Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kosherswitch:Falsely indicating that Rav Moshe Sternbuch endorses product

A company selling grama switch for Shabbos is claiming an endorsement from Rav Moshe Sternbuch.


HaGaon R’ Moishe Sternbuch shlit’aChief Rabbi/Ra'avad of the Eidah HaChareidis Yerushalayim. “Not gramma, better than gramma; Brocha that you should get the good to stay good, and get the bad to become good!” (1/5/2010 at his home)JerusalemVerbalWiki

 I received the following letter from Rav Sternbuch's gabbai

I asked the Rav about this, he told me that he was asked about it, he wrote  a letter via Rabbi Sigler on the issue, the Rav holds that it is not only chilul shaboss, but "akiras shaboss" to use this switch, the rav asked for his opinion to be publicized since he has been asked recently about this from numerous sources.


  1. Does the Rav deny he said to them what's quoted in his name?

    Does the Rav claim that he later sent them a clarification, which they have disregarded?

    If not, then I think it's unfair to criticize Kosherswitch for repeating what they recorded as having been told to them and which was never clarfied with them.

  2. So was the quote completely fabricated? Or taken out of some completely different context?

  3. Why would he ask that this be publicised "in his name?" Surely, if this is a complete and utter falsification of what he held, then he should issue a letter on letter head explaining his opinion in detail.

    I simply do not understand how two diametrically opposed Psakim from one person can materialises.

    I understand Akiras Shabbos. This would not preclude him permitting it in hospitals and the like. That being said, Akiras Shabbos makes no sense unless there is Chilul Shabbos. Perhaps he holds it's not Chilul Shabbos for a Choleh or B'Shaas Hadchak.

    ילמדנו רבינו את דעתו בבהירות

  4. Will try to get answers as the exact train of events. However it is obvious that Rav Sternbuch was not giving an endorsement to the product and that is why he asked to have his disclaimer publicized.

    If you look at their endorsement page you will see that in fact that there are many rabbi listed who were not endorsing the product but merely commenting on the halachic significance of doing melacha directly or by gramma.

  5. So, if I understand this correctly, you are publicly accusing this company of having done something "false" when you have no idea whether or not it was nothing more than an honest misunderstanding?

  6. Their endorsement page is disingenuous and misleading in its attempts to make it look like rabbonim who merely made general comments on melacha somehow endorsed this product when in fact they did not.

  7. SD said...

    So, if I understand this correctly, you are publicly accusing this company of having done something "false" when you have no idea whether or not it was nothing more than an honest misunderstanding?
    I think you have a basic problem of understanding what the word "endorsement" means.

    It is clear that the company understands the meaning of endorsement and yet claimed that Rav Sternbuch endorsed their product when he didn't.

    Rav Sternbuch did not intend that his comments should be understood as an endorsement of the product. The company has in fact claimed that he was giving some type of endorsement. He wasn't and doesn't want to be perceived as giving some type of endorsement. Why is that so difficult to understand?
    From Miriam Webster dictionary
    a : to approve openly ; especially : to express support or approval of publicly and definitely

  8. Pnei ha'dor k'pnei ha'kelevSeptember 20, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Da'as Torah are you kidding? "let your ears hear what your mouth is saying"; by dismissing the issue of grama in regards to this product and then ending off with a bracha to continue to be matzliach, you are still saying that there is no expression of support or approval? Let's not lie to ourselves. When Moshe rabbeinu broke the luchos, HKBH told him "yashar koach she'shibarta", and yet from these words alone we learn that HKBH agreed and APPROVED Moshe's decision in breaking them. Would you think that wasn't an endorsment either? Come on, that would just be perverting R' Shternbuch's words because of other peoples agenda.

    Da'as Torah & Ben Torah: you say he MERELY made a "general comment" on the melacha being done. What does that even mean? The rav was asked if he likes it and he "merely makes a general comment on the melacha". Your making R' Shternbuch sound incompetent. More importantly, this is NOT a "general comment". If I were to ask you if I can turn on a light on shabbos and you reply that there is no problem of kindling a fire on shabbos, any straight minded thinker (as this kind of train of thought is found multiple time in Shas) will assume you are permiting me to turn on the light. If you weren't, you would have added "although there is a different preblem of boneh" (or whatever the case may be), assuming that you don't want to be over lo siten michshol and cause me to do an issue d'oraysah! So if R' Shternbuch was not endorsing the product by clearly noting that "there is no grama, it is better than grama" than are you accusing him of remaining quiet and not addressing other halachic problems which would be d'oraysah?

  9. Pnei hakelev I don't understand your point.

    Rav Sternbuch says he is not endorsing the product. He says it without any ambiguity.

    Kosherswitch is saying he endorsed their product and is publicizing this on the website.

    Thus we have a contradiction.

    Assuming that Kosherswitch is accurately reporting what Rav Sternbuch said - it does not provide any context but simply indicates that Rav Sternbuch approved of the product. It is conceivable that his statement was taken out of context.

    If they are now aware that Rav Sternbuch has asked to publicize that he does not approve of the product then it is appropriate to remove him from the page of endorsements.

    the only question remains the historical question - did they innocently think that he approved their product? Did they innocently think that he authorized them to publicly announce his presumed approval? Or did they deliberately take a statement out of context to mislead the public?

    I am trying to get answers to above. However my post's title is accurate.

    Their claim that they have an endorsement from Rav Sternbuch for their product is false.

  10. Why is it so difficult for you to find out whether Rav Shternbuch said what was quoted in his name?

  11. SD said...

    Why is it so difficult for you to find out whether Rav Shternbuch said what was quoted in his name?
    I sent the question to his gabbai and he said he will let me know when he gets an answer.

  12. Pnei ha'dor k'pnei he'kelevSeptember 20, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    You don't need to be an astrophysicist to get my point; it's a perversion of R' Shternbuch's words to say that he does not endorse this product. So what, he's saying have hatzlacha but at the same time your product will cause chilul shabbos?!
    You claim that you have proof to back what you heard in the name of R' Shternbuch and the KosherSwitch people claim that they have R' Shternbuch's words. So what do you do with a contradiction like this? I'll tell you what you DON'T do according to our Toras Emes, you don't accuse the other party of falsifying their proof, you give them a chance to justify their claim(s). Did you try to make contact with the other party and give him a platform to say his piece or did you immediately draw your own conclusions about him taking the Rav's words out of context etc.?
    If you YOURSELF posed the questions of "which you are still trying to get answers to" then how exactly is your post's title accurate?

  13. Pnei hakelev you are not paying attention.

    I am not accusing Kosherswitch of falsifying their proof. I am saying that claiming Rav Sternbuch endorses their product is a false claim.

    The details of what was said when they spoke to Rav Sternbuch and whether his words are stated in proper context is something I said I have requested clarification from his gabbai.

    But what is certain is that he insists he does not endorse the product and that he wants this fact publicized. He insists the product will cause chilul Shabbos. Do you have a problem with understanding that means that he doesn't endorse the product?

    Thus the question is not my actions - I am simply communicating what Rav Sternbuch has requested. He doesn't want to declared an endorser of a product that he thinks causes chillul Shabbos. Focus on that reality!

  14. Pnei ha'dor k'pnei ha'kelevSeptember 20, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Da'as Torah: you keeping avoiding my point and changing the course. I understand very well what you are saying (in the name of some gabbai - mi'pi umi'pi). But what YOU are covering up is the part of this reality that the KosherSwitch people claim as well to know what R' S. said. You'll never know if he has proof to back up what he is saying in the name of R' S. untill you ask them.

    What daas Torah is this to request clarification from Shimon on what Reuven said, when Reuven himself is begging to explain himself?! Is this what you believe? Leave gabbaim and mashba"k'im out of this and confront the KosherSwitch people themselves! Perhaps you would like specific "clarifications"?

    By you writing they are "falsely indicating" you are saying that they are distorting the facts which is basically saying that their proof is false meaning that they are falsifying their proof from R' Shternbuch's words. To put it in your words "claiming that R' Sternubch endorses their product is a false claim"; how do you know that for sure? Because you were merely told otherwise? That excuse wouldn't hold up in beis din if you were penalized for stating someone's claim is a fake and spreading it. Is it so far fetched for you to believe that R' Shternbuch changed his mind or backed away? Like we don't know what goes on by these Rabbanim? No outside pressure? No "convincing"? I don't either know what went on, but I am at least acknowledging both sides and ready to hear the other side before I point fingers. Can you say the same?

    So what reality is there to focus on? You decided what the reality is between these two testimonies so thats it? What about the reality that KS claim? You aren't even giving them a chance.

  15. So, the headline should be that Rav Shternbuch wishes to clarify that, despite what he told the inventors earlier, he does not endorse use or distribution of this product for any reason whatsoever and thinks it's a terrible thing.

  16. Shalom,
    If you will contact me by email, I will forward the letter I received this morning from Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, head of the Zomet Institute, about this matter. He has permitted me to distribute it.

  17. Please contact me by email; I will forward you a letter by Rav Yisrael Rosen, head of Zomet, about this matter.

  18. I do agree, BTW, that the Kosherswitch site is quite misleading, in that it promotes unrestricted use of the device, while many of the blessings and endorsements" are from people who likely would not wish to be associated with such a blanket hetter.

    It's as if the website owners are itching to be denounced, as this is what will surely happen, given some of the names they dragged into this.

  19. Well, as soon as you get a reply, we will have the 100% accurate position.

    One that comes 'directly' from RMS to his gabbai to you to us.

    No room for any doubt whatsoever there.

  20. David Mescheloff said...

    Please contact me by email; I will forward you a letter by Rav Yisrael Rosen, head of Zomet, about this matter.

    what is your email address?

  21. SD said...

    So, the headline should be that Rav Shternbuch wishes to clarify that, despite what he told the inventors earlier, he does not endorse use or distribution of this product for any reason whatsoever and thinks it's a terrible thing.
    No it isn't. Assuming the quote is accurate - Rav Sternbuch was not responding to a request to use kosherswitch in all homes in all situations. I am trying to find out exactly what he was responding to.

    Your comment incorrectly indicates that he is retracting his original opinion.

    Rav Sternbuch does have a hearing problem and possibly misunderstood what the issue was. I did find out when he was asked to give a written haskoma he said that since he has serious questions about the devise he was not giving a letter. On the other hand it could be that he did in fact understand them correctly but that they were talking about medical issues - not a blanket heter to use it l'chatchila.


  23. Today Rav Belsky stated that he also did not endorse the use of this product. And contacted them and told them to take down his approval. Which after checking it seems they have done.

    September 22, 2011 12:34 AM

  24. Rav Sternbuch conveyed directly to Kosher Switch very clearly, his opinion, that he gives no type of endorsment to this product, long before their website went up, so they are well aware of the fact that they have misrepresented his views.


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