1. Why the Rabbanim put hechsherim on food that is unhealthy such as those containing the carcinogen sun-set yellow. Is it because they assume everyone will have very little of fizzy drinks, treats, ices etc? It seems to contradict the commandment to guard our health. I also wonder how we can make brachos over some of the junk that is produced, it doesnt really seem fit for human consumption! Is a bracha all about the taste, and not about the nutrition? What do the Gedolei Hador consider the correct hishtadlus regarding healthy eating, asides from “everything in moderation”? The food industry is so extreme now, I wonder if even moderate amounts of certain processed foods is acceptable.

2. What does daas torah say about living over the green line, and in some cases such as bat ayin being without proper protection (unless that changed recently?). Is a person allowed to endanger his life for his love of the land, or is he supposed to settle the land in areas considered safer? Is it an aveira to endanger one’s children by living over the green line in a place known to be prone to terror attacks? How does it work in terms of hishtadlus vs hashgacha pratis – that if a kid is supposed to die then he could just as easily ch’v be run over right here in Ramat Beit Shemesh (a few incidents took place).

Answer:

1. The hechsher on fizzy drinks, on sugary snacks, on producs with monosodium glutamate to spare, and other mar’in bishin, relates only to the technical kashrus issues. The fact that the products are not healthy is not an issue that rabbis are to address, but doctors and nutritionists.

As to the degree that a person must worry about health, it is hard to give a clear answer. It is a mitzvah to worry about a person’s health, but each person has his own conception of what this implies (such as the question of consuming fizzy drinks or not), and so long as the general custom is to do something (e.g. soft drinks), we cannot say that doing so is forbidden on health grounds.

2. If the place is prone to terror attacks, and it is defined as a makom sakanah (high risk), the Chareidi Torah authorities state that one should not live there. However, there are many Charedi settlements “over the green line,” such as Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit, and nobody has decalred them unsafe.

Even with regard to settlements further afield, the degree of danger might not constitue a makom sakanah. As you note, the risk of a car crash is not generally greater than living in settlements.

The Religious Zionist approach is of course that one should settle the Land even if this involves a greater risk than living, say, in Beit Shemesh.

Although we believe that everything is from the hashgachah of Hashem, it is forbidden for a person to place himself in danger. Our obligation is to live our lives based on the rules of this world, while at the same time recognizing that events that overcome us are determined by Divine providence.

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