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Our Mehadrin Mentor

Ari Z. Zivotofsky and Ari Greenspan

It’s unusual to develop such a personal relationship with a gadol, yet Rav Shlomo Machpud, one of the great shochtim of the generation and the av beit din of Badatz Yoreh Deah, has been a longtime ally of the irrepressible halachic adventure-seeking duo known to all as “Ari and Ari.” From archaeological excavations to giraffe innards, from soft matzah to gourmet grasshoppers — how did the American-born dentist and professor get the world-renowned Yemenite sage on board for their exploits?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When the last daf yomi cycle reached Maseches Chullin, the venerated posek, mohel, and world-class shochet Rav Shlomo Machpud and his Badatz Yoreh Deah kashrus organization arranged a shiur on the Gemara topic of the day — the intricate laws of kosher slaughter and treifos inspection. But this was no ordinary shiur. It was geared to the who’s who of the kashrus and rabbinic world — 1,000 talmidei chachamim, rabbanim, kashrus supervisors, and committed daf yomi learners, many in Fedoras, Homburgs, or shtreimels — and took place on a Motzaei Shabbos in a wedding hall in Bnei Brak that was decorated with entire sides of cows hanging on display. The guests may have been bewildered when we entered the hall. And they certainly were surprised when Rav Machpud caught sight of us and immediately ushered us right up to the front. It’s no secret that Rav Machpud is a most unassuming and apolitical rav. But what the audience didn’t know is that for the past 15 years we’ve been blessed to have benefited from an unusual talmid-chaver relationship with this world-renowned authority. Now we were right in the thick of a masterful shiur in which he was a combination surgeon, showman, and of course expert in all matters of treifos, as he skillfully explained each aspect of the cow, sharing the stage with him. 

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