Q: In 1971, you were the only Orthodox rabbis to declare that non-union lettuce and grapes should be regarded as non-kosher and you urged Jews to boycott them. What is the basis in Judaism for that position? R. Greenberg: We were both students of the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. From him we learned the idea that Halacha is not just a list of ritual dos and don'ts, but a comprehensive worldview that applies to everything that happens around us. The Torah prohibits the exploitation of workers- so why shouldn't that apply to migrant farm workers picking lettuce or grapes? They were being mistreated, so it was natural for us to apply the principle of non-exploitation to their situation, too. It seemed obvious.
Suggested Discussion Questions:
1. What are some of the challenges of applying Halacha to modern day challenges, or, as R. Greenberg writes, to helping us create a "comprehensive worldview?"
2. What do you think about R. Greenberg's logic? How might he convince other rabbis to align with his stance?
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)