Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Is Shatnez-Checking a Multi-Million Dollar Industry?

Rabbi Abadi of has long since decried kashrus as a "multi-million dollar industry." That is a whole discussion in and of itself, and one which I don't know nearly enough to comment on. But I've heard a little about shatnez, and I would like to speculate on the possibility of that being a big money-maker.

One of my rabbeim once said that shatnez-checking is not necessary, at least for American suits. He said that the suits that have shatnez in them are so miminal in quantity to the ones that don't that we can rely on a rov. He admitted that the Hugo Boss-type suits would require checking. But the likes of Perry Ellis and Nautica? Not necessary, he said.

I think the shatnez checkers are useful in preventing people who buy fancy suits from transgressing the lavin. But when it comes to cheap American suits, do we really need to check them? After all, if we rely on a rove, we're fine! We're off the hook!

Let's say one would rely on the gemara's principles of rov and kol d'parish mayruba parish to eat a piece of meat. If the piece of meat is, in actuality, treif, was the guy over an aveira? No! He relied upon a rov, and once you do that, you're fine.

So for the purposes of full disclosure, why don't the shatnez companies say that if you get a Stanley Blacker suit, you're automatically fine? Instead, they advertise of the horrible chumros of shatnez, instead of the possible kulos involved. (One lab had a hat pasted on the wall, with a label saying "a young boy wearing this hat complained of headaches. Turned out, the hat had shatnez in it, which was causing the headaches!") And for a large family buying their children suits for yom tov, shouldn't they be spared the heavy expense of shatnez checking, especially if there's what to rely on?

Perhaps the mentality that "if someone wears shatnez, even if they're relying upon a rov, the tumah of the aveirah is still there!" comes into play here. And did they even have shatnez labs in Europe? Or is it a new thing?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At three dollars a suit i doubt it is a multi million dollar industry.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

If every frum Jewish male and female gives every suit and dress in for testing, it adds up.

Plus, they charge a ton to fix suits when they pull out the shatnez. Why don't they just tell me to go to a tailor, where I can get the job done for half the price?

11:39 AM  
Blogger Josh Weinberg said...

Their are those that believe that one who wears a suit that contains shatnez while davening will not have his prayers answered. This is even if the shatnez is muttar al yedei rove. I can understand why that would make one want to be stringent.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

At three dollars a suit i doubt it is a multi million dollar industry.

Where I live it's five dollars

4:54 PM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

Josh: just curious: what's the mekor for that? A gemara? A chassidish thing?

If I'm not mistaken, a chassidish yid started shatnez testing in America. And that would fit right in with what you said.

And considering every frum person seems to get their suits checked, I guess we can add this to list of "chassidishization of the litvish," a topic that Harry Maryles has discussed on a few occasions.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Josh Weinberg said...

Definitely not chasidish. I think I may have seen it in sharei teshuva

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Josh, we don't pasken based on the spirit of the law. IOW, it's a chumra.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Josh Weinberg said...

That's why I used the words
"I can understand why that would make one want to be stringent."

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In that case, let the rabbis and shatnez checkers let the people know that American suits need not be checked, but if you want to be machmir then fine. If not, no need.

But don't deceive by implying that it MUST be checked.

10:33 AM  
Blogger chickeneck said...

It's a Maharal based on a Zohar, and possibly also in Medrash Rabba.
I looked it up once.

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