The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

Time for Action – Kosher Meat and Kosher Behaviour

with 4 comments

1.  There is a lovely family kosher butcher’s shop on Brent Street called Nissim.  They are fine upstanding people, who serve good quality food at reasonable prices, and whose behaviour is as kosher as the meat that they serve.

2.  And they are likely to be put out of business any month now.

3.  A chain of kosher butchers who already have branches in Golders Green and elsewhere are about to open up a new shop within a few yards of Nissims.  They have economy of scale advantages, and will doubtless dent or destroy the Nissim’s business.

4.  The Rabbis should prevent this, and could.  The Biblical precept of not disturbing your neighbours’ boundaries is given extensive ramifications in Jewish business ethics, and no Beth Din ought to grant a licence to a shop that is about to destroy someone else’s business, unless it is clearly shown that the existing business is exploiting its monopoly.

5. But the Rabbis won’t act.  Years ago a Rabbinic representative of the London Beth Din told me that they do not consider it practicable to apply or enforce the din of hasogas gvul (your neighbour’s borders), primarily because they are not the only Beth Din in London.  So people can always get licensed somewhere else.

6.  If the Rabbis are in disarray and unable to give practical expression to the values of the Torah, we must take matters into our own hands.  Let us see a customer boycott of any shop opening within a few yards of an existing business, and let’s all shop at Nissims harder than ever.

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Written by Daniel Greenberg

February 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Readers may be interested to know that I am running a petition to the London Beth Din and Shechita Board to urge them to introduce a policy about Hechsherim given to businesses close to other similar businesses. We will be outside Nissim’s on a thursday night. Please come and sign.

    Avi Greenberg

    February 18, 2010 at 11:41 pm

  2. Perhaps we should consider the interests of the Kosher consumers, who will benefit from a free market and a bit of competition. Without discussing the halachot of hasagat gvul, it seems rather perverse that we should put the needs of one family before the many hundreds who struggle on a weekly basis to make ends meet.

    Shalom

    February 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    • 1. Thanks for this.
      2. If I thought Nissims were overcharging or exploiting a monopoly in any way I would be delighted that someone was coming to undercut them.
      3. Families who need to buy as cheaply as possible can already buy from the new chain at its old branches in Golders Green, Temple Fortune or Edgware – and it delivers.
      4. Putting niche butchers out of business harms consumer choice and competition, it does not enhance it.
      5. The halochos of hasogas gvul are partly about striking the right balance between competing interests: there is insufficient evidence that that balance has been considered in a professional way on this or other similar occasions.

      Daniel Greenberg

      February 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

  3. Thanks for the information, we will add this story to our blog, as we have an audience that loves reading like this.

    Regards,
    “Online Kosher Meat Store”

    Kosher Meat

    November 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm


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