooking necessary to satisfy Rav Aurebach and Rav Elyashiv's shita. (As an aside, many have already pointed out that Rav Elyashiv's shita is based on misinformation--he writes that he was told that commercial wine is routinely pasteurized, which is simply wrong.) Since almost no one is machmir on 2, the difference between the hechsherim is on 1.][/quote]

I do not know how many mevushal wines carried Rav Auerbach's hechsher, but if any, I am not certain that their shitta fulfils their purpose in this regard, though in many cases, it probably does. But if accomplished through modern continuous processes in a closed system, Rav Auerbach (Zt"l) and Rav Elyashiv (Zt'l) only presume that there has been a noticeable effect, unless the wine is tasted before and after to ascertain the change. It all comes down to the reason for the enactment of wine bishul in the first place-- that the wine must be worse than would be dedicated to idols, or later, worse than would be normally served to nonJews socially. Assuming that the desired flavor is the one before bishul, the presumption is that bishul would somewhat change the flavor profile, making it what we can define as "worse". However, bishul is now factored into the profile of the initial wine, so that if carefully done, changes can be predictable enough to even make the wine "better", bringing it up to the desired flavor profile, even with low technology equipment. I do understand that they did not hold that most mevushal wines were, in fact mevushal.

Thanks, Elie, for this fun and hopefully informative (on both sides) conversation. I hope you see better, now, that we were really saying much the same thing in different ways, and are not at odds at all.[/quote]
Last edited by Elie Poltorak on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What Hashgocha Does the Best Job with Bishul?

by Elie Poltorak » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:10 am

Craig:

There's nothing like a good Machlokes to help clarify a subject. :D A couple of brief points in response (with an effort to stick to English and explain terminology except in highly technical parentheticals that aren't necessary for the primary discussion):

1. It's rather odd that the OU would state one temperature on their website and in the policy sheets given mashgichim, but follow another in practice. Is it possible that the higher requirement was imposed by the local mashgiach, rather than the OU?

2. I used the word simmering in the colloquial sense of liquid that's almost boiling but not quite, rather than the precise scientific sense of bubbles forming on the bottom but cooling as they rise through the cooler water. Like you pointed out earlier, the cut-off temperature is arbitrary--as is any legal rule--rather than based on a precise scientific measurement. The various poskim impose different cut-offs as to what level of heat is required to have recognizable evaporation.

3. As discussed in my previous post, Rav Moshe's opinion is based on the standard of "yad soledes," which is defined in the Talmud as hot enough to scald a baby's belly/cause someone to withdraw his hand (there is a disagreement whether those definitions are equivalent but that's not relevant here). Hence, the whole discussion of evaporation, etc. wouldn't really be relevant. (Although Rav Moshe conceptually accepts those Rishonim--whose opinion was accepted as normative p'sak--that cooking/evaporation is required, he looks to the laws of shabbat to define cooking, rather than any empirical standard of evaporation. Hence, the discussion focuses on the temperature of "yad soledes" rather than the temperature of recognizable evaporation.)

4. Applying the terms "b'dieved" and "l'chatchila"to "yad soledes" causes much confusion. The better terms are l'chumra and l'kula. Since we cannot precisely determine "yad soledes" we consider a range of temperatures. The bottom of the range will define the temperature to which cold (raw) food may not be heated on shabbat. The top of the range will define the temperature beyond which food will be considered cooked and one will be allowed to increase its heat. Similarly with regards to kashrut, the low range of yad soledes will define the temperature at which vessels coming in contact with non-kosher or meat with milk create a problem and must be kashered. And the top of the range will define the minimum temperature necessary for certain kashering processes (the details of which are beyond the scope of this discussion) for which yad soledes suffices. So to summarize: since we cannot determine the precise temperature of "yad soledes" we use a lower temperature when we must avoid yad soledes and a higher temperature when we need "yad soledes."

However, the range CAN BE quite wide if you factor in all opinions--with the bottom of the range as low as 104 according to some--so the question among the latter-day decisors is what opinions can we ignore and which we factor in to arrive at a range that we will use in practice in the manner previously explained. Most opinions cluster around 120F for the low range, so some may set the range at 120-160 or so. However, Rav Moshe is machmir (stringent) and sets the bottom of the range at 109. Further, in various responsa, he cites different numbers for the top of the range: 160F, 165F, and 174F. However, Rav Moshe's opinion has not been accepted in this matter and almost everyone is lenient up to 120F (or at least 113F for some who follow Rav Auerbach) and above 160-165.

As applied to wine (according to Rav Moshe), in order to ascertain the minimum temperature to render a wine mevushal, we look to the top end of the range, which is why I observed that the OU's position is curious in that they follow Rav Moshe in applying the yad soledes standard, but then use a temperature for that standard far in excess of the normative temperature based on one responsa of Rav Moshe where he writes that above 174 is certainly yad soledes--when the OU itself considers 165F the top of the range in much graver matters than wine, such as shabbat.

"B'dieved" (ex post facto) would only come in if you had heated a wine to a lower temperature than required l'chatchila (a priori)and it was already touched by a non-Jew, then the question becomes how low a temperature could you accept as mevushal in order to save the wine. (After all, the range is due to sofek and stam yainom is an issur d'rabonon, so applying the rule of sofek d'rabonon l'kula, perhaps following Rav Moshe's shita, one could be meikel at a lower temperature than would be required l'chatchila, but that's a complex shaila and way beyond the scope here.)

5. As for the opinions of Rav Auerbach and Rav Elyashiv, I don't quite understand what you wrote but let me try to clarify: Firstly, the opinions must be distinguished but in order to do so, we need to recap some basics (for those who are unfamiliar):

There are 2 reasons given why ChaZa"L (the Rabbis of old) forbade wine touched by a non-Jew (stam yainom):
i. Because he may have used it for idolatry, thereby rendering it Biblically prohibited (yayin nesech).
ii. In order to prevent socializing, which could lead to intermarriage.

Likewise, there are 2 reasons given why mevushal wine was excluded from the ban, each of which relates to one of the previous reasons for the ban in the first place:
i. Because cooked wine was deemed unfit for sacramental use by the pagans.
ii. Because cooked wine was very uncommon in those times and there is a general principal that ChaZaL's decrees did not apply to the very uncommon.

Now let us return to the two opinions objecting to deeming pasteurized wine mevushal (completely separate from the temperature issue). Rav Elyashiv's opinion turns on the prevalence of cooking/pasteurizing wine. He states in his responsum that he was informed that wine is routinely pasteurized. Therefore, he reasoned that pasteurized wine would not be included in the category excluded as "very uncommon." Rather, we'd have to apply some additional unusual process (i.e., non-routine cooking--not pasteurizing) to render the wine mevushal. Rav Elyashiv's opinion has been universally rejected by other leading poskim (decisors) as premised on errors of fact and law: The factual mistake is that wine is not in fact routinely pasteurized. The legal "error" or disagreement is premised on the general rule that we don't extend ChaZaL's decrees. (Rav Ovadia Yosef is very emphatic on this point in his responsum on the matter.) Therefore, if the original decree exempted heated wine as uncommon, it makes no difference whether such wine is common in our days or not.

Rav Auerbach's objection to pasteurized wine applies to the first reason. Rav Auerbach reasons that since an average person can't differentiate pasteurized wine from unpasteurized wine, how can the proverbial pagan know that the wine is unpasteurized? Therefore, we cannot be sure that a wine has not be used for idolatry unless it is recognizable as cooked: i.e., that its taste and/or appearance has changed. (N.B. It doesn't have to be worse--merely different. Hence, I don't get the relevance of your discussion of "profiles" and whether it's "worse" or "better." In any event, I find it hard to believe that cooking a wine to the point where it looks and taste different can actually improve the wine. Am I wrong?) Others have argued that with increased wine appreciation and knowledge around the world, many ordinary people (experts don't count) can distinguish between mevushal and not mevushal wine. The flip side to that argument is that the best wineries have now perfected their processes for flash-pasteurization to the point that even experts can't always differentiate...

In any event, Rav Auerbach never gave a hechsher and I don't believe any of the hechsherim in the world follow his opinion. If followed, it would require essentially ruining the wine in order for it to be mevushal.
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Re: What Hashgocha Does the Best Job with Bishul?

by Elie Poltorak » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:25 am

Craig:
I've taken the liberty of moving this discussion to this thread as well in order to avoid antagonizing those who aren't interested.

Craig Winchell wrote:Elie:

Not all Chassidim, or rather, it is not an institutionalized norm in some dynasties (according to my rav, who many for me that he had mistakenly thought held by the chumra), and is certainly not a norm among many (most?) Chassidic individuals. That is one of the reasons Rav Belsky apologized to me for having required that stringency. It is worth noting that the stringency was one of the reasons I went with the OU instead of the Kof-K. OF course, later Rav Belsky became one of 2 major poskim for the OU. He became my rav when he was still with the Kof-K.


With all due respect to you and Rav Belsky, I just don't think that's correct. I think you should inquire among chassidim. I don't think Rav Belsky has any first-hand knowledge of chassidic practices.

I'm still waiting for Yehoshua to weigh in and support me on this. Selling wine in Monsey, he should know. Also, you can read about it at length in Rabbi Blumenkrantz's pesach book.

I'm very surprised that the kof-k required it then. (Does the kof-k even give hashgacha on wines anymore? I don't recall ever seeing a kof-k wine.) Anyhow, few if any major hechsherim (as opposed to the small chassidishe hechsherim) in the U.S. require it due to the practical difficulties involved. I've heard that Herzog tries to keep to it in their facility but not always successfully. Do you know if that's accurate?
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Re: What Hashgocha Does the Best Job with Bishul?

by Craig Winchell » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:45 pm

Wow, I can't believe that half of what I typed never went through to the post (which was somewhat unintelligible). Rav Belsky had been the poseik for the Kof-K, and when I was shopping hashgocha for GAN EDEN in 1985, he insisted that nonJews not be able to see the wine in any phase of its production, from juice through bottling. And that is one of the main reasons why I went with the OU over the Kof-K. He later apologized to me for the requirement, because he hadn't realized how few actually held by that chumra. He is yeshivish, not Chassidic (though he comes from a Chassidish background on his mom's side), but had reason to discuss it with poskim from various Chassidish groups (not firsthand knowledge, but certainly secondhand though major poskim within those groups). He initially thought that all Chassidim held that way, as you have said, but found he was very much mistaken. It was after this admission (but not because of it) and still during the time he was with the Kof-K, that I adopted him as my rav.

Kof-K has done a few wines, though I don't know whether they are currently doing any. I have no idea who their current poseik is. I do like the Senters a lot, and if a wine was under their hashgocha, I would see no reason to distrust it.
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Re: What Hashgocha Does the Best Job with Bishul?

by Elie Poltorak » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:24 am

I inquired with the OK as to their policies (unlike the OU, they don't state them on their website) re bishul and received the following responses:

1. They require a temperature of 88C/190F. (Although their rabbonim pasken that 86C/187F suffices, l'chatchila they require an additional 2 degrees celsius as a safety buffer.)
2. Interestingly, like the KAJ, they require an "open system" so that the volume of wine decreases due to evaporation (as per Rav Abba-Shaul's shita). I was not aware of this.
3. They do NOT require avoidance of reias aku"m (wine being seen by non-Jews).

Would be interesting to find out the policies of the Israeli hechsherim. I sent an inquiry to Bada"tz Beis Yosef (Rav Ovadia's hechsher) a while ago but have not received a response. I read elsewhere (can't remember the website but it seemed to be affiliated with him) that he has allowed as low as 70C to be considered mevushal, but that the current l'chatchila policy is 76C. Not sure how reliable that is though.

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